• John Macon Gillespie

Beal Believes He Can Be Unstoppable

Madison Central is traveling to Batesville on Thursday to face South Panola. It is a rematch from the first round of the 6A playoffs last season, which the Jaguars won. Though, their records don’t show it so far in 2016, they appear on a track to be in the playoffs again. This is a heavyweight bought.

Though the Jags show up on paper as major underdogs on the ground in this matchup, don’t expect that to be the case. Senior back Gabe Short has lead the attack so far this season with 83.5 yards per game and one scoring run. He has totaled 167 yards on 3.5 yards per carry with a 100-yard rushing game.

Junior Cedric Beal has yet to really get going this season with just 14 totes through three games. He’s averaging a solid 4.2 yards per carry, but just 29.5 yards per game. He has 59 total yards and no touchdown carries coming into a game where he faces a tough defensive front. However, he could break out any week, in any game.

If he does, that could benefit his backfield mates Short and Walker.

“We will continue to get better. The two losses are in the past and we have to focus on the next game. We will execute the game plan,” Beal said to SES Mississippi. “We can’t have unnecessary penalties. Without those we will win.”

“We have to remain patient and maintain the tempo. That is crucial for backs. We must continue to work hard and push through adversity. We need to steal those additional two or three yards.”

With Short already running well, the MC backfield could become very explosive when Beal gets it going. New head coach Anthony Hart’s offense would then likely hit its stride. That’s a scary notion if you’ve watched how good the Jags have been this season, despite their record. Beal thinks that he and Short compliment each other well.

“I have excellent power, speed and vision. Gabe has good power, and he gets through the open holes to rack up yards. We have two very different styles of running the ball, but we both get the job done,” He explained.

Thus far Jack Walker is averaging 9.9 yards per attempt, completing nearly 72% of his passes and thrown for three scores. Not only would the running game improving on their 79.3 yards per game help the senior signal caller, but so would Short and Beal catching some passes out of the backfield. Short has one catch, but neither of the two have a single receiving yard.

“When he throws us the ball out of the backfield, we are ready to execute the play,” Beal stated.

The Jaguar defense has shown flashes of being a dominant unit. They allowed just 10 points to Meridian in four quarters plus overtime in week one. Last week they surrendered just 21 points in a loss to Oxford.

“The entire defense works as a unit. They are all talented athletes,” Beal said. “Their strength is in the communication they have with each other.”

When asked what Beal would have to prove going up against a defense with so many studs, he responded, “That I won’t be stopped by anyone.”

He does like the challenge the Tigers bring, though. However, challenges aplenty still remain, so Beal is just looking at the week four SES Game of the Week as another opportunity to be on the gridiron.

“I’m really looking forward to just going out there and playing ball.”

Beal is also one of 18 students selected for the Mississippi High School Activities Association's Inaugural Student Leadership Committee which acts as a liaison between the MHSAA and the student participants in athletics and activities.

**Photo by Keith Warren of the MHSAA.

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