K.J. Huckabee races between two Westminster Christian defenders for yardage during North Jackson's 62-42 win Sept. 4. The Chiefs face No. 5-ranked Madison Academy in region play Friday.

For Chandler Tygard, North Jackson’s trip to Madison Academy Friday night is a homecoming of sorts.

Prior to being hired as North Jackson head coach in March 2019, Tygard was the Madison Academy’s offensive coordinator during the 2018 season.

But it will only be a happy homecoming if the Chiefs come home with a huge Class 4A Region 7 victory.

“It’s not really about me, but it’s a big game for our kids,” Tygard said. “They’re really excited.”

North Jackson squares off with the No. 5-ranked Mustangs Friday at 7 p.m. at Bill Washington Stadium in Madison.

It’s the fifth all-time meeting in a series that is tied 2-2. Madison Academy has won the last two meetings.

North Jackson (3-0, 2-0) has already eclipsed last year’s win total thanks to victories of 52-6 and 62-42 over Whitwell (Tenn.) and Westminster Christian respectively and a COVID-19 related forfeit win over DAR. The Chiefs are averaging 636 total yards (second nationally among teams that enter their stats on and 57 points per game entering Friday’s matchup with the Mustangs while allowing 13.5.

Meanwhile, Madison Academy (3-0, 2-0) has wins over Scottsboro 30-6, DAR 51-17 and Westminster Christian 47-7. 

The Mustangs offense is keyed by dual-threat quarterback Avery Sartin, who had 479 total yards (282 yards rushing and 196 yards passing) and five touchdowns (three rushing and two passing) in last week’s victory.

“It’s the Avery show,” Tygard said. “Everything runs through him. They’re loaded at the skill positions. No. 10 (Timothy Spurlock), No. 2 (Jailen Holmes) and No. 5 (Kaden Cherry) are all really good receivers.”

The outcome of the game figures to have huge region implications. North Jackson and Madison Academy, along with Madison County, are the lone remaining unbeaten teams in region play. 

“For our region, it’s a statement game,” Tygard said. “It’s also a statement game for us. Are we back elite, or we just improving? We’ll see what happens.”

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