Photo by Brad Bridges

Sponsored by:
Tire Depot
Stubblefield, Yelverton @ Van Uden, PLLC
Precision Optical

Photos by Brad Bridges
Story by Robert Wilson

Jackson Prep soccer coach Jon Marcus Duncan has won 28 MAIS state championships (14 girls and 14 boys) as he begins his 24th season on Lakeland Drive.

       If Thursday’s performance is any indication, No. 29 might be coming this fall.

       Prep defeated Hartfield 4-0 in the first Division I conference game of the season at Hartfield Academy in Brandon.

       Prep improved to 3-1 this season – 2-0 against MAIS competition – and appears it has the talent to win its second straight Division I state title and 15th girls state crown of Duncan’s coaching career.

       Junior forward Claire Crosby – daughter of Prep athletic director Will Crosby – scored two goals and sophomore midfielder Meg Barbour and sophomore forward Torrey Polk scored one goal each. Junior Caitlyn Blackwell and her sister, freshman Caroline Blackwell, led the defense to register Prep’s second shutout of the season.

       Duncan – the second winningest high school girls soccer coach in Mississippi history – is now four wins away from his 800th career win. The Prep and Mobile College graduate has a 796-160-58 record – an amazing 83.3 winning percentage. He has a 357-84-31 girls record and a 439-76-27 boys record. Karl Friedrich, who finished with 831 victories in 32 seasons at Harrison Central, is the career leader in Mississippi history.

         Prep has seven starters returning from last year’s state championship team, which finished 13-7 overall, 13-3 against MAIS competition.

       “It is always good to get that first conference win of the season, especially on the road,” Duncan said. “(Hartfield) Coach Jake Benton always has his teams well prepared and can make it difficult on us. Our defense was solid. We did a great job minimizing Hartfield’s offensive chances. It was a great team effort and our part. I’m excited about this win.”

       Hartfield dropped to 1-1.

       “Fair play to Prep. Those girls were ready to compete,” said Benton, who has won five state titles (three boys and two girls) in his 10th season at Hartfield. “They beat us to every 50/50 ball. We had two shots all game. We played tense and timid, but that doesn’t take away from how well Prep defended. It’s never an easy match when playing Jon Marc’s teams. We’re young with three seniors and they showed tremendous character with how they conducted themselves on the field. They never shied away and kept encouraging the younger girls. Fortunately for us, it’s still early in the year and in this league anything can happen and that’s why its keeps me on my toes.”