Ringling football holds off Morrison to return to semifinals

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

RINGLING — Through the ups and downs of a grueling season, the Ringling High School football team had yet to experience something that most squads face every week — a tie score in the second half.

The Blue Devils dealt with that situation Friday night, but didn’t falter under pressure as a late touchdown clinched a 21-14 win over Morrison and a trip to the semifinals of the Class A State Playoffs.

“We talked about it in the huddle and told each other, ‘We have to get in the end zone,’” said Ringling quarterback Karson Daniel. “Everyone gave all they had. It was a whole team effort. It was amazing.”

It’s safe to say Daniel was right.

The Blue Devils were facing a fourth and inches at the six-yard line with less than 30 seconds remaining and the score tied 14-14.

Ringling needed at least a first down, but Daniel wanted more as the sophomore burst through a group of Wildcats to score with 21 seconds left.

“That touchdown was for the seniors,” Daniel said. “… They push us at practice every day. They’ve done everything for us. That was for those seniors. I play for those seniors.”

Ringling's Coltin Fincher breaks free on a 43-yard run in the first quarter Friday night against Morrison.

And one senior played a crucial part in the victory as Kash Lyle carried the ball 23 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Lyle scored both in the first quarter — rushing for a 10-yard score with 9:30 left and he found the end zone again on a 41-yard scamper at the 7:28 mark.

It appeared the early lead was a sign of things to come, but that wasn't the case as the Blue Devils didn't score again until the fourth quarter.

“We got up 14-0 and then we get lackadaisical and thought we were going to beat these guys,” said Ringling head coach Phil Koons. “Then all of a sudden it’s 14-7. We have another chance to score and we cough it up. It should have very easily been 21-0 or more in the first half. That’s par for us in some of these games we’ve had.”

It didn’t work out that way, but Ringling showed grit by overcoming three fumbles. Two of those came in the second half and one helped put Morrison in position to score a touchdown.

But when it came to crunch time, the Blue Devils drove down the field and punched it in for the win.

“Morrison played a great game,” Koons said. “They have a lot of class, but we were lucky to eat up six minutes on that final drive and score with very little time left. That was beautiful.”

Ringling hits the road to battle Thomas-Fay-Custer at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. The winner earns a trip to the state title game at the University of Central Oklahoma. That contest is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19.