Mainland’s Tyson Reflects on Dream Football Season

by Marc Narducci | Jan 22, 2024
Mainland’s Tyson Reflects on Dream Football Season
Mainland cornerback/wide receiver Jamie Tyson was one of the best players in South Jersey on either side of the ball. 
He was a major part of helping Mainland enjoy one of the great seasons in South Jersey high school football history. The Mustangs went 14-0 and in only the second season of NJSIAA public school state championships, won the Group 4 crown, beating Ramapo, 56-0 in the final. In five postseason games, Mainland outscored teams 236-47. 
Tyson was named the state’s defensive player of the year by NJ.com.
Each week Tyson was matched up against the best receivers on the other team and he proved to be a dominant force, with a state-best 12 interceptions, four of which he returned for touchdowns. 
During the playoffs he had an interception in each of the five games, three which he returned for scores.
He shattered the single-season school record of seven interceptions set by current Mainland assistant coach Bill Kern.
Tyson also starred on offense. 
He had 26 receptions for 562 yards and 11 touchdowns, while playing in a more run-oriented attack. 
So whether it was on offense or defensive, Tyson was a major catalyst. 

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“It was truly a blessing to be able to accomplish what I did, and what the team did this year,” Tyson said in an interview with Southjersey.com.
As a junior, Tyson was a two-way starter on a Mainland team that went 10-2, won the Central Jersey Group 4 title and lost to eventual state champ Millville, 18-14 in the state Group 4 semifinal.
“Going into this year we lost a lot of people, especially [B-DB Ja’Briel] Mace, but this year it wasn’t about one person, we had so many contributors,” Tyson said. 
This year’s 35-13 win over Millville in the South Jersey Group 4 championship was especially satisfying to Tyson and his teammates. At the time, Millville was the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey. 
“We thought we owed Millville something for last year,” he said. 
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Tyson accepted a scholarship to Villanova, which has recruited him to play cornerback. The aforementioned Mace, is a member of the Villanova team and helped Tyson during the recruiting process.
“For sure, he was part of the process,” Tyson said. “Him being there, he pretty much gave me a heads up on what to expect and about how good the culture is there.”
Tyson saw that first-hand when he visited the school.
“They were the main people who stuck with me during the recruiting process, and I fell in love with the school when I went there to visit,” he said. “I love the coaching staff and if I don’t go to the NFL, I will get a great job by having a Villanova degree.”
Tyson, also a key member of Mainland’s basketball team, says he is looking forward to the challenge of playing for Villanova, one of the best Football Championship Subdivision schools. This year Villanova went 10-3, won a share of the Coastal Athletic Association and lost to eventual champion South Dakota State, 23-12 in an FCS quarterfinal game. 
He is looking forward to the next challenge at Villanova, but regardless of what he accomplishes in the future, Tyson will always cherish his senior football season.
Even though it was only the second year that the NJSIAA conducted a state championship for public schools, the 2023 Mainland team will always be known as the first football team in school history to bring home a state title. 
“We made history and have left a legacy,” he said. “We had so many people who helped us, our sponsors, parents, coaches, even the students coming to away games in the playoffs, and it showed our whole community was together and it is something we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

Photo Courtesy of Jamie Tyson


Author: Marc Narducci

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