The Ringgold Tigers opened up its 2013 season with a triple-overtime, 33-27, victory over Dalton on Friday, Aug. 23 at Harmon Field.
It was the second Ringgold win over Dalton in school history. The Tigers had previously defeated the Catamounts 10-6 on Sept. 30 in 1983.
Ringgold head coach Robert Akins said it was a good night for his players and the community. He added the win was long overdue and credited the perseverance of his team that exemplified the “play strong, stray strong motto.”
“Dalton has a great football team and we knew they were good upfront,” Akins said. “They have tradition … just to be able to beat them after 30 years is big. I think our kids laid it on the line tonight. They sacrificed fearlessly tonight.”
D.L. Goins, who opened up the game with an 80-yard touchdown run on the Tigers’ first possession, scored in the first overtime on an 8-yard, fourth-down run. Chis Watts then kicked the extra point to give Ringgold a seven-point advantage.
Dalton scored next and the extra point forced the second OT.
The Catamounts had the next possession and took a six-point lead on a seven-yard run. However, the Tigers Dakota Baer blocked the extra point giving Ringgold a shot at the victory.
Tigers quarterback Slade Dale, who had scored on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter to force OT, duplicated the effort by scoring on a 14-yard run.
Dalton responded by blocking Watts extra point attempt and it was on to the third OT.
Dale delivered again by scoring on a QB sneak to give Ringgold a 33-27 lead. But the two-point pass attempt was incomplete.
Dalton then fumbled on third down and Ringgold recovered to secure one of the biggest wins in school history.
Dale, who rushed for 224 yards on 33 attempts, said this was the perfect way for the Tigers to start a new season.
“This is unbelievable,” he said. “We haven’t beaten Dalton in over 30 years. To beat them here, on Harmon Field … it will go down in history. It’s a dream come true.”
Dale said he never had any doubt his teammates could pull off the win.
“We just put our faith in God to guide us,” he said.
Akins said prayer contributed greatly to this Ringgold football team’s success. He said prior to overtime, Dale, and Goins led a word of prayer at the 50 yard line.
He said it's, "Just the kind of people they are."
“They love God," Akins said. "They love this football team and they love the Blue-and-White … I think it showed tonight.”
Fighting back the tears and emotions, Goins said words couldn’t describe his enthusiasm.
Goins added that he and all the players are thankful to be a part of making history at Ringgold.
“I was just playing for God,” Goins said. “I’m super excited for the rest of the season. I’m ready to go out and keep making history for Ringgold High School.”