CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - For a second straight Saturday in mid-November, Robinson-Hale Stadium will be overrun with Patriots as Madison-Ridgeland Academy and Jackson Prep get set to battle it out for the MAIS football state championship in Class 6A.
“All that matters is this game,” said MRA coach Herbert Davis. “Nothing else that has happened before this matters.”
That is obviously the mindset that Davis wants his team to take into this weekend’s contest, considering that last season his team was in this spot and, after turning the ball over five times, came up short against Jackson Prep. That loss coming on the heels of MRA’s win over JP in the regular season, lending credence to the cliche that it is hard to beat a team twice in the regular season.
But that is exactly what MRA will be trying to do, having beat Jackson Prep 34-22 a month ago in Flowood. It was a game that served as a good learning experience for JP coach Ricky Black who is looking to use every piece of information, past or present, to help lead his program to an eighth straight state championship.
“Our players have been in this situation before,” said Black. "They know what it takes to win , I think last year was a great demonstration by our team that it takes 100-percent effort to get a win against a good team like MRA.”
A big reason MRA won the meeting earlier this year was stopping the run, holding JP running back Matt Jones to a 1.1 yards-per-carry average, which was the catalyst in keeping Jackson Prep to under 200 yards of total offense. Defense has been the calling card for MRA all season long and it is looking for one more performance to finally take the trophy away from Jackson Prep.
“They are the Alabama of our league,” Davis said of Prep. “My six years here have been about building a team to get to this point. Last two years, we’ve had the team, last year we didn’t do it. hopefully this year we can do it.”
Kick-off for the 6A state championship is scheduled for 6 p.m.