Prep’s third-quarter rally puts away Rebels

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Things haven’t changed much with Jackson Prep in the last 21 years.

Traditionally one of the classier programs in all of MPSA, the Patriots execute well on offense, move to the ball extremely well on defense and don’t have any weaknesses when it comes to special teams. That’s kind of been the way the Patriots have worked since 1982, when Adams Christian head coach Keith Walters first coached against them.

And Friday night was no different. The Patriots pulled away from a slim lead at halftime to take a 35-7 win at Bobby Marks Stadium.

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&uot;I hope we can build off this,&uot; Walters said. &uot;The way we played the first half &045; we’ve got four big games left. We’ll try to take the positive things from this. Even though they put 28 on us in the second half, defensive we’re getting better as young as we are. I told the kids that was the most disappointed AC has even been losing to Prep. They’re down, and I’m pleased to see that.&uot;

And you can imagine the Patriots were happy for their second half effort, especially at the start when they scored on each of their three possessions and didn’t surrender a first down to the Rebels while on defense.

Instead of mixing up the running by going inside and out while mixing the occasional pass in, the Patriots basically kept it between the tackles and moved the ball effectively.

&uot;They played a good first half against us and had some good plays,&uot; Prep head coach Ricky Black said. &uot;Offensively we were not consistent. We made mistakes and couldn’t sustain our drives. I think we went in and regrouped, and they came out and decided to play. It wasn’t anything the coaches did.&uot;

The Rebels’ defense couldn’t duplicate its first-half efforts after halftime, and Prep piled up a big drive to start the second half and set the tone. They got an 18-yard run to start the half from Chase Thompson, and nine plays later quarterback Joseph Queen scored from 1 yard out to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead with 8:50 left.

The Rebels went three plays and out on their first drive of the half, none for positive yardage, and Prep at the AC 36 and used five plays to get into the end zone. Gib Bowden finished it off with a 4-yard run with 4:37 left for a 21-0 Prep lead.

&uot;I don’t think it was the numbers,&uot; Walters said. &uot;They play a lot of people, but I don’t think in the third quarter we were tired. We couldn’t get them stopped. What hurt us was &045; did we get any first downs in the third quarter? We had a hard time dealing with that (Prep ground game). We couldn’t have put any more guys on the line of scrimmage than we had up there.&uot;

Prep kept it between the tackles, but that set up a big pass play later when Queen hit Tait Hendrix on a shuffle pass that Hendrix turned into a 51-yard run that got the Patriots down to the AC 2. Ryan Peets then took it in from 2 yards out for the score for a 28-0 lead with 1:22 left.

The Rebels were held to punt again, and the Patriots returned it down to the AC 6. Three plays later Bowden scored from 1 yard out for the 35-0 lead with 10:27 left.

&uot;Our offense is really more of an inside running game,&uot; Black said. &uot;We started out with a little more balance. We’re getting to where we can run the ball with Bowden and Thompson a little more. I thought the second half was more determined by field position. We got out, drove down and scored and then pinned them deep. Then I thought our offensive line and defensive front really took over.&uot;

The Patriots’ defensive front had control most of the game by keeping running back Luke Ogden in check. The big AC back finished with 19 carries for 50 yards while getting just three touches in the second half.

Ogden had some big runs in the Rebels’ second drive of the game, one that started at their own 20 and ended when Ogden was stopped on fourth down at the Prep 5.

&uot;We had fourth-and-1 at the 5, and you’ve got to make those,&uot; Walters said. &uot;But that’s all we asked of them &045; to compete. You’ve got to go out there and play every down. The thing that impressed me was they didn’t stay blocked very long. Their inside linebackers are really good.&uot;

The Rebels only got one first down on their other two drives of the first half. They didn’t score until the fourth quarter when Timmy Foster hit Ray Simpson in the end zone for a 31-yard TD pass, one that Simpson juggled on his back on the end zone before holding on.

&uot;We put two weeks into emphasizing we had to stop (Ogden) to stop their offense,&uot; said Black, whose Patriots were off last week. &uot;That was the biggest thing. If we were going to stop them, we had to stop him. I thought they had a good plan and executed it very well. In the first half they were close to big plays.&uot;