Sep. 13—The John Milledge Academy football team has one job to do when the Trojans play their third consecutive game away from home this week — stop Frederica senior Jordan Triplett.
Standing at 5-11 and 210 pounds, Triplett has in the past been Frederica's running back. Head coach Brandon Derrick cut out the middle man this year and put his best player behind center, effectively making the wildcat the Knights' offense.
A 3-star recruit committed to the Air Force Academy, Triplett — through the Knights' (2-1) first three games — has rushed for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns on 121 carries. That's an extremely heavy workload of 40 carries per game this early in the season. He toted the rock 51 times in the season-opening 56-41 win over Brookwood. In last week's 44-13 loss to Bluffton of South Carolina, he still surpassed 200 yards and had his team's only two touchdowns.
"He's the guy," JMA head coach JT Wall said. "Their best player is touching the football every snap. They expanded it this past week and he's throwing the ball a little bit too, so you can't just lock down, pin your ears back, and say here we come. He's an adequate enough passer to make you honor that. The kid's a tremendous athlete and a heck of a football player."
Triplett is 9-of-19 throwing the football with 12 of those attempts coming in the loss to Bluffton.
The Trojans and Triplett are no strangers. John Milledge and Frederica have faced one another twice already in his high school tenure. The first time was the 2020 state championship, which was a 49-0 drubbing in the Trojans' favor. Last season's regular season contest in Milledgeville wasn't any better. Triplett collected 110 rushing yards, but his team lost 63-13. Wall would like to see the trend continue down on St. Simons Island Friday night and discussed how his defense can help make that happen.
"We've got to gang tackle this guy and be in our right gaps because if one of our guys is wrong he can take it 80 or 90 yards," said Wall.
Two of the players filling those gaps are senior defensive linemen Brandon Watson and Tyrecus Harrison. It's not often that D-linemen are among the top players on a team when it comes to tackles, but those two are. Harrison, a transfer from Baldwin, actually leads the Trojans with 26 total tackles, four of which have gone for losses. Watson, 20 tackles, sits at third behind junior linebacker David Todd, who has 25. Those are some big obstacles Triplett and the Knight offense will have to get around, which is something no opponent has been able to do effectively in 2023 as JMA is allowing just a touchdown per ballgame.
An eye is being kept on Hurricane Lee out in the Atlantic Ocean, though Tuesday's track had the weather system headed north. With Friday being such a long trip down to the coast, Wall and the Trojans will depart campus around lunchtime Friday and stop for a pregame meal in Metter (where everything's better!). Kickoff between John Milledge and Frederica is set for 7:30 p.m.