The long offseason is officially over as we get ready to kick off the 2015 football season in Mississippi. Here are our picks for our opening week games of the week.
South Panola at Clinton
This game has been talked about all offseason. Both teams with a ton of talent and a rematch of last years Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game that saw South Panola escaping with a 9-7 win in Batesville. Clinton is led by do-it-all athlete and recent Alabama commit Cam Akers, while South Panola will come in with a new quarterback after the starter, Tyler Pogue, suffered a knee injury back in the spring.
Going with the champs in a close one.
Pick: South Panola 20-17
Starkville at Noxubee County
Starkville and Noxubee County enter the season ranked among the top ten teams in the state. Starkville dominated this game last year, racing to a 51-19 win. Star prospects will be in abundance with Noxubee led by defensive end Jeffery Simmons and Starkville by wide receiver A. J. Brown and lineman Kobe Jones. All three players are ranked as 4-star recruits by 247Sports. Expect both programs to go on to great seasons in their respective classifications once this one is done, but Starkville has too much depth for the Tigers to overcome.
Pick: Starkville 27-17
Madison Central at Meridian
Behind the Clinton-South Panola game, this one is definitely the next marquee matchup for Week 1 in Central Mississippi. Madison Central will begin the Brad Peterson era as head coach, while Meridian has four SEC-bound players, but will be breaking in a new quarterback. The Jaguars will be anchored by quarterback Jack Walker and Arkansas commit Grayson Gunter, while the Wildcats will lean heavy on a defense that could be one of the best at season’s end if they stay healthy. Cats are always dangerous in Ray Stadium.
Pick: Meridian 28-24
Wayne County at Warren Central
This one could be a dandy in the nightcap of the Red Carpet Classic being held at Warren Central this year. Warren Central must replace a lot of its firepower on offense in Chris Stamps and Marcus Ragan, while Wayne County has a big nucleus back on offense in Reggie Stewart at quarterback and all three running backs from a year ago. Ole Miss commit Benito Jones anchors a very experienced War Eagle defense.
Pick: Wayne County 28-17
St. Stanislaus at Gulfport
Can St. Stanislaus quarterback Myles Brennan have an encore performance similar to last season that saw him break the state record in touchdown throws and passing yards. The Rock-a-chaws will have plenty of firepower, however the Admirals will be trying to fill the holes left by Richaud Floyd at quarterback. Too much firepower for St. Stanislaus.
Pick: St. Stanislaus 35-21
Corinth at Aberdeen
Two explosive offenses look to light up the scoreboard in this one. Aberdeen will have Memphis commit Jerrick Orr to throw to at wide receiver, but the Bulldogs are breaking in a new quarterback in Tramonte Prather. On the other hand, Corinth has their main guy back at quarterback in dual-threat Antares Gwyn. Having an experienced quarterback is huge, going with the Warriors in a close one.
Pick: Corinth 35-31
Amory at MRA
Two teams with a lot of experience coming back will meet in a potent MHSAA-MAIS matchup at Patriot Field. The Panthers return 15 starters, including eight on offense and third-year coach Ben Ashley is looking for a lot of points on the board this season. MRA returns a big nucleus in quarterback Hayden Davis, running backs Clint Moses and Andrew Berry, and the teams’ leading receiver Karter Bounds. Taking the Pats at home.
Pick: MRA 28-21
Morton at Forest
For the fourth year in a row the two Scott County rivals will meet in the annual Battle For The Golden Chicken. Forest has won eight meetings in a row over the Panthers, including last year’s opening round Class 3A playoff game. Morton features one of the most exciting juniors in Alabama wide receiver commit D.D. Bowie, but lost quarterback Deyton Lingle who transferred to Lake. Forest will begin a new era under coach Jonathan Worrell and will have Khari Parker anchor the potent Bearcat rushing attack. Morton is rising in 3A.
Pick: Morton 23-20
St. Aloysius at Cathedral
Two rivals that bolted for the MAIS and a rematch of last years Class 1A state championship will meet in Natchez. St. Aloysius will be breaking in several new starters at multiple positions, while the Green Wave will have its most dynamic player in Dee Fleming. Fleming and the Green Wave make it four in a row over the Golden Flashes.
Pick: Cathedral 31-20
Jackson Prep at Oak Forest (LA)
Two teams that won the MAIS Academy AAA, Division I and Division II state championships last season will meet in the season opener. Both the Patriots and the Yellow Jackets will have new quarterbacks. Prep will be replacing 90 percent of its offense from last year, but will have Jacob Crawley and Jerrion Ealy to lead the potent Patriot rushing attack. Oak Forest will lean heavily on running back Kaylin Stewart. Prep in a tight one.
Pick: Jackson Prep 21-20