Madison Central's Dylan Spencer (73) blocks for running back Javarius Jordan (6) against Murrah on Friday, at Hughes Field in Jackson.
Madison Central's Dylan Spencer (73) blocks for running back Javarius Jordan (6) against Murrah on Friday, at Hughes Field in Jackson.
Eight weeks into the high school football season, and everyone in the state is still trying to figure out how to beat Madison Central.

Murrah High in Jackson became the latest team to fall victim to the Jaguars Friday night with a 24-0 loss at home in the Mustangs’ homecoming game.

With the win, Madison Central moved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 2-6A games. They are still ranked as the No. 1 in the state in all three major polls.

Big Blue didn’t have to do anything spectacular to dispatch the Mustangs (1-5, 0-2 in 2-6A). Star quarterback Jimmy Holiday only threw the ball seven times for 39 yards.

Instead, the Jaguars just lined up and ran the football right at the soft Murrah defense. Six different Jaguars combined to carry the ball 37 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns, with Duke Arnold leading the way with 13 carries for 55 yards and two scores.

And with a typical performance from Madison Central’s stellar defense, that’s all it took.

Senior Hayes Bufkin recorded a game-high 12 tackles, including three behind the line of scrimmage, and another senior Nick Carter finished with seven tackles and one sack.

Sophomore Braxton Merritt blocked a punt and his classmate Vic Hollins, who made half of his four tackles in the Mustang backfield, forced a fumble.

It was the second shutout of the season for the MC defense, which has now held its six opponents to a combined 57 points. 

“Our defensive staff has done an excellent job,” Madison Central coach Anthony Hart said. “We had four defensive starters out (against Murrah) and it seems like it’s been like that every week. But we’ve had younger guys step up each week because our guys work hard to be prepared.”

The defense should get another lift this week with the return of junior defensive lineman Hunter Hines, who missed last week after making 15 stops in the first five games of the season.

The timing couldn’t be better. The road gets tougher from here, as the Jags enter a crucial three-game stretch. Up first is a home date with Warren Central (4-2, 2-0 in 2-6A), which claimed its second-straight region win last week with a 30-20 home win over Greenville.

Since getting embarrassed by Pearl in a 42-0 drubbing back in August, the Vikings have more or less taken care of business. They lost a 10-9 heartbreaker to No. 3 Brandon on Sept. 13, but have defeated Vicksburg, Germantown and Greenville by a combined score of 107-41.

Hart said he’s not fooled by the Pearl game and that his Jaguars are in for a fight Thursday night.

“They are just as good as they have been the past couple of years,” Hart said. “They are a team that always seems to get better as the season goes along. They always play well against us and I don’t expect this week to be any different.”

After that, the Jags will hit the road for a huge game against No. 5 Starkville on Oct. 18 before returning home for another massive game against No. 6 South Panola on Oct. 25. They close the season with an away game at Germantown and at home against Greenville.

“We do this every year,” Hart said. “It’s tough playing them all in a row, but we ought to be used to it by now. You just have to prepare for each game the same way, score when you have opportunities to score and eliminate mistakes.”