October 18, 2013

Every step a little closer

Dalton can’t afford to relax; Northwest, Southeast look to bounce back


Ringgold (5-1, 3-0) at North Murray (1-5, 0-3)

The Mountaineers know just how dangerous Ringgold senior quarterback Slade Dale can be — they saw it firsthand a year ago.

Dale rushed for 288 yards and two touchdowns, added a touchdown toss to Dallas McGee and finished with a whopping 368 all-purpose yards in a 35-15 victory in Ringgold in 2012.

Dale, who has committed to the University of Georgia’s baseball program, will lead the Tigers into Mountaineer Stadium riding a three-game winning streak.

“When you see an athlete like that, it’s scary,” said North Murray coach David Gann, who was the offensive coordinator at Ringgold before taking over the Mountaineers in 2012. “They’ve got a tangible that nobody else has, and that’s an SEC-type athlete playing quarterback.”

Dale averaged 240-plus all-purpose yards in 2012 and so far this season is averaging 246.2 yards of total offense with 1,477 yards and 16 touchdowns. That’s a big reason Ringgold is tied for first with Cartersville (6-0, 3-0) in the Region 5-3A standings and averages 35 points per game.

“He’s a kid that drives our entire offensive system,” Tigers coach Robert Akins said.

Dale, however, is not the entire offense. Running backs Kile Sholl and D.L. Goins have combined for 375 yards and 10 touchdowns. Sholl is the Tigers’ leading receiver with 17 receptions for 331 yards — a 19.5-yard average — and three scores.

“They have two types of backs,” Gann said. “Goins is a power back, a real beat-and-bang-you kind of guy. Sholl is a speedy take-it-to-the-house back. They’re a lot to handle for a lot of folks.”

Defensively, Ringgold relies heavily on linebacker Dakota Baer, who leads the unit with 86 tackles, seven for a loss. Also a threat to an opponent’s offensive cohesiveness is 6-foot-4-inch, 263-pound defensive end Zach Morris and his 49 tackles. Six of those stops are for a loss and he also has six sacks. He has been offered a scholarship to Duke.

“Those are two special kids,” Gann said.

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