CALHOUN, Ga. — Chad Fisher was afraid to face his wife following Friday night's game. The Gordon Central High School coach, though, can go home safely after the Warriors held on for a 27-26 Region 5-AAA win over Ringgold.
The Warriors held a 27-7 lead late in the third quarter before the Tigers, behind the gritty play of junior quarterback Slade Dale and speedy sophomore Kile Sholl, scored 19 unanswered points to pull within one with 5:31 to play. However, Caleb Peters' extra point was wide right. Ringgold, though, would get two more shots deep into Gordon Central territory, only to come up short twice.
The final Ringgold possession, which was handed to the Tigers when a fourth-and-inches run was stopped at the Gordon Central 40, ended with 40 seconds left when Gordon Central's Bryan Brookshire intercepted a Dale pass at the 15.
"I did not do a good job of coaching in the second half," said Fisher, second-guessing himself for not punting the ball late and an earlier decision to go for it at the Ringgold 12 when a field goal would have put the game away. "I have to go face my wife now, and she's not going to be happy. We overcame some bad decisions, but a win is a win and we're 4-0, so we can smile about that."
The Warriors' spread offense moved the ball at will in the first half, with quarterback M.J. Reynolds working screens and slants to Tyshaun Clemmons and Chandler Curtis for big gains. Reynolds had 240 yards passing with two touchdowns to Curtis (40 and 53) and one to Clemmons (13 yards).
"Everything was working in the first half, and it was all about the blocking from my line," Reynolds said. "They took away some of the things we were doing in the second half, and we didn't do a good job of finishing. We'll learn from that."
The Ringgold rally began with an 85-yard drive in the third quarter and produced the first big play of the half, a 54-yard Dale-to-Sholl touchdown. Early in the fourth, after Fisher elected to go for it at the 12, Dale and Sholl hooked up again, this time for 87 yards, with Sholl outracing the Gordon Central defense the final 75 yards.
Dale hooked up with Christian Plott for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 5:31 to play to get within one, but after the PAT was missed, Ringgold (2-2) got the ball right back when Dakota Baer recovered a fumble at the Gordon Central 31. That drive stalled after getting as far as the 12 after a chop block was called on the Tigers, who had their final shot end moments later with the Brookshire interception.
Curtis had all 96 of his yards in the first half on three receptions, while Clemmons added 95 on six catches. Sholl caught five balls for 169 yards to lead the Ringgold offense.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...