North Murray breaks Ringgold hearts in overtime
There’s a first time for everything – even a North Murray win over the Ringgold Tigers.
Shaking off the albatross of an 0-8 alltime record against the Tigers, head coach Preston Poag did not mess around in overtime. Going for two rather than the typing PAT in overtime, the Mountaineers instead put the ball in the hands of speedy freshman tailback D’Ante Tidwell, who successfully challenged the middle of the Tigers’ line for a game-winning two-point conversion in their 21-20 overtime victory.
The win allowed the Mountaineers to keep pace with LFO for first place in the Region 6-AAA North standings. The Warriors, who had this past Friday night off, will battle Murray County this week before their clash with North Murray on Oct. 27.
With North Murray quarterback Preston Poag, Jr., ineffective before exiting with an apparent concussion, the Mountaineers turned to sophomore Logan Viars, who nimbly directed a pair of scoring drives – both ending in Tidwell touchdowns.
The freshman tailback carried the football 27 times for 183 yards with touchdown runs of 6 and 70 yards in regulation, adding a 9-yard scoring run in overtime. North Murray had been averaging less than 100 rushing yards per game as a team, but Poag added another 57 yards on the ground before leaving the game at the end of the third quarter.
Poag, who entered the game averaging 236 yards per game through the air, could only crack the Ringgold defense for 64 yards on Friday.
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snuffed out a double reverse halfback pass by Grant with 16 seconds to go, ending the drive at the Ridgeland 7-yard line.
Two sacks, one by Jordan Blackwell and one by Chris Bivins, put a damper on Heritage’s first drive of the second half and the Panthers’ offense would march 83 yards in 14 plays, taking 5:34 off the clock. Shelton was the workhorse, carrying the ball nine times for 47 yards on the march. He got the call on the last five plays, bulling his way to paydirt from a yard out and the fourth of five Conner Middleton extra points increased the lead to 28-0 with 3:54 left in the period.
Heritage would finally get on the board with 8:30 left in the game as a pass interference call and a personal foul on Ridgeland jump-started the drive before three
straight completions by Bryan ended with a 16-yard TD pass to Grant on a fade route in the front corner of the endzone.
An onside kick attempt was scooped up by the Panthers, who put the game away with a seven-play, 51-yard drive. Jordan Hughley had two carries for 30 yards, while Shelton took care of the rest before another 1-yard dive made it 35-7 with 5:08 to go.
The Generals would get on the board on their final possession as they went 70 yards in eight plays, 35 yards of which came on three Ridgeland penalties, before Bryan connected with Grant on a 28-yard TD pass with seven ticks left on the clock. Ryan Craft ended the scoring with his second PAT of the night.
Ridgeland limited Heritage to 164 total yards, but tempted fate with 15 penalties for 147 yards, including 97 penalty yards in the second half alone.
“Our defense and our defensive line have
played outstanding all year,” Tankersley added. “I hate that we gave up a couple of late scores because we played so well all night, but we had a couple of dumb penalties near the end.”
Bryan was 11-of21 through the air for 117 yards, but three sacks, including one in the fourth quarter by Ridgeland defensive end Eli Foshay, resulted in Bryan being held to negative-10 yards on the ground. Jeffery Curtis finished with nine carries for 38 of Heritage’s 47 yards rushing, while Grant had four catches for 77 yards.
Ridgeland quarterback Tanner Hill threw just seven passes, completing three of them for 50 yards.
The Panthers will be back at Bowers and Painter Field, looking to avenge last year’s 35-34 loss to Pickens, while the Generals will look to regroup in south Walker County as they face LaFayette.
Joey Collins crosses the goal line for an overtime touchdown against North Murray. (Photo by Courtney Couey/Ringgold Tiger Shots)