JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — As we gear up for the high school football season, News 19 will be previewing more than 40 of our Tennessee Valley programs in On the Road with Olivia and Claudia.
Episode 21 features the Scottsboro Wildcats and North Jackson Chiefs.
Cris Bell is entering his second year with the Scottsboro program going 3-7 last year. Now with that year and a full offseason under his belt, Bell says the team has learned a lot and feel more confident going into this fall.
“We’ve come a long way in a little over 12 months now, have certainly learned a lot about our guys. We started out, we’re 1-6, not looking real good, we come out and win two of our last three. I thought we showed really a tremendous amount of poise throughout the season, the kids came out and practiced hard every day and they’ve continued that throughout the offseason and we expect it to pay dividends this fall,” Bell said.
But this year won’t come easy as the Wildcats move from 6A to 5A and into Region 7 where they have a tough schedule. But Bell said he and his team are excited about the challenge.
“Old rivalries are going to be renewed for the town, for the community and I think we’re excited about that. We’re going to be battling up in there. I like what we have and I like where we are going forward and we’re going to find out in a hurry because we have Boaz, Arab, and Guntersville right out of the gate,” Bell added.
Now over to North Jackson which also has a second-year head coach in Joe Hollis Jr. The Chiefs lost 11 seniors from last year but that was a younger team. Now with some experience for both the players and this coaching staff, Hollis says his team is ready to continue building a winning culture at North Jackson.
“The expectation and the bar are high. The first year, decent season, 5-5, got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs, that’s not the expectation at North Jackson and we know that and we know what we’re working towards. All of these young guys that are stepping up, we are heavy sophomore/juniors. Those guys got into big games last year and got to experience those things and learn from those reps. Now our guys get to go we’ve been here, done this before, now it’s just time to read and react,” Hollis said.
The Chiefs have a bye week zero and will open their season on August 26 against Scottsboro while the Wildcats will get started week zero and host rivals Fort Payne on Friday night.