The Lions (3-1, 2-0 Region 4-AAA) could not sustain a decent offensive drive all night because the Tiger defense — largely because of Christian Etheridge, who registered 10 tackles and bottled up runners all night long.
Also, on eight of the Lions’ 10 possessions, they registered a penalty, putting them in difficult field position more often than not. Ringgold scored first on fourth-and-short with a quarterback keeper, as Slade Dale faked out defenders and scampered 23 yards to take an early 6-0 lead after the missed PAT.
Central then put together its best drive of the night, converting on a fourth down of its when Stephon O’Neal broke away from defenders, sprinting 43 yards to give Central its only lead of the game at 7-6 with 2:38 left in the first quarter.
At that point, Ringgold (2-1) took the game over with a rushing attack the Lions could not solve. The Tigers registered 270 yards on the ground, led by Dale with eight carries for 109 yards, while Kile Sholl added 107 yards on 15 carries.
Dale scored a 38-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to push the lead to 14-7 and then connected with Zach Morris on the two-point conversion.
Central lost its big-play back O’Neal early in the second quarter, making the task even more difficult to keep up with Tiger offense. Ringgold added a late second quarter touchdown when Dale hit receiver Christian Plott on a 39-yard screen pass to take a halftime lead of 20-6.
The Lions came out after halftime still struggling to stop the Tiger running game, as Sholl took the third play from scrimmage 41 yards to pull away 26-7. Ringgold added another score early in the fourth quarter after Dale connected with Sholl on a 20-yard heave into the end zone to put the game out of reach at 33-7 with 8:33 left in the game.
Central sophomore Wesley Long threw a touchdown pass of his own late in the game, hitting Curtis Davenport down the middle on a 23-yard pass to end the scoring, 33-14.
Ringgold kept Lion defenders busy all night, as Jarrett Thomas recorded 10 tackles and a sack, along with Kirey Thompson, who also had 10 tackles.
Offensively, Jayleen Terry led the way for the Lions with 13 carries for 72 yards.