A look at Madison County’s games this week
Division II-AA West
ECS (3-4, 1-1) at USJ (1-1, 4-3)
Player to watch: USJ QB Corben Howard
Most recent meeting: 2018 – ECS 40, USJ 14
What to know: These teams have had different seasons. ECS started by dropping three of its first four games but has responded by winning two of three. The Bruins won their first three games but have dropped three of their last four. USJ will try to grab that momentum back to its favor heading into the home stretch of the season. Both teams had their bye week last week, so injuries had a chance to heal up before this one. Since the top three teams from the region get to host their first playoff game, this game is big because the winner will have the inside track on that third spot.
Common opponents: None
Trivia: This will be the first game for first-year ECS head coach Blake Butler to be back in Jackson after he spent 12 years as head coach at Trinity Christian. Butler has a 2-10 record against the Bruins.
Division II-A West
TCA (5-2, 2-0) at FACS (6-1, 1-1)
Player to watch: TCA LB Drake Craddock
Most recent meeting: 2022 – TCA 48, FACS 13
What to know: FACS earlier this season and played region leader Jackson Christian tougher than the final score might indicate. The Crusaders bring a good amount of speed and size into this game, which will probably physically test the Lions. Both teams know how to score. TCA had a record-setting night about a month ago when it scored 64 points. FACS has surpassed 60 points four times, including reaching 70 once.
Common opponents: Harding Academy – TCA won 42-0. FACS won 62-3.
Trivia: The Lions had a short week last week because the coaches agreed to start the running clock in TCA’s game early and then cut the length of the third and fourth quarters to eight minutes each.
Lake County (4-3) at Jackson Christian (7-0)
Player to watch: Jackson Christian DL Cedric Anderson
Most recent meeting: 2006 playoffs – Jackson Christian 26, Lake Co. 22
What to know: One of the best running attacks in the state comes to Jackson to take on one of the more productive defenses in the state. The Eagles’ front seven can expect a test unlike any they’ve dealt with before this week because of how well Lake County can run the ball with very few passes thrown – if any on any given week. This ground game will also help shorten the game if it has any success, which could cost the Eagles possessions.
Common opponents: None
Trivia: The Jackson Christian defense has given up 161 total yards in its last two games. According to MaxPreps.com, a site with a national database of high school football stats, Lake County running back Calvin Mullins is averaging 271 rushing yards per game.
Peabody (3-4, 3-1) at Jackson Central-Merry (1-6, 0-4)
Location: North Side
Player to watch: JCM FB Xavier Thomas
Most recent meeting: None
What to know: JCM still has a very narrow path to the playoffs. It involves the Cougars winning their last three games of the year and getting a lot of help. The defense has given up more than 40 points each of the last two weeks, and they’re trying to avoid being in that situation again. The Golden Tide have won three of their last four since starting off 0-3, and a lot of that is they’ve taken better care of the ball and not given up as many turnovers as they did early in the year with a young team.
Common opponents: Adamsville and Camden – JCM went 0-2. Peabody went 2-0.
Trivia: A win in this game would clinch a playoff spot for Peabody, and any loss the rest of the season would eliminate the Cougars from playoff contention.
McNairy Central (1-6, 0-4) at Liberty (0-7, 0-4)
Player to watch: Liberty WR Greg Morris
Most recent meeting: 2022 – McNairy Central 50, Liberty 36
What to know: McNairy Central hasn’t won since Week 1. Liberty hasn’t won on the field since 2019. They both are trying to get something going positive before the end of the season and take that momentum into the offseason. The Crusaders showed something in scoring twice for the first time this year last week. They will try to build on that in this one.
Common opponents: Ripley and Covington – Both teams went 0-2. Liberty was outscored 118-18. McNairy was outscored 97-27.
Trivia: This game was the one in which Liberty scored its most points in 2022 (36).