Varnado downs Ringgold in playoffs

Published 12:32 pm Monday, November 17, 2014

Varnado defeated Ringgold, 44-8, in the bi-district round of the Class 1A playoffs at home Friday.

The 14th-seeded Wildcats face third-seeded West St. John in the regional round. West. St. John had a bye.

The game had an exciting opening. Ringgold won the toss and elected to defer.

The kickoff was returned to VHS’ 38-yard line. Wildcats quarterback D.J. Jefferson made a quick handoff to Wilbert Gray, who fumbled, and Ringgold recovered.

Ringgold quarterback Rory Loud then attempted a keeper, fumbled and gave the ball right back to the Wildcats.

VHS capitalized on the turnover. Gray took a handoff then ran it up the center and through the Ringgold line for the first touchdown of the game. Nick Blackburn attempted the extra point, but it was no good, and the score was 6-0.

Varnado’s defense forced a punt and Jefferson delivered on a single play.

He passed to Delrick Abrams, who ran down the left side and into the end zone for the touchdown. Blackburn’s PAT was no good, keeping it 12-0.

On the next possession, Loud passed to Octavion Williams. He broke away from the crowd of Wildcats and took it to the first touchdown for Ringgold. The 2-point conversion pass from Loud to Arlondo Iverson brought the score to 12-8.

Varnado answered with two more touchdowns in the first quarter. The first had Jefferson with a quarterback keep up the center, bringing the score to 18-8 after a failed 2-point conversion.

Then at the end of the period, Jefferson handed off to Gray at Ringgold’s 18. Gray punched through the Redskins down the left side. The Wildcats then made the same play with a handoff to Gray right for the 2-point conversion moving the margin to 26-8.

Ringgold kept tight control of the ball for the first seven minutes of the second quarter, but with five minutes left Loud fumbled.

Varnado’s Damon Kirsh picked it up and ran it back for the touchdown.

Jefferson tried a quarterback keep up the center for a 2-point conversion but it was no good, keeping it, 32-8.

In the next drive, the Wildcats defense put a hard line against Ringgold, which ended up punting. Sipe’s punt landed at the Redskins 48 yard-line. Jefferson picked it up and ran down the sideline side all the way back to the end zone for the touchdown. Blackburn tried for the extra point but fell short. It was 38-8 at halftime.

In the second half both teams stuck to their running games. The third quarter had both team’s defenses working in overtime without either club making much progress.

The last score of the game came with five minutes left in the fourth. Varnado’s J.J. Williams led the wildcats in a six-play drive. At Ringgold’s 25 yard-line Williams handed the ball off to Desmond Harry, who ran out to the left, and into the end zone. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, and the score finished out 44-8.

Varnado coach Scott Shaffett was very proud of his team’s performance.

“We got the playoff victory 2014,” Shaffett said. “We’re going for number two next week.”