MONONGAHELA – Nico Law did it all Friday night for Ringgold in front of a homecoming crowd at Joe Montana Stadium.
Law, the starting quarterback for Ringgold, completed 13 of 18 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, and added 127 rushing yards and another score, in the Rams’ 42-7 win over Albert Gallatin in a Big Nine Conference game.
“We put in a lot of work, and I stayed extra to get a lot more mental reps,” Law said. “We are really excited. We have big expectations this year and our team is a lot closer.”
Law’s two top receiving targets, Dayshore Majors and Alan Pritchett, grew up with Law, which he said attributes to their combined success on the field.
It did not take long for the 6-1 quarterback to make an impact. On the second play of the game, Law sped through a gaping hole in the Colonials’ defense and went untouched for a 78-yard touchdown.
“He’s a great quarterback and that shows,” Albert Gallatin head coach Jeff Embacher said of Law. “We’ve been watching him and have been concerned about him all week. We couldn’t contain him, and the game plan was to keep him contained. We didn’t do a very good job of that.”
Law proved to rivals he’s not simply a rushing quarterback as the Rams spread offense took shots downfield all night, completing several passes for more than 20 yards. A Ringgold touchdown on their following drive gave the Rams a 14-0 lead, but the Colonials fought back.
According to Ringgold head coach Matt Humbert, Law’s progression in his first full season as starting quarterback began with offseason preparation.
“He was in the weight room or around me three or four days a week,” Humbert said. “Every high school football player who puts that type of time and energy into it, they’re going to be successful. He wants to learn and he wants to be the best he can be. Those are the kids who go on to play on Saturdays.”
In its first two drives of the game, Albert Gallatin (1-4, 2-4) made two red-zone appearances but penalties and costly mistakes left them with nothing show for a strong passing attack led by sophomore quarterback Hunter Moody, who set up a 16-yard touchdown run by Colin Smith to draw his team to within a score midway through the first quarter.
Just when it seemed that Law could not top his work in the first quarter, he did just that by showing elusiveness in the pocket on several plays and throwing the ball downfield accurately, including on Ringgold’s final touchdown of the first half, which came with no time left on the clock.
After a holding penalty negated a Rams touchdown, Law got one more shot to add to his team’s lead. Albert Gallatin’s pass rush got to the junior quarterback in a hurry, but Law escaped a sack before rifling a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jake Gerard to give Ringgold a 36-0 lead heading into halftime.
The Rams’ stellar performance was not limited to the offense. Ringgold’s defense clamped down after allowing long Colonial drives early in the first quarter, sacking Moody four times and forcing several third-and-long situations.
One week after giving up 450 rushing yards to West Mifflin, Ringgold’s defensive front trumped AG’s offense.
“We concerned about (Albert Gallatin),” Humbert said. “We have been sputtering lately defensively, so we needed a game like this to get our confidence back, and we needed it going into next week.
Along with Law’s offensive showing, the Rams were led by sophomore running back Chacar Berry and senior wide receiver Dayshore Majors. Berry rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown, and Majors caught three passes for 82 yards and two scores.
The win elevates the playoff hopes of Ringgold (4-2, 4-2), as the win creates separation for the Rams as the fourth-place team in the Big Nine. With an intriguing home matchup awaiting the Rams next week against Elizabeth Forward, Law displayed confidence in his team moving forward.
“We’re ready,” Law said. “Team effort is all we need, execution and that’s it.”