Now the summer is officially underway, high schools across Alabama are gearing up for a big 2021 season. By the first kickoff in August, crowds will be back to full capacity and masks will likely be a thing of the past.

One of the most notable squads in west Alabama is the Northridge Jaguars. They released their 2021 football schedule back in February, but there are several games that will be circled in Sharpie.

Earlier in the spring, Northridge's varsity and JV teams took down American Christian Academy in their spring jamboree. Sure, it might just be a spring game and ACA will likely have a huge season in the fall, but the fact that the Jaguars were able to take down this local 4A giant is huge for the program just across the river. A full recap of that spring game can be found here.

The Jaguars will kick off their regular season with a homestand against the Sipsey Valley Bears on Friday, August 20th. Last year, the two teams faced off for Week One and the Jags won handily 45-6. This year, Northridge should easily be able to take down a Sipsey Valley team that has an overall winning percentage of just 27%.

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The 2021 schedule is as follows:

  • Fri., Aug. 20 - vs. Sipsey Valley Bears
  • Fri., Aug. 27 - @ Central-Tuscaloosa Falcons
  • Fri., Sept. 3 - vs. Paul W. Bryant Stampede*
  • Fri., Sept. 10 - @ Bessemer City Purple Tigers*
  • Fri., Sept. 17 - vs. Brookwood Panthers*
  • Fri., Sept. 24 - vs. Gordo Green Wave
  • Fri., Oct. 1 - @ Hillcrest Patriots*
  • Fri., Oct. 8 - BYE WEEK
  • Fri., Oct. 15 - vs. Hueytown Golden Gophers*
  • Fri., Oct. 22 - @ McAdory Yellow Jackets*
  • Fri., Oct. 29 - @ Tuscaloosa County Wildcats

* - denotes Region Game

By the time the Jaguars reach Gordo in Week 6, it is possible that Northridge could be 5-0. In 2020, the first five opponents had a combined record of 9-40. None of these teams made the playoffs. Much like last year’s schedule, though, Northridge’s schedule is back-loaded with tough opponents. Two tough back-to-back games against Gordo and Hillcrest could provide a challenge. After this stretch though, the Jaguars will get a bye week to recover.

Northridge only lost two region games in 2020 - a 49-21 home beatdown by an Ethan Crawford-led Hillcrest team and a forfeiture to Hueytown due to COVID-19 issues.

Fortunately, this won’t be a problem in the 2021 campaign.

Still, the Jaguars have never beaten Hueytown since the Golden Gophers joined 6A Region 4 in 2018. This game, the Hillcrest game, and the McAdory game will be the most important games for the Jaguars in 2021.

This is exciting for high school football fans, as these three games happen in a four-week span.

Northridge had an impressive comeback season in 2020 after getting their first winning season in five years. Riding a 7-3 record, the Jaguars made their first playoff appearance since that same 2015 season. Northridge finished the season with an impressive 4-2 region record that could have been one win higher if they wouldn’t have had to forfeit the game against Hueytown.

The Jaguars lost in the first round in a rout by Saraland, but coach Mike Vickery has set the foundation for a big 2021 campaign. If you are a fan of the Jaguars, this upcoming season will be an exciting one.

Bryant's Prediction for Northridge in 2021:  Northridge showed great signs of growth in 2020. I predict the same will happen for the Jags in 2021. After going 5-0 in the first five weeks, two straight losses to Gordo and Hillcrest might seem problematic, but don't fret. This won't be permanent. The Jags will finish 7-3 overall and will post an area record of 4-2. The area record might be the same as 2020, but Northridge will prove that they are a consistent contender in Region 4.

Tuscaloosa's High School Football Programs

Here are some of the high school football programs located in or around the Druid City!