RIPLEY • Amory nearly saw its first 3-0 start to the season since 1999 disappear in the fourth quarter against Ripley on Friday night.
The Panthers led by three touchdowns early in the third, but the Tigers scored twice in the second half and had a chance in the closing seconds until Cameron Haynes sealed Amory’s 21-14 win with an interception.
“It happened real fast, but he threw it right to me,” Haynes said. “I just made a play on it.”
Amory (3-0) didn’t break through on the scoreboard until a long drive to start the second quarter. Hunter Jones found Corbin Gillentine and Braxton Griffin for first-down catches, then hit Bo Rock over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown strike with 5:01 left in the second.
It took the Panthers just a minute and a half to add to their lead after a quick defensive stop as Jones connected with Braxton Griffin for a 24-yard score.
“Defense pushed some three and outs there, and we came on with some good momentum,” Jones said. “We had a couple of good catches and then ran it down a little bit.”
Ripley had the ball to open the third quarter, but Amory recovered a fumble at the 6-yard line on the very first play. Charleston French found the end zone on a 4-yard run to go up 21-0.
Immanuel Griffin was key in Ripley’s near comeback, scoring on a 43-yard run midway through the third and then cutting it to a one-score game with 4:57 to go on a 1-yard touchdown run.
“We had a big play by Cam there to seal it,” Amory coach Allen Glenn said. “It was a sloppy night, and we about botched it.”
Turning Point: Haynes’ interception sealed the win in the closing seconds.
Point Man: Jones was 18 of 31 passing for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Talking Point: “I am so proud of our defense and the way we played. We just have to get better offensively at moving the ball and giving ourselves a chance.” – Ripley coach Perry Liles
• Braxton Griffin hauled in 8 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.
• Reece Cantrell recovered a fumble to lead to Amory’s third-quarter touchdown.
• Amory hosts New Albany and Ripley hosts Pontotoc on Friday.