June 8, 2013

Rivals and friends

Painter, Ridley teammates now

RINGGOLD — When asked to help cast a net to any recent area high school graduates interested in playing in the The Stump on Sports Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic, Southeast Whitfield alumnus Easton Ridley knew one person to call.

Dalton’s Brandon Painter, who missed the final half of his senior season, was happy to answer and join the roster for Team Georgia.

Painter and Ridley are among nine area high school alumni expected to suit up and compete one more time tonight in the Classic, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Spears Stadium on the campus of Chattanooga’s McCallie School. The showcase of recent high school graduates from southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia is the first of several all-star contests to be played over the next week and a half.

Admission to tonight’s game is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for children younger than 6.

Ridley referred to himself and Painter as “friends,” along with many other recent Dalton graduates who played football for the Catamounts. He said those friendships go back to their elementary school days, when they played together in youth recreation leagues.

So when Georgia head coach David Gann wanted to increase the roster size, Ridley called Painter.

“I’ve known Brandon. He’s a real good friend of mine,” Ridley said Thursday during practice at Don Patterson Stadium in Ringgold. “Coach asked us if we knew anyone that wanted to play, so I called Brandon. ... I got him out here today.”

The two spent much of Thursday’s practice lined up next to one another as wide receivers and spent time during breaks talking like longtime high school teammates. That was despite the fact they were rivals just last fall, when Dalton beat Ridley’s Raiders 14-10 with a late score. Ridley’s 24-yard run was the lone Raiders touchdown against the Cats.

“I only don’t like them when I’m playing against them,” Painter said of going against local rivals. “I specifically don’t like any of them when I play, but I like being around them in general and especially like having (Ridley) as a teammate.”

Painter suffered a fracture in his right foot during Dalton’s seventh game of 2012, a 43-0 win versus LaFayette, and missed the remaining five games, which included two state playoff contests. The wide receiver originally wasn’t on the Georgia roster, but said he was happy to be given one more chance. He’s not done with sports — he plans to play basketball at Georgia Northwestern Technical College next school year — but wasn’t expecting to return to the football field.

“I probably would play in the game even if I got a chance to finish my senior season, but (the injury) made it even more so that I wanted to play,” Painter said. “... I mainly remember the feeling of coming out here and getting to run routes again. I didn’t plan on doing it anymore. I didn’t plan on strapping it up, because I was tired of getting hit.”

But in addition to competition, the game provides a good opportunity to meet athletes from different cities and schools. The Georgia roster includes 33 players representing 13 schools. North Murray has three — safety Tino Hernandez, defensive end David Martin and kicker Izzy Hernandez. Along with Ridley, Southeast has defensive back/wideout Kevin Torres, offensive lineman Jared Davis and defensive tackle Jayro Perez. Northwest Whitfield linebacker Jarrod Farmer is also competing, and alumni from Adairsville, Cartersville, Dade County, Gordon Central, Gordon Lee, LaFayette, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Ridgeland and Ringgold also are on the roster.

“It’s a way to get to know these guys, especially the kids who aren’t from our area, like Cartersville and Gordon Central and even Ringgold,” Painter said. “Southeast players, I’ll probably be able to hang out with them, but for a lot of these guys, this is the last time I’ll have a chance to chill with them.”

Ridley — a running back and linebacker who signed a scholarship with the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., also the destination for Ringgold linebacker Cannan Briner — said he “doesn’t like (any opponent) really when playing” but that those feelings are left on the field.

And this game provides one last chance to have those feelings for an opponent, even if it’s not the same opponent they’re used to.

Regardless, Gann said natural competitive instincts will kick in.

“They’re even getting competitive at practice,” Gann said. “We ran the last play about 10 times because everyone kept saying, ‘Coach, one more play. One more play.’ The defense keeps wanting to whip the offense and vice versa. So they’re all just competitive naturally, and it will get competitive (tonight). It’ll be just like a Friday night football game.”

In addition to the football game, the Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Classic series features games for girls and boys basketball (6 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga); girls and boys soccer (1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on June 15 at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga); baseball (6 p.m. on June 17 at Ridgeland High School in Rossville); and softball (6 p.m. on June 19 at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga).

Stump Martin, the game’s creator, was a reporter for the Chattanooga News-Free Press and Chattanooga Times Free Press for 19 years and also was on ESPN Radio’s 105.1 The Zone in Chattanooga, managing editor of Friday Night Football Live Tennessee and co-owner of Tennessee’s high school website, Martin has hosted “Stump on Sports Late Nite,” a live sports television show for nearly 30 years.

Text Only
  • Eder Mora.jpg Dalton's Eder Mora will not play football

    Dalton High School football coach Matt Land confirmed Friday morning that star linebacker Eder Mora will not play football this fall.
    “Eder, obviously, is not here,” Land said after the opening of the first day of conditioning for area high school teams. “He has an opportunity to do something really special in soccer.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7on7 day 1 '14 23 mlh.jpg Conditioning for success

    Local high school football teams have had voluntary workouts, seven-on-seven drills and other practices and camps throughout the summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Summer of Satterfield: Rising star goes low for latest victory

    Chatsworth’s Savannah Satterfield is proving her mettle on the golf course this summer, and her latest tournament outing resulted in another title and a record round.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roadrunners’ Mitchell receives high academic honor

    Chatsworth’s Tyler Mitchell hopes to make his living playing professional golf. But if his dreams of courtesy cars and big checks on the PGA Tour don’t come through, he knows he can rely upon his education.

    July 25, 2014

  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • DSCgolf-col.jpg Dalton State notebook: Women's golf looking forward to tee time

    After a “redshirt” year for the entire program in 2013-14, Dalton State College’s women’s golf team is looking forward to its inaugural campaign.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd roasted 1 mlh.jpg One last 'Goodbye' for coach Todd

    Charles Todd talks to parents and coaches before his going-away party Tuesday in the Dalton High School commons area.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing Lures3cw.jpg Turner lured into love of learning fishing business

    Fishing and tall tales go hand in hand, and after nearly three decades in a business supplying local anglers, Phil Turner has heard just about all of them.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. Amateur dreams over for local golfers

    Dalton golfers Chase Miller and Will Morrow traveled to Cincinnati on Tuesday in an attempt to earn a spot in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, but neither earned one of the three qualifying spots at the 6,588-yard, par-70 course at Camargo Club.

    July 23, 2014

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites