Facing the prospect of a second straight defeat at the hands of upstart Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Ringgold rallied in the second half Friday night — but the Tigers weren't the only team to rise up off the deck Friday night at Tommy Cash Stadium.
A potentially back-breaking turnover put the host Warriors' backs against the wall in the third quarter of the Region 6-AAA matchup, but instead of folding, the Warriors rallied to score the game's final two touchdowns in a 35-25 victory — their third straight since a season-opening loss and their second in region play.
The clinching touchdown was a crowd-pleaser, an end-around to Giovanni Boroso with just 1:48 to play after the Tigers' attempt at a tying field goal clanged off the right upright.
If the win was sweeter than most for Warriors coach Bo Campbell, he did not let on.
"I was really proud of the whole team," Campbell said. "When it mattered most, we played really good defense. And when it mattered most, the offense made some really big plays. Our special teams had a good night also."
LFO quarterback Malachi Powell completed only three passes to his own team, but all three went for touchdowns. The Tigers (1-3, 0-2) caught one as well, with Brayden Broome turning it into an 80-yard touchdown return that seemed for a time to be the turning point in the game.
The Tigers, whose offense never got untracked last week against North Murray, wanted first-strike capability — and they got their wish as Andre Tarver pulled in a Cole Kibler pass from 16 yards out with less than four minutes gone in the game.
Not much else went right for the Tigers in the first half.
The Warriors answered Ringgold's score with a march of their own, with Malachi Powell beginning his big night with a 19-yard touchdown to Ruddy Ware less than two minutes later. After a short Ringgold punt, Powell found Gabe Smith all alone in the middle of the field, and Smith pulled in the 40-yard scoring strike with 3:34 left the first period.
Each team gave the other golden opportunities with fumbles lost, three total, but neither team capitalized.
The Tigers ground out a 12-play scoring drive in the second quarter, with Tarver powering over on a run from 5 yards out. A missed PAT left the Warriors ahead 14-13, a lead that grew on a sensational fourth-down catch by Jacob King with just 34 seconds left in the half.
The third quarter belonged to the Tigers as well, but their lead was made precarious by the collapse of their kicking game. They missed a field goal and a PAT, and the Warriors stuffed a pair of 2-point conversion plays.
The final lead change took place in remarkable fashion as James Beddington rumbled for a 30-yard touchdown on his first carry of the night spelling a weary Nathan Williams.
Williams did not find the end zone Friday, but he totaled 162 yards on 23 carries.
Contact David Jenkins at email@example.com.