Jackson Prep coach Ricky Black addresses his team after their loss 26-21 loss to Oxford Friday night.
Jackson Prep coach Ricky Black addresses his team after their loss 26-21 loss to Oxford Friday night.
FLOWOOD - In a game that was marred by unspeakable tragedy - the death of Jackson Prep player Walker Wilbanks (see fully story, A1) - Jackson Prep dropped a 26-21 heartbreaker to top-ranked Oxford Friday night.

The Patriots (0-1), winners of the last two Mississippi Association of Independent Schools AAA championships, might have lost, but they hung in the game - for all four quarters - against a team many consider the best public school team in the state.

The Patriots pulled within five points with four minutes to go on quarterback Gene Wood's three-yard touchdown run, but an Oxford interception on a last-chance hail mary as time expired sealed the win for the Chargers (1-0).

The state's No. 1 team - according to the Clarion-Ledger's Super 10 poll - did what it wanted on offense, but didn't put up a ton of points.

Quarterback Jack Abraham connected with eight different receivers for more than 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including one to the state's top prospect, wideout D.K. Metcalf.

Junior running back Kenzie Phillips rushed 21 times for 82 yards, as well.

But Prep scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone in the first quarter, when offensive lineman Matthew Myers fell on top of ball bobbled by Ian McGraw.

McGraw finished the game with 134 yards and a touchdown.

In the wake of Wilbanks' death, it is unclear when Jackson Prep will resume athletic activities. The Patriots were originally scheduled to travel to Gallman to face Copiah Academy Friday night.

Wilbanks returned to the sidelines some time during the second half, and appeared disoriented, according to Jackson Prep Headmaster Jason Walton.

After being evaluated by medical staff, including contracted sports medicine professionals, Wilbanks was transported by private vehicle to Baptist Medical Facility, where he began to cramp and vomit.

Wilbanks suffered a seizure, and spent Saturday and Sunday at the neuroscience center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

He passed away Monday morning.