The Ringgold Tigers fell behind 21-0 early in the second quarter and were never able to overcome the deficit as they dropped a 35-12 decision to state-ranked Rockmart in the regular season finale for both teams Friday night at Don Patterson Field.
Rockmart quarterback Javin Whatley scored on runs on 7 and 3 yards and connected with Dennis Sims on a 42-yard scoring strike midway through the fourth quarter to account for the Jackets' final TD of the night.
Whatley, ranked as one of the top athletes in the state, had 78 yards on 12 carries and went 5 of 10 in the air for 100 yards. Sims had four catches for 92 yards.
Ringgold (5-5, 4-4) broke the ice with 3:02 left in the first half as Mason Parker lofted a deep pass to Malachi Hill, who ran under it for a 46-yard touchdown, cutting the Jackets' lead to 21-6 at the break.
However, Rockmart (9-1, 8-0) added another score with 3:59 left in the third quarter on Sims' catch before tacking on one final TD with 7:51 remaining.
The final points for the Tigers came after a nine-play, 66-yard drive with Kori Dumas getting in the endzone on a 9-yard run with 4:28 to go.
Parker went 22 of 36 for 184 yards and was picked off once, but the Tigers were limited to just 73 yards rushing by a stout Rockmart run defense.
Ringgold's loss, combined with LaFayette's loss to North Murray, left the Tigers and Ramblers tied for fourth in the final Region 6-AAA standings. However, the Ramblers' 33-29 win over the Tigers on Oct. 23 gave them the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning LaFayette will go the state playoffs next week as the region's No. 4 seed.
Read more on this game in next week's Catoosa County News and Walker County Messenger.
Information from Polk County Standard Journal Editor Jeremy Stewart was used in this story.