CALHOUN -- The Sonoraville-Ringgold series should be given the nickname "The Northwest Georgia Shootout" because it seems that each time the two Region 6-AAA foes get together, it’s a wild back-and-forth contest.
Friday’s edition was no different as the two teams took turns dealing blows before Ringgold got a touchdown pass from Cole Kibler to Drake Starks with less than five minutes to play and held on from there to send Sonoraville to a 31-28 loss on Homecoming Night at The Furnace.
The Tigers (3-2) scored the decisive points on the five-yard connection from Kibler to Starks with 4:52 to play to go up three after the extra point. The Sonoraville offense then had a chance to try to engineer an answering drive, but were forced three-and-out and punted it away.
The Ringgold offense never gave it back, however, as they ran off the final three-plus minutes to secure the victory with two crucial first downs, including one on a terrific sideline catch by Andre Tarver.
Kibler finished with 168 yards and two touchdown for the game on 13-of-21 passing, and Ty Jones paced the Tigers’ rushing attack with 98 yards on 20 carries, including some tough runs in the second half.
Trailing 21-14 at the break, Sonoraville (3-2) came out of the locker room and put together an impressive, time-consuming drive to tie things at 21-21 after quarterback Patrick Moore connected with Trenton Daniel for a 20-yard touchdown catch.
Moore had a big night offensively, combining for close to 300 yards of offense. He ran for 159 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns and threw for 122 yards 10-of-15 passing with two touchdowns. He was 7-of-8 in the air in the second half.
Ringgold went back ahead late in the third quarter on a 20-yard field goal by Garrett Davis to make it 24-21, but Sonoraville marched right back down the field to retake the lead on a five-yard touchdown connection between Moore and Daniel. Daniel finished with five catches for 47 yards. Tristan Key ran for 58 yards and added 43 yards receiving.
That set the stage for Ringgold’s game-winning drive that spanned almost five minutes and culminated with Kibler’s scramble and pass to Starks.
The wild affair got started early in the first quarter as the Phoenix took advantage of a fumble on Ringgold’s first offensive play after receiving the opening kickoff. The fumble was recovered by Sonoraville’s Tyler Capps at the Ringgold 25. Three plays later, Moore ran past the Ringgold defense for a 17-yard TD run to give the Phoenix a quick 7-0 lead.
Ringgold responded on the ensuing drive, however, as they put together a long drive that culminated with a 39-yard TD pass from Kibler to Pete Brower to tie things at 7-7. Brower had four receptions for 56 yards in the game, and Tarver added six catches for 69 yards.
Sonoraville punched right back with Moore using his elusiveness and speed to explode down the field for a 65-yard TD run midway through the first quarter to make it 14-7. Moore ran for 104 yards on nine carries in the first half alone.
Ringgold grabbed the momentum early in the second quarter and rode it to two touchdowns and a 21-14 lead at the half. Tarver scored the first early in the quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run, and Jones then got his own 10-yard TD run with 2:39 to play in the half to give his team the lead.
Both offenses had one last chance to add a late score in the first half, but each came up empty.
Sonoraville is back home again next Friday as they open the Region 6-AAA South schedule against Bremen. Meanwhile, Ringgold will travel to LFO looking for Catoosa County bragging rights in their 6-AAA North opener.