Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

TCHS Clashes with Northridge in Region Game

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

TCHS Clashes with Northridge in Region Game

Article excerpt

The Northridge Jaguars, seeking their first win, are coming off their best offensive performance of the season. The Tuscaloosa County Wildcats, who lost for the first time Sept. 20, bounced back with a victory last week.

The two Class 6A rivals meet tonight at Northridge in a Region 5 game.

"It certainly generates a lot of fan interest," Northridge coach Mike Smith said. "I know the kids get excited to play on both sides. It's been a good, healthy rivalry where both sides act with a lot of class.

"Most years County High is going to present you with the same challenges. You can't get two of their players through the gate at the same time because they're so big."

Tuscaloosa County, 4-1 overall, is in the hunt for a playoff berth with a 2-1 region record. The Jaguars, 0-5 overall, are 0-3 in region play, but that doesn't matter to TCHS coach Lee Gibson.

"You can throw the records out the window for this one," Gibson said. "I know Northridge has played some really good teams. They're coming off their best game, so it looks like they've got their program going in the right direction."

Smith said he hates to use the cliche about having a young football team, but it's a fact.

"We had some bad attitudes last year and had to remove them," Smith said. "It's a lot more fun to coach this team at 0-5 because they're still fighting, still absorbing and still learning.

"I think we've been getting a little better each week."

Northridge fell to Pelham 49-40 last Friday. Smith said that it was only the second time in his coaching career that his team lost while scoring 40 points.

Quentario Aull leads Northridge in rushing with 351 yards. Charles Hurst has 197 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Lavares Howard has 188 yards rushing. Quarterback Tanner Cline has 128 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

Cline has throw for 339 yards. Malyk Ervin leads the Jaguars with 11 receptions for 97 yards.

"They offer a lot of mismatch problems," Gibson said. "They run the veer and the counter (play) and make you play assignment football. If you do the wrong thing, they make you pay."

The Wildcats, who lost to Bessemer City 28-21, defeated Central 46-26 last week.

"The first series we put points on the board, and that's always good," Gibson said. "I was pleased about not having that letdown. The defense got some turnovers, and the special teams put points on the board. That's something I was proud of."

Allen Cooks returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown. Cooks has 16 catches for 251 yards and four touchdowns. Parker Montgomery has 12 receptions for 247 yards and two touchdowns.

Seth Franks directs a balanced attack that has produced 817 rushing yards and 729 passing yards. Franks has thrown for 719 yards and nine touchdowns. Derrick Burns leads the Wildcats 346 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

Linebacker Jared Strickland has 55 tackles for a TCHS defense that is allowing 15. …

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