Things may have gotten started slowly for the Sonoraville Phoenix on Friday night while hosting the Ringgold Tigers, but the team found their way late and earned a 26-23 win when all was said and done, despite trailing by two scores late in the game.
Sonoraville struck first in what was an early defensive battle, with kicker Daniel Orellana knocking through a field goal for a 3-0 Phoenix lead.
The Tigers answered back though, stringing together a long, time consuming drive that resulted in a touchdown and a 7-3 lead of their own.
The teams then exchanged a series of punts with a few first downs sprinkled in to burn the clock. About midway through the second quarter the Phoenix defense made a huge stop, holding the Tigers on a fourth down try near the Sonoraville goal line.
Unfortunately for the home team, two plays later a high snap sailed over Phoenix quarterback Brady Lackey’s head and into the end zone. Lackey grabbed the ball but was dropped for the sack and safety, which set up the 9-3 halftime score.
Things picked up quickly in the third quarter, with Sonoraville’s Brant Bryant grabbing an interception on Ringgold’s second play and breaking free for the score. The extra point gave the Phoenix the lead at 10-9.
A pair of three-and-outs by each team gave way to a Ringgold drive that ended in a touchdown and a two point conversion, giving the Tigers a 17-10 lead.
Lackey lost the ball while scrambling on Sonoraville’s next possession, and Ringgold’s recovery set up the Tigers on the Phoenix 12-yard line. A touchdown pass one play later and the extra point extended the lead to 23-10.
All the remaining points belonged to Sonoraville, however.
Sonoraville drove 72 yards on their next possession, thanks to a couple of Lackey first down runs and a first down pass, before scoring on a Lackey run from just outside the end zone. The extra point brought the Ringgold lead down to 23-17.
A few possessions later Orellana booted through a field goal from about 40 yards out to draw the score closer, 23-20.
Ringgold managed a couple of first downs on their next possession, but Sonoraville forced the punt and took over with 2:02 left in the game on their own 15-yard line.
That’s when Bryant, already the hero with the pick-six, broke off a short crossing route and sprinted 85 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The extra point was no good, but it wasn’t needed as the Phoenix held on for the 26-23 win.
Sonoraville (4-5, 2-5) will host Coahulla Creek next Friday at 7:30 p.m.