• John Macon Gillespie

Five for Friday: Breakdowns & Picks

#1 South Panola @ Olive Branch

Most years this matchup would be the marquee matchup of the regular season in 6A. Heck for any classification during the regular season. However, this season it doesn’t appear to be much of a contest on paper.

The University of South Panola is up to their usual behavior, winning games with attitude. The Tigers are winning their games by an average of just over 17 points per game, including an 18-point win over Madison Central as well as 21-point defeat of Tennessee powerhouse Memphis University School. The Tigers are 5-0 and three of those wins have come against schools that have been in the SES Top 10 at some point or currently this season.

To be fair to the Conquistadors of Olive Branch, they are 2-0 within the borders of Mississippi. However, in their three games against foes from the Tennessee high school ranks they are 1-2. One of their losses came to the same MUS that South Panola beat by 21, as previously mentioned.

Petal @ #4 Oak Grove

Always fun when these two get together and it always a star packed night. Oak Grove may not be the passing machine they once were but now an efficient offense and a stingy defense have them one of the top 6A teams in the state.

Petal started slow and was counted out by many. They have stormed back with a couple of big wins and are doing so with one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the state. A win on Friday night at Oak Grove would catapult the Panthers into 6A contention.

This game may come down to a turnover late in the game. The team that makes their opponent cough it up late, wins.

SES Take: “I really like Petal’s balance on offense. I think that will allow them to take advantage of any mismatch they may find, whether it be on the ground or through the air.” John Luke McCord. SES Staff Writer

Columbus @ Tupelo

The atmosphere should be electric on Friday night in Tupelo. There will be a community-wide tailgate before the game. However, even a big event like that will play second fiddle to this matchup.

Each team is 3-2 and each team is coming off a victory, however the Falcons defeated Desoto Central last week.

Columbus will look to assert their offense on the ground by featuring junior RB Kylin Hill. While the Wave will ride their senior QB Daniel Bristow, whether on the ground or through the air.

The Golden Wave average just over 30 points per game, while giving up just over 23. On the other hand, the Falcons play a different pace scoring 22 points per game and giving up just over 18.

SES Take: “Columbus has one of the state’s best young running backs in Kylin Hill and have shown they have what it takes to grind out a win. However, Tupelo has one of the state’s best young linebackers in Jett Johnson and an offense led by a stone cold veteran signal caller. I’m going with themblankets.” Webb Lewis, SES Editor-in-Chief

Ocean Springs @ D’Iberville

Ocean Springs comes into this matchup of Gulf Coast titans on a four game winning streak. In fact, the only loss the Greyhounds have suffered this season came to the Brandon Bulldogs, which is nothing to hang your head about and so far they haven’t.

The Greyhounds are solid on offense as they average over 120 yards passing a game and nearly 175 on the ground. However, their defense has been more than solid this season giving up just under 18 points per contest. They have only allowed their opponents to score more than 20 in two games this season.

D’Iberville was slow out of the gates this season as well. The Warriors started 1-2, but have recovered since with big wins over Oak Grove and Biloxi and a loss by the narrowest of margins against St. Stanislaus. In fact, those wins have Warrior supporters asking where the love is on Twitter. This week could show they are for real despite the 3-3 record at this point.

Both teams have played Pascagoula this season. Ocean Springs won 21-14, while D’Iberville lost 28-14. That game will have no bearing on Friday night but provides a litmus test of sorts.

SES Take: “D’Iberville grabbed my attention when they beat Oak Grove by 20 points. With that kind of dominance over an elite team, who will be able to stop them?” Austin Davis, SES Staff Writer

Jackson Prep @ Jackson Academy

With the championship on the line, these two teams have squared off more than pretty much any other pair in the entire state. This Friday night, there will be no trophy hanging in the balance only bragging rights.

Prep has been dominating the field over the past few seasons and have not shown any signs of slowing down. With one of the state’s top rushing attacks, the Patriots earned win number 200 for head coach Ricky Black this past week. On paper, this game with their rival should not even be close.

The Raiders will enter this matchup with about four more losses than they would normally have at this point of the season. They have racked up two wins in a row and Coach Sykes always has his squad ready to play. No matter what the odds are or what the matchup looks like on paper, when Prep and JA meet, anything can happen.

Video courtesy of Braden Bishop and Tupelo High School.

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