Ten Games to Watch — Week 5

MRA quarterback Philip Short. Photo by Chris Brooks

West Point (3-1) at Noxubee County (3-1)

West Point travels to Macon to face the Tigers in a showdown of title contenders in 5A and 3A. West Point has won the last six meanings over Noxubee County. The Green Wave offense is averaging 297 yards per game on the ground led by Brandon Harris, Tae Gibbs and Dantariyus Cannon, as well as quarterback Gray Berry. Marlon Windham leads the offense with running back Bobby Shanklin and Travorus Hatcher. Watch for receivers Jaylon Barnett and Coby Luckett. Linebackers Trillo Brown and Eldrick Hopkins will anchor a fast and youthful defense for Noxubee County, ranked No. 6 in the Little 10 and No. 5 in 3A. West Point will make it seven in a row.

Pick: West Point 31-20

MRA (5-0) at Philadelphia (3-1)

The Patriots face Philadelphia in a MHSAA/MAIS clash of two teams ranked in the Little 10. Philadelphia, ranked No. 3 in the Little 10 and No. 2 in Class 2A, is led by a very balanced offensive attack. Samford commit Asher Morgan has been great at quarterback, along with receivers Kadarius Calloway and MSU commit Lideatrick Griffin. The running backs are Deiondre Fox and Raedarius Triplett. MRA is also a very a balanced team offensively averaging 276.3 yards passing and 121.8 rushing. Quarterback Philip Short has put up big numbers. Running back A.J. Hasley and receivers Russ Sceroler, Justin Williams and Tyler Starnes need big games. MRA strong safety Joe Perkins could be a huge factor. This game could go either way but going with the home team.

Pick: Philadelphia 28-24

Itawamba AHS (4-0) at Senatobia (3-1)

Itawamba AHS makes the trip over to Senatobia to face the Warriors. Itawamba AHS, ranked No. 5 in 4A, has been one of the biggest surprises in the early part of the season. The Indians are led by a potent rushing attack that is averaging 326.5 yards led by quarterback Daeveon Sistrunk and running back Ike Chandler. Receiver Tae Chandler has caught all three touchdowns for IAHS. Senatobia is coming off its first loss of the season last week to Charleston and and has a more balanced offense led by quarterback John Michael Foster and running back Nickisis Sipp. The Indian ground game is too much on the road.

Pick: Itawamba AHS 28-21

Winona (4-0) at Yazoo County (3-1)

Winona heads to Yazoo City to face the Panthers in a matchup of 3A teams. Winona is a very balanced offense averaging 247.8 yards rushing and 187.3 yards passing per game. Quarterback and Ole Miss commit Andarius Coffey makes this offense. Running back Blake Cooper and receiver Robert McMath are also keys. Yazoo County is balanced offensively averaging 158.3 yards rushing and 117 yards passing led by quarterback Kobe Fisher. Running back Kory Gainwell and receiver and South Alabama commit Corey Rucker are big talents. The Tiger defense comes up big on the road.

Pick: Winona 30-20

Charleston (3-1) at Scott Central (3-1)

Charleston hooks up with Forest to face the defending 2A state champion Rebels in a matchup of ranked teams in Class 2A. Charleston is averaging 126.8 yards per game rushing with quarterback Chris Bradford and with running backs Quinterrius Suggs and Keyshun Cashaw doing the damage. Receiver Kristian Gammage will move around a lot in this offense. Scott Central is averaging 175.3 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Treyon Wash gives them a chance against most anyone. Running backs Elijah Robinson, Jabrelynn Vivians and Jackie Donald are solid. The Rebels do average 122 yards per game passing so that could become a factor, but the defense comes up big at home.

Pick: Scott Central 16-13

Richland (4-0) at Pisgah (4-0)

Richland travels to Pisgah to face the Dragons in a battle of two unbeaten teams in Rankin County. Both teams lean heavily on the run game. Richland is averaging 271.5 yards per game led by quarterback Shane Wingate along with running backs Christian Benson and Ethan McMillon. Pisgah is averaging 308.3 yards per game on the ground anchored by quarterback Dillon Usry and running back Kyshaun Gates. Receivers Ben Arnold and Logan do have three touchdowns each, so the Dragons are not one-dimensional and get job done at home.

Pick: Pisgah 28-20

Bay Springs (4-0) at Pelahatchie (3-1)

Bay Springs will head up to Pelahatchie to face the Chiefs in a matchup of 2A teams that could make a deep playoff run. Bay Springs is led by the potent rushing attack that is averaging 304.5 yards per game led by quarterback Adrian Cole along with running backs Tyrick Jones and Chase Wilson. Pelahatchie is also led by a fierce ground game averaging 318.8 yards per game led by quarterback Quay Ragsdale along with running backs Ahmad Johnson and Jamal Johnson. Bulldog defense comes up big.

Pick: Bay Springs 26-18

East Webster (4-0) at East Union (3-1)

East Webster faces East Union in a potential playoff matchup in Class 2A. East Webster averages 216 yards per game rushing led by quarterback Steven Betts and running back Tyrik Pittman. Receiver Gray McCarter has two touchdown receptions. East Union is a very balanced offense averaging 231.8 yards rushing and 207 yards passing per game led by quarterback Ty Walton (13 passing touchdowns). Running back Colton Plunk and receivers Dejuan Hubbard and Haden Roberts are also factors. The Wolverine ground game will prove too much.

Pick: East Webster 26-20

Jackson Prep (3-1) at Lamar School (4-1)

Jackson Prep faces Lamar School in a matchup of defending state champions. Prep is led by Matt Jones at running back who leads a rushing attack that averages 147.3 yards per game. Quarterbacks Jake Lange and Bennett Johnston also factor in the ground game. Lamar is a very balanced offense that averages 209.8 yards passing and 118.2 yards rushing led by quarterback Will Morris and receiver Jacob Partridge, along with running backs Daulton Nelson and Brandrick Thomas. The Patriot defense is the difference.

Pick: Jackson Prep 31-17

Simpson Academy (3-1) at Hartfield Academy (4-0)

Simpson heads to Flowood to face the unbeaten Hawks in a key MAIS 2-5A matchup. Simpson is led by an always potent ground game led by running backs Micheal Winstead and Air Force commit Caleb Garner. Hartfield is very balanced on offense averaging 245.5 yards rushing and 143.8 yards passing per game led by quarterback Cruz Garner, running back Austin Willis and Myles Mathieu, along with receivers Brandon Buckhaulter and Erick Short. Simpson will play ball control, work the clock and that’s the difference.

Pick: Simpson Academy 27-21