Ten Games to Watch — Week 3

West Point running back Chris Calvert.



Starkville (2-0) at West Point (2-0)

Yellowjackets make the short trip up Highway 45 to face the Green Wave in a heavyweight battle of contenders in 6A and 5A. Starkville is coming off a double overtime win over Oxford to claim the Little Egg Bowl for the third year in a row, while West Point is coming off a dominant performance against Louisville. This will be a defensive physical game and battle of running games. West Point is led by the duo of Marcus Murphy and Chris Calvert, while Starkville is led by Malik Brown, Andreus Swanigan, K.J. Lawrence and Rodrigues Clark. Green Wave in a close one at home.

Pick: West Point 24-21


Northwest Rankin (2-0) at Pearl (2-0)

Cougars will make the short trip over to Ray Rogers Stadium to face the Pirates in a battle of 2-0 Rankin County teams. Northwest Rankin have been dominating through the first two weeks in wins over Germantown and Ridgeland and have been led by a potent running game with Cameron Carroll. Pearl have been starting out inconsistent offensively in the first half in each of their first two games with Brookhaven and Warren Central, but have managed to close games out. Pirates are led by Jake Smithhart, Tylan Knight and Johnquarise Patterson. Top-ranked Pirates get job done at home.

Pick: Pearl 20-17


Brandon (1-1) at Clinton (1-1)

Bulldogs make the trip on I-20 over to face the Arrows in the Jackson metro areas oldest rivalry. Both teams are coming off blow wins, Brandon opened its new multimillion-dollar stadium with a thumping of powerhouse South Panola while Clinton took its frustrations out on Vicksburg. Bulldogs are leaning on a stingy defense and offensively are led by sophomore Will Rogers and several weapons at wide receiver led by Jonathan Mingo. Clinton will once again lead on the two-quarterback system with Hunter Hulsey and Walker Burchfield. Des Baker and Christian Johnson are top targets offensively for Arrows. Dogs get job done on road.

Pick: Brandon 27-21


Cleveland Central (2-0) at Greenwood (2-0)

The Wolves have been one of the state’s biggest surprises this season so far, this year. Cleveland Central will travel to Greenwood to face the Bulldogs Friday in the Wolves first road game of the season. Wolves are led by a fierce running game led by Traveyon Craig, Kamarian Williams and Keveon Wade. Greenwood also has a potent running attack led by Jaylen Stanley, Dazarion Perez and Walter Ivory. Wolves offense just too much for Bulldogs.

Pick: Cleveland Central 26-19


Laurel (1-1) at Oak Grove (2-0)

Golden Tornadoes are coming off a tough home loss to rival Hattiesburg last week and will now make trip down to Oak Grove to face the Warriors in a clash of Pine Belt rivals. Oak Grove has been nothing short of dominant outscoring their first two opponents 87-10 and are led offensively by John Rhys Plumlee and Kevin Barnett. Hayes Maples and Jaden Carmody anchor a veteran and very fast defense for Oak Grove. Laurel is a young group with a lot of playmakers on offense led by freshmen quarterback Xavier Evans. Warriors continue to fast start.

Pick: Oak Grove 31-20


Florence (2-0) at Terry (2-0)

Eagles make the trip over to Hinds County to face the Bulldogs in a clash of 2-0 teams. This one will be a battle of running games. Terry is averaging 282.5 yards per game through the first two games led by Zhadarian Haywood and Tyler McDaniel. Florence is averaging 257 yards per game on the ground that is led by Ian Vaughn, Josh Quick and Degerrick Lee. Terry has had Florence’s number in the series, but the Eagles won the last meeting in 2014, but Bulldogs get job done in a close one.

Pick: Terry 28-27


Horn Lake (1-0) at Charleston (2-0)

Eagles opened up their season last week with a big win over Shannon at home, but now will go on the road to face the Tigers who is out to yet another strong 2-0 start. Charleston is once again led by a fierce running game led by Fred Hervey, Quynn Crawford and De’Antre Prince. Horn Lake is led by a potent offense led by quarterback Raydarious Jones and has one of the state’s top junior prospects in linebacker Nakobe Dean. Eagles to dangerous offensively.

Pick: Horn Lake 26-17


Jefferson Davis County (2-0) at Wayne County (1-1)

The newly founded Jefferson Davis County is off to a 2-0 start and will head over along on Highway 84 to Waynesboro to face the War Eagles. Wayne County is coming off a 42-3 blowout loss to Oak Grove last week and will look to rebound behind quarterback Zabryan Jackson. Jaguars are led by a potent rushing attack led by Southern Miss commit Malik Shorts. War Eagle defense will look to rebound after last week.

Pick: Wayne County 30-20


D’Iberville (1-1) at Madison Central (2-0)

D’Iberville make the long three-hour trip up from the Gulf Coast to The Jungle to face the Jaguars in a battle of 6A teams. If you like teams that to run the ball a lot well this one is for you. Madison Central is averaging 288.5 yards per game on the ground led by quarterback J.D. Hull and running back Cam White. Warriors are averaging right at 180 yards rushing and is led by Michael Kozlowski, Jaden Walley, Ja’quavis Foster and Devon Dixon. Jags tough to beat at home.

Pick: Madison Central 31-21


Jackson Prep (2-0) at Forest (2-0)

Patriots travel over to Forest to face the Bearcats in a MHSAA-MAIS showdown of two 2-0 teams. Forest is led by a fierce running game led by Paul Hughes and Ranauldrick Murrell and Jacob Brooks back at quarterback has made Forest become a little more balance. Four-star prospect Diwun Black anchors a stingy defense for the Bearcats. Patriots are led by Chance Lovertich and do-it-all ATH Jerrion Ealy. Forest has only beaten Prep one time in this series…and they make two.

Pick: Forest 21-20