High school football, COVID edition kicked off Friday night in the jungle. Before a modest home crowd, mainly due to game attendance restrictions, Madison Central pulled out their first win of the season against Northwest Rankin. Before the game, there was a moment of silence for Coach Kelby Bowman, the linebackers coach for Northwest Rankin who died last month.
The game started out with blowout potential. Madison Central took the opening kickoff was running down the field literally. Big runs by senior running back Duke Arnold and Ross Highfill took the Jaguars into the redzone. Due to penalities, the drive ended in a 23 yard field goal. Northwest Rankin, behind the running attack of Cam Marion, who would end up with 101 yards on 18 carries, drove into Jaguars’s redzone on their first possession. On 3rd and goal, senior quarterback Caleb Parten was intercepted by Madison Central’s Creek Robertson. Just before halftime, the Cougars put together a scoring drive with Caleb Parten hitting wide receiver Tuck Rowland for a 30 yard touchdown pass. The point after was good and Northwest Rankin lead 7 to 3 at the half.
The second half started off with both defenses stifling drives. Madison Central’s Joseph Perryman was a one man wrecking crew. Perryman was a frequent fixture in the Cougars backfield, recovering a fumble to give the Jags a short field. Junior quarterback Tate Collins, utilized his legs in the second half. Scoring on runs of 15 and 5 yards, Collins reestablished the lead for Madison Central. Forcing a third turnover, this time another interception of Caleb Parten, the jags continued their running attack. Duke Arnold added two touchdowns on runs of 3 and 1 yard. Despite throwing two interceptions, Caleb Parten threw 3 touchdown passes. He connected with Caleb McCoy on a 65 yard pass and as the final horn sounded, he connected with senior receiver Jordan Cavitt. Cavitt paced the cougars with 10 receptions for 102 yards and 1 touchdown.
Catching up with Coach Hart of Madison Central, he would say, “We started out a little slow but we were able to get things going. We were not sure exactly what they would do, but we adjusted well. I’m proud of my guys.” Quarterback Tate Collins stressed the Jags need to improve on their passing game but was confident they will. Despite not playing a scrimmage and dealing with all the uncertainty of if there would be a season or not, Coach Toby Collums stated, “I think it was important to get football started because it means so much to the state of Mississippi and the people of the metro area. And I think they saw some good football tonight at times. It was kind of a prize fight and in the second half we kinda wilted a little bit.” Northwest Rankin will host Clinton next Friday while Madison Central travels to Pearl