Veteran sportswriter and high school football expert Robert Wilson is doing the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard predictions column each week during the high school football season on teams from Hinds, Madison, and Rankin County. Wilson had a 21-6 record last week (77.8 percent) and has a 58-13 record (81.7 percent) for the season.

       Jackson Prep (3-0) at Jackson Academy (4-0)

       Depending on how you look at it, Billy and Christy Quin can’t lose Friday night, or they can’t win. You see, Billy and Christy are pulling for both Prep and JA Friday. Their son, Major, is a junior on the football team, one of two players who starts on both offense (slot receiver) and defense (cornerback), and he also is one of the kickoff returners. In addition, Major plays baseball and soccer for Prep. Their daughter, Caroline, is a sophomore and a featured tumbler on the JA cheerleading squad. She also plays on the Lady Raider soccer team.

The Quin family: mother Christy, Caroline (JA cheerleader), Major (Prep football player), daughter Olivia (JA graduate), father Billy, pic after last year’s state championship game.

       The Quins are an example of several parents who have children at both Prep and JA. This has been going on since the schools started playing each other in the 1980s when JA became a large enough school to compete with Prep. Prep leads the series 42-16 and it’s a unique rivalry where players, coaches, fans, and alumni are from the same family, go to church together and live in the same neighborhood. Some Prep players parents graduated from JA and some JA players’ parents graduated from Prep.
       This is also Year 2 of Prep-JA Alabama style.

       Both coaches, Prep’s Doug Goodwin and JA’s Aubrey Blackwell, are in their second year after sending much of their coaching careers in Alabama.

Goodwin and Blackwell know each other from their days of Alabama but had never played each other as head coaches until last season when Prep won 35-7 at Prep.

They first met when Blackwell was an assistant coach for Jimmy Perry, one of Goodwin’s best friends, when they were coaching at St. Paul’s in Mobile, and Goodwin was coaching at Auburn. Goodwin was in charge of summer camps and Blackwell worked the camps. They did meet in a spring game when Blackwell was head coach at Montgomery Catholic and Goodwin was helping his son, Dusty, who was head coach at Chelsea.

Goodwin, 60 and a former Auburn walk-on defensive back, won 234 games in his 27 years as a head coach in Alabama. In 2008, Goodwin became the first coach in Alabama history to take three different teams to a state championship game. He led his teams to 14 area and regional championships, 21 state playoff appearances, five state championship appearances, and one state championship. Goodwin led Demopolis to a 15-0 record and a state title in 2008 and set a state record with 761 points that season.

Goodwin was a special teams analyst for the past two seasons at Ole Miss and held a variety of coaching positions, including Director of High School Relations, at Auburn from 2014-2019. Goodwin was named the Alabama Football Coaches Association State Coach of the Year in 2008 and elected to the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Blackwell, a 41-year-old former high school quarterback and college baseball player, came to JA from Benjamin Russell High in Alexander City, Ala., where he had a 3-7 record in his one season there, playing in AHSAA Class 6A. Before Benjamin Russell, Blackwell led Montgomery Catholic to a 54-19 record in six seasons and reached the AHSAA Class 3A state championship game in 2020. Before Blackwell came to Catholic, the program had had only two winning seasons in 19 years. He led his team to the playoffs the last five seasons and had 12-, 11- and 10-win seasons.
       Both Blackwell and Goodwin have adjusted well to Mississippi high school football. Both are very well liked at each campus and have fitted in great with the teams and coaching staffs and have had success on the field.

Goodwin has turned around Prep’s program, which had the most losses (five) in 2021 since 1970, the first year of the school. He led the Patriots to a 12-1 record and the MAIS Class 6A state championship and dethroned three-time MAIS defending 6A state champion Madison-Ridgeland Academy in the state title game.

Blackwell molded a coaching staff with many new assistant coaches, many new starters and fought through adversity with injuries to several key players to finish with a 9-4 record last season. But Blackwell didn’t reach the title game, something that JA hasn’t been to since 2013. The Raiders haven’t won a state championship since a three-peat under David Sykes (2009-2011).
       Now for the players.

First for Prep. The biggest losses to graduation were quarterback Paxton Thompson (now playing at Itawamba Community College), linebacker Duncan Mathews (now playing baseball at South Alabama), and wide receiver Will Upton (who set the school record for most receiving yards last year and is now playing at Auburn), all three were members of the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Jackson team last season.

       Prep returns nine starters (five on defense and four on offense), including senior defensive back Micah Stallworth, who made the All-Metro Jackson team last season. Stallworth had a team-high four interceptions and had one interception and five pass breakups in the title win over MRA.

       Thompson’s replacement at quarterback is junior Parker Puckett – brother of senior tight end Peyton Puckett. The Pucketts’ father is Hastings Puckett, one of the top basketball players in Jackson Academy history. Hastings helped JA to two MAIS Overall championships and signed with Division I North Carolina-Wilmington. Peyton Puckett has a football offer from Division I Memphis.

        Senior running back Lake Womack is back after an injury last season and leads Prep with 242 rushing yards and six TDs. Senior linebacker Thomas Cross has a team-high 22 tackles.

       JA has 16 returning starters and five players with Division I offers: senior wide receiver and Arkansas State commit Kiandre Terry, junior defensive back DJ Watkins (offered by Louisiana-Monroe, Austin Peay, Liberty, Kent State, and Texas A&M-Commerce), 6-3, 280-pound sophomore defensive lineman Dereon Albert (offered by Auburn, Tennessee, Liberty, Austin Peay, Louisiana-Monroe, Kent State, Tulane, and Texas A&M-Commerce), junior linebacker AJ Parker (offered by Kent State) and sophomore outside linebacker and Jackson Jim Hill High transfer TJ White (Akron). Albert has eight tackles for loss and Terry has caught 20 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns this season.

       Three other JA players – junior running back Omarean Ellis, senior defensive lineman Nicholas Harris and senior linebacker Maddox Greer – are among the leaders in the MAIS Class 6A stats. Ellis leads with 522 rushing and seven TDs, Ellis is first with 14 tackles for loss and second with five sacks and Greer is third with 26 tackles.

Prep has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. The trend continues.

       Jackson Prep 17, JA 14.

In other games (winners in bold):

Murrah (2-0) at Forest Hill (0-2), Thursday, South Jackson Field

Brookhaven (2-0) at Pearl (2-0)

Clinton (0-2) at Brandon (0-2)

Germantown (1-1) at Warren Central (1-1)

Lanier (1-1) at Wilkinson County (0-2)

Madison Central (2-0) at Gulfport (2-0)

Magee (0-2) at Florence (2-0)

McLaurin (1-1) at Richland (1-1)

North Pike (1-1) at Ridgeland (0-2)

Ocean Springs (1-1) at Northwest Rankin (2-0)

Pelahatchie (0-2) at Lake (0-2)

Provine (1-1) at Canton (0-2)

Raymond (0-2) at South Pike (2-0)

Sacred Heart (2-0) at St. Andrew’s (1-1)

Sebaspatol (1-1) at Pisgah (1-1)

Terry (2-0) at Callaway (1-1), South Jackson Field

Tylertown (0-2) at Jim Hill (1-1), Hughes Field

West Lincoln (0-2) at Puckett (2-0)

Wingfield (0-2) at Northeast Jones (0-2)

Bowling Green, La. (2-2) at Central Hinds (3-0)

Hillcrest Christian (1-2) at Park Place (0-2)

Madison St. Joseph (2-1) at MRA (3-1)

Presbyterian Christian School (2-1) at Hartfield (4-0)

St. Aloysius (0-3) at Tri-County (3-0)

Simpson (0-3) at East Rankin (1-2)

Holmes County Central (2-0) at Canton Academy (2-1)

McAdams (1-1) at Clinton Christian (1-2)