The Sonoraville Phoenix brought the fire to Catoosa County as they shut out the Ringgold Tigers, 41-0, Friday at Ringgold High School. The victory pushes Sonoraville’s overall record to 3-2 and region mark to 2-1.
“A little bit of revenge for last year; they were able to beat us on our own turf,” Phoenix head coach Denver Pate said. “It’s always good to get a region win. We needed this win going into a very good Haralson County team.”
The Phoenix offense started off slow but quickly turned up the heat. With 22.1 seconds remaining in the first, Sonoraville jumped on the scoreboard as senior Blade Bryant scored his first of two touchdowns on the evening, a 1-yard scamper to make it 7-0.
Blade Bryant’s second score would come minutes later as No. 7 flashed by the defense for an 11-yard touchdown.
“He’s just so shifty,” Pate said. “(Ringgold’s) got some big ol’ boys over there. He’s tough on some bigger guys. If Blade can just find a small crease, he can squirt right through.”
Sonoraville junior quarterback Brady Lackey had himself a big night. Lackey went 9-15 for 180 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 72 yards on seven carries with one rushing score.
“We’ve got to find a way for him to play a complete game,” Pate said. “I’m going to be hard on him because my expectations for Brady are very high. We can’t play against a Haralson (County) or against these good teams … three quarters.”
Lackey’s first touchdown pass padded a 21-point offensive showcase in the second quarter. On a third-and-goal with less than three minutes remaining before halftime, Lackey located senior Colton Richards on a play-action pass from eight yards out for six, giving the Phoenix a 28-0 edge.
“Once (Lackey) got in a rhythm, he’s good,” Pate said. “We’ve just got to get him in that rhythm quicker. We’ve got to work as a staff to see what we can do to get him in a better rhythm and get him in more comfortable situations.”
Lackey ended his night with a bang. The junior found freshman Brant Bryant (Blade Bryant’s younger brother) on a slant route. Brant took the pigskin 50 yards, including a nice cut move toward the inside, then diving across the goal line for six points.
Defense shuts it down
Sonoraville’s defense stood tall once more. The Phoenix ‘D’ allowed just 173 yards of total offense to Ringgold.
Ringgold’s longest drive of the game came in the fourth quarter, but the Phoenix knocked away a fourth-down pass to the end zone to preserve the shutout.
“I thought we did a good job all night,” Pate said. “Anytime you can shut out a team in this region, you know you played good defensively.”
The Sonoraville Phoenix return to Gordon County and prepare to face the undefeated Haralson County Rebels in a regional contest next Friday, Oct. 11. Kickoff from Sonoraville High School is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“We expect our fans to turn out like they always do,” Pate said. “It’s a huge region game. Every game is huge, but when you add these records together, it makes it that much bigger. We expect a physical game.”