Ringgold uses old-school football to win Region 6-AAA opener against LaFayette

Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / Ringgold football coach Austin Crisp and the Tigers used rushing success on offense and a strong defense to win 13-3 in their GHSA Region 6-AAA opener Friday night against visiting LaFayette.

RINGGOLD, Ga. — It wasn't scheduled to be a retro night at Ringgold High School, but Friday's game against LaFayette at Don Patterson Field was most definitely an homage to old-school football.

The host Tigers, coming off a surprisingly lopsided loss at Gilmer, opened play in GHSA Region 6-AAA with a 13-3 win over the Ramblers that featured physical defense and a strong Ringgold ground game in the final half.

Ringgold (3-1) held LaFayette (1-3) to 108 total yards and rallied from a 3-0 halftime deficit by rolling up 187 yards, most on the ground, after gaining only 67 in the first two quarters. Senior Alijah Bradberry, a key part of the defensive line, had all of his 79 rushing yards after halftime in place of lead back Haddon Fries, who was limited by injury.

"We don't like having to run him because he's such a good defensive end, but we just gave it to him and he produced," Ringgold coach Austin Crisp said of Bradberry. "The kids just played lights out and wouldn't let up."

(READ MORE: Final scores and photos from Friday night's Chattanooga-area prep football games)

LaFayette running back Khalas Finley had 76 of the team's yards and keyed an early drive that resulted in an Ethan Rainwater field goal and a 3-0 lead that held up until the Tigers scored all 13 of their points in the first four minutes of the third quarter.

After a failed onside kick was recovered at their own 45, the Tigers needed only four plays to score. Fries ripped off 21 yards in two plays, but he limped off after the second one. Bradberry then gained 15 yards before quarterback Garrett Edgar scored from 6 yards out to take a 7-3 lead.

A three-and-out series with a short punt set the Tigers up at the Ramblers' 41 moments later, leading to Kishaun Taylor's 35-yard touchdown on a screen pass (the PAT was blocked).

From there, the Ringgold defense dominated. Bryce Hart and Trey Akins (two sacks) led the Tigers up front, while defensive back Cole Runion had a game-high 14 tackles and added a late interception.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com.