With region play about to begin for most teams in the Magnolia State, tonight will be full of action as teams start fighting for position in the play hunt. Follow along after the bump as Robbie and I look at upcoming games, and the outstanding players and games from last week.
WinstonCounty'sFinest's Top Five Games of the Week:
Bruce at Houston: Things are really starting to roll for both of these teams. Both are on the cusp of being ranked in the top 25 in the state and both prove that there is some quality football played in the lower classifications. Look for the Houston defense to really put the clamps down on Bruce and keep this a lowing scoring ball game. Houston
Clinton at No. 21 Madison Central: This game is big. Both teams are traditional powers (especially MC) and both have had rough starts against a brutal schedule. Madison Central has the ability to contend for the state crown but they better get started this week against a tough Clinton team. I think they rise to the challenge. Madison Central
Louisville at Aberdeen: The Wildcats have had some big time miscues early on this season and haven't played up to their usual level. Like the MC/Clinton game, this is big for both programs. It can spring board one of the teams into contention in their division and could hurt the other for the rest of the season. Aberdeen
No. 2 Olive Branch at Southaven: The defending state champs are going to be the favorites until someone knocks them off and this is their next big test. With the exception of Meridian, Olive Branch has been the team to beat early this season. Southaven presents a big challenge and it will be interesting to see if the Conquistadors can continue their year and a half winning streak. Olive Branch
Terry at No. 4 Brandon: It seems like every week Brandon is on this list playing in a big game, and every week they prevail. Coach Brad Peterson has done one thing everywhere he has been, and that is win. His teams seem to get better every year he progresses and I think this team is as good a team he has had. Brandon could win this win big but Terry is a nice challenge. We shall see. Brandon
justinrsutton's Top Five Games of the Week:
No. 7 Petal at No. 10 Hattiesburg: Two top ten teams collide from the ultra-stacked 6A Region 3, a region where four teams inhabit the top ten. With Meridian sitting at No. 1 in the MPB poll, and Brandon sitting at No. 4, this means that Petal at No. 7 and Hattiesburg at No. 10 are the two lower ranked top ten teams in the region. Petal has played a very tough schedule in some big time atmospheres this year, so I think the Panthers have the edge in handling the CSpire Bright Lights atmosphere. Even though they are on the road, I'll take Petal in a close one.
No. 3 Picayune at No. 22 Pearl River Central: Two more top-25 teams from the South collide in this rematch of the 5A South State title game, won by Picayune. With only eleven miles separating the two schools, this rivalry brings the pressure of the two big schools in Pearl River County playing each other. The Blue Devils have turned it up a notch since beating Wayne County on a two-point conversion to open last year's playoff. It says here that they will give the Maroon Tide a challenge, but in the end Picayune, will be too much to handle.
Pearl at No. 23 Wayne County: In a match up of two teams that do not shy away from opponents, the Pirates make the trip to Waynesboro to take on the War Eagles. Both teams have shown flashes of dominance this year, but neither has consistently been able to show their best. Let's say Wayne County wins at home.
St. Martin at Gulfport: It has been a long time since the Yellow Jackets have played a meaningful region game, but they meet the Admirals in a game that could go a long way towards making or breaking playoff dreams for both teams. With Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and D'Iberville looking like playoff squads, St. Martin and Gulfport may battle for the final spot in the region.
Of note, Gulfport Coach Mike Justice will not be on the sidelines as he recovers from a heart attack suffered last Friday. I say that give the Admirals a "win one for the Gipper" moment, and they take down St. Martin.
Biloxi at D'Ibervile: Both of these teams have lit up scoreboards this season, and that trend should continue in region play. The Indians have averaged over sixty points in their last two matchups, but the Warriors have only allowed seven points all year. In the end, Biloxi has too much firepower, so look for the Indians in a closer matchup that both had played most of this year.
WinstonCountysFinest's North Mississippi's Rewind Game of the Week:
West Point vs. Noxubee: Two top teams faced off with two of the best defenses in the state of Mississippi last Friday night, and they both proved why they're the best. This one was back and forth all night with the defense making big play after big play. In the end, Noxubee proved to be superior as they have every single week and won the ball game 6-0. Noxubee continues to knock on the big boy's door and pick a fight. And nine times out of 10 it looks like they're going to win that fight.
Justinrsutton's South Mississippi's rewind Game of the Week:
Ocean Springs vs. Picayune: In a battle that featured two different offensive philosophies, the Maroon Tide knocked off the Greyhounds 35-21 at Hugh Pepper Field in Ocean Springs. Picayune's Preston Dedeaux got off to a hot start, and the rest of the running game (including their powerful offensive line) helped Picayune keep their lead. This game also produced my offensive players of the week.
WinstonCountysFinest Offensive Player of the week-Sam Craft, Olive Branch: Craft not only makes my player of the week, he was statewide player of the week. He was the epitome of dual threat Friday against national power Memphis University School. Craft threw for 196 yards and ran for 153 totaling 4 touchdowns. I keep hearing more and more from this kid over the past couple of years. Keep your eye out for him.
justinrsutton's Player of the week: I've got to admit, Sam Craft had a great ball game for Olive Branch, but the Ocean Springs tandem of quarterback Wes Windham and receiver Ishmel Morrow (the younger brother of Mississippi State's Joe Morrow) had an amazing showing as well.
Windham finished the night 28-for-40, which helped him throw for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Morrow found himself on the receiving end 18 of those passes, racking up 263 yards and three touchdowns. If I had to pick one, I'd say Morrow, but both deserve recognition.
WinstonCountysFinest's Defensive Player of the Week-Jacoby Lewis, Noxapater: Lewis was all over the field defensively and totaled 11 tackles with three for loss and a sack in Pater's blowout win over Sebastopol. For a second straight year, the defending 1A champs started off with two bigger teams and a couple of losses but just like last year, it looks like it's working to their advantage. Once again, they look like the team to beat in 1A ball.
Justinrsutton's Defensive Player of the Week: While team awards usually represent a cop-out, the fact is D'Iberville's defense has had a major season, and gained little recognition. The team has given up seven points in three games so far this season, so Warriors, come on down and claim your award.
Winstoncountysfinest's Top 25 for week 4
1. Meridian (4-0)
2. Olive Branch (4-0)
3. Picayune (3-0)
4. Brandon (4-0)
5. Noxubee County (5-0)
7. Petal (3-1)
8. Tylertown (4-0)
9. Biloxi (2-1)
10. Oxford (4-0)
11. Hattiesburg (4-0)
12. Oak Grove (4-0)
13. South Panola (2-2)
14. Jackson Prep (5-0)
15. West Point (2-2)
16. Lafayette County (4-1)
17. Hazelhurst (5-0)
18. Jackson Academy (5-0)
19. Bassfield (5-0)
20. Charleston (4-1)
21. Pearl River Central (3-0)
22. Cleveland (5-0)
23. Wayne County (2-2)
24. Ocean Springs (1-2)
25. Madison Central (1-3)
Justinrsutton's MPB Ballot
5. Olive Branch
11. Oak Grove
14. West Point
15. South Panola
16. Ocean Springs
17. Wayne County
21. Jackson Prep
22. St Martin