There are many great games along the state of Mississippi as teams make their final push to prepare for region play over the next two weeks. WinstonCountysFinest (Robbie Faulk) and I have broken down the big matchups and players from across the state.
It all comes your way after the bump.
Top five games of the week in North Mississippi according to WinstonCountysFinest
West Point at Starkville: I know... What has Starkie proven to be considered the game of the week? They struggled the first couple of games, yes. But after the loss of their best player (QB Gabe Myles) they may have found their future in MSU defensive coordinator's son, Caleb Wilson. The sophomore star basketball player, showed he could get the job done on the field as well throwing for 180 yards and three TD's in his second start for Starkville. West Point came off a bye week after losing in the final seconds to South Panola and looked like a 5A contender against Columbus. This is a must win for Starkville if they want to get back on track. West Point
Noxubee at Aberdeen: Aberdeen has looked alright early on. But the eventual 4A champs are coming to town. I think this is a potentially good ball game but could get out of hand early if Noxubee wants it to. In their first three ball games, the tigers have outscored their opponents by 45 points....... ON AVERAGE. They have breezed through early but will this be a game where they slip up? Not a chance. Noxubee
Bruce at Water Valley: A battle between 2A and 3A and two teams that make it into this week's top 25 for me. This should be a fun one to watch. Bruce is turning out impressive performances early on this season and Water Valley has jumped out into the top 5 in 3A. This is always a battle and I expect that to stay the same this year. Going out on a limb with this one though. Bruce
Ackerman at Houston: I've got to give the hometown boys some love. (I bet some of you are wondering why the heck I'm callin' Ackerman the hometown when my name is winstoncounty'sfinest. Long story) The Hilltoppers have come out rolling so far this season. Last year they struggled somewhat with a 6-6 record and this year they're halfway there at 3-0. Ackerman comes in with close wins over 1A noxapater, French Camp, and Winona. So they haven't played the beef of the schedule just yet. This will be the biggest test by far this early in the season and Ackerman was blown out last year. This is a tough one to pick. Houston
Caledonia at East Webster: I know these aren't the most monsterish of games but hey, I have little to work with here in North Mississippi this week. John Banks' alma mater is rollin like a big shot early on. 3-0 in their first three games, the Wolverines look like they might be back. But one of the surprise teams so far this year has been Caledonia and they'll be looking to prove even more this week. Should be a fun one to watch over in Maben. Caledonia
Let's head down south where most of the teams did not play last week because of the impact of Hurricane Isaac.
Top five games of the week in South Mississippi according to justinrsutton
Gulfport at South Panola: No. this is not being played on the coast, but Gulfport makes the return trip to Batesville after knocking off the Tigers last year in Milner Stadium. South Panola has struggled a bit this year, and the Admirals have been a hard team to read. This one is simple: Can the Admirals be tough up front against the Tigers' running game? I say they can. Gulfport in a close one.
Brookhaven at Petal: Brookhaven has been known to have some quality football teams, and this will be a test for the Panthers (the Brookhaven variety). Other than a loss to Picayune, Petal has looked the part of a solid football team, knocking off Wayne County and Madison Central. I look for Petal to avenge an earlier loss to 5A football and head to the pay window tonight.
Northwest Rankin at Brandon: The Bulldogs have already knocked off one intracounty foe, and tonight, they look to make it 2-0 against the folks in Rankin County. Brandon is a team that is starting to gain some respect in the polls. It looks like four teams are rising to the top in the south: Meridian, Biloxi, Petal, and Brandon. The Bulldogs prove they belong tonight as southern football keeps picking up wins over the north.
Bassfield at Forrest County AHS: These two schools face off in a matchup where neither team usually gets the love they deserve. FCAHS has picked up two easy wins to open the season, and Bassfield has wins of 41-0, 62-18, and 47-6. In a real rarity, the Bassfield roster (a 2A school) is about the size of the FCAHS roster. I think this is close, let's call an upset and say Bassfield on the road.
Pascagoula at Harrison Central: I'll be at the home of the Red Rebels tonight, and I want to see if Pascagoula can avoid a letdown after a dramatic win over Ocean Springs two weeks ago. The Panthers are getting a bunch of love in the polls, and this game gives them a chance to prove they will not trip up against weaker foes.
WinstonCountysFinest's: Last week's Top Game in the North: Lafayette at Oxford: Cspire's Bright Lights Football game of the week featured on Fox Sports Net was a doozie. At least for Oxford as they had Lafayette's number. 34 consecutive games and two State Championships were in the book for Lafayette and they were showcased regionally by FSN so there seemed to be no shot for Oxford. But they came out and controlled the ground game and the ball on their way to a 19-0 shutout shocking the state of Mississippi for a night at least.
Justinrsutton: Last Week's Top Game in the South: There was not too much to choose from down this way, but Petal knocking of Madison Central has to be the winner. The Panthers rebounded after a loss to Picayune, putting the Jaguars away in the fourth quarter. As has been the case often this year, matchups pitting teams from south Mississippi against north Mississippi has seen the guys from the south walk away with a win.
The North's offensive player of the week: Greg Caston, Strayhorn. I've never heard of Strayhorn, but apparently Greg Caston from up there is a workhorse. He ran 26 times for 235 yards and three touchdowns as his team got a win over Coldwater. That's totin' the mail
The North's defensive player of the week: Quinterio Bailey, Water Valley: Bailey was all over the field in Water Valley's big win over Calhoun City. He recorded 16 tackles (two in the backfield) and recovered a fumble.
The South's offensive player of the week: Gardner Minshew, Brandon: Last year, Minshew led the Bulldogs to a playoff victory as a freshman at Ocean Springs. He has followed it up well this year, throwing for 230 yards and three touchdowns last week against Clinton.
The South's defensive player of the week: Devonta Green, Natchez: All he did was pick up two sacks, seven tackles, force a fumble, recover two fumbles, run one back for a score and rumor has it, pop the popcorn at the half.
Top 25 for week 4 in the eyes of WinstonCounty's Finest
1. Meridian (3-0)
2. Olive Branch (2-0)
3. Picayune (2-0)
4. Brandon (3-0)
5. Noxubee County (3-0)
7. South Panola (2-0)
8. Tylertown (3-0)
9. West Point (1-1)
10. Petal (2-1)
11. Biloxi (1-1)
12. Hattiesburg (3-0)
13. Madison Central (1-2)
14. Jackson Prep (3-0)
15. Oak Grove (2-0)
16. Oxford (3-0)
17. Lafayette County (2-1)
18. Hazelhurst (3-0)
19. Ocean Springs (1-1)
20. Jackson Academy (3-0)
21. West Bolivar (3-0)
22. Bassfield (2-0)
23. Water Valley (3-0)
24. Quitman (3-0)
25. Bruce (3-0)
Justinrsutton's MPB Top 25 ballot
3. Olive Branch
5. Noxubee County
9. West Point
10. Ocean Springs
11. South Panola
14. Oak Grove
15. Madison Central
16. Forrest County AHS
18. Wayne County
24. Jackson Prep