A half-season removed from a dismal 0-10 campaign, the Ringgold Tigers now find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a playoff chase.
Ringgold moved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Region 6-AAA on Friday night, scoring three late second-half touchdowns to pull away for a 34-14 win at Murray County.
After scoring what was believed to be a school-record five touchdowns in a win over Ridgeland earlier this season, junior tailback Kori Dumas found the endzone four more times against the Indians. Dumas now has a region-best 15 touchdowns with half the season still to play.
The Tigers found themselves trailing 7-0 after the first quarter as Murray quarterback Kaleb Jones hit Brandon Nuckolls for 24-yard touchdown pass with 3:37 left in the period. But Dumas would get into the endzone twice for Ringgold in the final five minutes of the half.
His first touchdown came on a 2-yard run off a direct snap with 4:42 left before half-time. The Tigers would later capitalize on a fumble by the Indians as Dumas scored again from two yards out, this time with just 17 seconds left before intermission. The extra point was missed following a 5-yard penalty.
Murray County (1-4, 0-3) struck first in the third quarter. Jones connected with Nuckolls again, this time on a beautiful 11-yard fade route into the corner of the endzone. However, a bobbled snap would leave the game tied at 13 with 8:42 remaining in the period.
But Ringgold would answer the score with one of their own. A nice 80-yard touchdown march was capped by a tackle-breaking 12-yard Peyton Williams TD run with 6:42 left in the quarter and the Tigers would find paydirt two more times in the final stanza to seal the victory.
Dumas scored on his third 2-yard TD run of the night with 5:51 remaining. Then, after a Jordan Garnica interception in Ringgold territory, the Tigers put the game away as Dumas pinballed his way up the middle for a 10-yard scoring run with 1:22 left on the clock.
Landon Eaker made 4of 5 extra points on the night for Ringgold, while the Tigers took advantage of four turnovers by the Indians.
Individual statistics were unavailable as of press time.
Ringgold will have another big challenge on its hands this coming Friday as Adairsville (3-1, 2-0) will roll into Don Patterson Field fresh off a 43-14 region win at LaFayette.
Friday's victory was also the 250th career win for head coach Robert Akins and his 78th as the head coach at Ringgold.