Ringling repaid Talihina in kind.
The Golden Tigers were responsible for Ringling’s one-year semifinal absence.
With a 27-7 win Friday afternoon at Talihina, Ringling booked a return trip to the Class A semifinal round.
The Blue Devils will play Cashion at 7 p.m. Friday at Noble High School.
Ringling’s (11-0) offensive line — left tackle Ashton Cargile, left guard Guy Patty, center Jacob Wade, right guard Kevin Burks and right tackle Chase Clinton — and two tight ends helped the Blue Devils accrue a season-high total with 342 rushing yards on 61 carries, Ringling coach Steve Justus said.
“(We had) a great effort in all three phases of the game against a quality opponent,” Justus said. “We are doing the things that fit our kids right now. Some of that is what Ringling has done in the past — and a few new wrinkles.”
The two tight ends — senior Tyler Bishop and freshman Zach Cargile — allowed Ringling to run downhill.
In the mud. Through abundant supplies of standing water.
With 4:03 left in the first quarter, Ringling took a 7-0 lead on Trevor Richardson’s three-yard run.
It was the first of the senior’s three scores — and the beginning of a wire-to-wire triumph.
The Blue Devils’ back scored again with 6:01 left in the second quarter, doubling his team’s lead. This one was a five-yard scamper.
Coltin Eubanks scored on Ringling’s second possession of the third quarter, a three-yard run.
Talihina — which took six offensive snaps in the third quarter — scored its only touchdown out of a twins receiver formation. A pass ricocheted off the hands of one Golden Tigers receiver, and into the hands of another, who completed the 73-yard scoring play with 7:23 to play in the final period.
At the outset of the season, in lieu of calling a run or pass play, the coaching staff gave junior quarterback Ricky Lewis an option to run or pass on each play, relying on his discretion based on his reads of the defense.
After Lewis sustained his leg injury, the Ringling coaching staff had decisions to make.
Dalton Swindler took over at quarterback. As a team, the Blue Devils keep winning.
On the opening kickoff, Ringling attempted a squib.
The standing water hampered that strategy: Talihina recovered at midfield.
The Blue Devils’ defense authored a turnover on downs in the red zone.
Ringling’s offense compiled a 90-plus-yard drive to take a lead they never relinquished.
Justus acknowledged that his players had last year’s result in mind, that they didn’t want that history to repeat itself.
On the bus ride home, “there was a great amount of excitement,” Justus said.
It took a while to be able to celebrate.
Whether on the giving or receiving end of tackles, players got drenched as they returned to their feet. The standing water proved that prolific.
Talihina (10-2) attempted 11 passes, completing only one. Dewyatt Cox had an interception and a 42-yard return, as both teams finished with two turnovers.
The Golden Tigers “had to rebuild” in 2015, according to the Heavener Ledger. Talihina won a District A-8 title.
In Week 3 of the playoffs, Ringling handed Talihina its first home loss.
Once again, the Blue Devils make a semifinal berth.
This time, against a Class A No. 8 Cashion team that earned an 8-6 win against No. 2 Hollis.