HomeNewsEagles set to host first-ever quarterfinal game

Eagles set to host first-ever quarterfinal game

Jackson Christian’s football team will make history this Friday night by simply kicking off at Ronnie Fowler Field as it will be the first time for the program to host a quarterfinal playoff game.

This will be the seventh time for the Eagles to play in the quarterfinals, but they were on the road the previous six times.

Jackson Christian (9-1 overall, 5-1 Division II-A West region) enters the game as the second seed from its region, hosting Middle Tennessee Christian (9-2, 3-1 Division II-A East).

The Eagles are coming off a big win over Columbia Academy in the first round of the playoffs, 49-14, after only playing half a game at Columbia Academy in Week 3 when the game was called due to lightning. The Eagles were down 10-7 at that point when the game was stopped. Running back Kam Boyd had 128 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries, while Jaylen Mosley had 132 yards on seven receptions plus 45 rushing yards.

“A team will change a lot from Week 3 to Week 12, but one big difference for us was we had four starters injured and out the first time we played them,” said Jackson Christian head coach Darby Palmer. “So we were able to execute our game plan at a high level, and it worked out for us.”

The Eagles were up 21-0 in the first quarter before going on to the win with the mercy rule running clock.

As successful as Jackson Christian has been this season, Palmer credits the team’s response to the adversity they faced in Columbia in Week 3 for helping some of the younger players realize what would be required of them for a successful season.

“We were missing the starters we were missing, and a few of the guys that were out there playing didn’t play their best game,” Palmer said. “And they saw how bad that can go for us.

“Then they came out the next week and played great against a good ECS team.”

Except for a 59-17 loss to region champion University School of Jackson, the Eagles have rolled since that ECS game – scoring 49 points or more in eight wins.

“I liked the way they bounced back from that loss to USJ too,” Palmer said. “One thing we really stress to them is to stay in the moment and be focused on the here and now, and they do a good job of that.”

MTCS will make the trip from Murfreesboro averaging 36 points scored per game and giving up just under 19 points per game. They’re a big team that runs the single-wing offense, which is unique to anything the Eagles have played against before in 2022.

“One of their tackles is 6-7 and a big guy, and they run the ball a lot and really value possessing the ball,” Palmer said. “Their coach is an aggressive play caller who doesn’t like to punt.

“He’ll go for it on fourth down when most other coaches won’t. So knowing that and their offensive scheme, it will be a test for our kids and making sure we’ve got someone in every gap ready to make a stop.”

Palmer said the team is excited to get another home game.

“We’re not talking about the history of hosting a quarterfinal game,” Palmer said. “That’s something we can talk about and celebrate in the offseason because we’re focusing on getting ready for the game.

“But getting to play at home one more time is great for these guys, and it’s great to play in front of our fans without making a long trip to do it. We’re ready to get after it.”

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