Rous­ing Ring­gold rally stuns Adairsville

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By David Jenk­ins

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.

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