The Scottsboro football team posted a season-opening win over its archrival last week, and first-year Wildcats coach Cris Bell is hoping to see his team build on that victory in Game 2.
“It was a good hard-fought win, the kind you’d expect in a rivalry game,” Bell said. “(North Jackson head) coach (Joe) Hollis and his staff did a great job and had their kids ready to play. I’m proud of the way our kids battled and in the end made plays to get it done.”
The Wildcats look to carry that momentum forward as they hit the road the road for the first time during the 2021 season, traveling to take on Class 4A No. 5-ranked Madison Academy Friday at 7 p.m. at Bill Washington Stadium in Madison.
It’s just the fourth meeting between the schools, all of which have been played since 2018. The Mustangs lead the series 2-1, including a 30-6 victory at Scottsboro last August.
Unlike Scottsboro (1-0), Madison Academy (0-1) enters the matchup looking to rebound from a season-opening defeat. The Mustangs suffered a 41-17 setback at Class 6A No. 5-ranked Briarwood Christian last Friday. Madison Academy struggled to get anything going against the Lions, who held the Mustangs out of the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter. Madison Academy got a 33-yard touchdown run from Will Stokes and 55-yard fumble return for a score from Ken Cheery during the game’s final seven minutes.
Despite last week’s struggles, Bell said the Mustangs are a deep and talented team.
“It’s a typical, athletic Madison Academy team,” he said. “They’ve got good players all over the place. They’re very solid up front on both sides of the ball. It’ll be a challenge.”
Bell said Scottsboro must improve its execution in its triple-option offense. The Wildcats, who are looking for their first 2-0 start since 2018, ran for just 144 yards last week and Bell said there were missed assignments and missed reads throughout the contest.
“We’ve got to do a better job as coaches of getting our kids to where everyone’s seeing the same thing,” he said. “We had some breakdowns and that’s an area we’ve got to get better at. Our defense played well but we’ve got to get (the offense) going to help them. We’ve got to play well in all three phases.”
Bell said Monday that the Wildcats would have to wait and see on the playing status of starting quarterback Gavin McCrary, who missed the second half of the North Jackson game with an injury. Freshman Jake Jones shook off some early struggles after replacing McCrary to engineer the Wildcats’ game-winning scoring drive, which concluded on Jones’ 6-yard touchdown run with 5:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We’ll see how Gavin responds and we’ll get Jake prepared,” Bell said. “I was really pleased with how Jake responded late in the (North Jackson) game.”