• John Macon Gillespie

JMake's 10 Takes Coming In Hot: Week 5

Noxubee County's Jaqualyn Smith lines up in a football game against the Starkville Yellowjackets on Aug. 17, 2018. (John Macon Gillespie)

Hello and welcome to *looks at calendar* Week 5 of the high school football season.

It's hard to believe that we're over a month into the 2018 campaign, and some of these intriguing division races are starting to heat up. Last week was full of excitement, energy and fun (I couldn't think of another word that started with "e"), and this week promises to be the same.

Let's take a look at what will certainly happen this week because my predictions are never wrong, right? (Let's pretend that's the case, anyway).

1. No. 8 West Point gets back on track vs. Noxubee.

West Point fell in their last contest to Starkville two weeks ago, but who can blame them? The Yellowjackets are for real and look like they may be the best team in the state.

Although the Green Wave's 30-game win streak has come to a close, I like their chances to start a new streak this week. This is one of the best matchups in the Magnolia State in Week 5, but I think West Point is just more talented than Noxubee this year. I like the Green Wave by a couple of scores.

2. Pontotoc puts up a fight, but Oxford wears down the Warriors.

This has become one of my favorite "rivalries" in North Mississippi. Although Pontotoc is a 4A school and Oxford is classified in 6A, these are two storied programs with rowdy fanbases that are, quite frankly, a lot of fun to watch.

I think that Oxford's depth is the difference in this one, and the Chargers have some momentum after upsetting rival Lafayette in last week's Crosstown Classic. I like Oxford by two or three scores in this one, but I think Pontotoc plays with everything they have. It's not every day that you get to try and knock off a 6A school.

3. No. 6 Brandon knocks off No. 4 Northwest Rankin.

I'm really excited about this one. Northwest Rankin is coming off of a rout of Pearl two weeks ago, and Brandon just handed Tupelo (albeit a very injured Tupelo) its first loss of the season last week.

I was high on the Bulldogs coming into the season, and I'm sticking by my guns. Northwest Rankin has a shot to win this one, a very good shot, but I'm still holding to my faith in Brandon...for now. Give me the Bulldogs in this one after scoring a late touchdown to take the lead in the fourth.

4. Aberdeen keeps New Hope winless.

So, New Hope is 0-4. I think the Trojans will be really solid in a year or two, but they aren't there yet.

The Trojans have been outscored 125-21 so far this season, with all 21 of those points coming in the last two weeks. I actually think this game is close, but I like Aberdeen to squeak it out.

5. TCPS takes care of Thrasher.

Gone are the days of Tupelo Christian Prep being a 1A doormat.

The Eagles come into Friday's game against Thrasher off of a hard-fought loss to Biggersville. I like the Rebels to keep this one close for a while but TCPS to win by a couple of scores.

6. Eddie Ivy rushes for more than 200 yards.

South Pontotoc's game against Bruce will feature a lot of focus on the ground game. Both South and Bruce are run-heavy teams, and I expect Eddie Ivy to have a big game. I also like the Cougars to win this one handily.

7. North Pontotoc takes care of business against Independence.

I'm a big fan of what Coach Richard Russo & Co. are doing at Independence. The Wildcats are a team that you don't look forward to meeting on Friday nights, and they play with a really, really good energy.

While that may be the case, North Pontotoc is sitting at 4-0 after losing record-setting quarterback Clark Mills to graduation. I don't think that's a fluke. The Vikings have looked really good this season, and I think they move to 5-0 this week.

8. Gabe Harmon breaks the century mark on the ground.

Although I picked Oxford to win over Pontotoc, I think the Warriors will rely heavily on their stable of capable running backs. Gabe Harmon comes into Friday's game with 427 rushing yards on the season and has gotten over 100 yards three times so far in 2018. I like Harmon to have a big game in a losing effort for Pontotoc.

9. Water Valley dominates Calhoun City.

People: "JMake! You've picked against Calhoun City once already, and they're already sitting at two losses! Do you no longer believe in the Wildcats?"

That's not at all the case. Calhoun City is talented enough to make a deep playoff run this year in 2A, but, my gosh, Water Valley is insanely good. I think that this game is closer than Valley's blowout of Bruce last week, but I still like the Blue Devils to pull this one out by a few scores. Once this game is over, I think Calhoun City will be sitting at 2-3 (the Wildcats lost three games in total last season, including a North Half loss to Winona). If that happens, don't fret, Calhoun City fans. I think you win-out after this week.

10. Louisville tops Grenada.

Louisville didn't miss a beat after falling to West Point in Week 2. They've won their last two games coming into this fight with Grenada. I believe this Grenada team is talented, but not talented enough to take care of this Louisville team who is still my favorite to win 4A North.

Louisville by 14.

Guest Take: Webb Lewis

My eternal leader Webb Lewis (who also works in the communications department at the University of Mississippi) is on this week to give us his perfect and untarnished opinion on a certain game that is taking place in our state this week. Let's see what he has to say.

Webb: The Brandon Bulldogs roll over the Northwest Rankin Cougars by a minimum of three touchdowns.

Don’t get me wrong, NWR is a great football team and will win a lot of games this season. BUT not this week. Not against the hard-nosed, rugged and ready to prove something, Brandon Bulldogs.

And last but certainly not least. I know I was to only give one hot take and the above is it, but I have just one more thing to say. I don’t care how many titles they have, no one should ever just roll over and play dead just because of the way things are expected to go. When the Tide comes to Oxford they better pack a lunch and where their daddy’s shoes because it’s going to be a grown up’s job that will take all day. Hotty Toddy!

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