First-year North Jackson head coach Chandler Tygard was glad his team got to play a preseason jamboree before the start of the regular season.
“That was rough,” said Tygard. “It looked like a jamboree.”
The Chiefs defeated Class 5A opponent Guntersville 13-9 despite struggling on offense. Tygard said most of the struggles could be attributed to “offensive mechanics.”
“It’s all offensive mechanics like getting singles in, calling plays backwards and making sure receivers on the line and off the line,” said Tygard. “Running this offense is a lot of little things like that.”
North Jackson’s offensive struggles began early on in the game. On the first play from scrimmage, North Jackson fumbled and Guntersville recovered on the 28 yard line. Guntersville got out to an early lead when quarterback Zackery Burnett found Pierce Harris in the end zone on the Wildcats first drive of the game.
The Chiefs put together a long drive on its next possession and had a first and goal from the five yard line, but three negative plays and a false start penalty left North Jackson with a fourth down and goal from the 23 yard line. North Jackson was unable to convert, and the first quarter ended with Guntersville leading 7-0.
Both defenses were stingy in the second quarter. Guntersville tried to put together a drive mid-way through the quarter but were forced to punt. North Jackson had a scoring opportunity at the end of the half, but could not covert when Gass’s pass went through the hands of receiver Luke Johnson and was intercepted by Harris. The first half ended with Guntersville still leading 7-0.
North Jackson forced a three and out to begin the third quarter and got the ball with 10:09 left in the quarter. The Chiefs put together a long drive but could not convert on fourth down just outside the red zone. North Jackson’s defense forced another Guntersville punt and took over at the 42 yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Dalton Morris rolled out to his left, found some trouble, reversed direction and outran everyone to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown run. The point after was good and the game was tied with 2:09 left in the quarter. The Chiefs got the ball back with 34 seconds left in the third quarter. On the first play of the drive, Morris connected with Kyle Posey for a 60-yard touchdown pass. The point after was no good, and North Jackson led 13-7 after three quarters of play.
Each team’s junior varsity played the fourth quarter, and Guntersville recorded a safety. The final score was 13-9 in favor of the Chiefs.
Morris led the charge on offense for North Jackson, completing two of seven passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He added 82 yards and touchdown rushing as well. North Jackson’s defense held Guntersville to 73 yards of total offense last Friday.
Tygard was happy with the effort his team showed on Friday night.
“Effort was great,” said Tygard. “We told them ‘if you make mistakes, make them at full speed’ and they did that.”
He was also excited with North Jackson’s play on the defensive side of the ball.
“I’m really proud of the defense. We did a lot of stuff on defense and they got after it pretty good. That part was exciting,” said Tygard.
North Jackson is set to take on the Class 3A Plainview Bears on Friday night in Rainsville.