Ringgold held on to defeat Lafayette in a region contest, with a nerve-wracking finish, 24-17.
The Tigers looked to extend their undefeated streak against their local foes, the Ramblers, and to remain in the driver seat of their region.
Going into the game, Ringgold was riding off the high of last week’s win over Adairsville, who was undefeated prior to their matchup. Lafayette was coming off two full weeks of preparation for the game.
Both teams had impressive support backing as Don Patterson Field was lined with fans of both teams.
Lafayette would receive the opening kickoff but failed to take advantage as they went on to punt. Ringgold, as they have done multiple times throughout the season, would march down the field.
The opening score came from the throw by Mason Parker to a diving Malachi Hill in the back of the endzone. Landon Eaker would cash in the point-after-attempt and Ringgold found themselves with an early lead in the first quarter.
Jaylon Ramsey would knot the game up after dominating throughout Lafayette’s second drive. Ramsey would burst over the goal line off a sweep run, and Jacob Brown would answer Eaker’s kick, knotting things up, 7-7.
The Tigers would find themselves behind for the first time at home in the second quarter. After a turnover on downs, Lafayette’s Brown would send a knuckleball over the uprights. Lafayette possessed the lead, 10-7, with 7:27 left in the second quarter.
Ringgold would answer quickly when running back and wide receiver Peyton Williams rushes for six yards, scoring a touchdown, and reclaiming the lead, 14-10.
The Ramblers fumbled the ball on their next possession, providing the Tigers with excellent field position with less than three minutes remaining in the half. Lafayette would hold them to a field goal attempt.
The kick seemed to be a routine for Eaker, but a bobbled hold off the snap lead to a massive loss. Lafayette kept finding ways to hold off Ringgold.
At the half, the Ringgold found themselves in unfamiliar territory with Lafayette still within striking distance. Halftime adjustments would make for an entertaining second half.
The play calling by both teams was like two heavyweight boxers trying to end each other. A grind-it-out, physical, and a hard-hitting third and fourth quarter had fans on edge.
The third quarter was a slobber knocker. Both teams would share the ball, giving it back to each other after turnovers and failed fourth-down attempts. The crashing of helmets and shoulder pads made some of the runners begin to run horizontally rather than vertically.
Senior defensive back, Jevon Coney, for Ringgold would make a pivotal play in the fourth quarter. As Lafayette sought an attack through the passing game, Coney positioned himself in between the ball and the wide reciever, intercepting the pass, and setting up a short field for the offense.
Mason Parker would flick a six-yard dime to Malachi Hill, yet again, in what appeared to be the backbreaker Ramblers. Ringgold was up 24-10 with 3:37 remaining in the game. Some fans began to file out of the bleachers. Little did they know that the game was about to reach a boiling point.
Lafayette’s quarterback Zach Barrett began dealing out passes on out-routes, quickly picking up 15-yards, 20-yards, and more. As they worked against the clock, Barrett connected with wide receiver Jacob Zwiger. A catch Zwiger would make mid-jump, nearly out-of-bounds, but found a way to collapse, take the hit, and score.
With 58 ticks remaining on the clock the Ramblers set up for an onside kick.
The ball launched off the ground, the nose kicking itself up off the turf, and suddenly lifted into the air. The unexpected movement took Ringgold’s players by surpise. Three Lafayette players would pounce on the ball after it passed the 50-yard line.
The Ramblers had a chance to even the game on their final drive. They had two timeouts remaining and half the field to go.
Barrett would find another out-route for a first down. He would then spike the ball to stop the clock.
On second down, with less that 50 seconds remaining, the Tigers defense folded the Ramblers offsenive line causing a sack. Lafayette would be forced to take one of their two timeouts.
Barrett would trot back onto the field. 45 yards to paydirt.
The Ramblers snapped the ball, the defensive line gets by, and Barrett checks it down to running back Dawson Pendergrass. He picked up a small gain, but stayed inbounds, allowing the clock to continue to tick towards zero.
Most every one was expecting a heave to the first down marker, or to the endzone. What happened was just the opposite. Miscommunication lead to Lafayette spiking the ball on fourth down, turning it over to Ringgold. Ringgold would take a knee to secure the gutwrenching win.
Following the game, Coney, with a Ringgold turnover chain around his neck, stood in the endzone with his family.
“It felt great to get us to 7-0,” Coney said about the game. “We didn’t do our best, but we still won. A win is a win”
The bellcow back in the second half, Kori Dumas,
“It feels good to be able to help the team get this win tonight. Especially with the injuries we had along the offensive line,” said Dumas. “To get the win and being 7-0 means a lot to us and the city of Ringgold.”
Ringgold (7-0) will recive the opportuiny to rest with next week being a bye week. Lafayette (3-3) will host Coahulla Creek (4-3) next week, October 15.
LAFAYETTE 7 3 0 7 – 17
RINGGOLD 7 7 3 7 – 24
RG – Mason Parker 16 pass to Malachi Hill (Landon Eaker kick) (8:54, 1st)
LA – Jaylon Ramsey 15 run (Jacob Brown kick) (4:31, 1st)
LA – Jacob Brown 33 yard field goal (7:27, 2nd)
RG – Peyton Williams 1 run (Landon Eaker kick) (6:09, 2nd)
RG – Landon Eaker 26 yard field goal (9:01, 4th)
RG – Mason Parker 6 pass to Malachi Hill (Landon Eaker kick) (3:37, 4th)
LA – Zach Barrett 9 pass to Jacob Zwiger (Jacob Brown kick) (0:58, 4th)
LA STATS RG
17 1st Downs 21
141 Rush 143
112 Pass 188
253 Total 331
60 Penalties 75
3 Turnovers 1
Notable Individual Stats
Rushing: Mason Parker 11-55 (RG) Kori Dumas 16-70 (RG); Jaylon Ramsey 21-109-1 (LA).
Passing: Mason Parker 13-22, 2 touchdowns, 188 yards (RG); Zach Barrett 13-25, 1 interception, 1 touchdown, 112 yards (LA).
Receiving: Malachi Hill 2-25, 1 touchdown (RG), Peyton Williams 3-41, 1 touchdown (RG); Jacob Zwiger 5-23, 1 touchdown (LA), Jaylon Ramsey 4-53(LA).
Records: Lafayette (3-3, 2-2 AAA); Ringgold (7-0, 5-0 AAA).