CHATSWORTH, Ga. — It was the kind of football game the Ringgold Tigers found a way to lose during a dreadful 0-10 season in 2019.
Instead, the visiting Tigers rallied from an early deficit Friday night, made two game-changing plays on defense and capitalized on scoring opportunities to pull out a 34-13 win over Murray County to improve to 3-2 overall and, more importantly, 2-1 in Region 6-AAA.
"It was a great win for us," Ringgold coach Robert Akins said. "We just have a bunch of kids that don't give up! We have a different mentality this year."
Ringgold trailed 7-0 and led 13-7 at halftime on a rain-soaked field, forcing two fumbles and scoring touchdowns on both of them. The Tigers, though, found themselves tied at 13 after Brannon Nucholls' second receiving touchdown of the night — already his eighth of the season — to start the second half for Murray County (1-4, 0-3).
Ringgold responded with a long drive of its own, with Peyton Williams scoring on a 22-yard run. The game turned for good after Nucholls hauled in a Kaleb Jones pass and appeared headed for the end zone, but Ringgold's Kyle White got just enough of him to force the play out of bounds at the Ringgold 20.
Two plays later, the Indians turned the ball over on a fumble. Ringgold was soon forced to punt, but the Tigers held the Indians and took over at their own 5 early in the final quarter. Twelve plays later, they scored on Kori Dumas' fourth touchdown of the game (and his area-leading 15th of the season) to seal the win.
"We have a tough schedule from here on out," Akins said, "and Adairsville is the one we are looking to now. They are a powerhouse this year after beating LaFayette tonight."
Dumas had 131 yards on 17 carries, with Williams adding 73 yards on 12 carries for Ringgold, which outgained Murray 363 yards to 261.
* Adairsville 43, LaFayette 14: The Ramblers (2-3, 2-1 Region 6-AAA) were tied at 14 halftime on the strength of a pair of Jamario Clements touchdown runs, but the Tigers (3-1, 2-0), on the strength of three Conner Crunkleton touchdown passes, scored the game's final 29 points.
* Gordon Lee 48, Southeast Whitfield 0: The Trojans improved to 5-0 with 418 rushing yards against the Class AAAA Raiders (1-4). Cade Peterson had 170 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries, with Bo Rhudy adding 126 and three touchdowns on 10 attempts. Gordon Lee, which opens Region 6-A public play at Bowdon next week, led 41-0 at halftime.
* Christian Heritage 42, Mount Pisgah Christian 24: Christian Thomas had three touchdown passes and a touchdown run, and Gage Leonard scored twice on the ground for the Lions (4-1), who had more than 600 yards of offense. Thomas, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 12-yard run, connected on 60-yard scoring plays with Leonard and Solomon Locke and 5 yards to Tucker Jordan, while Leonard had scoring runs of 53 and 10 yards.
* South Paulding 20, Dalton 15: The Catamounts (1-3, 0-2 Region 5-AAAAAA) roared to a 9-0 lead after Maurice Howard took the game's first offensive play 75 yards for a touchdown and added a field goal on their next possession. However, the Spartans scored the next 20 points to take the 11-point lead into halftime. Dalton made it interesting with a long touchdown pass from Ashton Blackwell to Kareem Page with a minute to play, but the ensuing onside kick failed.
* Bowdon 42, Trion 20: The Bulldogs (1-3, 0-1 Region 6-A public) lost on the road despite 53 yards and a touchdown rushing from Connor Deparlier, 39 yards and a score from Rob Brown and 89 yards and a touchdown receiving on two catches from Reilly Blackwell.
* Other area scores: Pepperell 41, Dade County 14; Fannin County 57, Gordon Central 6.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22