The North Jackson football team’s last three weeks have been a rollarcoaster of an emotional ride.
Each week, the Chiefs were ahead or tied at halftime with an opponent, but came up short in the end.
“The last three weeks, we’ve led the No. 2 team (in Class 4A Madison Academy) and the No. 6 team (Madison County) at halftime but couldn’t finish it out,” said North Jackson head coach Chandler Tygard. “If you told me we’d hold (Madison County) to 27 (points) and have nearly 500 yards of offense,” Tygard said, “I’d have taken that because I’d thought we’d win. But we’re not finishing drives. We’d get a penalty, have a (negative play), it just adds up.”
North Jackson (3-3, 2-2) tries to turn its fortunes around this week when they travel to Huntsville Friday night for a Class 4A Region 7 matchup with Randolph.
It’s the seventh all-time meeting between the teams in a series that North Jackson leads 5-1. The Chiefs have won the last two meetings, including last year’s 42-26 victory in Stevenson.
Randolph (3-4, 1-3) opened its season with wins over Elkmont 62-0, Glencoe 27-9 and St. John Paul II 18-13, but the Raiders bring a four-game losing streak into the matchup with North Jackson after losses to New Hope 20-9, Madison County 29-14, Westbrook Christian 21-14 and Madison Academy by forfeit. The Raiders’ forfeit to Madison Academy last week came with less than an hour before kickoff. The teams were on the field warming up when Randolph officials announced it was forfeiting because a Randolph student, which was not a football player, had tested positive for COVID-19.
Tygard confirmed Monday that Raiders were planning to play this week.
Randolph is coached by David Lloyd, who was hired in the offseason after leading St. John Paul II to its best season in school history in 2019. Lloyd’s spread offense features playmakers junior Griffin Kennamer and sophomore running back Nic Strong, who this summer picked up a scholarship offer from Tennessee. Kennamer, a Madison Academy transfer, playing for the Mustangs when Tygard was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2018.
“I’m really good friends with their coach, so I know what they’re going to do and they know what we’re going to do. They run the same (offense) as we do,” Tygard said. “They’re going to look a lot like us.”