Photos by Hays Collins
Story by Robert Wilson

Senior quarterback Jackson Conn ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to spark Jackson Academy to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and the Raiders cruised to a 49-14 victory over Pillow Academy Friday night in the season opener for both teams at JA.

Lance Pogue’s debut as JA’s head coach was huge success as the Raiders built a commanding 42-0 halftime lead. Pogue, one of the most successful high school coaches in Mississippi history, has been defensive coordinator for three seasons at JA after winning a national championship and five state titles at South Panola. Pogue is trying to bring JA its first state title since the Raiders won three straight titles from 2009-11.

Conn, a Mississippi State baseball commitment, missed last season after suffered a season-ending leg injury in preseason. But the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Conn looked full speed Friday night. He ran for scores of 29 and 22 yards and completed a 40-yard TD pass to junior Trey Adams in the first quarter. Conn finished with 94 yards on six carries and completed 4 of 5 passes for 80 yards.

Junior running back Marcus Harris scored on two TD runs, senior linebacker Donovan Veasley returned a fumble for a score, sophomore Joseph Turner ran for a TD and junior Scott Swalley kicked seven extra points for JA.

Pillow senior Gavin Lessley scored on a 70-yard run in the third quarter and sophomore Hayes Bennett returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score on the last play of the game. Junior Juan Carlos Hernandez kicked both extra points.