Rico Harden

Rico Harden is the leading returning starter from last year's region title team.

Mary Persons fans who are curious to see if an inexperienced Bulldogs squad can capture the program’s record fifth straight Region 2-AAAA title will get a sneak-peek  on Friday at what the 2019 season has in store.

For the sixth straight year, MP will host the Class AA Southwest (Macon) Patriots in a pre-season contest at 7 p.m. on Friday at Dan Pitts Stadium. The cost for fans is $5 per person.

MP has won all five previous pre-season meetings, including a dominant 35-12 victory over the Patriots in 2018. MP’s Desmond Williams provided the 2018 contest’s most notable highlight with a spectacular 80-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the first quarter. The other most memorable event in last year’s game was a shoulder injury suffered by MP standout Daniel Lavelle that kept the current Akron defensive end out for the first several games of the regular season.

The Patriots went 3-7 in 2018 in head coach and Southwest alum Joe Dupree’s sixth season at the helm. Southwest, which primarily utilizes a spread attack, is led by dual-threat senior quarterback Malique Frazier.

The Bulldogs have won at least 11 games in each of the past four seasons and have not lost a region contest since 2014. However, MP will be hard-pressed to repeat that same level of success in 2019 as the Bulldogs only return five of 22 starters.