HomeNewsJackson Christian, USJ, TCA open with wins over quality opponents

Jackson Christian, USJ, TCA open with wins over quality opponents

The three private school football teams who play in the TSSAA in Madison County all came away with big wins on Friday night.

USJ’s defense stifled the offense of Class 2A power Peabody.

Jackson Christian stayed ahead of Division II-AA contender Northpoint Christian.

Trinity Christian overcame an early two-score deficit for a comeback win over Class 4A Chester County.

Jackson Christian 21, Northpoint Christian 14

The Eagles’ junior four-star prospect Jay’Len Mosley has been dealing with hamstring issues the last couple weeks of preseason, but he managed to get on the field on Friday for the season-opener.

It’s a good thing he did too because he was the one quarterback Austin Kelley connected with three times for all of the Eagles’ touchdowns.

“I think everyone already understands Jay’Len is a special player and great athlete, but he’s tough too, and I think he showed that tonight,” said Jackson Christian head coach Darby Palmer. “Our run game was good enough tonight that Northpoint had to account for us staying on the ground, so that opened up some space for our receivers to do their work.”

The Eagles finished with nearly 350 yards, and about 130 of them came on the ground.

“When you can move the ball like that against a team like Northpoint that is expected to compete in a bigger classification, you’re doing something good,” Palmer said. “I’m proud of our guys for being able to do it.”

The defense did its job too, holding Northpoint scoreless in the first half.

“That was big because Northpoint had the ball inside our 10-yard line, and our defense held on fourth-and-1 to get the ball back,” Palmer said. “That really helped us early on and helped our guys play with more confidence later in the game.”

Northpoint scored twice in the second half to stay within a score, but Palmer was proud of the disciplined brand of football his team played.

“They’ve got a quarterback that is really good at getting the ball where he needs it to go, whether he’s floating it over a defender or rolling out and hitting a guy on a curl route over the top of a couple of our guys,” Palmer said. “So preparing for an offense with a player like that, we were helped because we’ve played them pretty regularly the past few years and are more familiar with what they try to do.”

USJ 14, Peabody 7

First-year head coach Derrick Pritchard’s two most basic goals – after winning – for each game the Bruins play is to be the tougher team and to compete.

“I told them before the game that a lot of people are expecting us to not be the most physical team on the field tonight, so I challenged them that no matter what the final score would be, make sure Peabody knew when they walked off the field tonight to know they’d been in a fight,” Pritchard said.

The Bruin defense brought the fight to the Golden Tide’s offense, especially into the backfield and getting to the young quarterback repeatedly.

Running back Noah Spencer ran for both of USJ’s scores – one from 50 yards out at the end of the first quarter and the second one late in the third quarter to cap a long drive.

The defense came close to a shutout, but Peabody managed to score late.

TCA 27, Chester County 20

The Eagles proved they were dangerous early on when they went up 13-0 on the Lions.

But the Lions proved for the following three-plus quarters they can adapt and persevere.

“Chester County is a good team and came out and really pushed us around,” said TCA head coach Darren Bowling. “So we saw what they were doing and made a few adjustments, and the kids responded well.

“Making adjustments in the game like that is tricky, but we just talked to the kids as they came off the field about what we were doing, and those adjustments were things we’d been working on already in practice. But we had to make them, and we didn’t want to wait until halftime to make them.”

TCA scored a touchdown in the first quarter and pulled to a 20-20 tie by halftime. The Lions scored again in the fourth quarter to take the lead and ultimately win the game, holding the Eagles scoreless in the second half.

“We were really proud of the effort and the way the kids executed our adjustments after the half,” Bowling said.

Ripley 22, South Side 9

Chuck Stokes had a long touchdown run for the Hawks to open the scoring late in the first quarter, and the Hawk defense picked up a safety in the third quarter for a 9-7 lead.

But Ripley scored twice early in the fourth quarter to take the game over and pull away to the win.

Crockett County 39, North Side 15

The Indians had a hard time getting things started in Alamo, while the Cavaliers capped an emotional week with a big win.

The Indians have their first home game next week against city rival Jackson Central-Merry.

Next week’s Madison County schedule

JCM at South Side

Liberty at North Side

Franklin-Grace at TCA

Union City at USJ

Jackson Christian at Peabody

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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