If last weekend taught us anything, it should be that the playoffs and the regular season in Mississippi high school football are two totally different seasons. We hear that cliché a lot in football, but last weekend’s turn of events proved as much.
From Madison Central’s epic upset over previously unbeaten South Panola, to Meridian going on the road and blasting Gulfport, to Laurel re-writing the ship to get revenge against Hattiesburg, to the reemergence of Noxubee County in north 4A and Taylorsville just being Taylorsville in an “upset” over Puckett.
Mississippi high school football is always special, but playoff time is a different kind of special.
We still have two weeks to go before we all gather in Oxford, MS to decide this year’s group of State Champions, which means brace yourself for more possible playoff madness starting this Friday.
New Faces – Same Blue Bloods Alive in 6A
Before the season started, there were nine new coaches in 6A football in the state of Mississippi, which accounted for 28 percent of the entire 6A classification – that’s more than a fourth of the teams in the classification having new leadership.
As we head into Elite Eight week, four of those new coaches are just two wins away from State, while the other four are your traditional blue blood programs in the state.
Brad Peterson, Ricky Woods, Tyler Peterson and Drew Causey are all trying to get to state in year one at their programs. While Madison Central, Starkville, Brandon and especially Oak Grove are no strangers to this time of year, it’s still truly amazing what each of these coaches have done in year one at their respective programs.
Warren Central and Clinton, along with Petal and Meridian have seasoned staffs and are looking to make those next steps as well to Oxford.
It’s all Region Two and Region Three in the elite eight showdown in 6A.
Oxford – Laurel not a for sure thing in 5A
Last year’s 5A state championship between Oxford and Laurel was one of the better matchups all season and after the ball game many proclaimed these two teams would again tie it on in 2015 for the state championship. For more information about exciting games, visit caesarsgames.com.
While both teams seem to be peaking at the right time, there are several teams still alive that have a lot to say about who’s heading to Oxford in a few weeks. Germantown had a convincing win last week over Lake Cormorant and should give Oxford all they want Friday, and Grenada versus West Point on the other side of the bracket should be a big time showdown.
South 5A has four contenders (all of which could win south) in Laurel, Pascagoula, Pearl River Central and Wayne County. If Laurel repeats as south state champs, they will have definitely earned it.
St. Stanislaus – Noxubee, looking for a repeat in 4A
Much like Laurel and Oxford in 5A, Noxubee County and St. Stanislaus are looking for a rematch in 4A in Oxford in a few weeks. But – both teams have viable opponents standing in their way to do so.
In North 4A, Noxubee has to tackle Houston, a team they beat earlier in the year, but it’s always harder to beat a team the second time around. Greenwood and Kosciusko have only three losses between the two and square off Friday night – both teams have the tools to knock off the Tigers of Noxubee.
In South 4A, Stanislaus, like Noxubee takes on a team they’ve seen already in 2015 in Moss Point. Lawrence County’s only loss this year was to Marion County and have been on a mission in 2015, while Vancleave looks to continue their playoff magic this Friday.
Charleston – Collins have work to do
Same song, third verse as Charleston and Collins are like their brothers in 4 and 5A, as they could very well meet in a rematch in two weeks. Both schools have looked the part in rounds one and two of their playoff brackets. But – 3A could be the deepest bracket of any in the MHSAA as East Side, Aberdeen, Yazoo City, West Marion, Hazlehurst and Kemper County have all had fantastic seasons. 3A could be breath taking from this point forward – all the way to the end.
Don’t bet on Calhoun City – Bassfield Round Three
Calhoun City and Bassfield have been the class of 2A for the last three years as both schools have lived in the state championship – with Bassfield being a little better every time. The odds are there these two could meet in two weeks for the third time, but hold your horses before you throw all those chips on the table.
Baldwyn, O’Bannon and East Webster have been wrecking crews in the north this year and all could have a say about who represents the north in Oxford, while Bay Springs, Lake and Taylorsville are all playing like state champions coming into this weekend. The house money is on Bassfield and Calhoun City, but don’t be surprised if 2A looks differently in two weeks either.
Simmons – Resurrection could be on a clash course
Hollandale Simmons and Resurrection Catholic are 20-0 between the two and have had little trouble getting to this point of the season. If there were Vegas Lines in high school football, the outstanding odds would be these two power houses are on a collision course for Oxford, MS BUT if last week taught us one thing, never underestimate the heart and desire of a team.
Madison Central showed us all last week that anything is possible in 2015.