jma football vs brentwood

John Milledge senior KJ Jackson (9) slices through the Brentwood defense for an 11-yard touchdown run Friday while quarterback Grayson Hopkins (12) throws up the TD signal in the background. Jackson finished with 89 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns filling in for the injured Amaad Foston.

The 2020 John Milledge Academy football team picked up right where the 2019 edition left off Friday night, although with one pretty sizable change. 

The defending GISA AAA state champion Trojans (1-0) knocked off the AA Brentwood War Eagles (0-1) of Sandersville 43-7 in their season opener. Missing in action was JMA stud running back Amaad Foston. He was at the game, but remained on the sideline in his jersey and shorts.

“He suffered a leg injury in early August,” Trojan head coach JT Wall said of Foston. “He’s been rehabbing, and we’re going to re-evaluate him in a few weeks to see where we’re at. He’s getting better and doing a great job of being a great teammate.” 

Foston, a University of Virginia football commit, is the two-time defending All-County Offensive Player of the Year after having put up back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons. Wall wouldn’t go any further into the nature of his star player’s injury, but did share how it happened. 

“It was a freak deal. We weren’t even in full pads,” Wall said, adding that it was a non-contact injury. “He’s a strong kid though. If anybody can come back, he will.” 

Although Foston’s stellar play was missed Friday, his services were not really needed as the host Trojans jumped all over the War Eagles quite literally from the very start. John Milledge won the toss and received the opening kickoff as is customary for Wall’s team, and starting quarterback Grayson Hopkins went right to work. The first snap of the game resulted in a high arcing pass downfield that senior wideout Taylor Dixon ran under and took the house for 70 yards. Hopkins got a majority of the snaps Friday, but shared some with fellow senior Patrick McDonel who also lends his athleticism at free safety where he had a second-quarter interception. Hopkins had a good night throwing the football, finishing with a pair of touchdown tosses. The second came early in the second quarter after a nice double move by junior wide receiver Marcus Prestwood. 

The John Milledge run game suffered no setbacks in Foston’s absence thanks in large part to a very experienced line, fullback and tight end. KJ Jackson took the torch and ran very quickly with it as he totaled 89 yards on just eight carries and two scores. Bullish senior Carson Dyer polished off a couple of Trojan drives with a pair of 1-yard touchdowns himself. Once all that happened the Trojans were up 40-0 at the half in a game many have long been waiting for. 

“It felt great to get back out on the field for a game,” Wall said. “Even around lunchtime today I still didn’t believe it was going to happen. You can’t help but think the worst these days with the way 2020 is going, but it was great to hear the whistles blow and the pads pop.” 

Speaking of pads popping, the John Milledge defense also picked up right where it left off from last season. Brentwood only got a touchdown about midway through the third quarter when the Trojan reserves were brought into the ballgame. The War Eagles, a semifinalist in AA last year, will look for a more even test next week when they host 2019 AA state runner-up Briarwood Academy. 

Trojans 1-0 in ‘Dairylane Bowl’

JMA and Brentwood have met on the football field many times in the past, but Friday marked the first time the two schools have squared off since Sandersville staple restaurant Dairylane added a Milledgeville location. After the 43-7 win, the Trojans can now boast a 1-0 record in the unofficial Dairylane Bowl Series. 

Next up

John Milledge football will take its first road trip of the season next week to take on Pinewood Christian Academy in Bellville. 

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