SALTILLO • The Saltillo Tigers’ only victory of the 2019 season came against the Ripley Tigers. Ripley made sure that history did not repeat itself Friday night.
The Ripley Tigers (1-1) got their first win of the year on Friday night, defeating the Saltillo Tigers (0-1) by a score of 14-3, giving first year head coach Perry Liles his first win as the Ripley Tigers’ head man.
“It feels great,” Coach Liles said postgame. “I’m so proud for our players, they’ve worked so hard ever since I’ve been there. They’ve done what I asked, and tonight, they got a little payback for all the hard work they’ve done.”
That payback did not come easy for Ripley, as the game started out as a stout defensive struggle. Neither team could gain much traction, as Saltillo outpaced Ripley in total yards 80-29, and the only points of the first half came off a Saltillo field goal to make it 3-0 at halftime.
Immediately after halftime, Ripley’s offense came out with a purpose, grinding out a 6 play-70 yard drive capped off by a 33 yard touchdown run by senior Sentavius Hunt. This would highlight an improved effort from the Ripley offense in the second half, gaining 147 total yards of offense in the second half, as well as another rushing score, this time a 32 yard TD from junior Immanuel Griffin with 4:17 left in the game.
When asked about the improved offensive effort, Coach Liles credited his players for adjusting to Saltillo’s defensive scheme.
“The truth is, they just whipped us up front. They have a good scheme,” Coach Liles said. “So we came back and just ran straight at them, and that took away the quickness they were getting us with, and the players really responded. We threw in a pass or two when we needed to and that’s how we want to win football games at Ripley High School.”
Ripley’s defensive effort was consistently stout throughout the game, giving up only 149 yards for the entire game. The jewel on top of the defensive crown was a game sealing interception with 4:01 left in the game.
Who made the play?
None other than Sentavius Hunt. The same Sentavius Hunt who got the offense going at the beginning of the second half, sealed the game on defense at the end of the second half.
“I mean, it’s tiring,” Hunt said postgame discussing playing on both sides of the ball. “But you got to do what you got to do. You got to fight and push if you want to win.”
“We started off a little slow, but we fixed what we had to fix, and came out and punched them in the mouth”
Getting acclimated to a new offensive scheme has been a challenge for the Ripley Tigers, but Hunt believes in his teammates to do their part.
“We got a lot of talent, and we got a lot of people who can step up and play. Just got to do it.”
Ripley will open the home portion of their schedule Friday, Sept. 18 against Amory.