Presbyterian Christian’s final three games of the season, as expected, have been anything but kind.
PCS lost its second game in a row in a stretch that featured Jackson Academy, Madison-Ridgeland Academy and now Jackson Prep.
While the Bobcats anticipated the difficult stretch of games, PCS’ 28-0 loss to MRA last week was steps in the wrong direction for its offense, according to PCS coach Derek White.
“Last week, we didn’t block extremely well,” White said. “We didn’t meet their level of intensity. We just didn’t play well. We had an opportunity to score two touchdowns and put some points on the board. We had the ball deep in their territory twice and didn’t come up with any points. We could never swing the momentum.”
Last week’s game was the first time PCS running back Marquis Crosby was held under 150 rushing yards since the Bobcats’ first game of the season.
“All in all, we had some opportunities, but we just couldn’t capitalize, and (MRA) was the better football team,” White said.
For PCS, the loss knocks the Bobcats out of the district championship race. PCS’ upcoming game will decide if the Bobcats will either be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the MAIS 6A playoffs.
As the No. 3 seed, the Bobcats would host Parklane Academy (4-4), and as the No. 4 seed would host Oak Forest Academy (3-4). PCS defeated both teams earlier in the season.
Jackson Prep (6-2) comes off a 23-0 win over Parklane Academy and features a high-scoring offense that has averaged 36 points per game.
“They are an extremely well-coached football team,” White said. “(Jackson prep coach) Ricky Black had won his 400th game last week. He is one of the legends. (Jackson Prep) has been one of the classes of the state in football. They are going to be as good as anybody and as tough as anybody. We are going to have our work cut out for us.”
Jackson Prep’s offense is built mostly around the run game of its quarterback Riley Maddox and running back Matt Jones. Maddox has rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 827 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Jones has rushed for 472 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 9.4 yards per carry.
“(Maddox) plays gritty,” White said. “He runs the football extremely well. He makes the throws. He is the commander of the offense and gets them running. He does a very good job.
“Matt Jones can score anytime he touches the ball. We definitely need to keep him bottled up.”
At wide receiver, Jackson Prep has 15 different players with at least one catch. However, Maddox’s top two targets are Thaxton Berch and Jeffery Ince, who have combined for 583 yards and six touchdowns on 29 catches.
“They catch the football and do a great job,” White said. “I think they are very underrated for what they do.”
Defensively, the Patriots are dominant, as Jackson Prep has held teams to 16 points per game. Jackson Prep has recorded 74 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 11 interceptions and three fumble recoveries. White credits the Patriots’ linebackers for the bulk of Jackson Prep’s success on defense.
“They play low,” White said. “They play a 5-man front and do what they do, and they are really good at it. They are a no name defense that doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses.
“We need to execute. We need to run the football, get some turnovers, and make some stops.”