Tippah County News

Home of Ripley football coach Rob Allen destroyed in weekend tornado

The home of Ripley assistant football coach Rob Allen was hit in the weekend tornado. A weather call from WTVA likely saved their family. His son, Tanner, still took to the mound for a schedule start later that day.

Ripley High School’s junior LHP, Tanner Allen, is not just an outstanding baseball player, but he is also a survivor. On the morning of a game against Lafayette, Tanner and his family had a brush with death as a tornado hit their home in Pontotoc, Mississippi, just hours before he was scheduled to take the mound.

Tanner’s mother, Adria, received a weather warning call at 1:07 a.m., informing her that their home was in the direct path of an approaching tornado. She quickly woke up Tanner, his brother Brady, and their father, Rob Allen, who is a football coach at Ripley High School. The family rushed to the laundry room and huddled together, bracing themselves for the worst.

At exactly 1:10 a.m., the family heard the roar of the tornado overhead, along with a loud popping noise. When the noise stopped, they opened the laundry room door and saw the destruction the tornado had caused. The roof was torn off, and more than 75% of the house was destroyed. The tornado had ripped the roof off over Tanner’s room, and had he been asleep in his bed at the time, he would have been sucked out of the house with potentially fatal consequences.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Tanner did not want to let his team down. He sent a text message to Ripley baseball Coach Joel Gafford to inform him of what had happened. Coach Gafford immediately gave Tanner the option to stay with his family, but Tanner was determined to play the game.

Tanner took to the mound just a few hours later, on only one hour of sleep. He threw 120 pitches before being pulled in the eighth inning because of the pitch count rule. Although the Tigers did not win the game, Tanner’s performance was one of his best outings of the year.

Jon Ross Myers

Jon Ross Myers is the executive editor and publisher of the Mississippi News Network, Mississippi's largest digital only media company. He can be reached at editor@tippahnews.com

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