Gilliam

North Jackson's Johnny Gilliam (left)  tries to elude a Plainview defender during the teams' overtime game.

The Chandler Tygard head-coaching era at North Jackson started off with a heartbreaking setback Friday night in Rainsville. 

North Jackson lost in overtime to the Plainview Bears by a score of 36-35. 

Tygard gave Plainview all the credit after the tough loss. 

“They deserved to win,” said Tygard. “We got out-played, out-coached and out-manned on goal line situations. They get all the credit.”

The first quarter was a defensive struggle between the two teams. Both teams turned the ball over on downs on each of its first possessions. North Jackson was driving midway through the quarter, but penalties forced the Chiefs to punt on its second drive. North Jackson’s Johnny Gilliam intercepted Noah White’s pass, and the Chiefs took over at the Plainview 28. A negative play and two false start penalties put North Jackson in a fourth down and long situation. North Jackson faked the punt, Trayvon Nicholson was stopped short of the line to gain. The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie, but Plainview was knocking on the door as time expired. 

Plainview’s Brody McCurdy broke the scoreless tie with a two-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. Gilliam answered with a 58-yard touchdown run three plays later. Abraham Castro’s point after attempt was no good, and Plainview led 7-6 early in the second. Later, North Jackson took over on their own 11 yard line, and Dalton Morris connected with Brady Cunningham for an 89-yard touchdown. Nicholson ran in the two-point conversion, and North Jackson led with less than four minutes left in the half. Plainview was starting to drive on its next possession, but North Jackson’s Jaylon Walker forced White to fumble and Carter Gass recovered for the Chiefs. But Plainview’s Logan Bell returned a North Jackson interception for a touchdown. The Bears two-point conversion attempt was successful, and Plainview took a 15-14 lead into halftime. 

Morris threw his third pick of the game, but again, Plainview couldn’t capitalize. North Jackson’s Myron Walton fumbled on the Chiefs’ next possession, and Plainview took advantage. McCurdy scored from nine yards out and Plainview tacked on the extra point to extend its lead to 22-14. Gass took over at quarterback for the Chiefs midway through the third. North Jackson answered with Gilliam’s second score, but Nicholson was stopped short of the goal line on the two point try. Plainview took advantage of three North Jackson penalties, and McCurdy scored again with less than a minute left in the third quarter. Plainview led 28-20 after three quarters of play. 

North Jackson tied the game with about 4 minutes left after a five-minute drive that ended with a Gilliam touchdown. Gass ran in the two-point conversion to knot up the game. 

North Jackson struck first in overtime, but its lead was short-lived. 

White found Brody Parker in the back of the end zone on fourth down and eight, and McCurdy ran in the game-winning two-point conversion. 

Tygard gave his team credit for not giving up in the face of adversity. 

“The fact that we had a chance to win shows the heart of our kids,” said Tygard. 

He also said his team made way too many mistakes and had to make sure it did the little things. North Jackson committed 17 penalties and turned the ball over five times Friday night. Tygard attributed many of the mistakes to inexperience. 

“We gotta grow up,” said Tygard. “We don’t have time for them to wait. This is North Jackson. We gotta get after it and go back to work.”

North Jackson travel to Danville next week to begin Class 4A Region 7 play. The Hawks finished 0-10 last season but added All-State quarterback Luke Nail this offseason. Nail played at Madison Academy last year, with Tygard as his offensive coordinator. 

“Next week will be a big game,” said Tygard. “They have an all-state quarterback that I know very well.” 

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