RINGGOLD, Ga. — Ringgold survived its first round of elimination.
Even though the Tigers are still in the regular season, their next loss means they would not be eligible to have a postseason.
Friday's 35-15 win over North Murray came against a familiar friend in Mountaineers coach David Gann, who spent five years as offensive coordinator at Ringgold. The crowd greeted him with cheers.
"This keeps us alive," Ringgold coach Robert Akins said. "We were struggling to make the playoffs. Tonight was a step in the right direction."
Ringgold quarterback Slade Dale made a lot of the right moves against the Mountaineers (4-3, 1-3), who were essentially eliminated from the playoffs.
Dale rushed for 291 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. The junior also completed 4 of 10 passes with a touchdown and an interception.
"We executed pretty well and I have to give it all to the line," said Dale, who eluded two defenders, scampered up the right sideline before shaking one final would-be tackler inside the 5-yard line for a 36-yard touchdown with three minutes to go in the first half.
The Mountaineers were on their way to a touchdown when Christian Buckle fumbled at the 3-yard line. They did get points as a result of the drive -- two points. Officials called Ringgold (4-3, 2-2) for holding in the end zone.
Dale helped the Tigers score again when he lofted a 16-yard pass to tight end Dallas McGee, who hauled in the over-the-shoulder pass for a 14-2 lead.
The Mountaineers pulled within five points less than two minutes into the second half. Jacob Mays worked his way through the Ringgold defense for a 39-yard touchdown.
Ringgold responded by running more option in the second half, resulting in 16 second-half carries for Dale because North Murray took away the fullback option.
Brady Swilling, the North Murray quarterback, dragged tacklers for the final 10 yards of a 24-yard touchdown run. A failed two-point conversion left the Mountaineers down 20-15 but with time running out. Swilling finished with 132 yards on 15 carries and completed 9 of 15 passes for 123 yards.
Dalton transfer D.L. Goins -- who Akins said became eligible Friday -- and Dale scored fourth-quarter touchdowns, advancing Ringgold to another playoff eliminate game next Friday.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...
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