The 9th annual Kia of Chattanooga Tennessee-Georgia All-star Football Classic will make history on Saturday June 9 at 7:30 by becoming the first game to be played on the new Don Patterson Field in Ringgold, Ga.
On April 27, 2011, Ringgold High School was in the path of the deadly tornado that ripped through Catoosa, Hamilton and Bradley counties.
Ringgold High and Ringgold Middle schools were destroyed along with the athletic facilities there.
The debris of twisted metal, broken glass and splintered wood that was driven into the playing surface during the tornado forced county school officials to condemn the field and have artificial turf put in.
The graduated Ringgold seniors, who had to play their senior home games in Chattanooga at Finley Stadium, will now have an opportunity to play one last game at home.
Former Tigers who were on the roster on Sunday night when Ringgold head coach Robert Akins started practice were Suan Anderson (RB), Chase Orr (OL/DL), Kievan Gainer (WR), Brandon Baker (LB), Derrik Baker (FB/LB), Jamie Collins (OL), Dezmond Harris (CB) and Mark Fairbanks (ATH).
"Practice went well," Akins said. "The kids are really excited. The coaches worked really hard to get the players acclimated to one another. Its so hard sometimes when you have so many different kids playing together, but I can tell they're all going to be very unselfish."
Heritage Generals on the roster are Justin Adekoya (DT), Jake Sampson (QB), Luke Sims (OL), Ethan Thompson (RB), Tay-Tay Harrison (DL), Michael Pilcher (OLB), Brandon Giaccone (CB/RB) and Dustin Lewis K/P).
Filling out the Catoosa County players on the Team Georgia roster are Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe standouts Bubba Cruz (RB), Gavin Wiley (OL), Kelli Payne (OL/DT), Levi Scudgins (DE), Daniel Deocampo (ATH) and Levi Scudgins (LB).
Akins said having this many Catoosa County players, "Is just a tribute to the level of competition the three schools play.
"The talent has risen and I'm proud to be from Catoosa County," he said.
Local sports personality Stump Martin said since the All-Star Classic originated in 2004 at Ridgeland High School that there have never been that many kids from Catoosa County on the Georgia roster in any given year.
Akins has a 1-1 record as the head coach of the All-stars as Team Tennessee head coach and an 0-1 record as the coach of Team Georgia. He was hesitant to make a prediction on the outcome of the 9th annual encounter that has grown into a rivalry with a playoff atmosphere.
"I don't make those kind of predictions, but I know our team is going to work hard. They're not all there yet, but the ones who showed up Sunday night were excited. They’ll be ready to play by Saturday.