GotW | W7: The Breakdown
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jackson Prep Patriots
Chance Lovertich | QB
One would be hard-pressed to find a quarterback with better career stats than Chance Lovertich. Over the course of his career, Lovertich has thrown for 4,031 yards, 52 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Of his 52 career touchdown passes, 12 have come in 2017. Lovertich can air it out but is also a threat to scramble for yardage. One of Jackson Academy’s main concerns tonight will be stopping this talented signal-caller.
Jerrion Ealy | RB/ATH
The term “athlete” does not go far enough to describe the talent that is Jerrion Ealy. In his career as a Patriot, Ealy has accounted for 2,634 rushing yards, 46 rushing touchdowns and 69 total touchdowns. He also leads the team in all-purpose yards this season with 1,175. Ealy is fast, elusive and an absolute pain for defensive coordinators. Look for Ealy to get touches in the running and passing games tonight.
Cooper Carroll | DB
Carrol is second on the team in total tackles (44) and is tied for the team lead in interceptions (3). Carroll is the type of defender that offenses build their game plan around. He can hurt you in the passing game or the running game and is a statistical machine for the Patriot defense. Look for him to come up with some big plays against Prep’s crosstown rival tonight.
Jackson Academy Raiders
Kinkead Dent | QB
The Raiders don’t always utilize their quarterback in the “traditional” sense, but they seem to make it work. Dent is the team leader in both passing and rushing yards and can make defenders pay with his athleticism. JA is averaging almost 170 yards per game on the ground, and a large chunk of that is thanks to their quarterback. Dent may run a lot, but keep your eye on him in the passing game tonight, as well. This Prep defense is stellar and how Dent plans to attack them will be interesting.
Toryn Steed | RB
Close behind Dent in the rushing category is senior running back Toryn Steed. Steed is another facet to the Raiders’ dangerous ground game and will be utilized in heavy doses tonight along with his quarterback. Steed is averaging around five yards per carry, and that level of efficiency will be important as the season rolls on. Look for the JA tailback to get the football early and often.
Luke Pitts | LB
If anyone is up for the job of stopping the talented Jackson Prep offense, it’s senior linebacker Luke Pitts. Pitts is the anchor of this Raider defense and is the team leader in total tackles. He is averaging nearly 15 tackles per game and can wreak havoc in offensive backfields. If Jackson Academy wants to slow down the Patriot offense, Pitts will have to have a big game.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense, anyone?—Both offenses are prone to put up points in a hurry against their opponents. Both Prep and JA will utilize their go-to playmakers tonight as they have all season, but one team will do it better than the other. These offensive units face no small task tonight against such formidable defenses, but one team will eventually break away and hand their rival their first loss of the season.
Defense wins championships…and rivalry games—Since both offenses are so talented, the strain of the night could be on the defensive units. Jackson Academy has to prepare for some of the best offensive athletes in the state, but Prep has no small task either. These defenses will have to be on their A-game tonight in order to walk away with a win.
Undefeated Rivals—Jackson Prep comes into tonight at 6-0. Jackson Academy is 5-0. It’s a rivalry game. Both teams are undefeated. The stakes are pretty high. The pleasure of handing a rival their first loss of the season will definitely be going through the players’ minds, but the team that overcomes those emotions and plays fundamentally-sound football will walk away victorious tonight.
Prep’s do-it-all athlete will have his hands full tonight, but his athleticism and playmaking ability could be the difference in the outcome of this game.