Ten Games to Watch — Week 4

Brandon Zihenrion Perry. Photo by Chris Brooks.

 Hattiesburg (3-0) at Oak Grove (3-0)

Hattiesburg makes the short trip over to Oak Grove to face the Warriors in an early season Top 10 showdown. This will be a battle of dual-threat quarterbacks in Hattiesburg’s Jarod Conner and Oak Grove’s John Rhys Plumlee. The Tigers are powered by a rushing attack that is averaging 284.7 yards per game led by Conner and Drexlan Allen. The Warriors are very balanced offensively averaging 242 yards rushing and 215 yards passing led by Plumlee, Nick Milsap and Brandon Hayes. It’ll be a close one but the No.2 Tigers get the job done on the road.

Pick: Hattiesburg 31-27


Brandon (2-1) at Tupelo (3-0)

Brandon is coming off a loss to Clinton in a game in which they committed six turnovers but had 441 yards of offense. They must now make a long trip to Tupelo on Friday to face the No. 6 Golden Wave. The Bulldogs are led by a passing attack that averages 216 yards per game led by quarterback Will Rogers and receiver Jonathan Mingo. Running back Dallas Smith leads the rushing attack for the Bulldogs. Tupelo features a rushing attack led by running back Jaquerrious Williams. The Wave have been hit by the injury bug early but did get wide receiver Jordan Jernigan back last week in win over Clarksdale. Dogs in a close, defensive slug fest on the road.

Pick: Brandon 14-13


Madison Central (2-1) at Pearl (2-1)

Madison Central has won two straight and will head over to Ray Rogers Stadium to face the Pirates in a metro area battle. This game will be a battle of run heavy teams. Pearl is coming off a game where they were shut out against Northwest Rankin. The Pirates are led by a fierce rushing attack led by Kenyatta Harrell, Jerry Johnson and Carleontaye Spires. The Jaguar rushing attack is averaging 211 yards per game led by quarterback Jimmy Holiday and running back Duke Arnold. The No. 8 Jags get it done on the road.

Pick: Madison Central 21-14


Gulfport (2-1) at Picayune (2-1)

If you like teams that like to run the ball, then this game is for you as Gulfport heads up to Picayune to face the Maroon Tide. Gulfport is a more balanced team of the two averaging 172 yards passing and 142 yards rushing led by quarterback T.Q. Newsome along with running back Tyran Gable and receiver Tommie Johnson. Linebacker Derick Hall is an Auburn commit and is one to watch for the Admirals. Picayune is averaging 365 yards per game rushing that is led by five different players in quarterback Jakail Myers and running backs Jortin Raine, Cameron Thomas, Jairice Travis, and Dyan Schabault. The Gulfport offense is just too much.

Pick: Gulfport 28-21


Lafayette (3-0) at Oxford (1-1)

Lafayette heads to Bobby Holcomb Field to face the Chargers in the 47th annual Crosstown Classic. Lafayette is anchored by a potent ground game that averages 408 yards per game led by Lance Stewart, Randy Anderson and Jamie Shaw, Jr. Ole Miss commit Eric Jeffries and Alabama commit Brandon Turnage anchor a stout Commodore defense. The Chargers offensively are led by a rushing attack that averages 109 yards per game anchored by John Meagher and Jeremiah Pegues. Oxford running game against the Lafayette defense is going to be the key. Dores ground game is difference.

Pick: Lafayette 24-17


Itawamba AHS (3-0) at Houston (2-1)

Indians will take its potent offense that averages 32 points per game over to Houston to face the Hilltoppers in matchup of 4A and 3A contenders. IAHS is averaging 294 yards per game rushing led by running back Ike Chandler and 115 yards per game passing led by Jaxon Orr and Davion Sistrunk. Houston is led by a potent rushing attack that averages 227 yards per game led by Bobby Townsend and Jalen May. Houston defensively is led by Rish Alford and Michael Dedeaux. Toppers protect their home turf.

Pick: Houston 27-24


East Central (2-0) at Jefferson Davis County (2-1)

Two run heavy teams will meet in Bassfield as the Hornets head up to face the Jaguars in a battle of 4A and 3A heavyweights. The Hornets ground game is led by a plethora of running backs in Cameron Gray, Dylan Grinsteinner, Ryan Evans along with quarterback Will Young. Jefferson Davis County is coming off a close home loss to Wayne County last week and are aiming to bounce back. The Jaguar ground game is averaging 258 yards per game led by Kyser Booth, Justin Berry, Ricky Griffith, Michael Reese and Michael Carraway. East Central whipped JDC last year in Hurley, but Jags get revenge at home.

Pick: Jefferson Davis County 26-20


West Lauderdale (3-0) at Neshoba Central (3-0)

The Knights make the short trip up Highway 19 to face the Rockets in a battle of unbeaten teams. This one will be matchup of run heavy teams. West Lauderdale is the more balanced team on offense averaging 169 yards per game rushing and 114 yards per game passing led by quarterback Austin Davidson, running back Eli Bryan and receiver Jason McKinney. Neshoba Central’s potent ground game is averaging 436 yards per game led by Austin Day, Jarquez Hunter and Tyler Mathis. Rockets protect their home turf in a close one.

Pick: Neshoba Central 27-26


Jackson Academy (3-0) at NE Lauderdale (3-0)

MAIS schools hold a 10-4 edge over MHSAA schools so far this year. It is a reunion of coaches as NE Lauderdale head coach John Douglass will go against his former boss and coach in Jackson Academy’s Larry Weems. The Trojans are led by a potent ground game led by quarterback Kamerion Hulin and running back Michael McClinton. Wide receiver Chris Hardy is one to watch for NE Lauderdale. The Raiders are led by a more balanced offense that is led by quarterback Kinkead Dent, running back Thad Bishop and receiver Webb Strickland. It’ll be close but the Raiders spoil homecoming for the Trojans.

Pick: Jackson Academy 35-28


Lake (2-1) at Pisgah (3-0)

Lake heads up to Pisgah to face the Dragons in a battle of ranked teams in 2A. Pisgah is off to a fast start behind a rushing attack that averages 394 yards per game led by Dillon Usry and Noah Thweatt. Lake is also a run-heavy team led by Theory Harris, Karkeese Smith, D’Alex Jennings, Seth Prestage and Johnny Johnson. The Dragons have the special teams edge with kicker/punter Bryce Lofton and win in a close one at home.

Pick: Pisgah 20-17