The North Jackson football team’s season came to a close against one of the Class 4A state-championship favorites.
No. 6-ranked Gordo built a 27-0 halftime lead on the way to a 37-7 victory over the Chiefs Friday night in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“We competed hard at times. Gordo is a first-class organization, they play football the right way, they’re a good football team. Hopefully in the years to come, our team will have that type of fire and intensity about them but like I said, they’re well-coached. I’m proud of our kids, they came out here and they fought but things just didn’t go our way and didn’t go our way early,” North Jackson head coach Joe Hollis, Jr. said.
Gordo got the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards down the field in just under three minutes, scoring on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Gordo senior quarterback and Oregon commit Tanner Bailey to senior Lawson Neel. The Chiefs would struggle on offense overall, breaking off some nice plays occasionally but mostly stalling out. In the first half, North Jackson had eight plays in Gordo territory, seven of which were on the same drive. In that drive, the Chiefs faced a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. Senior Dalton Morris took the snap, rolled to his left and found nothing but green jerseys, tackled for a loss of five giving the Green Wave the ball back to end their last drive of the first quarter, where Gordo would hold a 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Gordo would add to their lead while North Jackson would get back into Green Wave territory for one play. Gordo would take a 27-0 lead to finish the first half.
Though the Chiefs had failed to score on offense, freshman Diego Holt had 10 carries for 65 yards.
“We knew (Holt) was going to have a great game, he’s a great player. When you get in the playoffs, ain’t nobody shooting blanks,” Gordo head coach Ryan Lolley said. “We knew that they had a great football team. They were good upfront, they can run the football and they did some things with their quarterback as well that causes a lot of problems. They have a great team, tremendous amount of respect for them and the program they have and the tradition that they have.”
In the second half, Gordo would score 10 more points in the third quarter while the Chiefs offense would slowly churn out more yardage each drive. Ultimately, with their last drive of the game, the Chiefs would put up their only points of the night, when senior Macklin Guess scored a 1-yard touchdown with just over a minute to play.
“These seniors have been through a lot. I’m their third head coach. They all battle, they all fight, they’re a resilient group. Probably the circumstances weren’t fair to them but they hung in there and they were good leaders for us. We’re proud of them all being Chiefs,” Hollis said.
With their season over, North Jackson (5-6, 5-2) will get back to work over the offseason and look to build on their back-to-back playoff appearances as well as Hollis, Jr’s first season as the Chiefs head coach.
“(I’m most looking forward to) just getting in the weight room and getting ready (for next season),” Hollis said.