ECRU • The Ripley Tigers (2-3, 1-0) built a 21-0 lead early in the first half and never looked back defeating the North Pontotoc Vikings 35-21 last Friday.
The Vikings cut the lead down to a touchdown late in the third quarter but Ripley scored with two minutes left to secure their first division win.
Penalties and turnovers doomed the Vikings offensively as North was flagged six times on the night for holding. Reece Kentner threw three interceptions in the first half and five total for the game.
“Getting five turnovers is exciting, especially against a really good team who was 3-1 before tonight,” said Ripley head coach Perry Liles. “I am so proud of our defense. We had a lull a little bit in the third quarter but we came back and scored and that made a big difference in the game late. We did what we needed to do tonight, the season started over 0-0 and we went on the road and won a region game and now we are 1-0."
“You aren’t going to win many games by turning the ball over five times,” said Vikings head coach Andy Crotwell, “I have to do a better job as well making sure we are protecting the football and that we treat it as important as it really is on game days because without that thing it’s just 22 guys out there butting heads.”
Ripley led 21-0 with eight minutes left in the second quarter behind two Immanuel Griffin touchdowns and an 8-yard run by Labron Vance.
Reece Kentner scored on a 9-yard run to put the Vikings on the board. Winn Navarette hauled in a 22-yard touchdown reception from Kentner for North Pontotoc with four seconds left in the first half to cut the Tigers lead to two scores. Ripley led 28-14 at halftime.
The Vikings put together their best drive of the game to open the second half and it resulted in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Kentner to Navarette to make it 28-21 at the end of the third quarter.
North Pontotoc (2-3, 0-1) had three drives in the fourth quarter and all of them ended with turnovers.
Safety Chazton Crudup led the Tigers with three interceptions. Mookie Williams and freshman C.J. Martin each added interceptions as well. Linebacker Shaundell Carter led the team with 11 tackles, including one sack.
Ripley scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Ty Long to Diamante Williams to seal the game late and hand the Vikings a tough loss at home.
Long finished the night 5 of 8 for 75 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Griffin totaled 153 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 30 touches.
Raquan Booth led the Vikings with 108 yards rushing and Winn Navarette finished with 47 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
The Tigers will host Tishomingo County this Friday.