MHSAA Quarterfinal Playoff Preview

Pearl receiver Johnquarise Patterson.


Madison Central (10-2) at Warren Central (9-3)

Jaguars head over to Vicksburg to face the Vikings in a rematch of a regular season game that was an instant classic. Madison Central won in double overtime back on Oct. 6 31-27 between the Region 2-6A foes. This one will be the battle of running games and defense. Jaguars is led by a rushing attack that averages 228 yards per game led by Jimmy Holiday, Cam White and Cedric Beal. The Jaguar defense only gives up 12.5 points per game. Warren Central is averaging 217 yards per game rushing led by Corey Wilson, Anfernee Funchess, Fred Barnum and Jerrious Stovall and the Viking defense only gives up 12 points per game. Jags in a close one on the road.

Pick: Madison Central 31-30


Horn Lake (9-2) at Starkville (11-2)

Eagles make the long trip to Starkville to face the Yellowjackets. Horn Lake relies heavily on a running game that averages 275 yards per game led by quarterback Raydarious Jones and running back Tyler Grim. The Eagle defense only gives up 12.6 points per game. Starkville is very balanced offensively averaging 183 yards rushing and 149 yards passing led by Malik Brown, Cameron Hines, Cameron Gardner, Rodrigues Clark and Andreus Swanigan. Jackets in a close defensive battle.

Pick: Starkville 17-13


Hancock (10-2) at Pearl (13-0)

Hawks make the long trip up to Ray Rogers Stadium to face the Pirates. Pearl is led by a very balanced offense that averages 178 yards passing per game and 144 yards per game rushing led by Jake Smithhart, Johnny Winston, Tylan Knight and Johnquarise Patterson. The Pearl defense has been dominating for the most part this year only giving up just 9.8 points per game. Hancock is coming a big win over Brandon last week in first round forcing four turnovers. The Hawks lean more on the run averaging 266 yards per game led by Marquis Cherry and Rondell Womack. Hancock is averaging 162 yards per game through the air led by quarterback Caleb Garcia. Pirates defense too fast.

Pick: Pearl 24-13


Petal (8-4) at Meridian (6-6)

Panthers make the trip up to historic Ray Stadium to face the Region 3-6A rival Wildcats. Meridian won the regular season matchup 28-21, so Petal is coming for revenge. Petal will as usual lean on the passing game that averages 205 yards per game led by Jordan Wilson, Natorian Watts, Trent Williams and Marquise Bridges. Nataurean Watts has made huge splash moving to running back for Panthers. Meridian is currently on a 4-game winning streak and has been rolling. The Wildcats are as about as balanced as you can be averaging 198 yards passing and 169 yards rushing led by dual-threat quarterback Tevarrius Adams. With Jamond Gordan and Deuntra Hyman back on the defensive line has been a big boost for Meridian. Panthers move on.

Pick: Petal 27-24



West Point (12-0) at Grenada (7-6)

Green Wave make trip over to Grenada to face the Chargers in a rematch of Region 1-5A foes. West Point shutout Grenada 48-0 back on Oct. 20. This one will be the battle of the running games. Grenada comes in averaging 201 yards per game led by Jasper Williams, Demarquese Gibson, Jared Barnes and Quen Thompson. West Point is always led by the potent running game that averages 335 yards per game led by Chris Calvert and Mississippi State commit Marcus Murphy. The Green Wave defense only allows 5.8 points per game and makes the difference.

Pick: West Point 21-10


Olive Branch (11-1) at Lake Cormorant (6-6)

For the second time this year the Conquistadors will head over to Lake Cormorant to face their DeSoto County rival Gators. Olive Branch ran past Lake Cormorant 37-0 back on Oct. 20. The Conquistadors are led by a ground game and defense. Olive Branch averages 213 yards per game on the ground led by Demarcus Ware, Cameron Mosley and Cole Catledge. The Conquistador defense only allows 11.6 points per game. Lake Cormorant is a more balanced team offensively averaging 152 yards rushing and 132 yards per game passing led by Ben Rohrbacher, Brian Jackson, Xavier Malone and Jalen Jordan. The Conquistador defense is the determining factor in this one.

Pick: Olive Branch 27-13


Brookhaven (11-1) at Laurel (8-4)

Panthers make the trip along Highway 84 to Laurel to face the Tornadoes in a rematch of Region 3-5A foes. Brookhaven won the thrilling regular season matchup 42-35 on Sept. 29. The Panthers are led by a potent rushing attack that averages 268 yards per game led by Damarell Leggett and Jaquarius Edwards, who have each rushed for over 1,000 yards. Laurel has been rolling offensively since installing a two-quarterback system with Xavier Evans and Sinclair Ulmer that averages 141 yards per game passing. Zias Perryman anchors a rushing attack that averages 189 yards per game. Ole Brook gets it done on the road in a close one between the bricks.

Pick: Brookhaven 28-27


Hattiesburg (12-0) at Stone (8-3)

It’ll be a tale of two offenses when Tigers head to Wiggins to face the Tomcats in battle of Region 4-5A teams. Hattiesburg won the regular season game 62-22. Hattiesburg brings a very explosive that averages 49.4 points per game. The Tigers average 218 yards per game rushing and 201 yards per game passing led by Jarod Conner, Fabian Franklin, Drexlan Allen, D’Andre Humbles and Raheem Willis. Stone’s run heavy offense averages 305 yards per game that is led by Trey Arrington, Kentrell McCray, Enrique Whaley and Jakalyn Green. The Tiger offense too potent.

Pick: Hattiesburg 38-21



Greenwood (10-2) at Louisville (11-2)

Bulldogs will head down to Louisville to face the Wildcats. Louisville won the regular season matchup back on Sept. 22 34-18. This one will be all about defense and the running game. Louisville is averaging 190 yards per game rushing led by Kenneth Knowles, Kevon Jackson, Dre Shumaker and Deonte Yarbrough. The stingy Wildcat defense only allows 12.5 points per game. Greenwood is averaging 279 yards per game on the ground game led by Jaylen Stanley, Waltor Ivory and Lavell Nelson. Defensively the Bulldogs only allow 16.4 points per game. Wildcats tough to beat at home.

Pick: Louisville 27-17


Corinth (7-5) at Noxubee County (8-4)

Corinth has been on shocking roll knocking off Clarksdale on the road and then Pontotoc last week. Now the Warriors will head down Highway 45 to Macon to face 4A powerhouse Noxubee County. Corinth is led by a potent ground game that averages 287 yards per game led by Tameron Patterson, Zack Patterson, Chris Kelly and Jond Warren. Tigers are led by potent passing that averages 202 yards per game led by two quarterbacks in Maleik Stallings and Armoni Clark. Kyziah Pruitt and Rashad Eades are the two top receivers for Noxubee. L.C. Clemons anchors the running game for the Tigers. Noxubee’s defense is starting to play recording three shutouts in the last four games.

Pick: Noxubee County 30-19


Poplarville (12-0) at Purvis (6-6)

It’s always intriguing when Poplarville and Purvis meet in a battle of Region 7-4A rivals. The Hornets whipped the Tornadoes 69-34 back on Oct. 20. Both teams love to run the ball. The Hornets are averaging 406 yards per game on the ground that is led by a plethora of running backs in Austin Bolton, Cory Knight, Tyson Holston, Roosevelt Raine and Antonio Barnes. Tornadoes are averaging 236 yards per game led by Jon Bolton and the two quarterback system in Ty Howell and Mason Kendrick. It’ll be close, but Hornets continue to roll.

Pick: Poplarville 34-27


East Central (11-0) at South Pike (10-3)

Hornets head up to Magnolia to face the Eagles. East Central, like it has all season, will be anchored by a fierce running game that averages 358 yards per game led by Tony Brown, Ryan Evans and Dylan Grinsteinner. Tight end and Mississippi State commit Brad Cumbest gives the Hornets a big passing threat. South Pike has been one of the biggest surprises this year is averaging 184 yards per game rushing led by Dontavious Turner, Deldrionn Amos and Kadarius Jackson. East Central moves on.

Pick: East Central 34-20



Yazoo County (12-0) at Houston (9-3)

Panthers make the long trip up to Houston to face the Hilltoppers. This one will be a battle of dual-threat quarterbacks that can score at any point in the game. Yazoo County is led by a potent rushing attack that averages 289 yards per game led quarterback Kenny Gainwell along with Cherokee Edwards and Devarrio Sanders. Houston is averaging 376 yards per game on the ground led by quarterback Urriah Shepherd and running backs Quenton May, Bobby Townsend and Jalen May. This one could come down to last possession, but Gainwell and company too much.

Pick: Yazoo County 27-26


North Panola (12-0) at Choctaw County (10-2)

Two teams that have been rolling will meet in Ackerman when Cougars head down to face the Chargers. North Panola brings a potent offense that is very balanced that averages 264 yards per game rushing and 225 yards per game passing led by quarterback K.J. Jefferson. Jarvis and Jamarvis Echols are the top receivers, while Sylvonta Oliver anchors the running game. Choctaw County is built around the run game that averages 295 yards per game led by Amerious Brown, Laterrion McBride, Isaiah Hannah and Austin Telano. Cougars offense has too many weapons.

Pick: North Panola 31-21


Forest (10-3) at Hazlehurst (10-2)

These two teams are very familiar with each other when the Bearcats make the trip down to Hazlehurst to face the Indians. Hazlehurst has ended Forest’s season each of the last two seasons. It will be the battle of running games in this one. Bearcats are averaging 224 yards per game led Ranauldrick Murrell, Jacob Brooks, Paul Hughes and Payton Rogers. Mississippi State commit Diwun Black anchors a stiff defense. Hazlehurst is averaging 314 yards per game on the ground led by Tim Steward, Jahem James, Quamead Stewart and Tyrek Price. Indians make it five in a row over Bearcats.

Pick: Hazlehurst 20-19


Jefferson Davis County (12-1) at Port Gibson (9-3)

Jaguars will head over to Port Gibson to face the Blue Wave, who has been one of the biggest surprises this season. Port Gibson is averaging 308 yards per game rushing that is a led by a two-quarterback system in D’Marious Hicks and Jacory Rankin along with Javier Barnes. Jefferson Davis County has been led by the potent ground game that is led by numerous of backs in Malik Shorts, Lyric Hall, Demazie Mikell and Jafharis McKines. Jaguars extend winning streak to 10 games.

Pick: Jefferson Davis County 30-20



Philadelphia (12-1) at Calhoun City (10-2)

Tornadoes head up to Calhoun City to face the Wildcats in a battle of two teams that were favorites to come out of the North in 2A this season. Both teams rely on the running game. Philadelphia is averaging 291 yards per game behind the trio of Cortney Smith, Malik Hickman and Deiondre Fox. Defending 2A state champion Calhoun City is averaging 337 yards per game on the ground led by a plethora of backs in Keshun Parker, Treshon Cooper, Jojo Gray and Anfernee Campbell. Defensively, the Tornadoes have the edge.

Pick: Philadelphia 24-16


Winona (9-3) at Scott Central (12-1)

Tigers head down to Forest to face the Rebels. Scott Central is built around a potent rushing attack that averages 246 yards per game led by T.J. Wash, Vontae McDonald and Ken Butler. The Rebel defense only allows 8.7 points per game and has recorded eight shutouts this year. Winona also leans on the ground game that averages 246 yards per game led by Jatyler Moore, D.J. Mingo and Jalen Campbell. The Tigers can throw it too averaging 135 yards per game with Jay Lofton and Chris Olton as top receivers. Rebel defense makes the difference.

Pick: Scott Central 21-10


Taylorsville (12-1) at North Forrest (9-4)

Tartars will bring its pass happy offense down to Hattiesburg to face the Eagles in battle of former Region 8-2A rivals. Taylorsville is averaging 285 yards per game passing led by freshmen quarterback Ty Keyes and top receivers in Perry Keyes, Malik Strickland, Raven Arrington and Letreal Jones. Tartars are also averaging 164 yards per game rushing behind Carlton Williams and Tycarius Roberts. North Forrest is balanced offensively averaging 140 yards per game rushing and 135 yards per game passing led by Daylyn Croom, Rhyen Brisco, Leon Jones and Karrenton Earl. Tartar offensive too explosive.

Pick: Taylorsville 38-24


Collins (11-2) at Bay Springs (8-5)

Collins will bring its 11-game winning streak up to Bay Springs to face the Bulldogs. The Tigers have been rolling behind a passing attack that averages 188 yards per game led by quarterback Hershey McLaurin and his top receivers Markel McLaurin, Cyril Graves and Zyrion Thompson. Bulldogs are as always led by a potent rushing attack that averages 249 yards per game led by Anson Windham and Jamarious Hosey, both have rushed for over 1,000 yards a piece. Tigers in a close one on the road.

Pick: Collins 22-21



Ray Brooks (8-2-1) at Okolona (10-2)

Tigers make the long trip from the Delta over to Okolona to face the Chieftains. The Okolona running game has virtually unstoppable lately averaging 274 yards per game led by Jacorrius Standfield, Jacob Buchanan, Deonte Hampton and Kelsey McIntosh. The Chieftain defense only allows 10.7 points per game and has recorded four shutouts. Ray Brooks also leans heavily on the ground game that averages 280 yards per game led by Marchello Hoskins, Cedric Campbell and YoDerrious Nelson. Chieftains roll on.

Pick: Okolona 28-15


Hollandale Simmons (12-0) at Shaw (8-3)

Blue Devils have been nothing short of dominating this year as they head up to Shaw to face the Hawks. Simmons has been averaging 267 yards per game led by do-it-all running back Marquez Pam, Demarrius Turner and Aaron Davis. Simmons has recorded an astonished 10 shutouts and the defense only allows 3.5 points per game. Shaw is led by a rushing attack that averages 113 yards per game led by Dacciarus Clark and Joshua Bass. The Hawks were actually the first team to score on Simmons this year. Blue Devils continue to roll.

Pick: Simmons 24-12


Stringer (10-3) at Nanih Waiya (13-0)

Red Devils will head up to Nanih Waiya to face the Warriors. Nanih Waiya have been dominating to say the least. The Warriors are led by a fierce rushing attack that averages 297 yards per game led by Taemaus Glass and Chris Smith and a defense that only allows 8.7 points per game. Stringer is a balanced team offensively, but they do like to run more than pass averaging 197 yards per game rushing and 153 yards per game passing led by Cayleb Dyess, Anthony Thomas and Reece Barber. Warriors continue collision course.

Pick: Nanih Waiya 31-17


Lumberton (10-2) at Resurrection (6-6)

Panthers will head down to Gautier to face the Eagles in a rematch of a very close game between Region 4-1A foes. Lumberton defeated Resurrection 26-22 back on Oct. 20. Panthers are led by a ground game that averages 232 yards per game behind Robert Henry, Davion Edwards and Jared Tribett. Donnell Buckner gives Lumberton a deep threat at wide receiver. The Eagles are very balanced offensively averaging 178 yards passing and 145 yards rushing per game led by Blake Porter, Jerry Johnson, Patrick Roth and Caden Hinman. It’ll be a close one, but Panthers find a way to pull this one out.

Pick: Lumberton 27-26