RIPLEY – The Pontotoc Warriors (3-1) went on the road last week to face an old rival in the Ripley Tigers (1-3).
Pontotoc won 31-20 behind a strong performance by quarterback Conner Armstrong and running back Jemarkus Whitfield. Armstrong completed 60% of his passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score as well. Whitfield ran for 118 yards and a touchdown.
“I knew it was going to be a dog fight, because it always is when these two programs play each other,” said Pontotoc head coach Jeff Carter. “I've got to hand it to Ripley tonight. Those guys play hard and they are turning the program around and have done a good job so far.”
Ripley sailed a snap into the end zone when punting that resulted in a safety, and Pontotoc led 2-0 at the end of the first quarter. Jemarkus Whitfield scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter to make it 9-0.
Ripley's Immanuel Griffin had an 11-yard rushing touchdown and a 51-yard rushing touchdown to give the Tigers a 14-9 lead, but Pontotoc's Jonah Mahan returned an interception 62 yards to the end zone for the Warriors to give them a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Ty Long hit Shaundell Carter for a 7-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 20-17 lead early in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive Pontotoc answered with a 6-yard TD run by Conner Armstrong to take back the lead 24-20. Armstrong then connected with L.J. Jones for an 84-yard touchdown with seven minutes left in the game to finish off the Tigers 31-20.
“We just cant turn the ball over, we have to coach better, and we didn't do the little things that matter,” said Ripley head coach Perry Liles. “I am very proud of our team. We played a really good team and we played as hard as we could but you just cant make those little mistakes and expect to win. We have to come back next week and keep working on getting better.”
Ripley begins Division 1-4A play this Friday on the road at North Pontotoc. The Vikings (3-1) are coming off their first loss of the season to Calhoun City, 36-14. North Pontotoc defeated Ripley 30-7 last season.