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Friday night, Northridge High School (2-0, 0-0) made a statement with a 26-0 win over Central High School (Tuscaloosa) (1-1, 0-0). The Northridge Jaguars, led by running back LiEric Street, totaled 281 yards. Street himself rushed for 91 yards and one touchdown with 11 carries.

Last week after their win over Sipsey Valley, Jaguars head coach Mike Vickery said that any matchup against a cross-town rival was a big deal. Vickery even complimented the new coach for the Central Falcons, saying “Coach [Rodney] Bivens is doing a really good job there.”

“When you have a cross-town matchup, we do a phenomenal job of promoting these games," Vickery said. "We just really want to go and promote high school football in Tuscaloosa."

Courtesy of Bryant Horn
Courtesy of Bryant Horn

In his inaugural year as Central's head coach, Bivens' work in shaping the Falcons is paying off in field performance. Under the helm of running back Markelious Furr, Central gained 118 yards but came up scoreless. Running back Arnsey Richardson assisted the offense too, accounting for 21 yards.

Despite the loss, Bivens praised his defense’s effort.

“I thought the defense did an amazing in the first half and throughout the entire game as far as stopping the run,” Bivens said.

He continued by stating that his team still has room for improvement.

“We just need to find a way to not beat ourselves," Bivens said. "Once we get over that hump, and once we learn how to do that, we’ll be fine.”

In celebration of Northridge's shutout, Vickery continued to sing the Jags’ praise tonight.

“We’re going to lean on our running backs," he said. "Every year that I’m coach, we’re always going to establish the run and be a physical football team.”

Along with the help of sophomore running back PJ Hall, Northridge also saw contributions from Simeon Houston. The running back rushed for 53 yards and one touchdown.

While the Jaguars had a successful night running the ball, the young defense made the difference with a big first-half defensive stop that halted a long Central drive.

Northridge and Central last met in 2017, where the Jaguars walked away with a 33-26 win. The Jaguars missed the playoffs that season with a record of 4-6. Central forfeited their four wins due to AHSAA violations and ended their season 0-10. Despite the Central loss tonight, it is clear that both teams are a force to be reckoned with.

The Jaguars plan to carry their momentum into their region play with a road trip to Paul W. Bryant High next week. Central will look to rebound with a region-play home matchup with the Demopolis Tigers.

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