Horn Lake (9-0) at Tupelo (7-2)
The second-ranked Horn Lake Eagles head over to Tupelo to face the Golden Wave in a pivotal Region 1-6A matchup. A Horn Lake win wraps up the division title, while a Tupelo win would keep alive the Wave’s hope of hosting a first round playoff game. The Eagles are led by a ground game that is averaging 262.9 yards per game led by quarterback Raydarious Jones and running back Patrick Gilliam. Linebacker Nakobe Dean, defensive tackle Omar Pew and defensive back Tony Washington are major talents and reasons the defense only gives up 9.8 points per game. Tupelo is led by a heavy rushing attack that is averaging 228.9 yards per game anchored by running back Jaquerrious Williams. Quarterback Stephon McGlaun is back from an injury to help boost the offense. Expect Horn Lake’s defense to come up big in this one.
Pick: Horn Lake 21-17
Northwest Rankin (8-1) at Madison Central (7-2)
The fourth-ranked Northwest Rankin Cougars travel to the The Jungle to face the seventh-ranked Madison Central Jaguars in a Top 10 showdown of Region 2-6A rivals. A Northwest Rankin wins wraps up the division title for the Cougars. Northwest Rankin is led by a very balanced offense that is averaging 190 yards passing and 172 yards rushing. Quarterback Jamari Jones, wide receiver Jarrian Jones and running backs Dee Baker and P.J. Lindsey have had huge seasons. Madison Central is led by a ground game that averages 222 yards per night and is anchored by quarterback Jimmy Holiday and running back Duke Arnold. The last time Northwest Rankin beat Madison Central was 2010 and that streak continues.
Pick: Madison Central 24-21
Pearl (7-2) at Oak Grove (7-2)
The Pearl Pirates face Oak Grove in a crucial Region 3-6A. The winner of this game is guaranteed a home 6A first round playoff game. Oak Grove is led by a potent offense that is averaging 219 yards rushing and 209 yards passing led by quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, running back Nick Milsap and receiver Tavion Smith. Pearl is led by a rushing attack that is averaging 156 yards per game led by the duo of running backs in Kenyatte Harrell and Jerry Johnson. Oak Grove bounces back at home against the defending 6A state champs.
Pick: Oak Grove 28-24
Olive Branch (8-1) at Lafayette (7-2)
Olive Branch and Lafayette will square off in a pivotal Region 1-5A matchup. The winner of this game will be the No. 2 seed and will get a home 5A first round playoff game, while the loser will be the 3 seed and have to go on the road. Lafayette is led by a potent ground game that is averaging 369 yards per game led by quarterback Randy Anderson. Running backs Lance Stewart and Jamie Shaw, Jr are hard to stop. Olive Branch is averaging 233 yards per game on the ground led by running backs Gary Banks, Dakota Braswell and Cameron Mosley. The eighth-ranked Conquistadors get it done on the road in a close one.
Pick: Olive Branch 27-21
Corinth (9-1) at Senatobia (5-4)
Corinth makes the trip down to Senatobia in an all-Warrior battle for the Region 1-4A title. Regardless of the outcome both teams will host a first round 4A playoff game next week. Senatobia is a more balanced offense that is averaging 176 yards passing and 120 yards rushing. It is led by quarterback John Michael Foster, running back Deondre House and receivers Camren Loveberry and Niageria Young. Corinth is led by a running game that is averaging 346 yards per game led by quarterback D.T. Sheffield along with running backs Tameron Patterson and Zach Patterson. The Corinth ground game is too much to handle.
Pick: Corinth 28-21
Pontotoc (9-1) at Shannon (7-3)
Pontotoc and Shannon hook up Friday night for the Region 2-4A title. Regardless of the outcome both teams will host a first round 4A playoff game next week. Pontotoc is led by a potent offense that is averaging 197 yards per game passing and 176 yards per game rushing. It is led by quarterback Justin Carter, receiver Caleb Hobson and running backs Gabe Harmon and Immanuel Vance. Shannon is averaging 227 yards per game passing and 207 yards rushing led by quarterback Jordan Gilleylen, receivers Javis Wren and Erick Rogers. Running backs Thailon Whitfield and Sentwali White also are big contributors. Pontotoc gets the job done in a close one.
Pick: Pontotoc 35-30
Water Valley (9-1) at North Panola (8-1)
Water Valley travels to Sardis to face North Panola for the Region 2-3A title. North Panola is averaging 42.9 points per game on offense and is averaging 230 yards per game passing and 220 yards per game rushing. The offense is led by quarterback and Arkansas commit K.J. Jefferson, running back Clarence Taylor and receiver Tyler Shorter. Water Valley is led by a ground game that is averaging 175.4 yards per game anchored by running backs Kenterrious Rucker and Jacob Truss. Receiver Bud Tolbert is one to watch for the Blue Devils. K.J. Jefferson is too hard to slow down in what should be a great game.
Pick: North Panola 31-21
Columbia (8-1) at Seminary (7-3)
Columbia faces Seminary for the Region 8-3A title. Columbia is anchored by a rushing attack that is averaging 308 yards per game led by the duo of Kentrel Bullock and Omar Johnson. Both players have rushed for over 1,000 yards. Seminary is averaging 281 yards per game rushing led by running backs Marquis Crosby and Jordan Barrett. The Seminary defense, led by Mississippi State commit Nathan Pickering, comes up big at home.
Pick: Seminary 20-19
Scott Central (9-1) at Philadelphia (6-3)
Scott Central makes the short trip up Highway 21 to Philadelphia to face the Tornadoes for the Region 4-2A title. Philadelphia won on a goal-line stand last year so Scott Central is after revenge. The Rebels are led by a ground attack that is pounding out 236 yards per game led by quarterback Treyon Wash and running backs Jabrelynn Vivians and Hydee Barlow. Philadelphia features a balanced offense that is averaging 182 yards passing per game led by quarterback Asher Morgan and receiver Lideatrick Griffin. They average 155 yards per game rushing led by Kornelius Triplett, Deiondre Fox and Raedarius Triplett. The Rebel defense only allows 8.9 points per game and makes the difference in this one.
Pick: Scott Central 26-21
Stringer (9-1) at Lumberton (8-1)
It’s a battle of running games as Stringer squares off against Lumberton in a clash of 1A contenders for the Region 4-1A title. Stringer is averaging 268 yards per game led by running back Anthony Thomas and quarterback Cayleb Dyess. Receiver Keyshaun Dease leads the receiving core for the Red Devils. Lumberton is averaging 297 yards per game on the ground anchored by the duo of Davion Edwards and Robert Henry. The Lumberton defense comes up big at home.
Pick: Lumberton 21-20