Jackson Prep’s quest for a Mississippi record eighth straight state football title is the biggest storyline in this week’s Mid-South Association of Independent Schools Football Championships.
Prep, 10-2, must defeat Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 11-2, in the Class 6A championship game Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at Mississippi College in Clinton (televised locally on ME TV) in order to continue its record-breaking streak.
Prep must also repeat what it did last year, losing to MRA in the regular season and then beating them in the championship game. MRA defeated Prep 34-22 a month ago at Prep. A year ago, MRA defeated Prep 42-14 in the regular season before Prep defeated MRA 33-27 for the championship.
MRA is undefeated vs. MAIS competition this year with its only losses to Philadelphia, the top ranked Class 2A public school in Mississippi, and Briarcrest Christian, ranked No. 11 among public and private schools in Tennessee. Prep lost to Heritage, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A in MAIS, in the season opener and MRA.
Prep coach Ricky Black is the second winningest high school football coach in Mississippi history with 393 victories, including 255 at Prep, and has won 13 state championships, all at Prep. MRA coach Herbert Davis has won three MAIS state titles, at Pillow in 1997 and Brookhaven Academy in 1993 and 2008. Davis is the only coach in Mississippi history to take five different schools (MRA, Brookhaven, Pillow, Hertiage and Winston) to the state championship game. Davis is 0-4 vs. Black in state title games since he came to MRA in 2014.
This is the first year that MAIS football has been divided into six classes. Five of the six state championship games are rematches of regular season games.
In Class 5A, Heritage, 13-0, plays Starkville, 10-4, Friday at Jackson Academy. Heritage defeated Starkville 42-7 a month ago in Starkville. Heritage’s closest game was a 24-15 decision over Prep. Starkville defeated two state champions from last year, Lamar and Adams County Christian, in its last two wins.
In Class 4A, Tri-County Academy, 10-2, meets Riverfield, La., 12-0, Thursday at 7 p.m. at JA. Riverfield defeated Tri-County 50-49 August 30 at home. Riverfield is the most improved team in MAIS this season after winning only four games last year. Tri-County has been the state runner-up four times in the past five years.
In Class 3A, Greenville St. Joseph, 12-0, plays Indianola, 10-4, Friday at 3 p.m. at JA. St. Joe won the Class AA state title for the past two seasons and has won 23 straight games. St. Joe’s last loss was a 42-14 decision to Indianola in the second game last season. Indianola, which won the Class AAA title last season, has won eight straight games since a 45-13 loss to Carroll.
In Class 2A, Manchester, 11-0, meets Marvell, Ark., 11-1, Friday at 11 a.m. at JA in the first of two eight-man class championships. Manchester defeated Marvell 46-20 Aug. 30 at Marvell. Manchester won its first 12 games before losing to Tallulah, La., 40-34 in the state championship game last season.
In Class 1A, Briarfield, La., 11-1, meets Prairie View, La., 9-3, Thursday at 3 p.m. at JA in the second eight-man championship. Briarfield defeated Prairie View 78-30 Oct. 18 at Briarfield. Briarfield’s only loss was a 60-56 decision to Tallulah, La.
All games can be watched free on live stream at maisnetwork.org.