Ten Games to Watch — Week 3

Gulfport quarterback Cade Crosby. Photo by Chris Brooks

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

No. 10 Oak Grove will head to Milner Stadium to face Gulfport in what could be a playoff preview come November. Gulfport already defeated a team from Region 3-6A last week at Northwest Rankin, while Oak Grove ran past Wayne County in its season opener. Damon Stewart had quite the debut as the new starting quarterback for the Warriors, passing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. Running back Nick Milsap is one to watch for the Warriors. Gulfport is led offensively by a two-quarterback system in Cade Crosby and Dawson Malley. Running back Tyran Gable and receiver Deshun Shields are ones to keep your eyes on for the Admirals. The Oak Grove defense will come up big on the road.

Pick: Oak Grove 31-21

Starkville (1-1) at West Point (1-1)

No. 4 Starkville will make the short trip to West Point to face the Green Wave in a huge matchup of rivals in the Golden Triangle. Starkville bounced back from its opening season loss by using a big fourth quarter to put away Oxford, while West Point saw its state-best 13-game winning streak come to an end by defending 4A state champion Louisville. Starkville is led by quarterback Luke Altmyer and receiver Rufus Harvey and will try to establish a running game with Jordan Mitchell and Amariyon Howard. The Green Wave is led by Brandon Harris, Tae Gibbs and Dantariyus Cannon along with quarterback Gray Berry. The Starkville passing game comes up big in this one.

Pick: Starkville 35-28

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

It’s the oldest rivalry in the Jackson metro area as No. 3 Brandon travels to Clinton to face the Arrows. This will be the 75th all-time meeting between the two schools with Clinton leading the series 41-32-1. This will be Clinton’s third straight game against a ranked opponent. Brandon will look to bounce back after getting dominated by Madison Central last week in a game the Bulldogs managed just 125 yards passing, while Clinton went on the road and stunned Olive Branch. Brandon will lean on the passing game led by MSU commit Will Rogers along with receivers Caleb Anderson and Ashton Nickleberry. Clinton will lean on a rushing attack anchored by Jeremy Mack and promising freshmen Jakobe Calvin. The Bulldogs bounce back this week.

Pick: Brandon 28-17

Grenada (2-0) at Oxford (1-1)

Grenada travels to Bobby Holcomb Field to face No. 10 Oxford in an all-Charger matchup. Grenada has been rolling in their first two games, while Oxford is coming off a blowout loss to Starkville on the road. Grenada is led by a more balanced offense this year anchored by quarterback Joshua Phillips along with running back Demarquese Gibson and receivers Christian Wortham and MSU commit Emmanuel Forbes. Quarterback John Meagher, along J.J. Pegues and Kelvin Wadley, anchor the offense for Oxford. Meagher is eager to bounce back after throwing interceptions last week. Go with the home team in Oxford.

Pick: Oxford 24-17 

Ridgeland (2-0) at Pearl (2-0)

Ridgeland has been a bit of a surprise starting out the season 2-0 under first year head coach David White, but the Titans will face their toughest test this week as they head to Ray Rogers Stadium to face No. 2 Pearl. The Pirates are coming off their first shutout win over Warren Central since 1972. The Pirates are anchored by a rushing attack led by running back Kenyatta Harrell, quarterback Gunnar Dennis and slot receiver Jaquavian Shoto. Ridgeland is led by dual-threat quarterback Zy McDonald, running back Markell Young and receiver Richard Mays. The Pirates are too much in this one.

Pick: Pearl 28-17

North Panola (2-0) at Charleston (2-0)

North Panola makes the trip down to Charleston to face the Tigers in a battle of contenders in 2A and 3A. This used to be a huge divisional matchup but is now a good tune up for division play.  This will be a battle of running games as North Panola is averaging 397 yards per game on the ground led by quarterback Cadarrius Pride, along with running backs Davonte Pratcher and Lemekin Walls. Receiver Carl Robinson is one to watch for the Cougars. Charleston is averaging 106 yards per game rushing led by quarterback Chris Bradford, along with running backs Quinterrius Suggs and Keyshun Cashaw. The Cougar defense will come up big late.

Pick: North Panola 25-19

Jefferson Davis County (1-1) at Taylorsville (2-0), Thursday

Jefferson Davis County heads to Taylorsville to face the Tartars in a huge early test of title contenders in 3A and 2A. The key to this game is how much the JDC run-heavy offense keeps the potent Taylorsville offense off the field. The Jaguars are led by quarterback Michael Carraway along with running backs Kyser Booth, Lyric Hall, Markis Middleton and Deandre Shorts. The Taylorsville offense is led by quarterback Ty Keyes, running back Travis Keyes along with receivers Jabez Griffith and Cedrick Beavers. The Tartar defense is what makes the difference in this one.

Pick: Taylorsville 28-20

Scott Central (1-1) at Pelahatchie (2-0)

Scott Central travels to Pelahatchie to face the Chiefs with revenge on their minds. Pelahatchie handed the defending 2A state champs their only loss last year. The Chiefs are averaging 346 yards per game led by quarterback Quay Ragsdale and running backs Jamal Johnson and Ahmad Johnson. Scott Central is averaging 130 yards per game on the ground led by quarterback Treyon Wash, along with running backs Elijah Robinson, Jabrelynn Vivians and Jackie Donald. The Rebel defense steps up and gets revenge.

Pick: Scott Central 26-29

Biggersville (1-0) at Tupelo Christian (2-0)

Lions head down to Belden to face the Eagles in what could be a preview of a 1A playoff matchup in November. TCPS has been rolling in their first two games and is led by a passing attack that is averaging 366 yards per game led by quarterback Khi Holiday and receiver Noah Foster. The Lions are coming off a bye week and is led by quarterback Quinton Knight along with running back Goldman Butler and J.J. Jones. The Eagle passing game is the difference.

Pick: Tupelo Christian 30-20

Heritage Academy (3-0) at Magnolia Heights (2-0)

Heritage travels to Senatobia to face Magnolia Heights in their division opener and a matchup of two Top 5 teams in the Class 5A rankings. Top-ranked Heritage is anchored by a very balanced offense led by quarterback Carter Putt, running back K.J. Smith and receiver Jared Long. No. 5 Magnolia Heights will look to keep that Patriot offense off the field as much as possible with running back Hunter Jones, Grant Boggan, Kyle Brewer and Blake Kirby. The Patriot defense comes up big on the road.

Pick: Heritage Academy 24-17