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


Georgia Northwestern Cheer Cats Secure NCA Nationals Bid

April 2018 is still some eight months away, but the Georgia Northwestern Cheer Cats have already got plans for Spring Break. They'll be spending it in Daytona Beach, vying for another national championship. The Cheer Cats earned a bronze bid for the NCA/NDA National Championships after qualifying during a team camp on July 21. The 12-member team will compete in the All-Girl ... (click for more)

ABCA Recognizes Chattanooga State Baseball For Excellence

The Chattanooga State Tigers 2017 baseball program was recognized by the American Baseball Coaches Association as one of 200 colleges (at every level) and high school programs earning Team Academic Excellence Awards. The awards recognize teams coached by ABCA members that posted a GPA over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the 2016-2017 academic year. ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz ... (click for more)

Cleveland City Council Votes 4-2 To Pass A 46-Cent Property Tax Increase

The Cleveland City Council, with scant public notice, voted 4-2 on first reading on Monday afternoon to approve one of the largest property tax increases in the city's history. Richard Banks, Bill Estes, Tom Cassada and Vice Mayor Avery Johnson voted for a 46-cent property tax boost. Opposed were Charlie McKenzie and David May. Dale Hughes and Mayor Tom Rowland were absent ... (click for more)

Police Find Large Cache Of Meth, $23,134 Cash On Hensley At Motel Near Hamilton Place; Police Say He Was Supplier To Rossville Man Who Died In June 29 Overdose

Chattanooga Police said they found Michael Wade Hensley with a large cache of meth, a loaded handgun and $23,134 cash after being summoned to a motel near Hamilton Place Mall last Wednesday. Police said they believe that Hensley, 41, was the supplier for a 36-year-old Rossville man who died of an overdose on June 29. Hensley is now facing federal charges of possession of meth ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chik-fil-A Commits To East Ridge And Camp Jordan Development

In less than three weeks after a plan that could enhance Camp Jordan in East Ridge was announced, it has been learned that a Chik-fil-A restaurant will break ground at Jordan Crossing this fall. While developers John Healy, Matt Woods and Ethan Woods cannot make a public comment, the news is every bit as profound as James Earl Jones saying, “If you build it, they will come,” in ... (click for more)