Northwest gives up 18 unanswered, falls short on final drive at Ringgold

Sep. 1—Midway through the third quarter at Ringgold Friday, Northwest Whitfield High School held a 14-point lead.

With 18 unanswered points and a pair of huge turnovers, Ringgold (2-0) turned back Northwest (2-1) 21-17 in a non-region showdown Friday night.

After a field goal early in the first quarter, both defenses wouldn't budge until late in the first half.

Bruin quarterback Gavin Nuckolls found Akendris Douglas for a 27-yard passing touchdown with 2:28 before half to go up 7-3 at the break.

After half, Northwest needed just four plays to increase the lead. Nuckolls hit Hudson Gray on a short pass that turned into a 45-yard touchdown

Nuckolls came in with nine touchdown passes through just two games, and the sophomore added to that with the two scores and 269 yards passing, but two huge fumbles helped Ringgold to the win.

After a JJ Plaza 32-field goal put Northwest up 17-3 midway through the third, Ringgold quickly bounced back.

Kishaun Taylor scored a 20-yard touchdown run, and the Tigers got another big break when an attempted pitch by Nuckolls was instead picked up by Haddon Fries, who returned it 35 yards for the score to make the score 17-15.

Ringgold took the 18-17 lead with a short field goal, then increased it to 21-17 with another with just 1:04 remaining.

Northwest and Nuckolls stormed down the field for a last-ditch effort, with Nuckolls hitting Austin Cooley and Douglas for big plays. The Bruins reached the 24, but a strip of Nuckolls was picked up by Ringgold with just a few seconds left, and the Tigers iced it.

Douglas had 10 catches for 129 yards and the touchdown, and Gray tallied 78 yards on five catches.

The Bruins get another non-region test next week.

Northwest is set to host North Murray on Friday at 7:30. The Bruins lead the brief series with the Mountaineers 2-1, with all three games being played since 2020.