By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Munford Cougars took the field Friday Night among Homecoming festivities, the powerful sound of the Munford Band and media attention.
Earlier in the day the school announced the suspension of Head Football Coach Amhaad Galloway for the Ripley Tiger contest for conduct detrimental to the team. It appeared it was tough for the Cougars to concentrate on the Tigers early on falling behind 14-0 after a block punt and punt return for a scored.
Ripley iced the game in the fourth quarter with another punt return for a touchown to make the final score 20-0.
“Our defense played really well,” Interim Head Coach Benard Ivie said. “We shut them down. I’ve been a football coach for a long time and one of the biggest mistakes a lot of football coaches make is that they don’t realize special teams is about 30 percent of the game.
“We had so much to put in this week because of the changes,” he continued. “And I’m not making excuses. We went connect like you’ll never believe. But guess where we didn’t go connect? We didn’t go full connect on special teams.”
The Tigers couldn’t solve the Munford defense the entire night. Players like Tony Jones, Andrea’ Bell, Jordan Jones and Nick Weng provided pressure on the defensive line stopping the Ripley rushing attack. Players like Trey Doty came up from linebacker spots to make tackles near the line of scrimmage.
But on the other side the Ripley defense had early and late success against the new-look Munford attack. Cougar quarterback TJ Plymouth was limited in his passing.
Munford running backs David Simon and Eric Furseth had some success moving the chains throughout the night. In the third quarter the Cougars started with the ball deep in their own territory.
Plymouth and the offensive line started a march down the field trying to cut into Ripley’s 14-0 lead. Munford melted the clock to under 3 minutes when it faced a fourth down situation. The Cougars missed the first down by the length of a football. Ripley took over on downs.
The Tigers were able to work with a lead the entire game blocking a punt 5 minutes into the game returning the ball over the goal line from 22 yards out to make the score 6-0.
Then at the 4-minute and 52-second mark Ripley’s special teams struck again this time field the punt and racing to the end zone. The two-point conversion made the score 14-0.
Early in the fourth quarter it was special teams that doomed the Cougars again. The Ripley returner was able to break a few tackles and had an escort of Tigers to the end zone to make the final tally 20-0.
“They scored all three of their touchdowns on our punt team,” Ivie concluded. “And I take full responsibility. Our kids played their (butts) off. Offense, it’s hard to put in a new offense in three days. But we got more first downs tonight then we have all season. That was a positive we can take out of tonight.”
The Cougars will travel to Brighton this Friday to take on district and Tipton County rivals the Brighton Cardinals. Since losing to the Millington Trojans in early September, Brighton had rolled off victories over Covington, Hardin County and a 35-0 win over Colombia.
The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. from Brighton Football Stadium.