Ring­gold out­lasts Sono­rav­ille Gen­er­als dom­i­nate Gilmer to move to 5-0 for first time ever

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By David Jenk­ins By Scott Herpst

For the sec­ond straight week, an im­por­tant pay­back win was in the hands of the Ring­gold Tigers, if only they could con­trol the clock one last time.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

Host Sono­rav­ille, need­ing a late score to pull ahead, in­stead was forced to punt to the Tigers with just un­der three min­utes to play. With Ty Jones car­ry­ing the ball – and car­ry­ing the game on his shoul­ders – the Tigers were able to burn the fi­nal 2:58 (and all three Sono­rav­ille time­outs) on a nine play keep­away drive to nail down a 31-28 vic­tory over the Phoenix and end a three-game los­ing streak to their 7-AAA ri­val.

Jones gained 100 yards for the third straight week and scored on a 9-yard run late in the first half as the Tigers (3-2) had to over­come a po­ten­tially dis­as­trous first-play turnover for the sec­ond straight week.

“We never got down on our­selves,” Ring­gold coach Robert Akins said af­ter­wards. “But I am con­cerned about start­ing games this way. One of these days that’s go­ing to catch up with us.”

But the ev­er­im­prov­ing Ring­gold de­fense held firm af­ter quar­ter­back Cole Ki­bler en­gi­neered a drive for the go-ahead touch­down – a pre­ci­sion 6-yard strike to tight end Drake Starks with 4:52 to play. Sono­rav­ille quar­ter­back Pa­trick Moore, who had a sen­sa­tional night, was sacked for a six­yard loss by line­backer Dal­ton Green and then was flagged for in­ten­tional ground­ing un­der se­vere duress on third down.

Punt­ing was the only re­course.

Jones car­ried the ball five times on the clinch­ing drive, but the play that nailed it down was a third down throw from Ki­bler to An­dre Tarver on the side­line that was com­pleted by the tini­est of mar­gins of hav­ing a toe come down in bounds. The 10-yard com­ple­tion was Tarver’s sixth catch of the night. The tal­ented ju­nior also scored on a 10-yard run, his fourth rush­ing TD of the sea­son.

“I have no idea how he caught that ball,” Akins said of Tarver’s clutch catch. “We knew if we com­pleted that, the game over. But I thought there was no way he could catch that ball and stay in bounds.”

But it was an up­hill strug­gle part of the night.

A bob­bled hand­off ex­change be­tween Jones and Ki­bler on the first play from scrim­mage was re­cov­ered by the Phoenix on the Ring­gold 25. On just the sec­ond play of the drive, quar­ter­back Moore slipped down­field on a 17-yard keeper for the gift-wrapped score.

But un­like last week, which saw Ring­gold go down 21-0 to Adairsville be­fore re­group­ing, the Tigers had an im­me­di­ate an­swer. One play af­ter a per­sonal foul kept the Tigers’ drive alive on third down, Ki­bler went up top to sopho­more wide­out Pete Brower. Com­ing back on the ball, Brower danced by his fallen de­fender for a 38-yard touch­down.

Moore had an an­swer for the an­swer, scor­ing on a 65-yard keeper just three plays into the next Phoenix drive.

But the sec­ond quar­ter be­longed to Ring­gold. Trail­ing 14-7, three big plays by Jones, fill-in back Bry­ton McCann and Tarver gen­er­ated the ty­ing touch­downs.

Then later in the pe­riod, a long (85 yards), flaw­less, 11-play drive was capped by Jones’ pow­er­ful scor­ing run. Gar­rett Davis con­verted each ex­tra point.

But Moore, who sin­gle-hand­edly com­piled 284 yards of of­fense Fri­day, made the open­ing drive of the third quar­ter count on an 11-play drive that ate up half the third quar­ter. Moore

The Her­itage Gen­er­als are now 5-0 for the first time in school his­tory.

The Navy-and-Red scored two touch­downs in the first quar­ter, added five more in the sec­ond quar­ter and cruised from there, beat­ing win­less Gilmer, 49-0, in El­li­jay.

Quar­ter­back Blake Bryan threw three TD passes, two to Luke Grant and one to Ryan Carter, while he also ran for two scores. Bryan fin­ished with 82 yards in the air on 6-of-8 pass­ing, while Nick Han­son was 3-of-5 for 61 yards.

Grant picked up 137 yards on just six catches. Carter scored on a 5-yard TD toss, while Jef­fery Cur­tis added 58 yards rush­ing a touch­down on the ground. Bryan also ran seven times for 32 yards. Kicker Ryan Craft was a per­fect 7-of-7 on ex­tra point at­tempts.

Zach Goins scored a touch­down on one of three fum­ble re­cov­er­ies for the Her­itage de­fense, which dom­i­nated play in the Re­gion 6-AAAA opener for both squads.

Zaine Bur­ton had nine tack­les, eight of the solo va­ri­ety, and had two go for a loss. Cur­tis had five tack­les, while line­backer Hank Wel­don had two tack­les for loss, in­clud­ing a sack.

Her­itage (5-0, 1-0) will play host an­other 6-AAAA un­beaten in South­east (5-0, 1-0) this Fri­day at Jeff Sims Field.

Cade Nayadley crunches Sono­rav­ille quar­ter­back Pa­trick Moore dur­ing Fri­day night’s game. The Tigers picked up a big 31-28 vic­tory in the Re­gion 6-AAA cross­over con­test. (Photo by Court­ney Couey/Ring­gold Tiger Shots)

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