Parklane at Jackson Academy
The Raiders (8-3) open the first round of the MAIS 6A Playoffs against Parklane (5-5).
It will be a rematch of last week’s regular season finale that JA won handily 48-28 in the Brickyard.
Junior running back Marcus Harris was phenomenal, as he racked up 209 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns. His longest run was a blazing 61-yard touchdown. Harris surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season and stands at 1,066 with 20 touchdowns.
The Raiders special teams were also scintillating, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. Senior Ledarius Webb took one 81 yards and senior Deion Smith took another 69 yards to the house.
Defensively, senior Linebacker Caleb Hernandez had eight tackles, raising his team leading total to 81 for the year. Junior defensive end Ethan Archie is second overall with 73 tackles, nine for loss. Senior linebacker Parker Ryan and junior defensive end Max Walenta also pace the Raider defense. Walenta has recorded and impressive 18 tackles for loss this year.
Head Coach Lance Pogue would love to see the Raiders advance to play Jackson Prep in the semi-finals.
Keys to Victory:
JACKSON ACADEMY: It’s tough to play an opponent in back to back week’s and be successful. Parklane scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to make the final look a bit closer. Don’t look for the game plan to change much as Marcus Harris should have another great night. The biggest thing JA needs to guard against is looking past Parklane to Prep, but Lance Pogue is one of the best coaches in the history of Mississippi high school football and will undoubtedly have the Raiders focused.
Ready and Waiting:
Madison-Ridgeland Academy: Coach Herbert Davis and MRA are the defending state champions and this year’s top seed. They earned a first round bye and await the winner of PCS vs. Oak Forest Academy. MRA closed out the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record after beating Oak Forest (La.) 45-13 last Friday night. Senior quarterback Zac Beasley has been a beast so far throwing for 1,984 yards and 22 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Junior wide receiver Davis Dalton looks to continue a stellar year with nearly 700 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns.
Defensively MRA will be tough to score on with junior Stone Blanton shutting down the opposition. Blanton has 100 tackles with 11 for loss and five sacks. The Pats have looked unstoppable this year and appear to have their sights set on back to back titles for the first time in school history.
Jackson Prep: Coach Ricky Black and Prep are the second seed and earned a first round bye. The Pats will host either JA or Parklane next week. Prep finished the regular season 8-2 after wrapping things up with a 20-7 win over Presbyterian Christian School on the road last Friday night. Senior running back Matt Jones is averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game, senior quarterback Riley Maddox is a dual threat for the Patriots offense.
Senior wide receivers Jeffrey Ince and Thaxton Berch are a nightmare for defensive backs. Senior linebacker Braedon Mabry is the leading tackler and will power Prep alongside junior linebacker Will Deas in the playoffs. The road to a state title is a tough one for Prep as the potential to meet JA, then MRA loom. Coach Black will keep this team focused and don’t be surprised to see these Patriots get the chance to bring the title home to Lakeland Drive.
Eupora vs. Madison St. Joseph
Coach John Bond has his teaming coming off their best game of the season. St. Joe blew out Riverside 41-28 to close out the regular season and finish as the thirds seed in Region 4-2A. This will be the final post-season in the MHSAA for the Bruins, as the school announced it is moving back to compete in the MAIS next year.
The Eupora Eagles (5-4) are led by Sophomore quarterback Ty Murphy. Murphy leads the team in rushing with 158 carries for 962 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has 617 yards passing with three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Keys to Victory:
ST. JOE: It has been a rough ride this year for the Bruins between injuries and the wacky season known as 2020. The offense showed it can put points up against Riverside. If the defense can slow down the Eagles quarterback, it’s certainly possible they could advance to round two.
Madison Central vs. Greenville (does not count in the standings).
The Jaguars will, in essence, be playing for fun and to stay sharp. The game does not count in the standings because Greenville had already forfeited the game earlier in the season due to COVID-19. The Hornets were cleared to play their last two games of the season against Clinton and MC. The Jaguars are coming off a great performance in beating Germantown 38-6. Quarterback Vic Sutton had a terrific night, connecting with TE Blake Gunter on a 70-yard touchdown. Sutton also scored on a nifty 12 yard run. Jackson Mize had a 37-yard rumble for a score as well, and the offense amassed 370 total yards. The defense was again stellar. Junior cornerback B.J. Washington had an interception return for a touchdown as the Jaguars yielded just 242 total yards and six points. MC is waiting to see how the playoff seeding shakes out. Starkville, which had to forfeit its last game against Warren Central due to COVID quarantine, is scheduled to play Clinton Friday night. Five teams: the Jaguars, Arrows, Yellow jackets, Vikings and South Panola are all fighting for four playoff spots. One of those very good teams will be left out.
Ridgeland: The Titans are off this week after having to forfeit last week’s game against Holmes County Central due to COVID-19. The Titans will keep a close eye on the Holmes County vs. Vicksburg game this week and be rooting for the Gators. Ridgeland would drop from region winner to a three seed if Holmes County wins. Either way, barring any additional virus set-backs, Ridgeland is set to open the playoffs next week with an excellent chance to make a run at the state championship. Senior quarterback Zy McDonald has thrown for more than 2,000 yards, run for nearly 600 yards and scored 33 total touchdowns. The receiving corps of senior Richard Mays, sophomore Ayden Williams and senior Antoine Brown make this one of the most explosive offenses in Class 5A. First year head coach Sam Williams has already see his team rise to the occasion of a big game as the Titans won on the road at Neshoba Central 32-29 on October 23. This 2020 Ridgeland squad has the potential to make everyone remember the Titans.
MHSAA 2A, 3A, 4A and all MAIS classes start playoffs this week; November 13 for 6A, 5A and 1A.