RINGGOLD, Ga. — Trailing by 21 points late in the third quarter Friday night, Ringgold cut its deficit to seven with less than a minute to play.
The Tigers recovered the ensuing onside kick to give themselves a late chance, but an interception by Heritage's Dylan Bryan on the next play sealed the Generals' first road win over their intracounty rivals, 28-21.
"I was never feeling good about it, even at 28-7. We just knew Ringgold wasn't going to quit," Heritage coach E.K. Slaughter said. "After the score I was just thinking, 'Please, God, get this onside kick,' but Dylan bailed us out by making a smart play to end the game."
Before the big fourth quarter for the Tigers (0-1), momentum was hard to come by due to a dominant Heritage defense and a methodical offense marching down the field for first downs.
The Generals (2-0) had outgained Ringgold 230-71 in total yards by halftime, but they held only a seven-point lead at the break because of a 42-yard interception return by the Tigers' Kori Dumas in the middle of the second quarter.
A beautiful 20-yard throw to the left corner of the end zone by Heritage senior quarterback Nick Hanson went over the heads of two Ringgold defenders and found Generals receiver Logan Lowe for a touchdown late in the third quarter to double Heritage's lead. Moments later, a 71-yard touchdown run for Ringgold was called off due to holding, and the next play resulted in a touchdown return off an interception from Caden Swope for the 28-7 lead late in the third.
"We've got some guts, and we have a defense that's lights out and you don't want to face," Slaughter said. "This has been a big rivalry in the early career of our school. Everyone obviously gets amped up for this game. We've won three out of the last four years, and to come here and get the job done just shows that we believe, that our program is established and that we expect to win every time out."
Hanson finished with a game-high 214 passing yards on 20 completions. His main target was Lowe, who totaled 86 yards on nine catches. The Generals had more than 250 yards of offense.
The Tigers totaled 245 total, with freshman quarterback Kyle White throwing for 165 yards on 10 completions.
Contact John Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.