On Friday, Ringgold got revenge with a 28-14 come-from-behind victory over LFO on the Warriors’ home field.
“This is Ringgold’s house now,” Tigers senior Aaron Santana shouted after the game. “There needs to be a Tiger head in the middle of their field after tonight. We just stomped the Warriors ... we stomped them good.”
Ringgold (6-1 this fall) scored four touchdowns, including a two-point conversion all in the second half. LFO (4-2) had out-gained the Tigers 194 yards to 14 in the first half.
“This is just unbelievable,” first-year Ringgold head coach Sean Gray said. “These kids just don’t quit for anything.”
Ringgold entered the locker room down 14-0 at intermission after two touchdowns by the Warriors’ Jamal Stinson. The senior capped off a 74-yard drive in 11 plays with a 14-yard scamper at the 7:40 mark in the first quarter.
Warriors quarterback Josh Woodard was on target on the drive with three completions for a total of 50 yards.
The second six points came on a 10-yard Stinson run that capped off a six-play, 37-yard drive at the 2:10 mark in the second quarter.
Adam Blevins hit both extra points to give LFO a 14-0 advantage with two quarters of play remaining.
Ringgold didn’t record a first down until the 6:00 mark of the second quarter on a pass interference penalty.
LFO missed another chance to score just before the half on a 45-yard field goal attempt by Blevins that fell just short of the goal post.
“I told them at the half they had 24 minutes to beat their arch enemy,” Gray said. “And they sucked it up and did it.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of them.”
Gray said Ringgold had plenty of motivation going into the second half. With both teams having one Region 7-AAAA loss each neither could afford to lose and be assured of making the state playoffs.
Coach Gray said his senior offensive linemen told him at the half that the Tigers could run right at the Warriors defense.
“I don’t know if I can put into words how good this feels,” Tigers running back David Dowden said. “We needed a win and we got it.”
Dowden put Ringgold on the board first with 6:34 left in the third quarter. The slashing runner completed the 80-yard, 12-play drive by leaping over the Warriors’ defensive front from the 1. The drive was highlighted by a 25-yard Chris Young pass to Santana.
Ray Smith missed the extra point and LFO led 14-6.
“It’s party time in Ringgold,” Young said. “We’re headed to the playoffs.”
It was “party time” for the blue-and-white once again with 0:51 remaining in the third quarter. Young scored on a quarterback sneak from the LFO 2. On the two-point attempt, Young hit Ryan Dube on the fingertips in the right corner of the endzone to tie the game at 14.
“I don’t know what to say,” LFO’s Eric Dunn said. “Our defense just fell apart in the second half.”
Ringgold scored again on the following possession after Dustin Worley broke up a Woodard pass on a third-and-23 on the LFO 48.
Andy Palmer then returned the LFO punt 57-yards to the Warriors 34 with less than 10 minutes to play in the game.
Young scored four plays later on an 8-yard option keep.
Smith added the extra point to give Ringgold a 21-14 advantage with 7:40 remaining.
The Tigers defense, led by John Honeycutt, Andrew Crawford, Kevin LeCroy, Clark Bethune and Matt Brady, held the
Warriors again on a fourth-and-long to setup a first-and-10 on the LFO 39.
Mark Tinsley went the distance on the following play to score the final touchdown with 5:46 remaining. Smith added the extra point for a 28-14 Ringgold win.
Dowden finished the night with 139 yards rushing.
Young added 54 yards rushing to Ringgold’s 280 total yards. He also passed for 73 yards.
LFO combined for 221 total offense.
Woodard was 10-of-17 with 131 yards passing