Photo By Robert Smith

By Robert Wilson

If Reed Jesioloswki keeps having nights like he did Friday night for Hartfield Academy, football fans and media will learn to spell and pronounce his last unique name.

Photo By Robert Smith

Jesiolowski – a junior wide receiver-running back whose father, Dave, played professional hockey for 12 years – had a superb night in Hartfield’s 38-6 victory over Jackson Academy at JA’s Raider Field.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jesiolowski gained 122 yards on 10 carries and scored three touchdowns, caught three passes for 12 yards and had a 44-yard kickoff return while playing only just over two quarters. He didn’t play after his 50-yard TD scamper down the sideline to give Hartfield a 31-0 lead one minute into the second half. Jesiolowski had TD runs of 13 and 21 yards in the first half.

Hartfield improved to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in MAIS Class 6A play. It was the first time Hartfield – which is in its second year of 6A – had beaten JA in school history. Hartfield lost to JA 45-12 in 2018, 52-0 in 2019 and 21-17 last season.

JA dropped to 6-2 and 0-2. The Raiders defense had been solid all season, including limiting three-time defending MAIS 6A state champion Madison-Ridgeland Academy to its lowest output of the season (JA’s only before Friday, a 21-6 decision). JA also limited two-time MAIS Class 3A state champion Greenville Christian to zero points and 30 yards through three quarters in last week’s 47-12 victory.

But Friday night, JA had no answer for Hartfield’s offense, especially Jesiolowski.

After Hartfield junior Connor Mullins kicked a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter, Jesiolowski and Hartfield scored 21 points in the second quarter for a 24-0 halftime lead. In addition to Jesiolowski’s two TDs, senior quarterback and Oxford High transfer Trip Maxwell completed a 57-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Gage Sorey in the second quarter.

Photo By Robert Smith

Jesiolowski had an outstanding season even before Friday night’s performance. He had a team-high 797 all-purpose yards and nine TDs. Jesiolowski had caught 26 passes for 405 yards and seven TDs, ran 35 times for 259 yards and two TDs and had two kickoffs for 133 yards.

“Reed is such a team player and will play whatever position that gives this team the best opportunity to win,” Hartfield coach Craig Bowman said. “Reed was effective tonight because he ran the ball really hard. Our offensive line really battled tonight. When we won up front, Reed made it matter. He is really patient until he sees the hole then hits it really hard. Reed leads with his work ethic. He has given this team a spark that has been much needed. Reed has been a running back most of his life, all the way back to elementary school. He feels really natural back there and he loves being back there.”

Hartfield’s defense limited JA to only 174 total yards, just 12 passing yards. Sorey – who also starts at defensive back came into Friday’s game tied for seventh in the country and second in Mississippi, according to MaxPreps – made his ninth interception of the season in the third quarter and returned it 55 yards for a TD.

“Our defense played really well tonight and has all season,” Bowman said. “They really trust each other and play really fast. Our defense feels like a lot of other defenses in this league get talked about and they are out to prove that they should be in the conversation. I told them after the game that they did that tonight.”

“Reed played hard and tough tonight,” first-year JA coach Aubrey Blackwell said. “He is a good competitor and is a big body that’s hard to get on the ground.

“We suffered tonight because of a lack of focus this week in practice. We have to mature past this and find a way to get better. We didn’t come tonight with our same physical mindset and with an intent to compete at a high level. This group is very resilient and they’re outstanding young men. I think they will show up Sunday ready to get better and focus on correcting our mistakes.”

The last coach to win a state championship at JA was on the opposite sidelines Friday night. David Sykes, now Hartfield’s athletic director, won three consecutive MAIS state titles at JA from 2009-2011. JA hasn’t won a state title since. Sykes had a 67-22 record at JA and had a 32-game conference winning streak from 2009-2013.

Defensive lineman London Simmons, a 6-2, 258-pound sophomore, has a team-high 46 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. JA better watch out for talented linebacker Chris Jones, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior who can cause havoc for any offense. And freshman defensive back Bralan Womack is one of the rising stars in the MAIS.