A new era of Prep football set to begin

From Issue 1


photo courtesy of Jackson Prep

Your 2021 football Patriots and coaches.

The 2021 Jackson Prep football season will officially kick off August 20 when the Patriots take on the Greenville Christian School Saints. However, things will look much different for the Patriots this fall. For the first time in 25 years, a coach not named Ricky Black will be the head man for the Prep football team.

Coach Tyler Turner was named the new head coach for Jackson Prep in March of 2021. He accepted the head coaching position at Jackson Prep after successful stints at high schools in both Tennessee and Mississippi. With an impressive head coaching record of 67-15, Turner is no stranger to winning, and he plans on continuing that tradition at Prep.

The on-field product for the Patriots will look much different this season than it has in years past. Under coach Ricky Black, Prep ran a more traditional run-oriented offense. The team would huddle up before every play, and the goal was to overpower opponents and dominate the line of scrimmage in order to open up the short passing game. 

Coach Turner brings along with him a very modernized, up-tempo spread offense. There is no huddling between plays, and the offense plays at a tempo that is used to wear the defense down over the course of the game. The main philosophy of this offense is “taking what the defense gives you”. All play calls are based on how the defense is lined up in order for the players to be in the best position possible for success. The quarterback is responsible for identifying the leverage of the secondary players to make quick reads in the passing game, as well as knowing the position of the defensive linemen in the run game. Overall, this offense is extremely hard for opponents to game plan against, and has the potential to put up big numbers.

Defensively, the Patriots will be switching to a more versatile 3-4 scheme, which means there are three defensive lineman and four linebackers, leaving four players left in the secondary. This type of defense makes it very hard for the offense to know what the defense is doing. Outside linebackers can line up in a traditional linebacker spot, but can also be walked up to the line of scrimmage and appear as an edge rusher. Many variations of zone blitzes can be run from this defense, as well as man coverage looks. This defense is very difficult for offenses to identify due to its versatility and variations of positioning.

While several important players return for the Patriots this season, they will have to replace many key pieces from last year’s team. On offense, quarterback Riley Maddox, running back Matt Jones, and receivers Thaxton Berch and Jeffrey Ince all graduated along with several offensive linemen. Defensively, linebacker Bradeon Mabry is the biggest loss, to go along with others such as Seth Cook, William McHenry, and JK Nowell.

Paxton Thompson will likely take over at quarterback for Prep, while Sam McMullan and William Deas are expected to take the bulk of the carries at running back. Luke Williams returns at wide receiver, along with others such as Garner Watkins, William Laird and Will Upton. Offensive lineman Gavin Mullins returns from a torn ACL and will anchor the offensive line, along with several others who split time on the line last season. On defense, William Deas returns at linebacker, along with other expected contributors Sam Watts, Blake Martin, and Ethan Williams. In the secondary, Luke Williams, Walker Box and Sam Graves are all expected to be key contributors. Ford Smith and Chase Galloway also return to help the defensive line.

While things will look much different for Prep on the field this season, this team has the potential to be very successful and will look to capture the school’s twenty-sixth state championship.