RIPLEY - The Ripley Tigers took care of business in their division-opening matchup against North Pontotoc, defeating the Vikings 28-7 to improve to 5-1 overall, and 1-0 in the division.
North Pontotoc struck first in this matchup, as Reece Kentner threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Winn Navarette late in the first quarter to go up 7-0. Ripley responded nearly immediately, as Chazton Crudup took a rush 58 yards to the house to tie the score up 7-7.
The Tigers and the Vikings stayed in a near gridlock throughout the second quarter, as the Tiger defense shut down any North Pontotoc drives after their first-quarter touchdown.
Ripley quarterback Ty Long returned from injury in this contest after missing last week's game against Booneville, and he made an impact in the third quarter, tossing a 17-yard touchdown pass to Michael Turner to take the lead 14-7. Crudup scored his second rushing touchdown of the day later in the third quarter, punching it in near the goal line to take a 21-7 lead into the final quarter.
Ripley's defense continued to hold, and kept North Pontotoc in check for a majority of the game, forcing three turnovers and keeping the Vikings to 251 total yards, mostly through the air. Immanuel Griffin scored the game-sealing touchdown early in the fourth quarter, breaking off a 71-yard rush to put Ripley up 28-7.
Griffin and Crudup both had 100-yard rushing performances for the Tigers, as Griffin rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown, while Crudup rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
This win gives Ripley head coach Perry Liles 200 career wins in his high school football coaching career.
The Tigers will travel to New Albany next week to face the rival Bulldogs, while looking to extend their division record to 2-0.