Stopping Ringgold High School’s spread-option offense was already a big challenge for North Murray.
Add in a deep passing threat, and the Mountaineers spent much of Friday night chasing the visiting Tigers’ blue-and-white jerseys.
Ringgold scored touchdowns of 85, 58 and 29 yards and handled North Murray 49-27 in a Region 5-3A matchup at Mountaineer Stadium.
The Tigers (6-1, 4-0) gained 559 yards of offense — 395 on the ground and 164 through the air. While the numbers were unbalanced, Ringgold quarterback Slade Dale started a new favorite connection with wide receiver Christian Plott, who grabbed a 29-yard touchdown pass for a 28-3 lead with 1:35 left in the second quarter.
Plott also pulled in passes of 47 yards and 54 yards and finished with 138 receiving yards on just four catches. The first big pass play set up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Dale to Dakota Baer for a 21-3 lead earlier in the second quarter.
“It’s always tough for teams to account for all of our running backs,” said Ringgold coach Robert Akins, whose team was averaging 35 points per game entering Friday’s action. “The real positive tonight was we threw the ball down the field.”
The Mountaineers (1-6, 0-4) also had a tough time accounting for the Tigers’ backfield. Running back D.L. Goins started the scoring with a 5-yard run with 10:07 left in the first quarter, Dale had a 58-yard scoring run for a 14-3 lead with 11:13 left in the second quarter and Ethan Dalton ended Ringgold’s scoring with a 3-yard score with 7:36 left in the game.
“It all starts with the quarterback,” North Murray coach David Gann said. “There were so many times where we had all the receivers covered and we’ve even got him contained, and he still makes someone miss for a 40-yard run.”
Running back Kile Sholl scored twice — from 8 yards out for a 35-9 lead with 7:16 on the clock and from 85 yards out for a 42-15 lead on Ringgold’s next possession. Sholl’s long score was the first from scrimmage following North Murray’s second touchdown of the third quarter and the game, a 15-yard run from John Chastain with 5:32 on the clock.
The Mountaineers’ Drake McCowan, who scored from 3 yards away three minutes earlier, finished with 109 yards on 11 carries.
North Murray was held to three points in the first half. Aaron Mendez nailed a 24-yard field goal with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter, cutting Ringgold’s lead to 7-3.
“They had a really good all-or-nothing scheme where they are sending more than we can block,” Gann said.
Mountaineers quarterback Hinton McConkey and connected twice for scores in the fourth quarter, from 47 yards out to Darius Towns with 5:16 left in the game and from 13 yards out to Payton Swilling with 3:26 on the clock. McConkey finished 11 of 19 passing for 167 yards. Swilling had five receptions for 137 yards.