Dale leads Ringgold to huge win … Region 6 makes Region 8 vanish

It was a big night for Ringgold quarterback Slade Dale and a bigger night for the Tigers football program.

Ringgold defeated North Hall 55-54 in the first round of the playoffs on Friday, with Dale accounting for 380 total yards and seven touchdowns. Dale, a senior who will play baseball at the University of Georgia, ran 22 times for 162 yards and four touchdowns and completed 11 of 21 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns.

The win gave the school a ninth win for only the second time (the other coming in 1989) and is believed to be the first playoff win in school history. Ringgold made the playoffs on six previous occasions, including last year, but lost in the first round.

Neither Ringgold nor North Hall could stop the other team. North Hall ran for 467 yards and threw for 55, while Ringgold ran for 268 and threw for 218. North Hall’s Zac Little carried 31 times for 267 yards and two touchdowns and Andrew Smith ran 16 times for 108 yards and one touchdown.

“To me this is Ringgold’s biggest win ever because it’s a playoff game,” Ringgold coach Robert Atkins told the Chattanooga Free Press “This was a rough night for our defense. Trying to tackle (North Hall’s Andrew) Smith was like trying to tackle a squirrel.”

The wild game was tied 35-35 at halftime and the teams exchanged three touchdowns. Ringgold took the lead for good when Dale scored on a 14-yard run with 1:43 remaining and the Abel Vargas made the extra point. North Hall’s PAT on the previous touchdown had hit the crossbar.

North Hall rushed downfield for one final try, but a 45-yard field goal attempt with 19 seconds left to play also hit the crossbar and bounced away.

“All we needed was one stop and we couldn’t get it,” North Hall coach Bob Christmas told WGTJ-AM’s Gary Glenn in an on-field interview after the game.

Ringgold will host Cedar Grove in the second round next week.

Here’s what else we learned on Friday night:

Region 6 is the real deal. All four teams representing the region won their first-round games, making it the only league in AAA to score a sweep. The victim was Region 8, which was considered to have a very strong playoff contingent.

  • St. Pius 31, No. 7 Hart County 21: The Golden Lions (8-3) rushed for 463 yards. Dalton Wilson rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown and Joey Connors rushed for 131 yards. St. Pius travels to Cartersville for a second-round game.
  • Woodward Academy 53, North Oconee 21: The No. 8 War Eagles (9-2) scored their most points of the season against a Titans team that was ranked as high as No. 8 this season. North Oconee’s Kawon Bryant, the leading rusher in AAA, was injured in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
  • Blessed Trinity 41, Jackson County 14: The No. 10-ranked Titans pounded the ball behind Chad Manthey, who ran for 228 yards and one touchdown. Connor Davis also threw for 173 yards and one touchdown for the Titans (8-3).
  • Cedar Grove 22, Elbert County 14 OT: The Saints limped into the playoffs with a three-game losing streak, but upset the No. 6 Blue Devils in the Granite Bowl. Elbert’s cause was damaged when standout quarterback Mecole Hardman was injured returning a punt before halftime and never returned.

No. 4 Carver survives upset. The Tigers needed three overtimes to overcome B.E.S.T. Academy, which was making its postseason debut. Quarterback Jawon Pass threw a 10-yard touchdown to Drellon Freeman to secure the 38-32 win. The Carver defense then forced a turnover when B.E.S.T. got the ball back for its final time in overtime.

Pass threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Carver (10-1), which will host Jefferson County in the second round. DeShawn Waller ran for three touchdowns for B.E.S.T., which was done in by three missed extra points.

Peach County wins thriller: Quarterback Greg Williams scored on a 15-yard keeper with only 45 seconds left to give the Trojans a 28-21 win over Chapel Hill. Williams threw for 148 yards and Keshawn Lowe rushed for 138 yards for Peach. Aaron Jeffries led Chapel Hill with 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Appling rolls over Dodge: Vernon Dasher ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 67 yards and C.J. Alexander returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to lead  No. 9 Appling to a 30-8 win over Dodge County. The Pirates (9-2) will host Central Carroll in the second round.

Cartersville gets past West Hall: Cartersville hung on for a 28-26 win when West Hall’s 41-yard field goal missed wide left in the closing seconds. Cartersville (11-0) scored twice on runs by Tiamon Perry. West Hall, making its first playoff appearance since 2002, scored on Ty Statham’s 95-yard kickoff return and Tyquan Statham’s 80-yard interception return.

Next week’s second round games:

  • Pierce County at Callaway
  • St. Pius at Cartersville
  • Jefferson County at Carver Columbus
  • Woodward Academy at Buford
  • Peach County at Washington County
  • White County at Blessed Trinity
  • Central Carroll at Appling County
  • Cedar Grove at Ringgold

18 comments Add your comment


November 16th, 2013
8:12 am

Way to go Saints and Reg. 6. Stan, I guess you were right. Region 6 has to best each other which makes us ready for everyone else. See ya soon Ringold…..


November 16th, 2013
9:26 am

Going into the games yesterday I thought that all 4 of the region 6 teams had a great chance to sweep region 8. As it turned out I was right. Cedar Grove brought a good team to the Granite Bowl last night and in any other region in AAA they would not have been a 4 seed. I do hate the way the game turned out for EC, however, because if their QB doesn’t get hurt the results may have been different. After his injury the D for Cedar Grove didn’t have to account for the QB running or throwing the ball. There was also a very obvious “too many men on the field” call missed by the refs with about 2 minutes to go and EC inside the Cedar Grove 20. EC snapped the ball before they were ready because they knew they had an obvious penalty. I guess it wasn’t obvious to the people that mattered. Neither team deserved to lose and both should be commended for their effort.

Son Of Waco

November 16th, 2013
11:41 am

I feel Ajc AAA writer pain… WACO the best AAA school in middle GA but the two papers in the area aren’t smart enough to have a writer at our game, but with all of their area teams gone in the first round they will have to come watch the middle child games now…

Also, can’t be to shocked that private schools were able to beat alright public schools.. I mean that is what they pay those coaches the big bucks to do right????


November 16th, 2013
4:35 pm

Congrats Cedar Grove, stay focus and hold it down for Dekalb in AAA….

BEST Academy Eagles

November 16th, 2013
11:59 pm

The BEST vs Carver game was on of the best games I have ever seen. Carver has a great program and great fans. It was a real playoffs atmosphere at memorial stadium. BEST Academy really showed that we will be a foce to be reckoned with down the road. 2nd year varsity program taking a big time program into three overtimes in the playoffs. It was a hard fought battle on both sides and the better team won. Jr RB Deshawn Waller is clearly one of the best football players in the state. Hats off to both teams and coaching staffs. GO EAGLES!!!!!!!!!


November 17th, 2013
7:59 am

Good game BEST, lets work on getting a couple kickers for next year. That makes a difference in close games as you already know. Great season, glad to see some new teams in the city with promise.

Son Of Waco

November 18th, 2013
11:34 am

So SPX, Cartersville, Carver, North Hall, and Buford out of AAA. In are Cook, Calhoun, and Jefferson… They can appeal it but why fight the numbers??

NTH Trojans

November 18th, 2013
11:46 am

North Hall will probably appeal. They are only 4 students higher than the top school in AAA, and they will say that it makes more sense economically to stay there. It doesn’t matter, NH will never make a serious run until they get a new coach. Christmas’ offensive philosophy is outdated. Gone are the days where a team can be one-dimensional and win it all. They could run the spread option, and still be a run first team, but he won’t even consider it. At least if they run the spread option, they could throw the ball if the fell behind late, and the other team would have to respect the pass.


November 18th, 2013
11:59 am

Son – U lookin forward to NEXT season already??

All the schools you listed are still in (cept North Hall)..

The championship comes thru Buford..

Next year – with the addition of Calhoun & Jefferson, you are guaranteed nothing, cept a hard time..

Son Of Waco

November 18th, 2013
1:13 pm

What kills me about Buford fans is that they know they have a size advantage over teams and still sticks their chest out like the Bully on the block is so great. But do it against AAAA teams now and prove to me y’all are just not overpowering teams. Because AAA is not the AAA it was before they added the 6th class..

@NTH Only 2 teams appealed and were denied and NH wasn’t one of them. They say they are doing the regions Dec 3 so 4A it is.. The cut off was at Dawson Co- 1087

FYI- I am a fan of WACO not a coach or player, so if I want to look 3 games ahead I can or if I want to look to what region we will be in next year I can also do that.. With the Falcons I am already thinking about who we will draft, so keep your Bill Belichick mind set as a fan..


November 18th, 2013
1:49 pm

Buford you are in high school what ‘Bama is to the SEC, keep the championship bloodlines flowing.


November 18th, 2013
2:08 pm

Oh yeah Buford, since they can’t beat you they want you to be realigned. You’re such a powerhouse they support every effort to have you removed from AAA division but yet do that guarantee them a championship. Why not play the best, beat the best then there will be no argument as to who the best is.Championships are not won on the blogs, not won through debate or arguments,they are won through preparation and strapping on the chin straps.
It was mentioned that Buford sent a scout or team of scouts to the WACO game, is that a violation of Georgia High School rules? Is it a cardinal sin? No it’s preparation. When a team fails to scout it’s opponents you can be guaranteed they won’t see the Georgia Dome in December unless some members are spectators.

Region 7-AAA

November 18th, 2013
3:37 pm

It is my understanding that there are only appeals to “Play Up” in a higher class and a “Lateral” movement which appeals your region placement. Didn’t think there was an appeal for moving down. Correct me if I am wrong.

Son Of Waco

November 18th, 2013
4:05 pm

@7-AAA Its the hardship appeal because of travel. So you can try to play down that way..

Dude said why not play the best, but Buford choose to play in AA until made to move up to AAA. Now they are being made to play in AAAA but somehow they are the best and play only the best. Some people love jokes. I respect Marist because they want to be the best in GA and choose to play up in AAAA when they have AA numbers.. Also, public schools don’t have the funds to scout every top team in the playoffs like private schools can, but it do speak to a little fear in the air if we are still 4 weeks away and they are worried about WACO now… Peach might upset us this Fri…

“Bama of the SEC” yeah because they recruit all the top talent, so I can see how they are alike…

brother of Waco

November 18th, 2013
10:55 pm

Ron,I must know!!! Who is your team? since you obviously despise WACO… You must be a sour opponent…. Jefferson County??? MAYBE???


November 19th, 2013
12:44 am

“brother of WACO” are you serious, Louisville? we aren’t talking about Louisville, Kentucky.
I’m not a WACO hater, I just see reality and don’t let the big numbers WACO puts up influence me. These numbers are against inferior competition,look at your region.
I see Buford as the superior team throughout and the finals will not be with WACO, meaning your team will not make it to the Georgia Dome. WACO fans speak of it’s traditions of past glories and victories, the question is do you have a strong booster club which consists of graduates,former players and citizens within the community who can offer financial support that falls within the GHSA guidelines.
I support Buford, the high school ‘Bama of SEC.

The Scout

November 19th, 2013
11:40 am

Cedar Grove Football Players…… Friday Night we need you to;

Give 100 Percent

100% equals everything! When we are asking you to give 100 percent, we are asking you to give everything. We want it all! Do not save anything for later, do not relax, do not take a break to catch your breath, give us everything you’ve got from start until finish! Leave it all on the field.

It won’t be easy. Giving 100 percent isn’t for the faint-of-heart. It takes a lot of heart, passion, determination, drive, energy, and willpower.

It’s going to hurt! There is going to be pain, sweat, and adversity. You are going to doubt yourself before you get there. You will wonder if you can do it, and you will try to talk yourself out of giving it all. You are going to see “easy ways out.” All along the way you will be presented with ways to give less of yourself.

You will find yourself reaching for that “easy button.” Press it and you instantly travel the easy road. That’s fine if the “easy button” gets you the results you desire. However, in sporting competition, the “easy button” isn’t going to get you where you want to be. Giving 100 percent, working hard, being smart, and seizing the moment- that’s what will get you the results you desire.

The best athletes, the most successful athletes are those who mentally block out pain, fatigue, doubt, and despair. Super athletes focus on pushing beyond their limits, drawing energy from untapped reserves, hope, success, and reaching the finish line!

Be the best athlete you can be and give us 100 percent Friday night!

CGHS Supporter

November 19th, 2013
4:22 pm

I think CG just needs to have everyone step up. Everyone needs to give total effort and play like they did at Elbert…