Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter has reloaded for another championship run. With six starters back on both sides of the ball the Tigers are the favorites again.
“I am a defensive guy, but I really like our offense this year,” Shorter said. “We got plenty of speed at running back and loaded at wide receivers. If we can get good offensive line we can compete with anybody.”
Junior quarterback Maleik Stallings is a big reason for optimism. Last year in his first year as the starting quarterback, Stallings passed for 2,442 yards with 22 touchdowns.
“He got thrown in the fire last season and struggled a bit, but this year he’s motivated from how last year ended and is ready to go,” Shorter said.
Louisville returns eight starters on both sides of the ball and have their sites set on a first state championship since winning the 3A state title in 2013.
Deontae Yarbrough will be the starting quarterback and will have a plethora of receivers to throw to including Ladarius Luckett and Tyrique Carter. Kenneth Knowles will be the top running back returning for Wildcats.
“Last year we got bit by the injury bug early and that hurt us big-time due to no depth. This year we’ve got depth on both sides of the ball,” said Louisville coach M.C. Miller.
Clarksdale makes the drop from 5A to 4A and should make an immediate impact in the gauntlet that is 4A North. Terrence Humphrey returns at quarterback for Clarksdale after passing for 1,592 yards with 13 touchdowns.
Humphrey and running back Jaylin Mullins will carry the offense that returns eight starters. Defensive back and Mississippi State commit Esaias Furdge will anchor a defense that only returns three starters.
“We are used to being on a high-level and that will still be the case just in 4A,” said Clarksdale coach Henry Johnson. “No matter the classification our goal is still the same and that’s compete for state championships. Class 4A North is very competitive this year and we better be ready to play every Friday night.”
Poplarville made history in 2016 making it all the way to the 4A state championship for the first time. With nine starters back on offense and five on defense, Poplarville is legit.
“After what we accomplished last year the kids know it is possible to know what it takes to get to the state championship,” said Poplarville coach Jay Beech.
With eight starters on offense and seven on defense from an 8-5 team, Noxubee County is ready for a big year. Running back Tony Brown returns after rushing for an astonishing 3,317 yards with 41 touchdowns.
Turbo McKee returns at quarterback along with running backs Damion Mack and Kurt Rackley to anchor the run-heavy West Lauderdale offense.
Five starters return on offense and four on defense from a 9-4 Purvis team that reached the third round of the playoffs. Purvis will lean heavily on running back John Bolton and four-star ATH C.J. Bolar.
Florence has five starters back on offense and six on defense off a team that made school history going 12-3 and making it to 4A South State. Degerrick Lee rushed for 2,273 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2016.
Corinth finished 4-7 last year but competed down the stretch with a young team. With a roster that is a year more experienced, expect the Warriors in the playoffs. Linebacker Carter Bonds had 181 tackles as a freshman last season. He’s joined by talented linebacker Jawon Shields along with J. P. Langley.
Pontotoc had a great run last season, reaching the North State Championship game, but the roster is filled with new faces this year. The Warriors are inexperienced but still talented. Running back Gabe Harmon along with offensive lineman and LSU commit Cole Smith will anchor the offense. Linebacker Trevor Morgan will lead the defense.
MHSAA 6A RANKINGS
2 Noxubee County
5 East Central
6 West Lauderdale
REGION COACHES’ POLLS
4 New Albany
5 Tishomingo County
3 Itawamba AHS
4 Rosa Fort
5 Yazoo City
1 Noxubee County
3 New Hope
5 Leake Central
1 West Lauderdale
4 Northeast Jones
5 Newton County
6 Northeast Lauderdale
3 South Pike
3 Lawrence County
4 Greene County
5 Forrest County
1 East Central
2 St. Stanislaus
3 Moss Point
6 Pass Christian
QB Maliek Stallings 6′, 170, Jr, Noxubee County
AP C. J. Bolar 6’3, 185, Sr, Purvis
RB Degerrick Lee 6′, 190, Sr, Florence
RB Tony Brown 5’9, 175, Sr, East Central
WR Dennis Jackson 6’1, 165, Jr, Sumrall
WR Jeremy Tate 6’3 210, Sr, New Hope
TE Brad Cumbest 6’5, 240, Sr, East Central
OL Cole Smith 6’5, 275, Sr, Pontotoc
OL Kwatrivous Johnson 6’7, 350, Sr, Greenwood
OL Christian Henderson6’5, 290, Sr, Greenwood
OL Brandon Tatavoulle 6’4, 275, Sr, St. Stanislaus
OL Jacob Cunningham 6’4, 295, Sr, Louisville
DL Charles Moore 6’4, 255, Jr, Louisville
DL Vincent McIntosh 6’1, 295, Sr, Shannon
DL Miles Smith 6′, 240, Sr, Noxubee County
DL Jalen Bedell 6’2, 300, Sr, Greenwood
LB Jamal Shumpert 6′, 225, Sr, Itawamba AHS
LB Carl Jones 6’2, 210, Sr, Greenwood
LB Jawon Shields 6’2, 190, Sr, Corinth
LB Daylen Gill 6’1, 210, Sr, Louisville
DB Kyziah Pruitt 6′, 185, Jr, Noxubee County
DB Andrew Seward 5’11, 185, Sr, East Central
DB Esaias Furdge 5’10, 160, Sr, Clarksdale
DB Lakevias Daniels 5’11, 180, Sr, Louisville
PK Malachi Harrison 6′, 170, Sr, Northeast Jones
P Payton Snyder 6’3, 175, Sr, New Albany