Prep falls short of MRA 34-22

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Photo by Hannah Grace Biggs
Jake Lange winds up for a long pass.

On October 18, Madison-Ridgeland Academy came to Flowood to face Jackson Prep in a clash of metropolitan-area rivals. The game, which was a rematch of last year’s championship, pitted MRA’s highly productive offense against Prep’s traditionally stout defense.

Surprisingly, the first quarter ended with no points on the board. Prep’s offense was unable to establish a rhythm in its first two drives as they struggled to create running lanes for junior Matt Jones. The Patriots were also unable to consistently beat the MRA defense through the air despite several attempts. On defense, an interception by Braedon Mabry prevented quarterback Phillip Short and the MRA offense from scoring. MRA struck first in the second quarter due to several clutch third-down conversions. However, Prep responded on the following drive as Matt Jones rushed into the endzone. With the score even at 7-7, MRA received the ensuing kickoff, hoping for another long possession. Once again, the visitors escaped several long third downs, placing themselves on the doorstep of the endzone as the first half concluded. Finally, with one second left on the clock, receiver Joe Perkins made a diving catch to put MRA up 14-7. 

Prep’s offense seemed to compose themselves in the second half. As a result of the efforts of receivers Luke Williams and Thaxton Berch, the passing attack gained new life. Unfortunately, an interception returned for a touchdown by MRA’s Joe Perkins derailed Prep’s momentum. Despite being behind for most of the second half, Prep showed tenacity on both sides of the ball. A late Prep touchdown from Braedon Mabry was too-little, too-late, and the scoreboard read 34-22 in favor of MRA as the clock hit zero.

Although the loss was disappointing for Prep’s team and fans, there is a bevy of positive takeaways. If the defense can prevent opposing teams from converting third downs, they will force more punts. As a result, the ball will be in the offense’s hands more frequently, giving them more chances to score. Once the offense gets the ball, they will need to balance their running and passing attacks. To do this, Prep’s backfield needs to show their usual rushing production as the passing game continues to improve. These keys will be valuable if Prep is to defeat MRA in the playoffs.

Several obstacles stand between the Patriots and a potential rematch, however. In the next two weeks, the team will face division rivals Parklane and Presbyterian Christian School. After the regular season, the Patriots will need to battle through the always-rigorous playoff bracket to reach the championship game.

Come support the team as they march to McComb to take on the Parklane Pioneers October the 25. Be there and be loud!

“I’ll be back” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Photo by Hannah Grace Biggs
Luke Williams explodes out of his cut and into open space.