Town of Ringgold Gets a Kick Out of Football

Tigers Host Central Carrollton Friday in State Quarters

Thursday, November 28, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

It’s been 22 years since Ringgold assistant head football coach Coby Holtcamp has had football practice as part of his Thanksgiving Day agenda.

Exactly 22 years to the day.

Today, the 40-year-old Holtcamp along with the other Ringgold Tiger coaches and players put the final touches on a game plan which hopefully will produce a Friday Night Lights home win against Central Carrollton in a Georgia AAA quarterfinal playoff game.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Turn back the calendar to Thursday Nov., 28, 1991 and a 17-year-old Holtcamp – a senior quarterback for the Whitwell Tigers - delayed turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie a few hours for a holiday morning playoff practice.

He probably had an extra slice or two of celebration pie the next night as he scored two touchdowns in a 28-7 Whitwell upset on the road of big, bad defending Class A state champ Trousdale County on Nov. 29.

Holtcamp, along with head coach Robert Akin who 10 years ago had that special T-Day practice on the way to a 1993 Boyd Buchanan state championship run, hope that their experience of winning big playoff games can be passed along to their players.

One Tiger who shines brighter as the stakes get higher is senior quarterback Slade Dale

While his athletic future is baseball – heading to the U. of Georgia next fall – he had performed some miracles on the gridiron this fall.

A prep version of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, Dale has confused and frustrated opposing defenses all season with his arm and legs, having led the Blue and White Tigers to the school’s first two playoff wins earlier this month.

“Slade has great football intelligence that you cannot coach,” said Holtcamp. “He has a great mind for the game.”

While Ringgold is known for its strong baseball program, Dale and company have given the Ringgold faithful a reason to make Friday night football a high priority.

But while Dale steals the headlines, a soft spoken 5-4, 15-year-old sophomore is the important exclamation point at the end of Dale’s dazzling, crowd-cheering plays.

Abel Vargas has been playing organized soccer since the age of four acquiring a few championship trophies along the way, never kicked an extra point until midway through this season and has been a key factor in the team’s success.

“He’s a godsend for our program,” said Holtcamp. “He’s Mr. Automatic having missed only one extra point attempt in seven games since taking over the extra point and field goal duties in the 30-0 win at Sonoraville, Oct. 4.

“At first, my parents were against me playing football thinking I would be chased by 200 pound linemen (Vargas weighs 130), but after I explained my role on the team they became supportive of my new sport,” said Vargas who makes As and Bs, and speaks fluent Spanish and is now studying German.

A win tomorrow night and a spot in the state semis will most likely depend on the exploits of Ringgold’s “Johnny Football” and his golden arm, but a one or two point Tiger victory could bring warranted attention for Mr. Automatic, better known as Abel “much more than able” Vargas.

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Atlanta Braves Place Four Players On MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects List

ATLANTA -- After spending the past few months making a concerted effort to strengthen their future, the Braves can take pride in the fact that their recently maligned Minor League system now is now regarded as one of baseball's best. Jose Peraza, Michael Foltynewicz, Christian Bethancourt and Lucas Sims stand as the four Braves included in MLB.com's latest Top 100 Prospects ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Wins 63-62 Over Signal Mountain

Notre Dame won a key District 7A/AA basketball match up Friday night, edging Sequatchie County 63-62.   Tyler Byrd led all scorers with 27.  Signal Mountain's Jack Teeter had 23.  Scores by Quarter Notre Dame 15 21 6 21 - 63 Sequatchie 16 9 11 26 - 62 Notre Dame (63) Tyler Byrd 27, AJ Flemister 14, Kealey Green 17, Westhoff 2, McGowan 3, ... (click for more)

Chance Loftis Set To Be Freed From Jail After Jury Finds Him Guilty Of Only Misdemeanor Charge

Chance Loftis is set to be freed from jail on Monday after a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon found him guilty of only a minor charge. Instead of murder in the death of 46-year-old Donald Rogers, the jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole found him guilty of the lesser charge of reckless endangerment. He was found not guilty of aggravated animal cruelty in the beating ... (click for more)

1 Dies In House Fire In Rhea County

Rhea County Fire Department officials said one person died in an early-morning house fire on Saturday. The call came at about 6:30 a.m. The brick residence is on Fisher Road. S tate arson investigators were on their way. (click for more)

It's Time To Insure Tennessee - And Response

Tennessee has a problem.  What is the value of saving the lives of 1,000 Tennesseans each year? That is exactly what can be expected if 176,000 Tennesseans gain health insurance through Insure Tennessee. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that expansion of Medicaid was associated with a 6% reduction in yearly mortality for people in the 34-65 age group. Statistically, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What About The Ashes?

I attended my fifth funeral in the month of January the other day and, while I wish a lot of my friends would hang around a little longer, I was amused by the conversation in the pew before the service began. The question was “ … then what do you do with the ashes?” More and more people are being cremated and asking their loved ones to scatter their ashes -- more properly called ... (click for more)