Northridge football turning season around after 0-2 start, tops Bryant for 2nd win in a row

Maxwell Donaldson
The Tuscaloosa News

COTTONDALE − After an 0-2 start to the season, Northridge football has rebounded with two straight region wins, including Friday's 41-6 win over Paul W. Bryant.

The Jaguars (2-2, 2-1 in Class 6A Region 4) didn't get off to a slow start against Bryant (0-5, 0-3 6A Region 4), taking a 28-6 lead into halftime due in large part to Toryion Spears, who finished with 109 yards and two touchdowns. Spears set the tone early with a 73-yard touchdown before Kollyn Shelnutt took to add three touchdowns.

The Jaguars are in the first year of the Ryan Lolley era after Mike Vickery spent six seasons as head coach. Lolley, who came from Gordo, has seen improvement from his team over the course of the season but still doesn't think the Northridge has reached its potential.

"I think we've come a million miles from where we were at the beginning of the year, but we're about 55-60% of the capacity of what we can be," Lolley said. "Ultimately it comes down to having potential and production, and we got a lot of guys with a ton of potential but we got to have production out of all them."

Sep 16, 2022; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Northridge's Toyrian Spears (2) runs the ball against Bryant at Paul W. Bryant High School Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Will McLelland-Tuscaloosa News

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Senior offensive lineman Wilkin Formby, an Alabama commit, is proud of the way the Jaguars have responded after the slow start but believes the team knew the early games would be challenging.

"We knew it was going to be a tough first two games," Formby said. "By the end of the season, I think that it'll really pay off, having to play those two big games."

Formby credits the week-to-week improvements between games and the improvement that the team showed in the Hillcrest loss compared to the game against the Patriots last season. Oak Mountain handed Northridge its other loss.

Bryant will host Demopolis and Northridge will visit American Christian Academy next.