DALTON, Ga. -- Dalton running back Tre Bonds has no relation to retired outfielder Barry Bonds.
But they both can slug -- Barry on the baseball diamond and Tre on the high school football field.
Bonds led Dalton to a 28-21 Region 7-AAA victory at Harmon Field on Friday night. Bonds rushed 28 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns to help the Catamounts improve to 3-2 overall in their region opener.
"We wore them down," said Bonds, who had 87 yards in the first half. "Coach gave us a good speech at halftime and we knew we had to come out here and get them."
After a scoreless first quarter, the second quarter became the Vonn Bell Period -- in honor of Ridgeland's star two-way player.
He started the quarter by stripping Brandon Dale on a swing pass and recovering the loose ball. Bell scored on a 7-yard run through the left side to give Ridgeland a 7-0 lead.
Then on the kickoff, Bell forced a fumbled that Dalton recovered. He closed the half by batting down a third-down pass in the end zone.
"We're trying to figure out what all he can do, and it's just about everything," Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakas said of Bell, who played every down of offense and defense. "One of the changes we made is putting our athletes in the backfield and let them do their thing. He had a great night."
Between Bell's big plays, Bonds capped off a 14-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Catamounts closed the first half with an 11-play drive but came up empty after Bell's swat. Then Julio Mora missed a 22-yard field-goal attempt. He missed a 34-yard attempt in the first quarter, so the teams went into halftime tied 7-7.
As much as Bell shone in the second quarter, Bonds owned the third period. The replacement for the injured Tre Beck carried eight times for 134 yards in the period.
Bonds gave Dalton a 14-7 lead on a 32-yard blast up the middle, and a 21-7 lead by taking a pitch 57 yards.
Ridgeland pulled within 21-14 on a 1-yard plunge by Darryl Bridges with 6:34 to go. Dalton marched down the field but stalled at the 9-yard line.
The Catamounts lined up for a field goal that could have put them ahead by 10. But they faked it with Mora passing to Will Erwin for a 14-point lead and just 2:32 to play.
Bell finished the night with two forced fumbles (one recovered) and six catches for 145 yards -- including a 70-yarder on a swing pass late in the fourth quarter -- and rushed nine times for 28 yards.
Quite an effort indeed, but not enough to overcome Bonds, who slipped through a Bell tackle on his second touchdown.
"Watching him run made my heart race," Dalton fullback Hunter Cleary said. "We were mad and we took it from them."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...