RINGGOLD, Ga. — There was enough drama and heartbreak in last year's Region 5-AAA battle with Adairsville for the Riggold Tigers to make sure there was neither in 2013.
Slade Dale passed for three touchdowns and tailback D.L. Goins scored three as the host Tigers put up four consecutive scores to send the A-Tigers reeling, 38-20, Friday night at Don Patterson Stadium.
The multitalented Dale, who also rushed for 79 yards, hit Kile Sholl for two scores and Christian Plott for a third as Ringgold avenged last year's last-minute, 39-37 defeat in Adairsville. The victory puts Ringgold, which has avenged two 2012 losses in the last two weeks, in prime playoff position at 4-1 overall, 2-0 in 5-AAA.
"We won the game upfront," said Dale, who due to injuries had to play the entire game on defense as well. "This was not going to be the same as last year."
"We have something to prove," added the quarterback, who was 10-of-14 for the game. "We want to host a playoff game, win a playoff game, and we needed this one. The seniors on this team have something to prove. We have to keep working hard and not let up."
Doing their best to avoid the wild shootout of a year ago, the R-Tigers controlled the football for better than half of the first period. They used 13 plays to go 71 yards, the final yard covered by D.L. Goins. Chris Watts added the PAT, but his struggled continued later with a miss following Goins' second score.
Adairsville was heard from in the meanwhile. A short kickoff followed by a good return by Clay Duncan set the visitors up at midfield. From there, they needed 10 plays to score, with Tristin Smith getting the score from the 4.
The home Tigers had a well-designed answer, beginning with a 44-yard kickoff return by Sholl. They needed only six plays to cover the final 46 yards, but the usual hands-on Dale relied on his backfield mates all the way down the field.
Sholl gashed the Adairsville defense for gains of 12, 13 and 9 yards, and Goins picked up 9 to make it first-and-goal and then scored again from the 2 with 26 seconds left in the half.
Dale's fingerprints were all over Ringgold's third scoring drive late in the first half. Taking over deep in their own territory, the R-Tigers marched 81 yards on 11 plays. A 14-yard gain by Goins got the ball to midfield, from where Dale aired it out to Dallas McGee for 17 yards, Sholl for 13 and again for 15 yards and a score at the post with just 55 seconds to go. A Dale try for two points was snuffed, however.
Defensive lineman Christian Etheridge contributed three key plays in the third quarter, when Ringgold was finally able to take control. In addition to the first sack of the night, he pulled in a fumble recovery following his team's first score of the third period -- a 35-yarder to Sholl on third-and-long.
Following Etheridge's fumble recovery, it took only two plays for Ringgold to break it wide open on a 21-yard streak pattern to Plott. That made it 32-7 going into the fourth quarter, where Adairsville used an onside kick to help put up a pair of window-dressing touchdowns. But another attempt went out of bounds, setting up Goins' final score of the game.
Sholl was everywhere. He rushed for 86 yards, caught five passes for 91 yards and two scores and returned two kickoffs for another 72 yards. Goins gained 74 yards to go with his scores. Defensively, Dakota Baer had another big night with 12.5 tackles and seven assists.
Contact David Jenkins at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.