• John Macon Gillespie

JMake's 10 Takes Coming In Hot: Week 3

Starkville strong safety Rashad O'Briant participates in warm-up drills before Starkville's season-opener vs. Noxubee County (John Macon Gillespie, Aug. 17, 2018)

Hello, all, and welcome back to your favorite predictions-giving piece (or least-favorite, depending on where you're from). Regardless of your personal stance on myself or my takes, thanks for tuning back in.

Week 2 was a lot of fun, and we had some shakeup to our weekly Top 10, which you can find here. Some big wins gave some teams some boosts (I'm looking at you West Point, Brandon and Hattiesburg), and some wins gave teams a little bit of a fall (sorry, Tupelo). We also have a little bit of a surprise at the end of this week's Hot Takes, so stay tuned for that. (SPOILER: It's a guest's hot take).

Week 3 of the high school football season promises to be intriguing, as well, with two Top 10 matchups on the docket, both of which will be previewed in this very story.

So without further ado, let all the online anger surrounding Week 3 begin!

1. No. 1 Starkville beats No. 7 West Point by a touchdown.

Let's start with this:

West Point fans (and their official account) loved my prediction that they'd fall to Louisville last week, and they had a little fun at my expense after they notched a 16-point win over the Wildcats. All in good fun, however, and it should get even more interesting this week.

Starkville took Oxford to the woodshed in the Little Egg Bowl last Friday (as predicted by your local #takes man) and re-established themselves atop the SES Top 10. West Point also made a statement last week, however, in topping a talented Louisville team and showing the state that the Green Wave isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

While that may be the case, I like Starkville to win this one late. I expect a low-scoring, back-and-forth game that the Yellowjackets pull off in the fourth quarter. Let the flaming of my mentions begin.

2. No. 2 Brandon takes care of Clinton by two scores.

Clinton has had a nice couple of weeks, topping South Panola in overtime and shutting out Vicksburg last week. In Week 3, however, the Arrows are traveling to Brandon to take on the Bulldogs who have been even more impressive so far this season. Brandon's 21-point win over South Panola last week was good enough to launch them into the No. 2 spot in this week's Top 10, and I expect them to hold onto that rank this week.

3. Lafayette tops talented North Panola

I love both of these teams, and I think they could both be in the state title conversation late this season in their respective classifications. North Panola is led by E10-member and Arkansas-commit K.J. Jefferson who already has five touchdown passes this season. While I expect North Panola to hang around a while in this one, I think that Lafayette is just too deep and too talented. Give me the Commodores pulling away in the 4th quarter.

4. No. 8 Northwest Rankin holds on to beat No. 9 Pearl.

So much for Pearl having a down year, right? The Pirates pulled off the upset over Warren Central last week and made their way into this week's Top 10 as a result. I'm really torn as to who to pick in this one because both teams are very talented, but I decided to go with the Tigers in a close one. I really like what Pearl has done in the first two weeks of the season, and I expect them to make this a game, but give me NWR by a touchdown.

5. Calhoun City defeats Ripley for the second-straight season.

The Wildcats gave Houston a fight last week in a 20-7 loss. Calhoun City went to Ripley last season with starting quarterback Jo Gray sidelined with an injury and won 36-21. Now that Gray is graduated, I think that last season's game could be a good indicator of how this week's matchup goes. I expect the Tigers to hang around for most of the game, but for Calhoun City to escape with the win.

6. Oxford and Grenada play close, but Oxford gets its first win of 2018.

Oxford is still reeling from its loss to Starkville last week (who can blame them? Starkville is the real deal), but I think they get the job done this week against Grenada. The Chargers could be playing with a chip on their shoulder based on how their season has gone to this point (game vs. Warren Central cancelled and then...well...last week), so I expect some energy to come from the Oxford sideline. In this "Battle of the Chargers," I like Oxford by seven.

7. Nanih Waiya wins nail-biter over Winona.

People (including me): "Nanih Waiya graduated so much talent and lost their head coach. They won't be as good this season!"

Nanih Waiya: *demolishes Hatley and Union by a combined score of 83-6*

Okay, so the Warriors are still good. Nanih Waiya topped the Tigers last season 48-28, and that was the same Winona team that represented 2A North in the state championship game, by the way. Winona is now 3A after their consolidation with Montgomery County, but I still like the Warriors to pull it out this year. I think this one will be closer than last year's 20-point deficit, but I'm taking Nanih Waiya.

8. No. 5 Hattiesburg keeps their winning ways going vs. Moss Point.

Snoop Conner & Co. want you all to know that they're here to stay. The Tigers pulled away from rival Laurel last week 41-20 and look like they could compete for 5A South again this season. I'm not of the opinion that Moss Point is untalented, but I am of the opinion that Hattiesburg is ridiculously talented. Tigers by two or three scores.

9. No. 10 Meridian falls to Central (Ala.)

After having their heart ripped out by Tupelo in week one, the Wildcats bounced back last week with a 21-13 win over Davidson (Ala.). Although I'm not an Alabama sports writer, and Meridian is No. 10 in our rankings this week, I like Central to pull this one off. The Red Devils are ranked second in the state of Alabama according to MaxPreps, so if Meridian wins this one, it would be a nice feather in their cap.

10. Disrupted Philadelphia drops game vs. Neshoba Central.

Possibly the biggest news that arose out of Mississippi high school football this week was the resignation of Bobby Hall from Philadelphia. Defensive coordinator David Frey has been named interim head coach and will lead the Tornadoes through the rest of their season. Philly dropped a 38-14 decision vs. Bay Springs last week, and I think the off-field distractions contribute to them losing to a talented rival in Neshoba Central this week.

GUEST TAKE: Mack Gordon

This is something we will do every week from here on out. I give my ten takes, but I'm going to invite one of the other SES writers to give a hot take of their own as well. This week, we have none other than our very own Mack Gordon.

Mack: "Starkville will establish themselves as the best team in the Sip this week. The Yellowjackets will break the West Point Green Wave's impressive winning streak on Friday night, winning by 20+."

Just go on and shut down your mentions until Saturday, Mack. It's going to be a long weekend.


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