This is the final week of the regular season for classes 6A, 5A and 1A in the MHSAA; and the opening round of the MHSAA playoffs in 4A, 3A and 2A. The MAIS is in full playoff mode as well. Big games abound as we head into another great week of high school football.
Clinton (7-3) at Starkville (9-1)
The Arrows and Yellow jackets will meet for the Region 2-6A championship. Clinton will have to win by 12 points in order to get the No. 1 seed heading into the Class 6A playoffs next week. This is a game that features a great Clinton offense led by Cam Akers against a potent Starkville defense led by Kobe Jones. Starkville won a shootout last year 56-46. Jackets take care of business at home.
Pick: Starkville 28-24
Pearl (4-6) at Brandon (9-2)
The saying here is someone is going to “eat dirt” in this one. Brandon will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win, while if Pearl wins, the Bulldogs will drop to the No. 2 seed. Brandon has been rolling since the Meridian loss three weeks ago and is led by quarterback Brady Anderson. The Pirates are led by Ledarious Carpenter and Pearl is coming off a stunning overtime loss to Oak Grove. Dogs get it done at home in the rain.
Pick: Brandon 30-20
Wayne County (8-2) at Laurel (7-3)
War Eagles and Tornadoes will battle for the Region 3-5A championship. Wayne County is guided by Ole Miss commit Benito Jones and will have revenge on its mind after losing to Laurel in the 5A South State championship last season. Laurel has weapons at just about every skill position on the field, led by Memphis commit and QB Keon Howard. Laurel in a close one between the bricks.
Pick: Laurel 31-30
Germantown (7-3) at Ridgeland (5-6)
Madison County rivals will meet in a battle of who will get a home playoff game next week in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Germantown is led by a veteran secondary, spearheaded by Nigel Knott; while Ridgeland is led by quarterback J.P. Elkins. Germantown gets the No. 2 seed out of Region 2-5A.
Pick: Germantown 34-31
Pearl River Central (9-1) at Picayune (5-5)
Battle of the heavy rushing attacks when the Pearl River County rivals meet in a Region 4-5A matchup. Blue Devils have already locked up the region championship, while Maroon Tide is the No. 3 seed. PRC is led by Christian Roberts, while Picayune is led by Josh Littles. Picayune continues dominance over PRC.
Pick: Picayune 17-14
Louisville (7-4) at Itawamba AHS (7-3), Thursday
Wildcats and Indians will meet in a great matchup in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. The game was moved to Thursday due to weather on Friday. Louisville is led by quarterback Keon Coleman, while IAHS is led by dual-threat QB V.J. Miller. Miller is just too dangerous.
Pick: Itawamba AHS 27-22
Tylertown (7-3) at Kemper County (8-2)
If you had to pick just one dangerous No. 4 seed, then Tylertown would be it. The Chiefs are averaging 234 yards on the ground and is led by Ojavious Magee (12 rushing touchdowns). Kemper County is as balanced as you can be on offense and led by wide receiver Otis Cross. Kemper County at home in a close one.
Pick: Kemper County 30-28
Eupora (7-4) at Baldwyn (9-2)
To many, this is Baldwyn’s first test since Week 4. Eupora will bring a heavy rushing attack when the Eagles face the Bearcats in the first round of Class 2A playoffs. Eupora is led by Victor Goldman (599 rushing yards, 6 TD’s). Baldwyn is led by do-it-all ATH Duke Upshaw. Bearcats survive a scare at home.
Pick: Baldwyn 21-20
Pisgah (8-3) at Amite County (8-2)
This is one of two rematches of games that took place in the regular season (Hazlehurst vs. Crystal Springs is the other). Amite County spoiled Pisgah’s homecoming back on Sept. 25 when the Trojans defeated the Dragons 28-17. Amite County is led by QB Quavonte Adams, while Pisgah is anchored by T.J. McGinnis. Dragons get revenge.
Pick: Pisgah 28-20
Cathedral (9-2) at Indianola Academy (11-0)
Besides the Greenville St. Joe game, this could be the next biggest test for Indianola Academy when the Colonels host the Green Wave in the second round of the Academy AAA playoffs. Cathedral comes in with a lot of confidence led by Dee Fleming, while Indianola Academy is led by Taylor Roberson. Cathedral continues to roll.
Pick: Cathedral 28-21