Ring­gold rolls, eyes at-large play­off spot

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By David Jenk­ins

Find­ing out that their play­off hopes were not com­pletely dashed last week, the Ring­gold Tigers came out Fri­day like a team with some­thing to play for.

Putting to­gether their most com­plete per­for­mance since their Week 2 shutout of Her­itage, the Tigers dom­i­nated their neigh­bors from Adairsville from start to fin­ish in a 31-10 Home­com­ing win at Don Pat­ter­son Field.

Led by An­dre Tarver’s best out­ing since his con­ver­sion to run­ning back, the host Tigers (4-5 over­all, 3-4 in Re­gion 6-AAA) re­mained atop a GHSA/MAXPreps power rank­ing list of the best Class AAA teams not al­ready as­sured of a play­off spot.

The spot in ques­tion is one that would be re­served for the fourth-place team in Re­gion 1-AAA, but that four-team re­gion has only three teams with a pass­able record. The GHSA ruled that fourteam re­gions would have just three au­to­matic state berths and that the afore­men­tioned power rank­ing sys­tem would be used to de­ter­mine the one spot in the Class AAA play­offs re­served for an “at-large” team.

But with the at-large spot opened to essen­tially the en­tire state, the Tigers can only aim to keep win­ning their reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale this Fri­day against vis­it­ing Coahulla Creek and wait and see what the power rank­ings re­veal.

With a new set of goals be­fore them, head coach Robert Akins’ Tigers re­sponded with a newly-in­vig­o­rated run­ning game. Both Tarver and Dal­ton Green scored a pair of touch­downs with Tarver be­com­ing the first Ring­gold back to en­joy a 100-yard rush­ing game this sea­son. But it was much more than that as Tarver gained 185 yards on 20 car­ries.

“The best game our of­fen­sive line has had, no ques­tion,” Akins said later, not­ing Ring­gold’s 244 yards on the ground. “I want all five of those guys to get credit.”

The best part of the equa­tion, that Akins didn’t men­tion, is that all-star cen­ter Reid Wil­liams, along with Scott Clin­ton, Lo­gan Pav­lik, James Booth and 6-foot-8, 310-pound Will House are re­turn­ing next sea­son.

The night started with a stum­ble, how­ever.

Ring­gold’s open­ing drive reached the Adairsville 3-yard line be­fore a penalty forced them to at­tempt a short field goal, which was missed.

How­ever, the Ring­gold de­fense was equal to the task. Both Michael Toney and Malachi Parker made stops for losses and Blue-and-white would quickly get the ball back in Adairsville ter­ri­tory. This time, they would not be de­nied as Green skirted the end for a 20-yard score on the first play of the sec­ond half.

Tal­ented se­nior quar­ter­back Ma­son Boswell, play­ing what would wind up be­ing his fi­nal game for Adairsville, drove his team back, but Adairsville also missed a field goal try and the home team took ad­van­tage. Cole Ki­bler con­nected on his only touch­down pass of the day, an 11-yarder to Jared Dunn, which would al­low Ki­bler to move into 33rd place on Ge­or­gia’s all-time list.

With two more this sea­son, Ki­bler would move into the top 30 in pass­ing touch­downs.

But this night, Ring­gold was all about grind­ing out the yardage.

Af­ter a strong Boswell-led drive led Adairsville to a score and a 12-10 deficit on the first drive of the sec­ond half, the visi­tors tried an on­side kick that failed to go 10 yards. Ring­gold took over and an­swered in less than two min­utes. It took them only three plays to go 63 yards – thanks in part to a pass in­ter­fer­ence penalty – with Tarver go­ing the fi­nal 36 yards in a burst.

Af­ter be­ing pinned back at its own 10 by a good punt, Ring­gold drove 90 yards for a vi­tal in­sur­ance touch­down. Again it was Tarver, who broke loose for a well-con­voyed 40-yard run.

Green would add the Tigers’ fi­nal touch­down in the fourth quar­ter, go­ing in un­touched from 16 yards out. Green, who had only one carry and no yards rush­ing last week, gained 47 yards on just five car­ries.

Ki­bler threw for only 140 yards, hit­ting 9-of-15 passes, while Dunn was his top tar­get.

Fa­tima Musa, a mem­ber of the Ring­gold Tiger Band, was named Home­com­ing Queen for 2018 at half­time.

Gar­ri­son Rhudy sacks Adairsville quar­ter­back Ma­sonBoswell dur­ing the Tigers’ 31-10 home vic­tory at Don Pat­ter­sonField onFri­day.

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