LaFAYETTE, Ga. — The scales were tipped in favor of the LaFayette Ramblers at halftime of their GHSA Region 6-AAA showdown with Ringgold on Friday night, but a see-saw second half left the final result hanging in the balance until the hosts made one final stop in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, the Ramblers were able to close out a 33-29 win over the Tigers, perhaps giving a new outlook to their season.
"We played Model earlier this year, went up 20-7, and they came back on us 21-20," said LaFayette coach Paul Ellis, whose team improved to 3-3 overall and 3-1 in 6-AAA in his third season. "We didn't know how to finish, and when we played Adairsville a couple of weeks ago, it was 14-14 at the half. Then it was like we just didn't come out for the second half.
"Tonight, we put together four quarters and played a complete game for the first time."
It was another quick start for the Ramblers, who went into the locker room with a 20-7 halftime lead behind three touchdowns from Jamario Clements, who had eight coming into the game. He capped two first-quarter drives with 2-yard runs and punched his other one in from 1 yard out with less than 30 seconds to play in the half.
The only score of the first half for the Tigers (4-3, 3-2) came from an explosive 40-yard run by quarterback Mason Parker in the second quarter.
Despite another strong start, the second-half demons started to creep in for LaFayette.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, but it was Ringgold that put up two to Lafayette's one. Tigers running back Kori Dumas came to life in the half, adding to his own impressive season totals with scoring runs of 4 and 53 yards. He went well over the century mark with 142 yards on 19 carries.
His second touchdown brought Ringgold within five at 26-21 after Clements got his fourth score of the game by finishing off a drive, with Clements set up by a long run from quarterback Jaylon Ramsey that got LaFayette to the 1-yard line.
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