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Ringgold ousted in double-overtime, 3-2

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Ringgold's Nick Cichon gets past Franklin Regional's #13 Tyler Schott and #2 Michael Shulock at the Ringgold Joe Montana Stadium. Jim Ference | Valley Independent

Tears, the look of shock, and reflection.

Those were just a few of the emotions that the Ringgold Rams had on their collective faces at Joe Montana Stadium following their heart-wrenching 3-2 double overtime loss to Franklin Regional Monday night in a WPIAL Class AAA first round contest.

“It is always hard to lose in the playoffs, regardless of how it happens,” Ringgold coach Frank Perez said. “You have to give all the credit to Franklin Regional because they came to play.

“I noticed as the game went on, they were getting a lot of the bounces and sometimes that's how it goes.”

Coming into the contest, Perez had stated that a key would be for his team to control the tempo, and that is exactly what Ringgold (14-4) did from the start.

Literally.

The Rams set the tempo as soon as the opening whistle was blown and right after taking the opening kick, the Rams played the ball in and got their first shot on goal 28 seconds into the contest and while the shot didn't go in, Ringgold instantly set the tempo.

“We wanted to set the tone and we did,” Perez said. “But Franklin Regional counterpunched and were faster than I thought.”

The Rams had several chances early to score, and the Rams finally got on the board with 12:28 left in the half when Troy Dolanch drilled 40-yard shot past a stretched-out Ralph.

However, it only took Franklin Regional 30 seconds to tie the score when sophomore Ryan Watson played a ball down the left side and blooped a shot past Ringgold senior goalkeeper Jeremy Reiland.

“When they countered, we didn't get back on defense and we lost the momentum we had,” Perez said. “We had chances, but I am so proud of our kids and our guys rose to the occasion all season.”

The score remained 1-1 until the 31:42 mark of the second half when senior Hunter Homa took a ball played from the left wing off of the foot of junior Devin Beck and beat Ralph to give Ringgold a 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately for the Rams, they once again could not the lead for long as the Panthers (13-3-2) scored just under three minutes later.

With 28:52 left in the contest, freshman James Young beat Reiland from 25-yards to knot the score.

In overtime, Ringgold avoided disaster with 13:18 to go when it almost scored in its own goal, but Reiland made a sliding save.

Just under a minute later at 12:20, Dolanch appeared to win the game for Ringgold on a breakaway, but he was called for offsides.

The contest remained tied after the first overtime, but unfortunately for Ringgold, its season ended 54 seconds into the second overtime as sophomore Danny Ferriero got in close and beat a diving Reiland with the game-winner, and more importantly, the season-ender for Ringgold.

Despite the loss, Perez shared positive thoughts about his team which moved up from AA and won the Section 4 AAA title.

“I don't think our guys realize what we did this year moving up with the quality in (Class AAA),” Perez said. “But what I will most remember about this team is that we became a family.

“I don't think we were during camp, but we grew as one and it wasn't about individuals. This team was fun and we enjoyed the ride.”

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.

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