Ten Games to Watch — Week 7

George County defensive tackle McKinley Jackson. Photo by Chris Brooks

George County (4-1) at Brandon (4-2)

George County comes up to Brandon to face No. 3 Brandon in a key Region 3-6A matchup. George County is coming off its biggest win in a while knocking off previously ranked Oak Grove last week. Brandon will lean on a passing attack that averages 206 yards per game led by quarterback Will Rogers along with receivers Ashton Nickelberry, Ladarius Moore and Joshua Montague. George County is very balanced on offense averaging 115.6 yards per game rushing led by running backs Jalyn Scott and Trent Howell along with 114.8 yards per game passing led by quarterback Jonathan Havard and receiver M.J. Daniels. The Brandon defense comes up big at home on homecoming.

Pick: Brandon 21-17

Petal (4-1) at Oak Grove (3-2)

No. 9 Petal makes the short trip over to Oak Grove to face the Warriors in a huge Region 3-6A matchup. Petal is coming off a huge overtime win over Pearl last week, while Oak Grove fell to George County on the road. Petal is averaging 227 yards rushing led by quarterback Decarlos Nicholson along with running backs Micah McGowan (545 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Rashad Handford. Nicholson had three touchdown passes last week that was the difference. The matchup to watch in this game will be Oak Grove’s passing attack against the Petal secondary. Don’t sleep on Oak Grove running back Nick Milsap. The Petal ground game is the difference on the road.

Pick: Petal 28-21

Lafayette (3-2) at Grenada (4-1)

The Commodores head down to Grenada to face the Chargers in a critical Region 1-5A matchup. Lafayette is coming off a close loss to West Point last week, while Grenada thumped Saltillo in its region opener. This will be a battle of two run-heavy teams. The Chargers are averaging 232.2 yards per game led by running back Demarquese Gibson and quarterback Joshua Phillips. Grenada receivers Emmanuel Forbes and Christian Wortham are ones to keep an eye on. Lafayette is averaging 228.2 yards per game on the ground led by quarterback Randy Anderson and running backs Tyrus Williams and Xzavious Stokes. The Dores bounce back on the road in a close one.

Pick: Lafayette 24-21

South Pike (6-0) vs. McComb (4-1) (at Southwest CC, Summit)

The Eagles will meet their rival Tigers in their Region 6-4A opening matchup. This game will be play at Southwest Community College in Summit due to the possibility of a big crowd. South Pike, ranked No. 2 in 4A, is led by a very explosive offense that averages 45.7 points per game led by quarterback Dontavious Turner (745 yards passing, 14 TD’s; 620 yards rushing, 7 TD’s). Watch for running backs Kam Reynolds and Brandon Johnson along with receiver Alex Adams. South Pike only allows 6.2 points per game led by Brandon Dean. McComb is led by a rushing attack that averages 267.6 yards per game and is anchored by quarterback Chris Roberson and running back Ja’qaveon Anderson. The Eagle offense is just too explosive.

Pick: South Pike 35-20

Seminary (4-2) at Magee (6-0)

Seminary heads up Highway 49 to Magee to face the Trojans in their Region 8-3A matchup. The Trojans are averaging 42.7 points per game, 211.7 yards passing, and 189.2 yards rushing led by quarterback Chandler Pittman (1,270 yards passing, 17 touchdowns; 543 yards rushing, 9 touchdowns). Running back Jawon Shaw and receiver Xavier Franks have been solid. Seminary is led by the always potent wing-T run offense that averages 217 yards per game. It is led by quarterback Jabori Potts along with running backs Jordan Barrett and Joseph Owens. The Seminary defense, led by linebacker and Ole Miss commit Austin Keys, is the difference in a close one.

Pick: Seminary 21-20

Scott Central (5-1) at Philadelphia (5-1)

Scott Central will make the short trip up Highway 21 to Philadelphia to face the Tornadoes in their Region 6-2A opener. This is a matchup of ranked teams in the Little 10 and Class 2A. Philadelphia, ranked No. 3 in the Little 10 and No. 1 in 2A, is led by quarterback Asher Morgan and receivers Kadarius Calloway and MSU commit Lideatrick Griffin. Scott Central, ranked No. 8 in the Little 10 and No. 3 in 2A, is led by a rushing attack that’s averaging 181.7 yards per game. Quarterback Treyon Wash and running backs Elijah Robinson, Jackie Donald and Jabrelynn Vivians make the offense go. The Tornado defense comes up big.

Pick: Philadelphia 22-20

Lake (5-0) at Pisgah (6-0)

The Hornets head over to Pisgah to face the Dragons in a non-region matchup of unbeaten teams in 2A. Lake is a very balanced offense averaging 166.5 yards per game rushing and 132.8 yards per game passing. Brady McGee is solid under center along with running backs J.D. Evans, Johnny Johnson and receiver Z.K. Ledbetter. Pisgah is led by a ground game that’s averaging 321.3 yards per game rushing led by quarterback Dillon Usry, running back Kyshaun Gates and Cody Coleman. Usry does have eight touchdown passes, so don’t sleep on the passing game for Pisgah. Lake’s defense comes up big late.

Pick: Lake 23-21

Bay Springs (6-0) at Taylorsville (5-1), Thursday

Bay Springs faces Taylorsville on Thursday to face the Tartars in their Region 6-2A opening matchup of ranked teams in the Little 10 and Class 2A. Bay Springs, ranked No. 9 in the Little 10 and No. 4 in Class 2A, is led by an always fierce rushing attack that’s averaging 304 yards per game. It is led by quarterback Adrian Cole along with running backs Tyrick Jones and Chase Wilson. The Bulldogs are eager to get revenge after Taylorsville ended their season last year in the 2A South State title game. Taylorsville, ranked No. 7 in the Little 10 and No. 2 in 2A, is averaging 31.5 points per game, 284 yards passing, and 178.7 yards rushing. Quarterback Ty Keyes leads the way with running backs Jeffrey Pittman and Travis Keyes. Receivers Jabez Griffith, Tyrese Keyes and Cedrick Beavers are dangerous. The Tartars bounce back at home after the shutout loss to Jackson Prep last week.

Pick: Taylorsville 27-26

Nanih Waiya (4-2) at Noxapater (5-1), Thursday

Nanih Waiya travels to Noxapater to face the rival Tigers in a matchup of unbeaten teams in Region 2-1A and teams ranked in Class 1A. Nanih Waiya, ranked No. 4 in 1A and defending 1A state champs, is averaging 227 yards per game rushing. The offense is led by quarterback Donovan Turner along with running backs Shia Moore, Devean Turner and speedster Austin Sanders. Noxapater is averaging 252.5 yards per game on the ground led by quarterback K.D. Carter (825 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns) and backs Raheem Hathorn and Chase Ray. The last time the Tigers beat the Warriors was 2012 and that streak continues.

Pick: Nanih Waiya 20-17

Jackson Prep (5-1) at Jackson Academy (3-3)

One of the state’s biggest rivalries will take place on Ridgewood Road as the Patriots make the short eight-mile trip over to face the Raiders in a huge MAIS Region 1-6A matchup. Prep is coming off a big shutout win over Taylorsville last week, while JA lost a shootout to Pelahatchie on the road. The Patriots are led by a rushing attack that is anchored by running backs Matt Jones and Seth Cook. Jones has been big-time all year. Riley Maddox had a great game under center last week. The Raiders are led by Marcus Harris at running back and quarterback Andrew Holmes. Prep has won eight in a row in the series and it continues.

Pick: Jackson Prep 35-21