Ten Games to Watch — Week 9

Starkville athlete Jordan Mitchell. (Photo by Chris Brooks)

Horn Lake (3-2) at Oxford (5-0)

The Eagles head down to Oxford to face the seventh-ranked Chargers in a huge matchup of 3-0 teams in Region 1-6A. Winner of this game is in the drivers seat of hosting a first round Class 6A playoff game. Horn Lake has been rolling in their first three games of region play behind the play of quarterback Jarnorris Hopson. Defensive end R.J. Whitehead along with defensive tackle and South Alabama commit Thurman Rayborn led the defense for the Eagles. Oxford, the defending Class 6A state champion, is led by a passing attack that is averaging 212 yards per game led by quarterback Trip Maxwell along with receivers Jay Wortham and Dekyren Johnson. Promising junior running back Omar Howell is one to watch for Oxford. This game will be close, but the Chargers are tough to beat at home and run win streak to 19 games.

Pick: Oxford 24-21

 

Starkville (6-0) at Madison Central (5-2)

The top-ranked Yellowjackets head down to The Jungle to face the Jaguars in a key Region 2-6A matchup. Starkville is coming off a bye week and will lean on quarterback and Florida State commit Luke Altmyer along with running back and Mississippi State commit Amariyon Howard to lead an offense that is averaging 29.7 points per game. Wide outs Leroy Hollinshed and Sam Hunt have been huge for the Jackets all season. Linebacker Keyshawn Lawrence leads the Jacket defense that allows just 13.7 points per game. Madison Central will lean on the rushing attack that averages 150.7 yards per game led by running back Duke Arnold. The concern for the Jaguars now is quarterback play. The Jacket offense just too much.

Pick: Starkville 35-21

 

Northwest Rankin (5-1) at Petal (3-3)

The ninth-ranked Cougars head down to Petal to face the Panthers in a critical Region 3-6A matchup. If Northwest Rankin wins the Cougars are in good shape to host a Class 6A playoff game, while Petal needs a win to keep in the hunt to make the playoffs. The Cougars are very balanced on offense averaging 30.8 points per game, 180.5 yards passing and 169.5 yards rushing anchored by quarterback Caleb Parten, running back Cam Marion along with receivers Jordan Cavitt and Jordan Ware. The Panthers are coming off a big shutout win over Brandon last week is led by a passing attack that is averaging 208.7 yards per game led by quarterback Jackson Allen along with receivers Micah Cherry and Blake Roberts. Running back Jeremiah Robinson leads the rushing attack that is averaging 92.5 yards per game. The Cougar defense comes up big late on the road.

Pick: Northwest Rankin 31-20

 

West Lauderdale (3-2) at Louisville (5-1)

Knights head up Highway 19 to Louisville to face the Wildcats in a huge Region 4-4A matchup of teams ranked in Class 4A. Louisville, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, is led by a rushing attack that averages 206.5 yards per game led by quarterback Jace Hudspeth along with running backs Emory James and Jacorey Coleman. The Wildcats do average 122 yards per game passing with Jarvis Rush as the top target. West Lauderdale, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, is also led by a rushing attack that averages 214.3 yards per game anchored by running back Jakarius Grant along with quarterback Jackson Parker. This game will be a low scoring one like last year, but the Wildcat defense that gives up just 6 points a game anchored by defensive end Ty Cooper and linebacker JaMarcus Eiland come up big.

Pick: Louisville 14-7

 

Richland (6-0) at Newton County (6-0)

It is a battle of unbeatens as the Rangers head over to Decatur to face the Cougars in a critical Region 5-4A matchup. Newton County, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, is led by a potent ground game that is led by quarterback Damon Mapp along with the twin running backs in Carlois Walker and Carlonte Walker. Richland is off to a 6-0 for the first time in school history and is also lead by a run game that is averaging 233.3 yards per game led by quarterback Logan Evans along with running backs Gentry Davis and Seth Shoto. The Cougar defense led by linebacker Miguel Evans is the difference at home.

Pick: Newton County 24-14

 

Amory (5-1) at Nettleton (5-0)

Panthers make the short trip over to Nettleton to face the Tigers in a key Region 1-3A contest. Amory is led by a potent offense that is averaging 34.5 points per game, 261.8 yards passing per game, 110 yards per game rushing led by quarterback Hunter Jones (18 passing touchdowns), receivers Jay Hampton and Braxton Griffin along with running back Charleston French. The Tigers are off to a fast start under first year head coach John Keith is also led by a potent offense that averages 41 points per game, 194 yards rushing, 147 yards passing led by quarterback Davis Oswalt, running back Rod Patterson and Zavian Dilworth. This game could very well be a high scoring affair, but the Panther offense too much.

Pick: Amory 42-31

 

Columbia (6-0) at West Marion (4-2)

Wildcats make the real short trip over to Foxworth to face the rival Trojans in a critical Region 8-3A matchup. The Trojans, ranked No. 9 in the Little 10 and No. 5 in Class 3A, are led by a potent rushing attack that averages 243 yards per game led by running back Jartavious Martin and JaKaden Mark along with quarterback Jayden Duncan. Receivers Larry Magee and Qavonte Swanigan are also key factors for West Marion in the passing game that is averaging 128.3 yards per game. Columbia, ranked No. 3 in the Little 10 and No. 1 in Class 3A, is led by a fierce rushing attack that is led by quarterback Carter Smith along with running backs in Jonathan Wiltz and promising junior Omar Johnson. Defense is what the Wildcats lean on led by linebacker Greg Fortenberry and promising junior defensive tackle Jehiem Oatis. The combination of the defense and run game is the difference.

Pick: Columbia 27-17

 

Taylorsville (5-1) at Enterprise-Clarke (5-0)

Tartars head over to Enterprise to face the Bulldogs in a key Region 5-2A matchup battle of ranked teams in 2A. Taylorsville, ranked No. 2 in the Little 10 and No. 1 in 2A, is led by a potent offense that averages 33.4 points per game, 235.4 yards per game anchored by quarterback and Tulane commit Ty Keyes along with receivers Tyrese Keys, Cedrick Beavers and Arteriousa Miller. Running backs Travis Keyes and Jeffrey Pittman led a rushing attack that is averaging 166.2 yards per game. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 in 2A, is led by a potent ground game that averages 299.8 yards per game anchored by quarterback Derryon Gray along with running backs Kristian Milsap, Ridge Kdd and John Campbell. This game could be close, but the Tartar offense just too much.

Pick: Taylorsville 38-27

 

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

Yellow Jackets head over to Forest to face the Rebels in a huge matchup of unbeaten teams in Region 6-2A. Winner of this game is in the drivers seat of not only hosting a first round Class 2A playoff game but also to win the Region 6-2A title. Union are led by quarterback Kenyon Clay and also receivers Jamarcus Jones and Jaheim Gill. Scott Central, ranked No. 7 in the Little 10 and No. 2 in Class 2A, is anchored by a potent rushing attack that is averaging 190.6 yards per game led by quarterback Treyon Wash along with running backs Jalen Wells, LaJavis Patrick, Elijah Robinson and Zechariah Parodi. The Rebel defense that allows just 17 points per game is the difference at home.

Pick: Scott Central 30-18

 

Jackson Prep (6-1) at MRA (7-0)

This is a game a lot of people have been anxious to see as Jackson Prep makes the short trip up to Madison to face MRA in the huge all-Patriot MAIS District 1-6A rematch of last year’s Class 6A State Championship game. Prep, who lost the state title game for the first time in eight years who is also ranked No. 4 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 118.2 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 112.2 yards per game. MRA, ranked No. 1 in the Little 10, No. 1 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 1 in MAIS Class 6A is the defending MAIS Class 6A state champion, is led by a very balanced offense that is averaging 162.9 yards rushing per game led by running back and Navy commit Rayf Vinson and Tylor Latham. Quarterback Zach Beasley and receiver Davis Dalton lead the passing attack that averages 174 yards per game. This game is always a toss up, but promising four-star junior linebacker Stone Blanton leads the MRA defense that comes up big late at home.

Pick: MRA 35-28