MRA defeats Jackson Prep 48-33, ending seven-year title streak

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After a week of expectation and fanfare, the Jackson Prep and Madison-Ridgeland Academy squared off in the annual MAIS 6A championship game. The two teams had no shortage of competitive history before they met on the campus of Mississippi College. In fact, the game was a rematch of last year’s title match in which Prep prevailed 33-27.

Hannah Grace Biggs
Peyton Dunn lifts up Matt Jones after a critical touchdown.

Jackson Prep has made a habit of defeating their crosstown rivals, scattering MRA’s hopes numerous times on the way to seven consecutive state championships. However, MRA has gotten the better of Flowood’s Patriots this year, defeating them at home 34-22. Much like last season, Jackson Prep hoped to reverse their regular season woes and capture the blue first-place trophy.

After arriving in Clinton, the game got off to a hot start as MRA’s Phillip Short completed a long pass to Justin Williams on the home sideline. The play was a not-so-subtle hint to MRA’s strategy; Short and his corps of talented receivers would continue to impose their will on Prep’s defensive backfield. However, Prep countered MRA’s opening attack with offensive production of their own. Juniors Riley Maddox and Matt Jones both scampered into the endzone in the opening minutes to get the Patriots on the board. Prep’s more compact offensive formations seemed to puzzle MRA’s defense, making the Maddox to Jones connection lethal in the first half. The opposing squads entered their locker rooms with multiple adjustments to make and high hopes for the second half. The score stood at 27-21 in favor of Jackson Prep as the halftime buzzer sounded.

The field now dusted with baby powder from the schools’ dueling student sections, MRA kicked off to Prep’s Seth Cook to begin the second half. Prep’s offense was unable to sustain consistent movement down the field because of multiple holding penalties. After a punt  Prep, MRA’s Short sent a bullet into the hands of senior receiver Tyler Starnes to tie the game at 27. With Prep’s offense now stagnant, MRA continued to streak down the field with their passing game. Outside of a late scoring drive led by senior quarterback Jake Lange, Prep’s Patriots were unable to establish their footing. As excitement continued to rise on MRA’s home sideline, the clock hit zero, and the scoreboard indicated a final score of 48-33.

Hannah Grace Biggs
Alex Stradinger shouts words of encouragement to both teams.

Outside of a late scoring drive led by senior quarterback Jake Lange, Prep’s Patriots were unable to establish their footing. As excitement continued to rise on MRA’s home sideline, the clock hit zero and the scoreboard indicated a final score of 48-33.

With Jackson Prep’s string of championship wins now packed neatly away in the history books, two opposing camps have arisen to predict the future of Patriot football. One camp says that Friday’s loss marked the end of a dynasty and Prep’s time at the top of the MAIS football hierarchy. Although this consequence is possible, it is altogether unlikely. The opposing camp, which is founded on logical thought and primarily composed of Patriot fans, believes that Flowood will continue to be a hotspot for championship teams and talent on the gridiron.

Although the spot for 2019’s trophy may be vacant, the other twenty-five golden balls have not lost their luster.

Hannah Grace Biggs
Matt Jones gives an MRA defender a piggyback ride into the end zone.

Hannah Grace Biggs
Riley Maddox reaches the promised land.