By Robert Wilson
Under Armour All-American linebacker Stone Blanton gets most of the attention on Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s defense. But there’s another player who is having a tremendous season.
MRA senior defensive end Jude Aldridge has been causing havoc to opposing offenses all season. Just ask Hartfield Academy. Aldridge had a team-high 11 tackles, four for loss, and 2.5 sacks in MRA’s 42-14 victory over Hartfield Thursday night at MRA.
For his outstanding performance, Aldridge has been named the Junction Deli/Mississippi Scoreboard Football Player of the Week.
Aldridge was a key reason why MRA’s defense slowed down Hartfield, which came in averaging 43.5points per game and scored more than 50 points three times this season. MRA limited Hartfield to only 60 yards in the first half and the Patriots’ first team defense allowed only one touchdown.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Aldridge has 55 tackles, second only to Blanton, for the Patriots, who are 7-0 this season and has won 14 consecutive games. Aldridge leads MRA with 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
This is Aldridge’s first season to start. Aldridge suffered a knee injury as a sophomore and was a back up as a junior on last year’s MAIS Class 6A state championship team.
“Jude has worked hard in the weight room and gotten faster and gained about 20 pounds from last year. That’s a good combination,” MRA coach Herbert Davis said. “He has had a tremendous year. He causes problems for an offense from his field defensive end position.”
Aldridge will have the attention of MRA’s opponentthis Friday, Jackson Prep, and its head coach Ricky Black as he goes for his 400th career victory, and Prep defensive coordinator Nick Brewer. MRA ended Prep’s seven-year state championship run last season with a 48-33 victory in the state title game.