Ten Games to Watch — Week 7

Jackson Prep running back Matt Jones. (Photo by Chris Brooks)

Starkville (4-0) at Germantown (3-1)
Top-ranked Starkville heads to Madison to face Germantown in a pivotal Region 2-6A matchup. Starkville is coming off a big road win over South Panola last week and will lean on quarterback and Florida State commit Luke Altmyer along with running back and Mississippi State commit Amariyon Howard. Germantown is coming off their first loss of the year to Warren Central in a game the Mavericks turned the ball over three times (all interceptions). Germantown is averaging 274 yards led by quarterback Colton Gardner and promising junior running back Branson Robinson along with Nick Barnes and Trey McCullough. The Maverick defense could be a factor as they’ve recorded 15 sacks through the first four games. The Jacket defense led by Keyshawn Lawrence comes up big in this one.
Pick: Starkville 34-20


South Panola (3-1) at Clinton (1-2)
No. 3 South Panola travels to Clinton to face the Arrows in a huge Region 2-6A matchup. The loser of this game will be 0-2 and in a tough spot for the playoffs. Clinton quarterback Caleb Miller along with running backs Montavious Warren and Jeremy Mack will lead the rushing attack that averages 135 yards per game. South Panola is averaging 308 yards per game on the ground with quarterback Anterrio Draper and running backs D’Mariun Perteet and Martez Clark leading the way. Receiver and Memphis commit Cameron Wright is one to watch for South Panola. The Tigers bounce back on the road.
Pick: South Panola 28-20


Oak Grove (3-0) at Petal (2-2)
Oak Grove is at Petal to face the rival Panthers in a pivotal Region 3-6A matchup in a rematch of last year’s Class 6A South State Championship game. No. 2 Oak Grove features an explosive offense that averages 59 points per game, 206 yards rushing and 199 yards passing anchored by quarterback Kade Barnett along with running backs Eugene Newell, Courtland Harris and receivers Tyrell Pollard and Jordan Coleman. Petal is coming off its second straight loss to Pearl in a high scoring game. The Panthers are averaging 275.3 yards passing per game with quarterback Jackson Allen and receivers Jonathan Harris, Jeremiah Robinson and Micah Cherry. Running back Darian Washington leads a run game that averages 101 yards a game. The Warrior offense proves too much.
Pick: Oak Grove 38-27


D’Iberville (3-0) at Ocean Springs (4-0)
No. 10-ranked D’Iberville makes the short trip down to Ocean Springs to face the Greyhounds in battle of unbeatens in a huge Region 4-6A matchup. D’Iberville is coming off a big shutout win over Biloxi last week. The Warriors are more balanced on offense this season averaging 238 yards per game rushing and 139.7 yards passing.  Quarterback Dwight Williams and Minnesota commit and wide receiver Justin Walley are the top playmakers. The Greyhounds are off to fast 4-0 start under first year head coach Blake Pennock. Ocean Springs is led by a ground game that averages 268.5 yards per game anchored by quarterback Bray Hubbard and running back David Humphries. Receiver Torian Kelly is one to watch for the Greyhounds. The Ocean Springs defense only allows 13.3 points per game, but the Warrior offense is just too explosive.
Pick: D’Iberville 28-17


Biloxi (2-1) at Harrison Central (3-0)
Biloxi hits the road for the second straight week to face Harrison Central in a key Region 4-6A matchup. Biloxi is coming off a shutout loss to D’Iberville last week and is eager for a bounce back game, while Harrison Central shut out West Harrison last week. Biloxi is averaging 149.5 yards per game rushing and 134.5 yards passing led by quarterback Deljay Bailey along with running back K.K. Kendrick and receiver Deon Hardin. The Harrison Central offense has been very explosive through the first three games averaging 40.7 points per game. The Red Rebels also are averaging 210.7 yards per game passing and 189.7 yards per game rushing anchored by quarterback Christian Turner along with running backs Atavain Ray and Jaidon McClain and receivers Jacobi Moore and Isaiah Atkins. The Red Rebel offense is too much at home.
Pick: Harrison Central 31-27


Grenada (2-1) at Lafayette (2-2)
Grenada faces off against Lafayette in a critical Region 1-5A contest. It’s still early but the winner of this game should be in the driver’s seat for hosting a 5A first round playoff game. Lafayette, ranked No. 5 in 5A, likes to run the ball as well and is averaging 294.7 yards per game with running backs Tyrus Carmichael-Williams, Trikyus Woodall and Jayden Reed. The Commodores do average 151 yards through the air with Kylen Vaughn being the top target. Grenada is led by a rushing attack that is averaging 218.5 yards per game anchored by quarterback Joshua Phillups along with running back Joe Moss. Receiver Derrick Harbin is the target for the Chargers, who hasn’t won against Lafayette since 2017. Take the Dores in a close one at home.
Pick: Lafayette 21-20


Jefferson Davis County (3-1) at West Marion (3-1)
Jefferson Davis County faces West Marion in the Region 8-3A opener of teams ranked in the Little 10. JDC, the defending the Class 3A state champions and ranked No. 4 in the Little 10 and No. 1 in Class 3A, will have a new quarterback but will also have Demario Booth, Malcolm Hartzog, Ty Johnson and Nick Johnson to lead the ground game. The Trojans, ranked No. 8 in the Little 10 and No. 5 in Class 3A, are led by a potent rushing attack that averages 296 yards per game led by running back Jartavious Martin and JaKaden Mark along with quarterback Jayden Duncan. Receivers Larry Magee and Qavonte Swanigan are ones to watch for West Marion. The Jaguar ground game is too much in a close low scoring game.
Pick: Jefferson Davis County 18-14


Newton (3-0) at Union (3-1)
Newton travels up Highway 15 to Union to face the Yellowjackets in their Region 6-2A opener. The Tigers have been one of the biggest surprises as they are off to a 3-0 start that is led by do-it-all quarterback Tyreke Snow. The Yellowjackets are led by quarterback Kenyon Clay and also receivers Jamarcus Jones and Jaheim Gill, who are the difference in this one.
Pick: Unio 22-16


Jackson Academy (4-2) at Jackson Prep (4-1)
Jackson Academy heads to Flowood to face Jackson Prep in one of the state’s biggest rivalries. The Raiders, ranked No. 5 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 3 in MAIS Class 6A will lean on receiver Deion Smith at receiver, while quarterback Jackson Conn and running back Marcus Harris lead an offense that is averaging 180.2 yards per game rushing and 105.7 yards per game passing. The Patriots, ranked No. 5 in the Little 10, No. 2 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 2 in MAIS Class 6A, is led by a rushing attack that averages 152 yards per game led by quarterback Riley Maddox and running back Matt Jones. Receivers Thaxton Berch and Jeffrey Ince lead a passing game that averages 119.3 yards per game. The Patriots have won 10 straight games over the Raiders since 2013 and will make it 11.
Pick: Jackson Prep 24-17


Pillow Academy (4-2) at Starkville Academy (3-2)
Pillow travels Highway 82 to Starkville to face Starkville Academy in a key MAIS Class 1-5A matchup of teams ranked in the MAIS Top 10. Pillow Academy, ranked No. 10 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 5 in MAIS Class 5A, is led by quarterback Christian Belk along with running backs Gavin Lessley, Bryce Miller and Alex Tanksley. Starkville Academy, ranked No. 8 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 4 in MAIS Class 5A, will also lean on the ground game on offense led by running back C.J. Jackson along with both quarterbacks Colby Allen and Randall Futra. The Vols defense is the difference at home.
Pick: Starkville Academy 24-21