• John Macon Gillespie

There's Hope In The Hollow

Just prior to Friday night’s battle between Pontotoc and Ripley I made a prediction on Twitter. I said I felt like it would be a high scoring game, citing Ripley scores well and usually allows their opponents to as well. I underestimated each defense and they put me on blast. Pontotoc defeated Ripley 17-14. I was way off.

The scoring didn’t start until midway through the second quarter when Pontotoc Junior QB Jacob Carter completed a nice pass to Junior target Jerrick Ray.

Ripley answered on the next drive by methodically moving their way down the field and finishing it off with a run from Senior RB Anthony Mullins. The Tigers then gave it to Mullins again to convert a two-point try.

Ripley was able to hold the Warriors off twice more in the half, once with an interception from Senior Stephon Foote in the endzone. Nevertheless, the Tigers took an 8-7 lead into the locker room.

In the second half Ripley struck first around midway through the third quarter. It was Senior QB Tucker Childers from 22 yards out to guess who, Stephon Foote. Big game for that young man. However, the Tigers failed on the two-point try and lead 14-7.

A reverse sequence from the back-to-back scores in the second quarter came as the Warriors quickly answered the Tigers on a 56-yard scamper from Freshman running back Gabe Harmon. The game would go into the final quarter tied at 14.

That score, though, was the turning point as the Warriors were able to come up big with turnover in the fourth quarter. They would drive down and kick a winning FG from Senior kicker Josh Vidana before stopping the Tigers with a turnover on downs with just less than a minute left.

Just like that a young, but promising Warrior team had a win they could build on. A win that brought pride to a school who has been mediocre the last few years.

The scene was picture perfect high school football on Friday night just before kickoff as the sun was setting over The Hollow, as the Warriors home turf is affectionately known as it is itself a hollow. But when the sun went down and the game was played it was not a peaceful scene. It was a loud and fun environment.

The home crowd was fierce and helped their team out all night long. The game was special in The Hollow as not only the players and coaches felt the impact of the win but the fans did, too. There was a sense of pride and joy throughout The Hollow on Friday night, but that’s not all.

There was hope.

The Warriors rely heavily on many underclassmen to perform on Friday nights. I was very impressed by the underclassmen I saw for Tupelo a few weeks ago, but the Warriors group of young players might be even more impressive. They are more of them being counted on in each game.

Going forward the Pontotoc Warriors(4-2) have big games against division foes Amory and Tishomingo County, both of which are coached by Pontotoc High alums. The schedule will remain competitive and physical.

The Ripley Tigers(2-3) will look to rebound next Friday night just up Highway 6 a bit when they travel to face the Lafayette Commodores. So the road only gets tougher for the Tigers as well.

Southern Elite Sports
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