Rousing Ringgold rally stuns Adairsville
The Ringgold Tigers gave themselves a mountain to climb Friday night, but instead it wound up being the visiting Adairsville Tigers who felt like they’d been hit by an avalanche.
Spotting the visitors a three-touchdown lead, Coach Robert Akins’ team staged a rousing rally that led to a wild and wooly 47-42 victory at Don Patterson Field. The win ended a threegame losing streak to their neighbors to the south and evened the Ringgold Tigers’ record at 2-2.
What looked to be a catastrophic first-play fumble and ensuing touchdown began what looked to everyone but the home team as an Adairsville romp. Two long touchdown passes – the second a deflection off the hands of two colliding Ringgold defenders – put the home team in a 21-0 hole with 3:58 to play in the first quarter.
That play was set up by punter Garrett Davis going down on one knee to field a low snap to set up Adairsville with ideal field position. Three plays later, Mason Boswell’s deflected pass fell into the waiting hands of Ethan Belcher.
But Ringgold’s potent offense joined the battle. A 50-yard completion to Pete Brower set up the first of Andre Tarver’s three first-half touchdowns. And barely a minute later, following a Dalton Green fumble recovery on Adairsville’s only turnover, Ty Jones scored the first of his two touchdowns and the battle was officially joined.
“In my 40 years of coaching, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more strange, awkward plays to put us in such a deep hole,” said Akins. “But our kids are resilient. They fought back and the defense really stepped up when a lot of the guys were worn out.”
But there were two defenses dragging in much of the second half of the game, and the difference ultimately was a fresh (albeit injured) Ty Jones carrying the clinching touchdown drive on his back, then helped Ringgold burn the final 2:39 off the clock with a 16-yard gain on thirdand-five.
Jones unofficially gained 148 yards on 14 carries, giving him his second straight 100-yard game and putting him over 1,000 for his career.
“All that was after he’d had his ankle taped up,” Akins pointed out a third-quarter injury to his senior. “It’s a tribute to his toughness that he was out there.”
A big reason that Jones was so dominant running the football is that his defense workload has been sharply curtailed. His physical style of play on both sides of the ball led to make the call that Jones was more valuable on offense.
But junior quarterback Cole Kibler was also on his game, throwing touchdown passes of 28 yards to Drake Starks and 20 yards to Andre Tarver while posting 221 yards on a 20-of- 31 performance.
In fact, the only thing that stood between Ringgold and scoring six straight touchdowns was Travon Branch’s 96-yard touchdown return midway through the second period. It followed one of Tarver’s two short touchdown runs and gave Adairsville its final lead of the night, 28-27.
“I was worried about a letdown there,” Akins admitted. “But we took the football and went right down the field.”
The characterbuilding answer drive was a nine-play, 65yard march set up by the kickoff going out of bounds but made possible only when Davis was roughed on his punt attempt. That play came directly after a big sack of Kibler that effectively killed the drive. Instead, Kibler found Tarver for 11 yards to put the ball in the red zone and followed it with a 20yard touchdown strike that put Ringgold ahead for keeps.
Remarkably, after a 68-point first half, neither team found the end zone in what wound up being a scoreless fourth quarter.
Ringgold (2-2) will have another tough task on its hands this Friday as they travel to Sonoraville.