Madison Central (9-3-1) at Tupelo (12-0)
One of the state’s big rivalries will meet at Renasant Field in Tupelo. This one will be a battle of a good offense and a good defense. Madison Central is very balanced offensively averaging 149.8 yards passing and 170.6 yards rushing and is led by FAU commit Jack Walker along with running back Gabe Short and receiver Braden Boykin. Tupelo is led by a rushing attack that is averaging 227.4 yards and is led by Jaquerrious Williams and LaBryant Siddell. Tupelo’s defense is stingy and is only giving up 12.6 points per game and is led by promising junior linebacker Jett Johnson. Tupelo in a close one at home.
Pick: Tupelo 20-17
Clinton (11-1) at Warren Central (10-2)
Arrows will make the short trip over to Vicksburg for the second time in four weeks to take on the Vikings. Warren Central handed Clinton its lone loss 50-32 back on Oct. 21, so the Arrows will have revenge on its mind. Clinton has one of the state’s most explosive offenses led by Cam Akers (2,343 yards passing, 25 touchdowns; 1,312 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns) and Darius Maberry (809 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns). Warren Central is anchored by a fierce rushing attack that is averaging 263.3 yards a game that’s led by Jesse Wilson and DeMarcus Jones. Arrows get some payback in a shootout.
Pick: Clinton 35-31
Pearl (9-3) at Meridian (10-3)
For the second time this season the Pirates will make the trip down I-20 to face the Wildcats at Ray Stadium. Pearl defeated Meridian 34-13 back on Sept. 30 spoiling the Wildcats homecoming. The Pirates are one of the hottest teams in the state winning seven straight and is led by an offense that has become more balanced behind junior quarterback Jake Smithhart and running back Johnny Winston. Meridian is led by a passing attack that is averaging 240.9 yards per game and is using a two quarterback system with Eddie Brown and Tevarrius Adams. Pirates keep on rolling.
Pick: Pearl 28-21
Brandon (10-3) at Petal (8-4)
It’s déjà vu all over again. For the second year in a row the Bulldogs will travel to Petal to face the Panthers. Will it be just like last year? Brandon won the regular season meeting and Petal winning the playoff matchup? We will see. Brandon is led by a fierce defense led by Schdarren Archie and Rodney Hawkins, offensively the Bulldogs are led by rushing attack that is averaging 145.2 yards per game that is led by Vincent Butler and Corey Proctor. Petal has made a switch moving Jordan Wilson and Tanner Estill back to wide receiver and it has worked so far to take the pressure off the fierce running game with Stephon Huderson and Xavier Yancey. Bulldogs get job done this time.
Pick: Brandon 31-21
West Point (11-1) at Oxford (8-4)
For the second time this season the Green Wave will face the Chargers. West Point won the regular season matchup 22-8 in West Point. Oxford is coming off a very convincing first round win over Grenada, but will now try to slow a very stout Green Wave rushing attack that is averaging 233.8 yards per game and a stout defense that allows just 13.2 points per game. West Point is on a 10-game winning streak and is led by MSU commit Marcus Murphy and Andre Lane. Oxford is very balanced on offense averaging 198.3 yards passing and 148.3 yards rushing and is led by John Reece McClure and Hiram Wadlington. Green Wave rushing attack just too much.
Pick: West Point 22-17
Lake Cormorant (9-4) at Clarksdale (9-4)
Gators will make a short trip down Hwy 61 to face the Wildcats for the second time in four weeks. Clarksdale is out for revenge after Lake Cormorant won the regular season matchup 17-12. Clarksdale is led by a rushing attack that is averaging 187.8 that is led by Terrence Humphrey along with Dayeveon Hill and a defense that has captured 22 interceptions. Lake Cormorant is anchored by a passing attack led by quarterback Ben Rohrbacker (2,219 yards, 22 touchdowns) along with receiver and Iowa commit Brandon Smith (1,402 yards, 18 touchdowns). Gators move on.
Pick: Lake Cormorant 24-16
Hattiesburg (10-3) at Laurel (11-1)
For the second year in a row it’s the Battle for the Little Brown Jug playoff style. Laurel lost the regular season to Hattiesburg 25-20 back in Week 2. This one will a battle of explosive offenses. Hattiesburg is led by a trio of weapons with Julian Conner, Fabian Franklin and Jordan Murphy. Laurel is led by the tandem of Dontario Drummond and Tyquan Ulmer. Tiger offense just too explosive for Tornadoes.
Pick: Hattiesburg 31-24
Wayne County (8-4) at Picayune (11-1)
It’ll be a battle of rushing attacks when the War Eagles visit the Maroon Tide. Wayne County started out the season 0-4 and since then have been rolling behind a rushing attack that is averaging 217.6 per game behind Chris Cooley and Schdarius Chambers. Picayune is averaging 401.6 yards per game and is led by Josh Littles and Shaun Anderson. Tide gets revenge on playoff loss to Wayne County last year.
Pick: Picayune 35-21
Amory (11-2) at Lafayette (10-2)
Panthers will head over to Oxford to face the Commodores. Amory is balanced on offense averaging 163.3 yards passing and 210.8 yards rushing and is led by quarterback Zatorious Gates and running back Jartavis Jernighan. Lafayette leans on a ground attack that averages 210.6 yards per game and is led by Jamarcus Quarles and a defense that only gives up 11.4 points per game. Dores in a close one at home.
Pick: Lafayette 24-22
Noxubee County (9-4) at Pontotoc (12-1)
The two-time defending Class 4A state champion Tigers will hit the road to Pontotoc to take on the Warriors. Sophomore QB Maliek Stallings has blossomed through the season passing for 2,342 yards with 21 touchdowns and has two big targets in receiver and MSU commit Kymbotric Mason (980 yards, six touchdowns) and Kyziah Pruitt (1,162 yards, 13 touchdowns). Pontotoc is very balanced offensively averaging 211.5 yards rushing and 209.2 yards passing. Quarterback Jacob Carter has tossed for 2,379 yards with 27 touchdowns and running back Gabe Harmon has rushed for 1,527 yards with 17 touchdowns. Tigers get it done on the road.
Pick: Noxubee County 27-24
Florence (11-2) at Purvis (9-3)
Eagles and Tornadoes are by far one of the biggest surprises in 4A. Both teams lean on heavy rushing attacks. Florence is in the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history and is averaging 305.5 yards on the ground that is anchored by quarterback Brad Dennis (1,359 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns) and running back DeGerrick Lee (1,953 yards, 20 touchdowns). Purvis is averaging 236.1 yards per game rushing that is led by running backs John Bolton (1,014 yards, eight touchdowns) and Dylan Curtis (580 yards, 14 touchdowns). Florence moves on.
Pick: Florence 27-20
Poplarville (10-1) at Mendenhall (8-5)
Two heavy rushing attack teams will meet in Mendenhall. Mendenhall is coming off the biggest upset of the postseason knocking off 4A favorite St. Stanislaus in double overtime. Tigers are led by the Dampier cousins in Quantavian and Deion that anchor a rushing attack that averages 190 yards a game. Poplarville is averaging 359.5 yards per game and are anchored by a duo of backs in Jesse Pernell (1,374 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns) and Austin Bolton (1,331 yards, 16 touchdowns). Hornets get job done on the road.
Pick: Poplarville 24-17
Cleveland East Side (12-1) at Charleston (11-2)
Trojans will hit the road to face Tigers in a battle of heavy rushing attack teams. East Side is averaging 293.2 yards per game on the ground and is led by a trio of running backs in Traveyon Craig (1,145 yards rushing, 24 touchdowns), Alfred Weir (1,240 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns) and Kaelan Hall (766 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns). East Side’s defense only allows 14 points per game. Charleston is averaging 212.8 yards per game rushing and likes to take control of the clock. Billy Kimble (1,477 yards rushing, 18 touchdowns) and Tre Truly (472 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns) anchor the rushing attack along with Fred Hervey and Rickey Sutton. Tigers get it done at home.
Pick: Charleston 20-12
North Pontotoc (10-3) at Velma Jackson (11-1)
Vikings will make the long trip from Ecru to Camden to face the Falcons. The question is will North Pontotoc be able to slow down a stout Velma Jackson running game. Falcons come in averaging 284.9 yards per game and is led by a trio of runners in Antavious Willis (967 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns), James Smith III (1,664 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns) and Robert Steward (506 yards, seven touchdowns). Vikings come into this one very balanced on offense averaging 213.4 yards rushing and 168.2 yards passing. Clark Mills anchor the passing game tossing for 2,107 yards with 29 touchdowns and Memphis commit Zay Cullens leads the running game with 1,571 yards with 21 touchdowns. Cullens just too much for Falcons.
Pick: North Pontotoc 26-20
Kemper County (12-1) at Seminary (10-3)
Wildcats will take its high potent passing attach to Seminary to face a run heavy bulldog football team. Kemper County is averaging 250.9 yards per game passing and 177.1 yards per game rushing led by quarterback Eric Clark, Jr. (2,893 yards passing, 42 touchdowns; 786 yards rushing, eight touchdowns) and wide receiver D.J. Clayton (1,769 yards, 25 touchdowns). Seminary is averaging 312.2 yards per game rushing and is led by a duo of running backs in Wendell Crosby (1,780 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns) and Felix McCullum (1,170 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns). Wildcats have too much fire power.
Pick: Kemper County 38-24
Hazlehurst (12-0) at Raleigh (12-1)
Indians will hit the road for the first time this postseason as they head over to Raleigh to face the Lions in a battle of run heavy offenses. Hazlehurst is averaging 401 yards per game rushing and is led by four running backs in Wykeen Craft (1,250 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns), Tim Steward (1,081 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns), Quamead Stewart (996 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns) and Malik Gray (959 yards rushing, eight touchdowns). Raleigh is averaging 398.5 yards per game on the ground and is led by Kris Moncrief (1,729 yards rushing, 25 touchdowns) and Julian Keyes (1,182 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns). Hazlehurst ground game just too much.
Pick: Hazlehurst 25-22
Baldwyn (9-4) at East Webster (11-2)
Bearcats will head down to Maben to face the Wolverines in a rematch of last year’s 2A North state championship game, so Baldwyn will have revenge on their minds. Baldwyn is balanced offensively averaging 211.8 yards rushing and 171.5 yards passing that is led by quarterback John Swinney (2,009 yards passing, 21 touchdowns) along with his top two receivers in Calvin Harris and Felix Hayes. Jalon Clark, Johndrix Robinson and Ovurton Gates anchor the rushing attack for the Bearcats. East Webster is balanced on offense as well led by quarterback Charlie Brand (1,159 yards passing, 12 touchdowns), Qua Evans (987 yards rushing, 16 touchdowns) and Shye Link (739 yards receiving, six touchdowns) help anchor the East Webster offense. Bearcats get payback.
Pick: Baldwyn 14-13
West Bolivar (10-3) at Calhoun City (12-1)
Eagles are riding a 9-game winning streak and will make the long trip from Rosedale to face the Tigers. West Bolivar is balanced offensively led by Lazavious Haynes at quarterback, Gregory Robb at running back and Keyshun Lewis at receiver and leans on a defense that only gives up 13.8 points per game. Calhoun City leans on a potent rushing attack that averages 283.2 yards per game rushing and is led by Jessie Nabors (1,116 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns), Keshun Parker (770 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns) and Jojo Gray (621 yards rushing, eight touchdowns). Wildcats tough to beat at home.
Pick: Calhoun City 28-16
Bay Springs (10-3) at Union (10-3)
Bulldogs will head up Hwy 15 to face the Region 5-2A foe Yellow Jackets. Bay Springs won the regular season matchup 42-38, so Union will have revenge on its mind. Bay Springs will bring their run heavy offense that is averaging 270.4 yards per game that is led by running backs Jaylin Jones (1,624 yards rushing, 23 touchdowns) and Damerious Jones (874 yards, 13 touchdowns) and quarterback Caderius Lee (1,346 yards passing, 20 touchdowns). Union is very balanced offensively led by quarterback Tradarius Harris, running back Jarriat Hunter and receiver Donavan Hickmon. Bulldogs move on in a close one.
Pick: Bay Springs 31-30
Heidelberg (9-4) at Bassfield (11-2)
It’ll be a battle of two heavy rushing attacks when the Oilers visit the four-time defending 2A state champion Yellow Jackets. Heidelberg is balanced averaging 242.6 yards rushing and 182.6 yards passing a game. Quarterback Eddie Pierce has tossed for 2,266 yards with 22 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,473 yards with 13 touchdowns to lead the offense. Bassfield is averaging 326.5 yards per game on the ground and is led by Ron Thompson who has rushed for 1,617 yards with 34 touchdowns. Bassfield just too much.
Pick: Bassfield 38-20
Ray Brooks (4-5) at Smithville (10-2)
Tigers will make a long trip from the Delta to Smithville to face the Seminoles. Smithville survived last week over Broad Street after star running back Dee Moore is out for the rest of season with a broken hand. Quarterback Heath Noe is now the anchor of the offense whose tossed for 1,083 yards with 18 touchdowns along with his top two receivers in Dustin Moffett and Wesley Grier. Noles will stop heavy Ray Brooks running game.
Pick: Smithville 21-10
Hollandale Simmons (10-0) at Shaw (5-7)
Simmons will bring its run heavy offense to Region 3-1A rival Shaw to take on the Hawks. The Blue Devils are coming off a game where they put up 98 points against Falkner. Simmons is averaging 321.4 points per game and is led by do-it-all ATH Marquez Pam (1,875 yards rushing, 27 touchdowns). Shaw is averaging 118.4 yards per game rushing and is led by Joshua Bass (630 yards rushing, three touchdowns). Pam and company just too much to stop.
Pick: Simmons 30-18
Resurrection (10-2) at Nanih Waiya (12-1)
It will be a battle of heavy run attacks when the Eagles make the long trip from Pascagoula to Louisville to face the Warriors. Nanih Waiya is averaging 225.8 yards per game rushing and is led by running backs Taemaus Glass (1,335 yards rushing, 24 touchdowns) and Chris Smith (859 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns). Resurrection is averaging 237.3 yards per game and is led by Patrick Watts (1,461 yards rushing, 24 touchdowns). Warriors move on.
Pick: Nanih Waiya 30-24
Lumberton (10-2) at Stringer (8-5)
For the second time in three weeks the Panthers will up to Stringer to face the Red Devils. Lumberton won the regular season matchup 34-14, so Stringer is out for revenge. Panthers are averaging 294.5 yards per game rushing and is led by the duo of running backs in Dre Coleman (1,796 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns) and Rodriques Coleman (820 yards, six touchdowns). Stringer is averaging 181.5 yards rushing per game and is led by Anthony Thomas (1,460 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns). Panthers get it done on the road.
Pick: Lumberton 33-21