By Robert Wilson
Jake Norris became the starting quarterback for Madison Central during the playoffs last season after an injury to Vic Sutton and led the Jaguars to the MHSAA Class 6A state championship.
This season, Norris has taken over the starting quarterback position over the past few games and Sutton is coming off the bench.
Norris – who started at tight end and played a running back in short yardage situations most of the season – had an outstanding game at quarterback and played like he had been starting there his entire high school career.
The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Norris completed 16 of 21 passes – 76.2 percent – for a career-high 294 yards and three touchdowns and ran 16 times for 90 yards and two TDs to lead Madison Central to a 56-43 victory over Oxford in a Class 6A, Region 2 game at Oxford, the last regular season game of the season.
For his outstanding performance, Norris has been named the Junction Deli Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.
Norris, a Navy commitment who was making his second start at quarterback this season, threw TD passes of 17 yards in the first quarter and 29 yards in the fourth quarter to senior wide receiver Isaiah Spencer and an 8-yard TD pass in the second quarter to sophomore tight end Micah Jones. Norris ran for a 4-yard TD in the second quarter and a 14-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Norris had only completed 13 of 19 passes for 215 yards and no TDs going into the Oxford game this season. He had 44 carries for 221 yards and a team-high 12 TDs and caught 13 passes for 195 yards and three TDs this season for the 7-3 Jaguars.
“Jake has a big night both running and throwing the ball,” Madison Central coach Toby Collums said. “Offensively as a whole, we had a great night from every position. The offensive line did a good job opening gaps and giving us time to throw. The wide receivers and running backs played well also.”
Madison Central plays at South Panola Friday in the first round of the 6A state playoffs in Batesville.
Norris had played quarterback for only six quarters – two quarters each in three junior varsity games – when Sutton went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter against Oxford in the playoffs last season.
Norris helped Madison Central defeat Oxford and Starkville, then topped it off when he led the Jaguars to the state championship.
Norris completed 5 of 9 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown and ran 11 times for 51 yards and scored the winning TD in a 24-17 victory over Brandon for Madison Central’s first state title since 1999 at Southern Miss’ M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.
For his outstanding performance, Norris was named the Junction Deli Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.
Norris completed a 79-yard TD pass to Spencer for a 17-10 lead with 8 minutes, 14 seconds to play in the third quarter. Then he drove the Jaguars 52 yards on seven plays and scored the winning TD on a 2-yard run around the left end with 3:41 to play.
“It was like a Hallmark movie,” Collums said the game. “Jake came in and did a great job playing quarterback and was the MVP of the championship game. He has mental toughness and is a hard-nosed kid. Jake loves to compete.”
Norris played tight end along with senior Blake Gunter last season before replacing Sutton against Oxford. Norris completed 6 of 9 passes for 119 yards and one TD and ran for one TD to help Madison Central to a 31-21 quarterfinal victory. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 43 yards and one TD and ran for 38 yards in a 34-13 victory over Starkville in the semifinals.
Norris caught eight passes for 106 yards and one TD for 13-1 Madison Central last season.