Ring­gold clob­bers Coahulla Creek

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By David Jenk­ins Cor­re­spon­dent

Op­por­tu­nity knocked twice for the Ring­gold Tigers dur­ing the 2018 foot­ball sea­son, and they were not about to let their sec­ond chance go to waste.

Break­ing their Se­nior Night con­test open early on Blake Gold­smith’s light­ning-bolt of an in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a touch­down, the Tigers clawed out­manned Coahulla Creek, 42-6, at Don Pat­ter­son Field on Fri­day.

Ring­gold (5-5) went into Mon­day of this week lead­ing the GHSA power rank­ings – and was the near-lock - in the race to se­cure the lone at-large bid in the Class AAA state play­offs. The Tigers (10.35 points) had more than a full­point lead on Beach (9.24), their next clos­est com­peti­tor.

The GHSA only gives three au­to­matic state play­off berths to re­gions with only four teams. In Class AAA, that re­gion is 1-AAA, mean­ing that should the Tigers earn the at-large bid, they would open the play­offs this Fri­day at Re­gion 4-AAA cham­pion Peach County (8-2), last year’s Class AAA state run­ner-up.

The of­fi­cial un­veil­ing of the at-large team and the brack­ets was sched­uled to take place on Mon­day af­ter­noon, which came af­ter this news­pa­per’s dead­line. It would be Ring­gold’s first play­off berth in three sea­sons.

One of the Tigers’ 16 de­part­ing se­niors, Cole Ki­bler, may have saved his best game un­til his last home game. The quar­ter­back hit on just 7-of-14 passes on the chilly night – with sev­eral drops – but con­nected on touch­down passes of 15 yards to An­dre Tarver and 20 yards to Dy­lan Wright. Wright, like Gold­smith, missed the Tigers’ Home­com­ing win a week ago due to con­cus­sion pro­to­col.

Ki­bler also scored a pair of touch­downs on two sneaks that caught the Colts’ de­fend­ers to­tally by sur­prise as Coahulla Creek’s de­fense loaded up the mid­dle to stuff a po­ten­tial run by Tarver. Tarver led the Tigers with 70 yards on the ground.

Ring­gold pa­tiently drove for a score on its open­ing drive af­ter Gold­smith re­turned a Colts’ punt al­most to mid­field. The drive took 10 plays, used up much of the first-quar­ter clock and ended with a Ki­bler keeper.

The sec­ond score, Gold­smith’s pick-six, came on the fi­nal play of the first pe­riod.

Both of Ki­bler’s touch­down passes came in the sec­ond quar­ter and he would add his sec­ond short TD plunge at the end of an­other 10-play drive to open the third pe­riod. The Tigers wrapped up their of­fen­sive night late in the third quar­ter on a 3-yard run by Kori Du­mas. Ring­gold’s run­ning game was a com­mit­tee project as seven play­ers gained a to­tal of 220 yards.

Mean­while, Ring­gold’s de­fense gath­ered four turnovers, led by Gold­smith’s out­stand­ing night that in­cluded two in­ter­cep­tions and a fum­ble re­cov­ery. Pete Brower grabbed the third in­ter­cep­tion.

Se­nior kicker Gar­rett Davis en­joyed a per­fect 6-for-6 night boot­ing PATS and hit five kick­offs for touch­backs.

Ring­gold quar­ter­back Cole Ki­bler turns up­field on a run dur­ing the Tigers’ 42-6 win over Coahulla Creek on Fri­day. Ring­gold en­tered this week wait­ing to see if they would earn the at-large bid for the Class AAA state play­offs. Should Ring­gold get the nod, they would play at Peach County on Fri­day.

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