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Northridge Jaguars face must-win game


Northridge coach Mike Smith huddles with his team during their game against Bob Jones. (Photo by Jason Harless)


TUSCALOOSA | Northridge football coach Mike Smith believes that adversity makes one stronger, but he thinks there’s got to be a limit.

Losses and injuries have been piling up for Smith’s Jaguars since they started 3-0. Northridge has been outscored 129-41 in its four-game losing streak.

The Jaguars aren’t out of the playoff picture, but Smith said tonight game’s against Jackson-Olin is a must-win for his team to remain in the Class 6A, Region 5 race.

"It’s do or die," Smith said. "We have to find a way to get it done. I like our chances if this team will just step up to the plate. The only thing we can control is if we win out (in the region), we’ll be in the playoffs. We want to finish the right way."

Jackson-Olin, which is seeking its first victory, has averaged 9.1 points per game while allowing an average of 36.7. Smith can sympathize up to a point.

"We’ve been having our struggles too," he said. "Our record the last four weeks has not been good.

"We know they’re going to try to spread the field and use their athletes. Their quarterback is a dual threat. Our defensive line has got to step up. Our offensive line is tattered. It may be a situation where our defense is going to have to make up for our offense."

Smith said the return of Bruce Brown from an injury marks the first time the starting defensive line has been intact in about three weeks.

Brown and Dominic Branch will start at tackle, with Hunter Smith and Brandon manning the end positions.

Junior Bo Scarbrough, Northridge’s leading rusher, was injured in last week’s 21-7 loss to Hueytown. Smith didn’t specify the type of injury, but he said Scarbrough is "very doubtful" for tonight’s game. Tanner Cline, who had been the starting quarterback, has missed some games because of mononucleosis. Smith said Cline is "questionable."

Kyle Stuart, a sophomore left-hander, is expected to start at quarterback for the Jaguars.

"I knew when he came out for football that he was going to be a kid that would do everything in his ability to do everything right for you," Smith said. "That’s what you want in a quarterback, no matter what his skill level is."

 

Northridge (3-4, 2-3) at Jackson-Olin (0-7, 0-5)

When: Tonight, 7 p.m.

Where: Birmingham

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.