BOONEVILLE – Five area football seniors played their final high school football game on Wednesday, May 17 at the 2023 Northeast Mississippi Football Coaches All-Star Game held at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
The Ripley trio of Tyler Rucker, Keegan Colyer and A’Quan McDonald teamed up with Walnut’s Cayden Armstrong and Ashland’s Jamyson Griffin on the North squad.
A late score from the South ended a North shutout and captured an 8-5 victory for the team in grey in the 11th annual all-star game.
After a deflected punt on South’s opening drive, and a fumble from the North on its opening play, the South was backed up deep into its own territory, which allowed Corinth’s Jay Cummings to deliver the game’s opening score with a safety after tackling West Lowndes’ JaQuavious Tate in the endzone for the 2-0 North lead with 8:22 remaining in the first quarter.
Three straight punts between the two teams with just two first downs played perfectly into the game’s script until the South pieced together a 13-play drive that ended with a missed 36-yard field goal midway through the second quarter for either team’s best scoring opportunity as the North clung to a 2-0 halftime lead.
South Panola quarterback David Hubbard led a promising drive out of the locker room, using his legs for 30 yards on 7 carries in the 19-play drive that was capped by a 32-yard field goal from New Albany’s Whit Robbins for a 5-0 lead with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
The North couldn’t make good of a fumble at midfield and had a turnover on downs as the time dwindled to the start of the fourth quarter.
South regained possession at the own 31, where 10 consecutive run plays set up a 16-yard completion from Amory’s Jartarian Ware to Louisville’s Swahili Earby on a 3rd and 10. Next play, Nettleton’s Jay Hawkins bruised his way in for a 5-yard TD run. Ware added the two-point conversion rush as the South took an 8-5 lead with 4:53 remaining.
Defensively, Rucker drew the start for the North at cornerback. Rucker was in on three tackles as Colyer added five stops in his reserve linebacker role. Armstrong saw his snaps come from defensive end, while Griffin saw time at safety and on special teams.
McDonald, a two-way standout at Ripley, spent his night in the backfield for the North, totaling 23 rushing yards on four carries, while adding one, four-yard reception.
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