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


Cleveland, Bradley Central No. 1 And No. 2 In State Wrestling Poll

Now in its 25th year, The Poll is primarily a measure of  dual meet strength  with some consideration to individual tournament strength.   Votes are cast by a state-wide panel of high school wrestling coaches and are based on a maximum Power Ranking of 100%.   STATE POLL:   RANK ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Central Boys Win Over Hixson

Chattanooga Police To Add 14 Officers After Violent Weekend; New System To Allow Local Testing Of Shell Casings

In the wake of a weekend in which five people were shot with two dying, the Chattanooga Police Department is adding 14 more officers, Mayor Andy Berke and Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday. The department is also utilizing a new system that will allow local testing of shell casings and avoid a long wait time after sending them off to Nashville. Chief Fletcher also said there ... (click for more)

Cleveland Mother And Father Indicted After 2-Month Old Tests Positive For Meth; Has Multiple Injuries

The father and mother of a two-month-old in Cleveland have been indicted for child abuse after the baby tested positive for meth and had multiple injuries. Cleveland Police said on Jan. 4 the Department of Children Services and the Cleveland Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit began a joint investigation on an aggravated child neglect/abuse case.  DCS and ... (click for more)

Proud Of Chattanooga And The Women's March - And Response (2)

I was very happy to participate in the Women’s March on Chattanooga yesterday afternoon. The diversity and the sheer numbers of women, men and children were incredible. One estimate was at least 3,000. Standing together with all of these like-minded souls was overwhelming and humbling.  I have rarely been so happy and so proud of my town.  One question is, why is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Puzzling Women

After Rhonda Thurman left the “Enlightment” meeting of the Hamilton Country School Board Saturday afternoon, she must have been catching up on the news when she posted this message on her Facebook page: “I am really trying to understand. I am a woman and I cannot think of one "RIGHT" I do not have. Can someone enlighten me?” Not one person enlightened Rhonda because nobody could ... (click for more)