Football team preview: Northside Christian

Northside Christian

At a glance

Coach: Mike Alstott (ninth season)

Class: 2A, Region 3

Last season: 8-3 (lost in the region semifinals)

Key players: WR/DB Joel Bolds, Sr.; OL Byron Ellis, Sr.; RB/DB Jon’tae Ferguson Jr., So.; OL/DL Avontrell Hazzard, Sr.; WR/DB Brian James, Sr.; QB Scott Lynch, So.; RB/DB Zuri Watson, So.; OL Hayden Zepp, Sr.


Sept. 4 vs. Carrollwood Day L 7-36

Sept. 11 vs. Northside Christian

Sept. 18 at Bradenton Christian

Sept. 25 Bye

Oct. 2 vs. Bradenton Saint Stephen’s

Oct. 9 vs. Foundation Academy

Oct. 16 at Bradenton Christian

Oct. 23 at Keswick Christian

Oct. 30 Bye

Nov. 6 at St. Petersburg Catholic

Things to know

No running on empty

Northside Christian was dealt a blow with the loss of Tre’quan Hilton, who tore his ACL. Hilton ran for more than 1,900 yards and scored 25 touchdowns on the ground last season. The Mustangs will go more by committee to replace that production with Zuri Watson and Jon’tae Ferguson getting the bulk of the work. The line is solid with Byron Ellis and Hayden Zepp both returning. They will join forces with a couple of transfers, including Avontrell Hazzard, who came over from Admiral Farragut and picked up an offer from Concordia this week.

Newbie QB

Running back was not the only position Northside Christian had to fill. The Mustangs also find a replacement for Quad Gardner, who graduated. Taking on that role is Scott Lynch, a sophomore who came from New Jersey. Lynch had a few bright spots in the opener, accounting for Northside’s lone score on a touchdown pass. Brian James and Joel Bolds, the team’s top two leading receivers last year, both return to give Lynch some experienced targets. 

De-fense! De-fense!

Hazzard will go both ways to help anchor the line. James is versatile enough to play at linebacker or in the secondary. Others in the defensive backfield include Bolds, One Williams and Watson, who had a team-leading four interceptions last season.