Patriots 7-2 as Playoffs Near

Face Presbyterian Christian School Friday, Oct. 24

Patriots 7-2 as Playoffs Near

This year’s Jackson Prep football team is going for their third straight state championship.  With a 7-2 record the team is well on their way to another successful run.

This year will be like no other. The team is playing for something much bigger than another state championship. After the first game in the season the team lost a loved member, number 65 Walker Wilbanks. The team immediately dropped all thoughts of football and started to pray for and help the Wilbanks family. Although it was a shock to all players and truly a heartbreaking loss, the team has used it as motivation for the rest of their season. The team adopted the motto “Through the power of God. For the glory of God. In honor of Walker.”

Skydivers, including one honoring Walker Wilbanks, hit the field at Columbia Academy before Prep’s victory there. Photo by Sarah Kennedy Duncan

The team followed their 21-26 loss to Oxford High School with four straight wins. They beat Copiah Academy, Forest High School, and Lamar all by 35 or more points. They also beat MRA by 7 points in a very emotional game. They suffered a lost from Bassfield high school, but have beaten East Rankin for the homecoming game since then.  In the big rivalry game, Prep beat JA 24-19.  Prep has three more games until the playoffs, which include big games against Oak Forest and Presbyterian Christian.

The team is led by 21 seniors this year with many underclassmen filling other starting and supporting roles, which were lost when last years 34 seniors graduated. This years team is younger and less experienced, but seems to be every bit as talented.

Seniors Brock Newman, Ian McGraw, Cooper Henry and Gene Wood have all stepped up for the Patriots on offense. Both Gene Wood and Ian McGraw have been nominated for Blitz 16 player of the week this year, in route to leading the team to victory. Seniors on defense include last years tackling leader Trace Lovertich and defensive end Adam Stovall. These two have done a great job anchoring down the defensive side of the ball.

Many underclassmen have also made a big impact. Jacob Crawley has shot on to the scene early this year, helping the patriots greatly on offense. Other offensive underclassmen include Tate Fowler at receiver and J.C. Pride and Noah Sasser on the line. Defensively juniors Graham Eklund and Kaleb Lovertich have stepped up in a big way. Along with these two Healy Vise and John Wooley have been a major threat on the offensive line.

Although it is still early in the season, the Prep football team has a promising future ahead of them. As they continue to play in honor of Walker Wilbanks the team seems more motivated than ever to win another state championship.


Prep faces off against Columbia Academy. Photo by Sarah Kennedy Duncan.