Ridgeland 28, Marist 27

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Rossville — The Ridgeland Panthers are headed to the Georgia Dome for the first time in school history, thanks to a blocked extra point and a trick-play touchdown with 36 seconds to play.

Darrell Bridges hit Shaqualm McCoy on a 24-yard half-back pass, and Marist’s potential game-winning field goal hit the right upright as time expired, giving Ridgeland a thrilling 28-27 win in a Class AAAA state semifinal game Friday.

Bridges, a converted quarterback, threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more, including an 89-yard sprint up the middle that tied the score, 21-21, with 8:21 to play. Bridges finished with 164 yards on the ground and 107 yards passing.

Marist answered with a long scoring drive, converting on a 4th-and-5 and regaining the lead on Myles Willis 26-yard touchdown run with three minutes to play.

Ridgeland’s Sharone Porter blocked the ensuing extra point, though, keeping Marist’s lead at 27-21 with three minutes to play. It would prove costly for the War Eagles.

Ridgeland drove 77 yards in 11 plays, taking advantage of a pass interference penalty and converting on a fourth down, before Bridges took a pitch from quarterback Trevor Long and found McCoy for the winning touchdown.

Marist quickly moved into field-goal position and was at the Ridgeland 17 with 5.6 seconds left. Fletcher Malloy’s 34-yard attempt had the distance, but glanced off the right upright, sending Ridgeland (13-1) to the AAAA championship game.

Griffin King scored two touchdowns for the War Eagles (12-1), who didn’t trail until Ridgeland’s Evan Courtney drilled the final extra point.

Marist tight end Greg Taboada caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Willis in the first quarter. Marist led 14-7 at halftime.

Vonn Bell, Ridgeland’s talented two-way star, caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Bridges in third quarter and finished with 127 total yards.

“I can’t tell you how much this means to me and this community,” said Bell, a senior. “It means everything.”

Marist   7              7              0              13           –             27

Ridgeland            7              7              7              7              –             28


M – Greg Taboada 29 pass from Myles Willis (Thomas Andrews kick) 7-0

R – Darrell Bridges 2 run (Evan Courtney kick)


M – Griffin King 16 run (Andrews kick) 7:12


R – Vonn Bell 57 pass from Bridges (Courtney kick)


M – King 3 run (Andrews kick) 9:05

R – Bridges 89 run (Courtney kick) 8:28 21-21

M – Willis 26 run (kick blocked)

R –Shaqualm McCoy 24 pass from Bridges (Courtney kick)

99 comments Add your comment


December 7th, 2012
10:50 pm

WTG Ridgeland, sounds like a heck of a game! See you guys in the Dome after the Calhoun game!


December 7th, 2012
11:09 pm

What a Great GAME FROM RIDGELAND! Both teams played their heart out in this one. Hats off to Marist, They Just ended it short or by a missed Field Goal that hit the upright as time expired. Still a Great Game to Watch. GO PANTHERS AND GOOD LUCK IN THE DOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 7th, 2012
11:11 pm

Go ROSS-VEGAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Now Go Shock The World!!!!!!!!!!


December 7th, 2012
11:47 pm

What a great game and a heartbreak for Marist. I know this soon after a hard-fought game will be hard to get unbiased input from the Ridgeland supporters but how many of you think the best team won, and had the better chance of winning State? Granted Ridgeview has a very good team, with a very good running back (with a decent arm :) ) and Marist didn’t adjust to the halfback pass, not to mention uncharacteristically having an extra point blocked (kudos to Ridgeland) and missing a makeable field goal to win the game after marching down the field with a minute to go. But, unlike other schools, I will not say the referees cost us the game despite the questionable, late-game calls. Congrats to the Ridgeland players, coaches, and fans! I’ll be pulling for you in the Dome. Let’s all pray the Marist kicker doesn’t feel the loss falls on his shoulders; the game could have been lost or won by two touchdowns either way before the final kick. The sun will rise tomorrow, everyone.


December 8th, 2012
12:08 am

Congrats Ridgeland, the best team won.


December 8th, 2012
12:32 am

To Jacketaxe: Did you watch or attend the game? Just curious…..


December 8th, 2012
12:36 am

Congrats to Ridgeland. Your team earned the win with a game-winning drive in the last couple of minutes. Marist had chances to put the came away but did not — the missed kick to end the game was just one of many times we fell short. Great season for the War Eagles!


December 8th, 2012
12:54 am

You can’t knock fate MaristDad.
Not ur year.

oh & yes………

the better team won.


December 8th, 2012
1:17 am

To GBhendrix. See the definition of fate.
Fate: The development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.
If we played tomorrow, could you count on fate instead of being the better team?
Just having some fun…enjoy the victory. We’ll be back next year, as we have been year after year after year, though you have to feel for our seniors and Gray King. He may have been the differentiator. Again, good luck Ridgeview.

enough of the bs

December 8th, 2012
1:38 am

Typical Marist bs. The best team was home in Carrollton. Just having some fun.


December 8th, 2012
1:39 am

Did Gray King not play?


December 8th, 2012
2:32 am

Maris was beaten by a better team. ridgeland outplayed Marist the 2nd half. ridgeland has more difference makers than Marist. Much more speed which obviously gives them a better chance to beat creek. Marist certainly never had a chance to put the game away. neither team had the ball with the lead the entire 2nd half. The pass interference was obvious its on film. It was a great game.


December 8th, 2012
2:33 am

Ridgeland not Ridgeview. And the missed field goal was actually tipped .


December 8th, 2012
5:12 am

Enough back patting – Enjoy your long sad ride home from the dome after Sandy Creek smokes you like a mackerel.

Donald callahan

December 8th, 2012
6:59 am

Greatest high school Game I ever seen and I been around football over 50 years. Congrats to both teams . Going with ridgeland to the DOME.


December 8th, 2012
7:00 am

Marist……too bad!! Tucker Fan

Donald Callahan

December 8th, 2012
7:10 am

To maristdad, tonight RIDGELAND PANTHERS are the better team. Only saying,god bless you


December 8th, 2012
7:39 am

Dad you have peed on your shoes based on the story you told. Great year. Btw I know what Ridgeland has 1st hand.

Just a fan of the game

December 8th, 2012
8:17 am

Great game, both teams did what they had to do to compete. Hats off to Ridgeland, I left the game with a great deal of respect for their RBs, but Marist Qb put on a last minute drive that deserved a victory. Good luck to Ridgeland next week, because they will need it, because they showed all of their tricks to get by Marist.
I think next year when a coin-toss is needed to determine the home team, the team that lose the toss should have a choice of refereeing staff. Their was definitely some home cooking going on during the game that help Ridgeland keep the game close.


December 8th, 2012
8:20 am

knows where RIDGELAND is now.

kudos :::::::: indeed!!!!!!!!

and p.s.
We r just having some fun too.
In fact ,
we r still having fun.
Out with the old in with the new.

quick 6

December 8th, 2012
8:42 am

refs are horrible up there for sure the 4th and 1 play bs, pass interference was bs, and the taunting by bridges and bell was never called thats why bell got tackled in the endzone cause he slowed down to walk in the endzone heres to creek busting bell in the mouth just 1 time for me!!


December 8th, 2012
8:50 am

Congrats to both schools, great years, but a lone missed FG difference was all that was needed. I wish all the “fate” in the world to Ridgeland next Sat, because I’m sure you will NEED it against the Fighting Patriots of Sandy Creek.



December 8th, 2012
8:52 am

It is always good to see an overconfident Marist team. Reminds of me of 1990 when they rolled down to Cairo with bus loads of loud fans and left with a 21-0 ass whipping. I believe a Chadwick quarterbacked that team. They never crossed mid field.


December 8th, 2012
8:54 am

It’s always funny to hear fans of schools like Marist talk about “home cooking” when it’s comes to officiating. FYI. The officiating crews who work playoff games are assigned by the GHSA and a high school officiating association who works a team’s regular season schedule can not work their home playoff games. A crew from Atlanta was in Ware Co. A crew from Albany was at Sandy Creek. Not sure who worked this game but they weren’t from NW GA.


December 8th, 2012
8:57 am

I`m so glad to see a different team in the hunt for a change, Good Luck Ridgeland!

Just a fan of the game

December 8th, 2012
9:05 am


Coach Chadwick played QB for Decatur High School, not Marist.
Marist will be back, they have a great program that produces wins every year, just like Cairo! It is just
sad when you lose to one hit wonders, but every dog has it days sometimes. I love Georgia high school football! Hats off to all of the players and coaches that makes all of Fridays in the fall something to look forward to.


December 8th, 2012
9:13 am

MaristDad, Sorry but no tears for you. Saw Marist defeat Rome High several years ago on your home field on the last playof the game. Rome stopped the receiver on a pass play. His knee was clearly down before the ball crossed the goal line as the replay showed. Officials were homers.

Rossville Bulldog

December 8th, 2012
9:14 am

Bring home a state championship Ridgeland!

Bracket Buster

December 8th, 2012
9:32 am

Congrats to both teams for a most enjoyable game last night. I sure picked the right game to watch! Well played, hard fought down to the last snap and kick. Ridgeland pulled out all the stops to confuse the Marist defense last night and it worked. That is why high school football is the best, you never know how kids will respond or execute. Good luck to Ridgeland against a very stout Sandy Creek team next week. Sandy Creek’s defense will be a huge challenge to overcome.


December 8th, 2012
9:48 am

Ridgeland the better team????? Only by a “foot.” NTW; y’all will lose by more than 2 feet, as SC will run all over your team.

martin biggsbee

December 8th, 2012
10:00 am

Great game. #10 is a hoss. # 7 has alot of talent. rBoth teams probally shot the load tonight and the creek will be favored, but if ridgeland wins, will they get the Georgia title and Tennessee ? Sour grapes or truth? .
Officiating did seem bias allowing an equipment time out after there coach called for a TO? It did not decide the game – big plays did and Chattanooga South High School made them- hats off !!!


December 8th, 2012
10:36 am

John S: When Ridgeland makes the playoffs 30 years in a row and wins a couple of state championships, you can say “in with the new”. Until then, Ridgeland is another flash in the pan (and remember Marist beat you the first two times we played; sorry for the inconvenience of the truth)
Gray King, our best back, did not play due to a broken collarbone from last week’s game. Not saying the game would have turned out differently but it sure as heck wouldn’t have hurt.
Officiating? Most everyone knows the GHSA assigns them; most were just saying there were some questionalbe calls.
The taunting? If a Marist player ever did that (which they don’t, btw), Chadwick would yank them off the field. Never acceptable, and shows a lack of class……….and everyone knows it. Any Ridgeview fan going to admit it’s bush league?


December 8th, 2012
10:38 am

“Out with the old, in with the new”

Please. You won the game, congrats. Marist likes to take the “act like you’ve been there before” approach. You should try that. But oh – wait. You haven’t been there before.

Have this success for a couple more years (20, maybe?) and then we’ll start to be impressed.


December 8th, 2012
11:09 am

Please continue to make excuses, the better team won. You can’t say they didn’t. And then one of your cheerleaders wants to say, well your still poor? Really classy. And that’s not taunting? Go watch the replay, bell didn’t walk into the endzone, I don’t know where you got that from? All in all Maybe Next Year Marist. The video was better than your football team.


December 8th, 2012
11:10 am

MaristDad- You are so clever to continue to say Ridgeview. It shows your maturity level (and also a lack of class). Be an adult and give credit to these kids.
Ridgeland has an awesome team and even though they may not have a 20 year history of wins, they DO have a win this year, and that is what is important today!!
Be a man and quit crying.

1st Down Creek

December 8th, 2012
11:20 am

Marist who?

See you in the Dome Ridgeland!

Go Creek! Lets win the 3rd State Title in 4 years on Saturday.


December 8th, 2012
11:24 am

MaristBoy – the best team won. all the sorry excuses in the world and all of the hundred years of history ain’t gonna change it. The fact is, a team with a bunch of hard working country boys kicked your butts all night. The one thing I know for sure is y’all will be crying year after year after year. Enjoy your ride on MARTA to watch Ridgeland next week. Look up the word FOOL and see how it’s fits in your little head. Ya FOOL!!!!


December 8th, 2012
11:29 am

MaistBoy – one last thing for ya….. all the smack talking in the world won’t change the fact St. Pius is playing in the dome either. If you want to get to play an extra time this year – why not play Pius? Who’s the best team FOOL?


December 8th, 2012
11:56 am

I am neutral and went to watch because I love high school football. I think both programs are elite from each of their coaching staff down to their players. I do not know what Marist Dad, Quick 6 or Just a Fan are referring to, but here is my opinion……. I thought the refs handled the game well and saw NO partiality, (really delay of game on blocked extra point thats subjective) and to be completely honest like I said both teams have a lot of good athletes but Ridgeland has more but I give the coaching edge to Marist not trying to cast a negative light at all toward Ridgeland but just saying you can tell they are very fundamentally sound and have great discipline on the field. So lets all get real it is what it is. Both are winners but only one is going on this year.


December 8th, 2012
12:16 pm

you marist people need to check out the tradition of the Rossville Bulldogs and the Chattanooga Valley Eagles if you want to see what winners, and not whiners, look like. don’t try to tell us how to win championships. we fight to the end, and it took us over twenty years to quit fighting each other to come together and whip whiners like marist to take state honors once more. it’s been a long road back, but we used to say the same thing about newcommers like you, and now we’re back.


December 8th, 2012
12:37 pm

Enter your comments here


December 8th, 2012
12:40 pm

@FINAL SCORE – I know for a fact that St. Pius declined the opportunity to go head to head with Marist this year. Marist couldn’t play them the last two years because all the weeks were taken up with region games, but with the new realignment, Marist had three open weekends for non-region games. For some reason they did not take Marist up on the offer – not sure why because SPX beat Marist two times in a row. IT is a great rivalry and we miss it.

Victor Hugo

December 8th, 2012
12:41 pm

Ridgeland won the game this year which is where we live today. Next year? who cares until next year. Last year means nothing today except in the trophy cabinet. Let the Ridgeland team enjoy their day. I dare say that Ridgeland will enjoy their visit to the Dome whether or not they win. Who says that the same team has to be there year after year. No one died and made Marist or anybody else the heir to the perennial throne.

Old Golden Lion

December 8th, 2012
12:48 pm

Can’t find a link to this game anyone have one? I could only see the hilights of the scores. The passion for high school football is great I just hate that it is all over next week now no excuses for putting off my honey do list.
The officials are brought in from around the state selected by GHSA. North Hall folks not happy with the crew at Pius but they call them as they see them.
Kudos to Ridgeland you must have a heck of a team to beat Marist. Damn almost gave Marist a complement there it was intended to Ridgeland. Clean Good Old Fashion Hate with us. Good Luck Ridgeland.


December 8th, 2012
12:54 pm

o.k., let’s try this again. the n.w.ga. area is no stranger to championships. Rossville took a really good team to Jessup one year and got nearly beat to death. when we were leaving town someone asked what got them so fired up for the game, and Lenny Hause told us that we spelled their name incorrectly. be careful, the name is R-I-D-G-E-L-A-N-D, the countryside is beautiful, the breed of people is very tough, and we will be playing for the state championship next week; and we will be back. (and by the way, have you ever seen as nice of a football field on a private campus, anywhere?)


December 8th, 2012
1:01 pm

marist mom

December 8th, 2012
1:07 pm

marist dad quit your whining we lost.It was a hard fought battle by both teams but we came up short. Give credit to Ridgeland and learn how to lose with grace as our boys have. Maybe u should look at some of the posts on facebook from our team. They r talking about the love they have for each other and the privilege of being on this team. Learn from our children its not just about winning.

RHS teacher

December 8th, 2012
1:12 pm

Here! Here! Victor Hugo. Your comments ring true. Remember that it will not only be the football team at the Georgia Dome next week, but also the band, the color guard, the ROTC, the student body, the teachers and staff, and all of the dedicated parents, family, friends, and supporters of this amazing group of young people. RHS you celebrate today. You have worked hard and are among the few who get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is a win, win– and I am so proud of all of you.

RHS teacher

December 8th, 2012
1:16 pm

I forgot to mention the cheerleaders!


December 8th, 2012
1:19 pm

Thank you Marist Mom! It was a great game by both teams. We are proud of RIdgeland, just as you guys are proud of your boys.
Good luck Panthers!