• John Macon Gillespie

SES Five for Friday, Breakdowns & Picks

#7 Oak Grove (2-1) @ #7 Hattiesburg (4-0)

Oak Grove took one on the chin last week but still showed glimpses greatness. Alex Ward is still a guy that can get it done for the Warriors offensively and his arm will open up the running lanes for the backs to eat up chunks of yards. Points will not be the issue this Friday night. It will be the defense.

Hattiesburg is on fire to start this season. They have won in just about every fashion

imaginable. The biggest concern for them going into the Friday night will be whether or not that can slow down the Oak Grove offense. Both teams have not had a hard time scoring points and have done so a lot this season.

This game will come down to a turnover late in the game or a huge fourth down stop.

SES Take: “It was a close call between Oak Grove and Hattiesburg. I could go either way but I expect Oak Grove to make a statement after the loss.” Austin Davis, SES Staff Writer

#5 Brandon (3-1) @ Northwest Rankin (4-0)

Brandon moved to the 5 spot in our rankings this week after a big win against Tupelo. The Bulldogs are now 3-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to Madison Central.

The offensive side of the ball has carried the load for the Bulldogs this season. In wins they have scored 27, 29 and 41. However, they scored just 13 points in their lone loss. So the key could very well be how well the offense plays.

Northwest Rankin has been a team that had been right around the edge of our rankings for the last two weeks. This week could easily boost them into the top 10. Even a loss, in a well-played game, could keep them right on the brink.

The Cougars are giving up just under 13 points per game this season and are coming off of a shutout against Ridgeland. This will be just the second home game of the season for Northwest Rankin and the home crowd will be charged up no doubt.

SES Take: “I picked Brandon because they have tested and proven themselves so far. They have shown the ability to beat solid opponents and are coming off of a momentum building win.” John Luke McCord, SES Staff Writer

MRA (3-1) @ Jackson Prep (4-0)

Few teams in the MAIS have had as many classic battles throughout the years as Prep and MRA. The Battle of the Patriots! Last year they met in the title game as they have many times before. MRA has been itching to get another crack at them since last November.

This year Prep is rolling throughout the first half of their schedule. Some consider them one of the best teams in the entire state private or public. They have outscored their opponents at a clip of 35.25 to 9.5 points per game. They are the king of the hill and will be the home team on Friday night.

MRA is trying to pick up the pieces to an offense that suffered a huge blow in week two when their starting quarterback, Hayden Davis went down with a season ending injury. Freshman Hunter Hulsey has stepped into the position and has done quite well so far managing the offense and throwing the football. However, it will be Davis’ ability to improvise with his legs that the Patriots will miss.

SES Take: “MRA has been thinking about this game ever since the horn sounded in their loss last season. With that much hype and that much anticipation, if Prep can strike early, all of the wind will be sucked out of MRA and it will be hard to recover.” Webb Lewis, SES Editor-in-Chief

West Point (3-1) @ #9 Noxubee County (2-2)

West Point is quietly putting together a good season and this week should prove to be their toughest test yet. Starkville is a common opponent for these teams in this matchup and the Yellow Jackets beat the Green Wave 16-0. However, the Green Wave defense has only given up 26 points through three games.

While the defense has sputtered since week one, scoring just 13 points in their last two games. The Green Wave will look to run behind a tough offensive line and keep the game low scoring.

Noxubee County features quite possibly the best senior in the state this year in Jeffrey Simmons. They also own a 2-2 record but that is not necessarily indicative of their talent level. Their two losses came to Starkville and a very determined Meridian team just last week.

The Tigers have spent the whole season in the upper half of the top 10, but fell after being shut out last week by Meridian. This will present them with a chance to climb the rankings again and also to get back to their winning ways.

Lafayette (3-1) @ Louisville (3-1)

Lafayette had their momentum slowed last week with a heartbreaking loss to rival Oxford. However, it was more of the Commodores shooting themselves in the foot than the Chargers actually stopping them. That being said, no changes should be made to how the Dores have been doing business. A heavy dose of Tyrell Price running behind Eli Johnson should do the trick.

Louisville had a huge blowout win over Philadelphia last week and will look to ride that wave against the Dores. The Wildcats are looking to return the championship competing team from years past and have shown glimpses of just that so far this season. They have outscored their opponents 78-20 over the past two weeks but have yet to face a defense like Lafayette.

The game presents a huge test for Louisville and an opportunity to get back on track for Lafayette.


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