Most football fans love football of all levels, and in the state of Mississippi, prep football holds a special place in the hearts of fans. That is why the fine crew (yes, we are still looking for them) of FWtCT will bring you a Prep Football update each and every week. Robbie Faulk and I will bring you highlights, news and notes from around the state.
If you want a look at the recruits, commits, and prospects in the state, catch my Friday Night Focus on Bulldog Sports Radio.
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winstoncountysfinest (Robbie Faulk): While Justin is holding things down around the most southern part of our great state, I'm trying to track down what high school football is doing from central MS up. This past week was about as exciting as a first week in football gets around here, although there were some blowouts, there were some big time powers colliding across the state. This week proves to be more of the same as football is now in full swing.
Top five games this week:
Meridian at Wayne County- The Wildcats seem to be back in the saddle as one of the top contenders for the 6A crown, but Wayne County could prove to be a formidable early season test. The War Eagles lost to their former coach last week so maybe this lights a fire under them in this battle. Predicted Winner: Meridian
Itawamba AHS at New Albany- New Albany is playing with pure emotion this season after their coach's wife and child were tragically killed this past year. Itawamba squeaked by last week but they should have their total package this week with Ashton Shumpert returning from an illness. Shumpert is back with Itawamba after playing with Tupelo and a lot is riding on him. Predicted Winner: Itawamba AHS
Greenwood at Lafayette- Greenwood is no push over, and I believe Lafayette will understand this. They seem to be extremely focused at this point but how big was the loss of Jeremy Liggins after back-to-back titles? We'll see but I think they'll make it through another week. Predicted Winner: Lafayette
Vardaman at Bruce- These two play in a smaller market area and play smaller ball but both can play. Coming from the same county, there should be no extra fuel that needs to be added to the fire and I expect a pound for pound great ball game. Predicted Winner: Bruce
Starkville at Madison Central- This is one of the bigger battles of the week but can Starkville bounce back from the beat down that happened just a week ago against Noxubee? The jaguars took one on the chin but against the defending 6A champs in Olive Branch. I think Starkville plays much better ball offensively but it won't be enough in front of a raucous jungle. A regional television audience makes this an even bigger game. Predicted Winner: Madison Central
Starkville High School coach Jamie Mitchell confirms QB Gabe Myles (ankle) will not play Friday night vs. Madison Central.— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) August 23, 2012
Last week's game of the week: West Point/South Panola... Lots of prognosticators believe that if Lance Pogue can't get the job done this year this might be it for him, and by get the job done, that means an undefeated season in Batesville. The Green Wave defense stifled the Tigers all night. They allowed very little by the Tigers once they crossed the redzone and 5* athlete, Tony Conner never got in an offensive groove. What he did do, however, is lead the defense to an even better performance than their counterpart. He flew around the field all night and made the plays to make sure a victory was ensured. Defenses went back and forth before West Point finally drove down the field late to take their first lead of the ball game on a two point conversion. South Panola seemed to understand that there was no more room for mistakes and drove the ball down the field themselves to the one yard line before they kicked a game winning field goal as time expired. West Point proved that they are indeed a team to be reckoned with in 5A ball and could be in Jackson again by the end of the year.
Top offensive performer: Before I get barraged by all of the academy ball haters, I'm going to give one of my Winston boys an honorable mention. Logan Webb, a sophomore quarterback, decided to go beast mode last week in his first week as official starting quarterback. He ran the option read to perfection to the tune of 263 yards and 2 touchdowns as my boys got an opening week win over the Sylva Bay Saints.. So there's that..
Now let me please you savages with what you call "real" football. My pick for offensive player of the week is Darrell Robinson. Not only did Noxubee's defense just completely tear up the Starkville offense, they did pretty well running the ball. He ran 19 times for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns. This was quite the win for Noxubee, who looks like they'll roll through 4A if the ole Louisville Wildcats don't pick it up.
Top defensive performer: I know that Justin will cover the metro area, but a kid I really like is Taylor Polk from Brandon. Watching film from their game Friday night, he was in on nearly every tackle it seemed. Size seems to be a problem with college coaches but no one can deny the fact that he's just a really good football player.
justinrsutton (Justin Sutton): Like Robbie said, the southern part of Mississippi belongs to me. Last week saw several intriguing matchups as Petal knocked off Wayne County, Picayune defeated Biloxi in a classic, and Pascagoula dominated Gulfport. With that said, great action dominates the southern part of the state again this weekend.
Brandon at Pearl: Someone will eat dirt Friday night in this battle between Rankin County powerhouses. Brandon and Pearl want to dominate each other in everything imaginable. Perhaps the winner can invoke prima nocta and work to systematically remove the citizens of the other city. Given the proximity of the schools, this may be the nastiest rivalry in the state.
Predicted Winner: Brandon
Moss Point at Gulfport: This may not be the best matchup on the Coast, but it does not lack in intrigue. Many Gulfport fans started grumbling with the Admirals turned in one of their worst seasons in a while that culminated in a third place finish in 6A Region 4 and a first round playoff loss to Petal. The grumbling got a bit louder last week when Pascagoula manhandled the Admirals, holding them to negative rushing yards in the first game of the Shrimp Bowl.
The Tigers enter the game on an emotional high after knocking off the George County Rebels in Lucedale on a last play touchdown pass for the win.
Predicted Winner: I'm pulling a Kirk Herbstreet because I am covering this one, so no predictions.
Ocean Springs at Pascagoula: In what may be the game of the week Friday night, the Greyhounds travel to War Memorial Stadium in Pascagoula to take on the Panthers in a 7:30 kickoff Friday.
Last year, the two teams met in a contest that was decided in the final minutes when Wes Windham connected with Donovan Smith on a 39-yard touchdown pass with a little over two minutes remaining to give Ocean Springs a 31-27 victory.
Both teams picked up victories last week as Pascagoula knocked off Gulfport in the Shrimp Bowl 23-0, and Ocean Springs handled Gautier 42-21.
The Panthers limited Gulfport to 115 yards on 26 plays while racking up 405 yards of offense on 76 plays. Pascagoula quarterback Andrew Dunn tossed for 228 yards and two touchdowns, and Kevin Scott picked up 107 yards on the ground for the Panthers.
In the Greyhounds' victory over Gautier, Wes Windham threw for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
Those unable to attend can listen to Jeff Shepard and Warren Kulo with the call at www.wosmradio.com.
Petal at Picayune: Two teams coming off of impressive victories will square off in this Saturday night affair. The Maroon Tide picked up an overtime victory over the Biloxi Indians using a powerful running game that may be the best in the state.
Many people expected a drop in Petal's performance after the graduation of Anthony Alford, but after winning last week, Petal looks like they could still be one of the top teams in the state.
Last Week's Game of the week: This one is a no-brainer. As good as many other games were, there was not one that touched the excitement of Picayune and Biloxi. The Maroon Tide jumped out to a lead before Biloxi settled down in the game. Mississippi State commit Scott Austin hauled in a 30 yard touchdown pass, and South Alabama commit Tevaris McCormick hauled in a pair of touchdown passes as well.
A fake punt by Picayune and a touchdown on the next play seemed to seal the deal for the Maroon Tide with under two minutes to play, but Biloxi rallied to score again to force overtime, where Picayune walked away with a 42-35 victory. You can read my recap on www.southmssports.com
Top Offensive Performance: With all respect to others who had good games, Preston Dedeaux, the junior running back from Picayune, ran away with this one. The running back carried the ball 50 (!!!) times for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Here's a tip of the hat to his offensive line as well.
Top Defensive Performance: This may be a cop-out, but I am going with a team award for Pascagoula. It seemed like the Panthers had a spy in the Admirals' huddle because they shut down most plays that Gulfport attempted.
The Admirals had negative yards until the last play of the first half, and when the Admiral receivers caught the ball, the Panthers quickly brought them to the turf. Watch out for Pascagoula in 5A ball.
Our Top 25 Teams:
Robbie's Week 1 Top 25 : 1. South Panola (1-0) 2. Olive Branch (1-0) 3. Meridian (1-0) 4. Picayune (1-0) 5. Lafayette (1-0) 6. Brandon (1-0) 7. Petal (1-0) 8. Madison Central (0-1) 9. Noxubee County (1-0) 10. Biloxi (0-1)
11. West Point (1-0) 12. Pascagoula (1-0) 13. Tylertown (1-0) 14.Charleston (1-0) 15. Starkville (0-1) 16. Ocean Springs (1-0) 17. West Bolivar (1-0) 18. Bruce (1-0) 19. Forest (1-0) 20. Bassfield (1-0) 21. Jackson Academy (1-0) 22. Laurel (1-0) 23. Jackson Prep (1-0) 24. Water Valley (1-0) 25. Noxapater (0-1)
justinrsutton's MPB Top 25 ballot: