North Jackson looking to reload

The North Jackson Chiefs (4A) are faced with what is commonly referred to as a rebuilding year, but at North Jackson (10-2 in 2008) they just call it "reloading". The Chiefs lost their leading rusher (A.J. Matthews) and nine defensive starters last season, including star linebacker Tana Patrick who is now playing at the University of Alabama.

Coach Shawn Peek has the unenviable task of replacing all those players this season. While a lot of players gained playing time last season, there is uncertainty at several positions this season, mostly on defense.

Returning is linebacker Zack Hammontree who looks to be the defensive leader this season, but the secondary and line will have to rely on younger players to take up the slack.

On offense, quarterbacks Will Richard and Zach Barnard both return along with running backs Cord Wordlaw, Tyler Robinson, and Justin Redd. Montel Hale, Jovani Taylor and Kahne Cooper head up the receiving corps that will see plenty of passes coming their way in 2009.

Perhaps a strong point for the Chiefs is a pair of placekickers who could kick for any school in the area.

North Jackson travels to Scottsboro Friday night to play the 5A Wildcats in a non-region, archrival battle. Scottsboro and North Jackson are only few miles apart and that has created a heated rivalry between the two schools.

They have played each other every year since Bridgeport and Stevenson merged to form North Jackson High School in 1988, but it is the Chiefs who have dominated the series, winning 16 of the 21 games they have played. The last time Scottsboro beat North Jackson was in 2003 when the Cats won 24-6 at home. North Jackson won 24-3 in 2007, and the Chiefs took last year's game 25-7.

The 2009 season presents some unanswered questions for North Jackson, but a few of those might get answered Friday night at Scottsboro.

Kickoff is at 7:00 PM at Pat Trammel Stadium.

Post your comments and predictions: North Jackson vs. Scottsboro [click here].

Preps AL Top Stories