NP Football v Ripley

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2008

Cougars to host Ripley

By Myra Bean
Tonight, the North Panola Cougars will be thrown into the fire as they host the 3A north runner-up Ripley Tigers.

The Tigers defeated New Albany last week 27-14 in the season opener. Last year the Tigers went 12-1 and the only loss was to Louisville in the north half championship.

North Panola fell to Ripley 35-6 last year.

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Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Sr. knows that the only thing that will work against Ripley is for his team to bring its “A” game and play four full quarters.

“If we play and make those same errors we made tonight, we will be on the other end of that score,” Davis said following Friday night’s 56-28 win over Coahoma County.

“Ripley is a quality team. They have played for the north half championship the last two years. They are going to be a tough football team.”

Davis is glad to be home this year for this 3A matchup, though it is not a district game.

“I thought last year we played them strong up there,” he said. “You can’t take anything for granted. We have to play every play like it’s the last one.  We can’t make foolish mental errors. We have to be offensively sharp, defensively and special teams.”

This past week, Davis and his coaching staff worked on some problem areas that surfaced against Coahoma County. He did see a bright spot with the special teams which converted three of five two-point conversions.

“Our special teams played a little bit better than we did last year,” Davis said. “I thought our special teams might have been the worse in the state. This first game they showed some improvement. Coach (Adam) Wilson has been doing a real good job with them and he will continue to work with them.”

Davis was pleased with the run game which racked up 396 rushing yards on the evening. He highlighted running backs Vernon Lewis, Rodregus Salter and Brandon Cauthen.

“That was an improvement over our jamboree game,” Davis said. “We were not able to sustain running the football against Bruce, but we were able to run it fairly well tonight.”

Though Davis was somewhat pleased with the 79 passing yards, he was not pleased with the five dropped passes.

Scoring all four rushing touchdowns for Ripley was Jaquise Cook. He scored on runs of 19, 1, 18 and 44 yards, respectively.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is 7:30 p.m. on Cougar field.