This has nothing to do with high school ball..just like the photo - Jared Wickerham
Curious as to what is happening on the high school gridiron around the state? Step inside and have a look at teams and players from across Mississippi.
With the race to the playoffs heating up, many teams across the state will either be playing to position themselves for a home playoff game, and others will be playing to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In the southern part of the state, 6A Region 3 may provide the most compelling matchup week in and week out. That streak continues this week as the region provides two of the southern part of the state's four top games.
Brandon at Oak Grove: Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that the Brandon Bulldogs might be the toast of 6A football, but after back-to-back losses to Petal and Meridian, the Bulldogs now find themselves fighting for a playoff spot. While a loss to Oak Grove would not completely end their playoff hopes, it would make their matchup with Hattiesburg a must win next week. Look for the Bulldogs to pick up the victory on the road. Offensive lineman David Mahaffey and linebacker Taylor Polk, both Bulldogs, have been selected to play in the Mississipp/Alabama All-Star game.
Petal at Meridian: Keeping in the same region, the Petal Panthers can take a major step towards wrapping up a division title tonight in Meridian. The Wildcats, once the talk of the state now have the position of being in a four team race with Oak Grove, Brandon, and Hattiesburg for one of the two road team spots in the region. For those that think Petal has a playoff spot wrapped up, a three game losing streak, and potentially even a two losses in their last three could take them out of the hunt. A great bit of talent will be featured on the field as Petal's Jamarcus Revies and Meridian's JaQuarius Scott have both been selected to play in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game. An urgent Meridian squad sneaks past Petal.
d'Iberviille at Gulfport: Traveling down to the Gulf Coast, the Warriors head to Milner Stadium to face the Admirals in what may turn out to be the championship game for 6A Region 4. With both teams sporting undefeated records, the winner will control their own destiny. As far as remaining games, the Admirals have the tougher task having to travel to Ocean Springs and then finish the season at home against Biloxi. D'Iberville closes at George County and at home against St. Martin. Even though the two squads lead the region, neither has a representative in the Mississippi/Alabama all-star game. However, both have representatives in the Bernard Blackwell Bowl: Orin Cole (d'Iberville) and Craig Murphy (Gulfport). Look for the Admirals to pick up the win.
Stringer at Bogue Chitto: The big boys are not the only ones that can play ball. In 1A Region 4 action, a championship is on the line as the Red Devils travel to Bogue Chitto. Both teams carry undefeated region records into the matchup, so a victory may seal the deal with two games remaining. Brandon Wells, a Mississippi State commitment and selection to the Mississippi/Alabama all-star game will be in action, as will his teammate, a selection to the Bernard Blackwell Bowl, Germie Martin. The Bobcats win at home.
Moving up north, WinstonCountysFinest breaks down the games north of I-20.
Two weeks of regular season football remain and several division titles will be settled later tonight. This is the best time of the year folks. Playoff football is right around the corner and the excitement is just beginning. Let's check out the huge ball games in the north this week.
Top four games of the week in North Mississippi:
Noxubee at Louisville: This went down last night in beautiful Winston County the county of champions. A battle for the division, as it always is, was a blowout in the first half but the seven-time state champs kept fighting in the second half against the Tigers. Noxubee hoss, Darrell Robinson, went through the first half like a practice going for over 200 yards and four touchdowns. But Louisville made halftime adjustments and made the score 28-20 in the fourth. Robinson then stepped on their throat with two more touchdowns to seal it before a late Louisville TD. Robinson scored six (SIIIXXXX) touchdowns with nearly 40 carries and over 300 yards. Noxubee has all but sealed up that 4A state championship as they continue to roll. They won this 41-28.
Itawamba AHS at Amory: Big time Region 1-4A matchup this week which will, in all likelihood, decide the district title. IAHS was winning without four star RB Ashton Shumpert, but with him they're dominating. In just five games, Shumpert has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Shumpert is the difference maker here and I look for that streak to continue tonight. Itawamba
Pelahatchie at Noxapater: The biggest battle in 1A so far this season, the Pater Tigers look to take hold of the classification once again. The defending champs lost their first two games (both to 2A opponents) but have reeled off six straight wins looking like the dominant team in 1A once again. The win could clinch the division for one of these two and should be a fun one to watch. Noxapater
Water Valley at Aberdeen: Aberdeen lost their defensive playmaker Channing Ward this season, but they are even stronger as a whole. The offense has carried the team this year with one of the top attacks in the state. Water Valley, however, has been one of the pleasant surprises in 3A at 8-1 setting up a division championship tonight. Aberdeen
South Mississippi's Game of the Week: Poplarville 82, St. Stanislaus 80-In a game that may have seen more points scored than some years of scoring in the Sylvester Croom era, the Hornets got past the Rock-a-chaws. Poplarville trailed 60-49 at the half. Stanislaus' Tyler Allen tossed for seven touchdowns and 443 yards, while his teammate Denzel Walker ran for 238 yards on 16 carries. Not to be outdone, Jiquan James of Poplarville ran for 401 yards and six touchdowns. Want even more crazier stuff? This may have only been the second wildest game at Poplarville this year. Earlier this year, they had a streaker.
North Mississippi's Last week's game of the week: Ackerman vs. Eupora: The Battle of Highway 9 is the one of the fiercest rivalries in the entire state of Mississippi. Two schools, separated by 15 miles and fighting for a division title. Ackerman came out of the gate with an early two touchdown lead but Eupora fought back and would take a lead. Ackerman had to drive down the field down five with less than a minute left and fumbled the ball away to Eupora, losing the ball game and the division lead. I'd expect these two teams might meet again in the playoffs. And that will be even more fun than this one I can assure you.
South Mississippi Player of the Week (offense): Jiquan James, Poplarville: Anytime you run for six touchdowns and over 400 yards, you win.
South Mississippi Player of the Week (defense): Phalen Booker, Bay: Booker had a strong performance against Vancleave, picking up 12 tackles, 3 sacks and forced fumble in the Tigers' 45-7 win.
Justinrsutton's Top 25 teams:
3. South Panola
4. Noxubee County
9. West Point
10. Oak Grove
13. Ocean Springs
16. Olive Branch
20. Wayne county
21. Itawamba AHS
24. Forrest County AHS
25. Jackson Prep
Winston County's Finest Top 25
1. Picayune (7-0)
2. Noxubee County (9-0)
3. Petal (7-1)
4. Oxford (8-0)
5. South Panola (6-2)
6. Olive Branch (7-1)
7. Oak Grove (7-1)
8. West Point (6-2)
9. Pascagoula (6-1)
10. D'Iberville (7-0)
11. Bassfield (9-0)
12. Jackson Prep (8-0)
13. Meridian (6-2)
14. Hazelhurst (9-0)
15. Brandon (6-2)
16. Tylertown (7-1)
17. Itawamba AHS (8-0)
18. Charleston (6-1)
19. Wayne County (6-2)
20. Pearl River Central (6-1)
21. Philadelphia (9-0)
22. Lafayette County (7-2)
23. Natchez (6-2)
24. Madison Central (5-3)
25. Jackson Academy (7-1)