Unfortunately for the Tigers, they now have a game to make up on Ringgold in the region standings as head coach Eric Bishop’s team fell on the road by a score of 38-20 Friday night.
“We’ve talked about this ever since the Cass game. We’re not going to let one game define our season,” Bishop said. “We’re still in the playoff hunt. There’s no reason why we should hang our heads. We are still fighting for playoff positioning just like everybody else in the region.”
Bishop’s squad is now 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in region play.
Ringgold was able to dominate the line of scrimmage when its offense was on the field. As a result, the home team continuously churned out yardage between the hashmarks in 3-, 4- and 5-yard clips.
The solid gains in the run game allowed Ringgold to methodically move down the field. In its four offensive possessions in the first half, Ringgold averaged nearly 11 plays per drive, resulting in three touchdowns and a 19-7 halftime lead.
“It had a lot to do with that offensive line they got,” Bishop said. “They mashed us all night long. We did the best we could.”
Tristin Smith scored the lone touchdown of the first half for Adairsville from four yards out. He was instrumental in helping the Tigers march down the field in their first possession as he had four carries for 32 yards and two first-down runs on the drive.
The Tigers’ touchdown tied the game at 7-7, but Adairsville struggled offensively for the rest of the half. The team did not record a first down in the half after the first possession. Meanwhile, Ringgold had 15 first downs and continued to run for solid gains between the tackles.
Adairsville was outgained 210-65 in the first half and the trend continued in the third. Ringgold converted on three crucial third-and-long plays, two of which resulted in touchdowns.
“We had played such good third-down defense all year so their offensive line had a lot to do with it,” Bishop said. “There were times when we had them in a manageable situation and they found their way out of it.”
Ringgold scored twice in the third quarter to make the score 32-7. The two touchdown drives were capped with a 35-yard pass play on a third-and-15 and a 21-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-5.
The Tigers made the contest interesting in the fourth quarter when quarterback Marcus Childers ran the ball in from 3 yards out. Blaine Bishop and Sidnee Johnson each had 20-plus yard runs in the drive.
After recovering an onside kick, Johnson scored a touchdown of his own from 12 yards out to make the score 33-20 with over seven minutes remaining in the game.
However, after Adairsville’s second onside kick failed, Ringgold drove down the field for another touchdown. Ringgold converted on a critical fourth-and-1 in its own territory during the drive to maintain possession. Once again, Ringgold’s offensive line and two blocking backs were able to help get the yardage needed to eventually make the score 38-20. That score would be the final.
Adairsville struggled to pass the ball during the game, going 3 of 13 for 14 yards in the air while dealing with the difficulties of coming from behind.
Sidnee Johnson, a sophomore running back and linebacker, had another strong game with 11 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown. He also had 12 tackles on defense.
The Tigers had averaged 40 points per game in their previous three games, but Friday night was a different story against, likely, the second best team in the region.
“It’s not like we shot ourselves in the foot. We made some good plays against a good team,” Bishop said. “They are a good football team. There’s no shame in this. We’ll come in and regroup and try to fix what we have and look forward to North Murray next week.”