Ringgold clobbers Coahulla Creek
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.