JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - An undefeated record two months into a high school football season is an accomplishment.
Two undefeated teams meeting two months into a high school football season is a rarity.
But that is the collision course that Presbyterian Christian School and Jackson Preparatory School have charted for themselves, with the pair of 8-0 unbeatens meeting at 7 p.m. in Jackson.
"It's going to be wild," said PCS coach Joey Hawkins, who has the Bobcats 8-0 for the first time in the program's history. "We're trying to get this thing done."
"This thing" would not only be a continuation of an unbeaten season, but PCS' first-ever win over the Patriots, the four-time-defending AAA-Division I MAIS state champion.
"It's very unusual for two teams to be 8-0 and then playing for the district championship this late in the season," Jackson Prep coach Ricky Black said. "This should be two, good football teams. We know they play very good, that they're very good offensively and, hopefully, we can match up with them."
Under Black, few teams have matched up with Prep on a consistent basis. The Patriots have won 10 of their 22 state titles in Black's 19 seasons at the helm, and currently are in the midst of a 29-game winning streak.
Hawkins, who is in his eighth season at PCS after spending 16 years at Jackson Academy, has seen plenty of Black's and Prep's prowess through the years.
"We go back a long time, but every team is different and every year is so different," Hawkins said. "The thing we've got this year is that we've got some really tough players who love to play the game and some great leadership."
Running back Isaiah Woullard has led the way on the field. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound senior has averaged 213 rushing yards per game, running for 1,711 yards and 24 touchdowns. Woullard has reached the 200-yard rushing plateau five times and has scored at least two touchdowns in six games.
Senior quarterback Luke Hudson has thrown for more than 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions.
"He's got a very good football team, a very good mixture of skill people and the people up front," Black said.
The Patriots have a punishing ground game of their own, with senior Jacob Crawley and sophomore Jerrion Ealy providing a crunchy, 1-2 punch.
Through the first six games of the season, Crawley had averaged 81 yards rushing a game and 8.6 yards a carry, while Ealy was averaging 52 yards rushing a game and 9.5 yards a carry.
The two combined for 14 touchdowns through six games, and also were effective receivers out of the backfield, combining for four more scores.
The Patriots also rely on junior quarterback Chance Lovertich. Through six games, Lovertich had completed 65.7 percent of his passes (54 of 83) for 936 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions.
"We've got two good running backs, and our quarterback has been very steady, and been really good in every ballgame for us," Black said.
Friday's game will mark the Bobcats' second trip to the Jackson area to face one of the state's premier private school football programs.
PCS defeated Jackson Academy 23-19 on Sept. 9, getting a good taste of the spotlight and a hostile crowd in the process.
Hawkins said he experience can do nothing but help.
"The biggest thing is you have to weather the first eight minutes of the game," Hawkins said. "Just don't let them intimidate you. We want to go up there and establish that we are going to play 48 minutes of football. No matter what comes our way, we're going to play 48 minutes, wide open, and have fun. I mean, who would have ever dreamed that we'd be 8-0 going against Prep 8-0? It'll be one of the biggest games in the state."
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