Jackson Prep beats rival Jackson Academy 30-10

Ok, let’s set the scene. It is a clear Friday in Flowood and there are two teams foaming at the mouth in either endzone of Patriot Field. One team dons bright royal blue jerseys, their background accented by a raucous and completely red mass of students. The south endzone is a mixture of white and dull navy blue, their hopes bursting through an imposing dark banner and streaking past a foreign red logo towards the lesser sidelines. A week before kickoff, the action had already begun in North Jackson neighborhoods, staining the sides F-150s and BMWs with paintballs. Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again. Here is the next chapter in this story of vandalism and vexation, hatred and haughtiness: it’s Jackson Prep versus Jackson Academy, 2020 style.

Male Cheerleaders sprint with the PREP flags as the team emerges onto the field. Photo by Lily Flowers

The battle began with the Patriots steadily marching down the field on the opening drive. Senior quarterback Riley Maddox scrambled several times to extend Prep’s attack before lobbing a jump ball to Thaxton Berch near the goalline. Berch made well on the opportunity, ripping the ball out of the air and over the head of Lardarius Webb Jr., JA’s heavy-talking, Nebraska-bound cornerback. Soon thereafter, Maddux pushed his way through a scrum into the blue of the north endzone, the scoreboard reading 7-0. The Raider offense was unable to move past the stingy Patriot defense on their first drive, but their plan was obvious: get the ball into the highly-touted hands of LSU recruit Deion Smith.

After a JA punt, Prep set off on another promising offensive drive. The passing attack clicked much better than it had in weeks past, with a multitude of receivers getting in on the action. With progress stalling near the 20-yard line, Louie Gatlin split the uprights with his only field goal attempt of the game. JA’s Marcus Harris snuck his way into the endzone on the Raider’s second drive of the game, pushing the score to 10-7. The margin was deadlocked at three for the rest of the half, and both teams headed to their locker rooms with victory on their minds.

Jeffery Ince receives a pass from Riley Maddox. Photo by Lily Flowers

The second half saw JA with the first offensive possession and the first points. The Raiders developed quite the pattern, throwing screen pass after screen pass to Deion Smith on the outside. However, Prep’s defense limited their opponents to a field goal. Offensively, the Patriots’ commitment to their gameplan in the first half payed off on their first play of the second half. Riley Maddox rolled to his left like he had many times before, but, instead of running, he flipped a pass to Jeffery Ince on a wide-open wheel route. Ince took off like a flash along the home sideline, tiptoeing his way past the pylon and giving Prep a 17-10 lead. From this point on, the Patriots held on tight to the momentum, never allowing another point.

The fourth quarter’s highlights were entirely wrapped in red and blue. Junior Luke Williams leaped high into the air to pick off one of Jackson Conn’s errant passes. On offense, Matt Jones separated from the JA’s initial defenders several times, the most notable of these sprints being called back because of a penalty. However, Jeffery Ince sealed the deal by bowling his way over several of Sheffield Drive’s prized defenders. The taunting that ensued after the touchdown was heavily flagged but heavily appreciated by the home bleachers. To cap off the night, Ince made his presence known once again by taking an interception back for a touchdown as the play clock struck zero. Students dusted with red powder flooded onto the field, chasing down the team and meeting for a rowdy celebration near the fifty-yard-line.

The Prep student section covered with a haze of red powder. Photo by Lily Flowers

With the win, Prep moves to an all-time record of 40-14 against the Raiders. The team is standing at 5-1 so far this season, tied for first in their district with 2 wins against MAIS 6A opponents. You can catch your Patriots in action next on homecoming night against Greenville’s Washington School.