Mid-Season ReportBy ANTHONY WARREN,
Northside football teams are entering the final stretch of the regular season. For some schools, it’s do or die - win and the playoffs are on the horizon. Lose and stay home.
Jackson Prep, Madison-Ridgeland Academy and Jackson Academy are already gauranteed spots in the MAIS 6A playoffs. Now, they’re vying to determine seeding and home field advantage. This week, we take a look at schools across our coverage area.
Jackson Academy Raiders
Jackson Academy will face East Rankin Academy this week in a matchup that could give the Raiders a much-needed late-season win.
The Raiders (3-4, 1-2) come into the contest after two tough matchups against Pelahatchie and Jackson Prep.
East Rankin is not a district game, so it should give the Raiders a chance to tune up before taking on Presbyterian Christian (5-2), Starkville Academy (5-2) and Parklane Academy (5-2) in the final three games of the season.
Games against Parklane and Presbyterian Christian will likely help determine post-season seeding. Two wins would likely grant JA home-field advantage in the first round.
The Raiders are led by running back Marcus Harris, who has been one of the team’s most prolific players. So far this year, the sophomore has rushed for 553 yards and seven touchdowns.
St. Andrew’s Saints
Region play for St. Andrew’s began last week, meaning that even with a 2-5 start, the Saints couldstill make the playoffs.
The formula is simple: win two of the next four and they’re in. Win one more, and there’s still a possibility based on a Mississippi High School Activities Association formula.
This week, the Saints will travel to Camden to take on Velma Jackson (3-3). Last year, the Falcons dismantled the Saints in a 62-17 decision.
After that, the Saints travel to Yazoo County to face the 5-2 Panthers and will then host the 2-4 Raleigh Lions and 5-1 Crystal Springs Tigers to round out the regular season.
Recently, starting quarterback/corner Aaron Cooper went down with what was possibly a season-ending injury.
Junior Trey Hebert has stepped in, and performed well in his first start. In the Saints’ loss to West Lincoln, he completed 192 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Jackson Prep Patriots
This week, the Jackson Prep Patriots will take on non-district foe Washington School.
After being upset in the season opener, Prep (6-1, 2-0) has rolled off six straight victories, including wins against Jackson Academy, Taylorsville and Oak Forest Academy.
Prep, the reigning MAIS Class 6A champs, will need to be hitting on all cylinders going into its final three games, contests against MRA, Presbyterian Christian and Parklane Academy.
Win out, and Prep will likely secure home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the MAIS Class 6A playoffs. One loss would likely give the Patriots a first-round bye and a second seed.
Prep has been dominant on the ground this year, thanks to junior running back Matt Jones, who so far has rushed for 761 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Germantown’s brutal stretch of regional play continues this week, as the Mavericks take on Class 6A powerhouse South Panola.
The Mavs (3-3, 0-2) come into the game after falling last week against Region 2 foe Starkville.
Germantown will round out the season with matchups against Clinton (2-3), Greenville (3-2), Madison Central (6-0) and Murrah (1-5).
South Panola appears poised to make another run at the state championship. So far this year, the Tigers have outscored opponents 239 to 66, and have averaged more than 53 tackles per game.
Germantown has been outscored by opponents 156 to 148 and averaged 69.2 tackles per game. The Mavericks will have to step up their rush defense to fend off the Tigers, who average 330.3 rushing yards a game.
The Patriots of Madison-Ridgeland Academy are hoping to get back to their winning ways this week when they take on Hartfield Academy.
The Patriots (6-2, 2-0) opened the season with four straight wins, dominating opponents on both sides of the ball, but dropped two in a row in late September to Philadelphia High School and Briarcrest Christian School.
MRA rebounded last week with a win against Parklane Academy and hope to keep their hot streak alive as they travel to Flowood to take on the 6-1 Hawks.
Despite its two losses, the Patriots have outscored opponents 324 to 104.
The MRA offense is led by senior quarterback Philip Short, who’s completed 95 passes for 1,637 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Madison Central Jaguars
Madison Central is off to its best start in years, but several major games still loom large on the Jaguars’ schedule.
On Friday, Big Blue will take on Warren Central in its third district game of the season.
The Jaguars (6-0, 2-0) come into the game having outscored opponents 149-57 and having notched major wins against 6A rivals Brandon Bulldogs and Clinton Arrows.
Warren Central (4-2, 2-0) comes into Friday’s contest looking to avenge last year’s 24-17 loss to the Jags.
So far this year, Big Blue has outscored opponents 173-57, and has put up impressive numbers on both sides of the ball.
The offense is led by senior quarterback Jimmy Holiday, who has 529 passing yards and six touchdowns. He’s rushed for another 661 yards and 10 touchdowns in the Jags’ six victories.
St. Joseph Bruins
Like St. Andrew’s, the Bruins are off to a shaky 2-5 start, but playoff hopes are alive and well as St. Joe enters the second week of district play.
This week, the Bruins will host Class 2A powerhouse Pisgah High in the second of four straight Region 4 matchups.
Next, the Bruins will take on Pelahatchie (5-2) and Riverside (2-5) in the final two matchups of the season.
Two wins could translate into a playoff berth for the St. Joe squad, which entered the 2018 playoffs with a 2-3 record in Class 2A Region Six.
The undefeated Pisgah Dragons have outscored opponents 241-112. Pelahatchie has outscored opponents 207-147.
Meanwhile, the Bruins have stalled offensively, scoring just 131 points on the year while allowing 175.
The Ridgeland Titans (5-1, 2-0) are one game away from having their first winning season in years.
This week, the Titans will take on Region 2 foe Callaway High (4-2, 1-1) at home, in a matchup between two strong Class 5A teams.
After going 5-6 last year, the Titans have won five of their last six, with the team’s only loss coming in week three to Pearl.
Ridgeland is led by phenom junior quarterback Zy McDonald, who has averaged more than 274 yards per game and has maintained a 98.8 percent quarterback rating. On the ground, McDonald has rushed for 254 yards and five touchdowns.
This week, the Murrah Mustangs travel to Clinton to take on the Class 6A Arrows.
The Mustangs come into the game with a 1-5 record, having fallen last week to the Madison Central Jaguars.
After that, Murrah will travel to Vicksburg to take on Warren Central, and will then host Starkville, South Panola and Germantown in region matchups.