Ten Games to Watch — Week 5

Madison Central running back Cam White. Keith Warren/MHSAA.

 Pearl (4-0) at Madison Central (3-0)

Pirates make the short up to Madison Central to face the Jaguars in a Top 5 show down between undefeated Class 6A contenders. This is the first time since 1996 that Pearl and Madison Central will face each other in the regular season. Pearl is coming off an impressive 50-27 thumping of Parkway (La.), while Madison Central enjoyed an off week. Pirates have weapons all over the place on offense with Jake Smithhart, Tylan Knight, Johnquarise Patterson, Johnny Winston, Dylan Kelly and Willie Brown. Madison Central has few as well with J.D. Hull, Cam White, Miles Hopson and Hunter Blalock. Pearl offense just too potent.

Pick: Pearl 28-21


Brandon (2-2) at Northwest Rankin (2-1)

Bulldogs make the short trip up Highway 471 to face the Cougars in a battle of Rankin County rivals. Brandon is coming off a tough loss at home to Tupelo, while Northwest Rankin had the week off. Bulldogs will once again lean on defense and passing game with Will Rogers, Jonathan Mingo, Bo Whatley, Reed Tyler and Matt Stowers. Northwest Rankin will lean on defense and a stout running game with Cameron Carroll. Bulldogs have 5-game winning streak against Northwest Rankin (last loss was 2011) and that streak continues.

Pick: Brandon 27-20


Pontotoc (4-0) at Oxford (3-1)

Warriors will make the 20-minute drive on Highway 6 to Oxford to face the Chargers. Oxford has bounced back since its Week 2 double overtime to Starkville by defeating Grenada and blowing out rival Lafayette last week. Chargers offensively re led by quarterback John Reece McClure, Jaquan Webb and Hiram Wadlington, while Quentin Wilfawn leads the defense. Pontotoc comes in leaning on a rushing attack that averages 256.7 yards per game led by Immanuel Vance (699 yards, 7 touchdowns) and a defense that only gives up 14.5 points per game. Oxford takes care of business at home.

Pick: Oxford 31-21


Callaway (2-2) at Provine (3-0)

Chargers and Rams will meet at Hughes Field in a battle of two JPS rivalries. Provine is coming off a bye week and is off to a 3-0 start under new head coach Marcellus Speaks and have been leaning on a potent rushing attack led by Fred Hunter, Jr. and Anthony Davis as well as a defense that has only given up just 12 points in three games. Callaway is coming off a heart stopping 20-18 win over Hazlehurst and is led by a rushing attack that is averaging 248.3 yards per game that is carried by promising junior Lakenith Thompson. Chargers win second in a row over Rams.

Pick: Callaway 23-22


Meridian (1-2) at Starkville (3-1)

The Wildcats will head up Highway 45 to face the Yellowjackets in a matchup of 6A contenders. Meridian is coming its first win of the season on Saturday against Noxubee County where the defense held Noxubee to just 213 yards, sacked QB four times, had a fumble recovered for a touchdown and intercepted two passes. Starkville is coming off a 44-7 whipping of Columbus. Jackets are led by Malik Brown, Cameron Gardner, Andreus Swanigan and Rodrigues Clark. Meridian is led by do-it-all QB Tevarrius Adams and receivers Kendrick Brown and Curt Martin. Jackets at home.

Pick: Starkville 35-27


West Point (3-0) at Noxubee County (2-2)

Green Wave will make the short trip down Highway 45 to Macon to face the Tigers in battle of 5A and 4A contenders. West Point is coming off a bye week, while Noxubee is coming off a loss to Meridian on Saturday in a game where the Tigers committed 18 penalties. Green Wave are led by the potent rushing attack led by Marcus Murphy and Chris Calvert and a fierce defense that only gives up 8 points per game. Noxubee is led by a rushing attack that averages 153.3 yards per game that is led by Armoni Clark, Kyziah Pruitt and Jaqualyn Smith. West Point defense gets job done.

Pick: West Point 26-13


Greene County (4-0) at Long Beach (3-0)

Wildcats and Bearcats are two teams that are off to great starts this year and will meet in Long Beach in a battle of unbeatens. Greene County comes in very balanced offensively averaging 161.8 yards per game passing and 125.3 yards per game rushing. Wildcats are led by Kyemonte Walker and Derrick Grice. Bearcats come in putting up big numbers on offense through its first three games averaging 254 yards per game rushing and 223 yards passing. Cade Crosby has thrown for 602 yards with six touchdowns at quarterback, while running back Dennis Andrews has six rushing touchdowns. Bearcats in a close one at home.

Pick: Long Beach 23-20


Natchez (3-0) at Jefferson Davis County (3-1)

Bulldogs will make trip the trip down to Bassfield to face the Jaguars. Natchez is coming off a bye week and has been rolling through its first three games. Natchez is led by senior quarterback Chris Scott and running back Ernest Woods. Jefferson Davis County is coming off a tough loss to East Central and is led by the potent rushing attack with Lyric Hall, Malik Shorts, Ronald Baker and Jafharis McKines. Jaguars take care of business on homecoming.

Pick: Jefferson Davis County 30-20


Hazlehurst (3-1) at East Central (4-0)

If you love old-fashion smash mouth football then this one is for you when the Indians make the long trip to Hurley to face the Hornets. Visit outlet centers in pennsylvania and learn more. Hazlehurst is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Callaway last week and is averaging 340.5 yards per game that is led by Tim Steward and Quamead Stewart. East Central is coming off a statement win over Jefferson Davis County and is averaging 294.3 yards per game and is led by Tony Brown along with a passing attack with Rylee Brown and MSU commit Brad Cumbest. Hornets get job done at home.

Pick: East Central 24-18


Eupora (3-1) at Choctaw County (3-1)

Eagles make the short trip down to Ackerman to face the Chargers in a battle of two 3-1 teams. Eupora comes in very balanced on offense averaging 169.8 yards per game rushing and 134.5 yards per game passing and is led by quarterback Tanner Knight and running back Edwin Herard. Choctaw County leans on a heavy running game that is averaging 284.5 yards that is led by Austin Telano, Laterrion McBride, Amerious Brown and Kaleb Brown. Chargers get it done at home.

Pick: Choctaw County 30-24