JMake's 10 Takes Coming In Hot: Week 6
Vardaman and Bruce line up before a play in Week 2 of the Mississippi high school football season. Bruce won the game 27-12. Bruce travels to Calhoun City this week whereas Vardaman hosts West Lowndes for homecoming. (John Macon Gillespie, Aug. 24, 2018)
Good day, everyone, and welcome back to your favorite sports website.
I hope this week's Takes finds you in good health and spirits as we are now in Week 6 (?!?!?!) of the high school football season. How have we gotten here so fast? Will the season be over before we know it? Why am I asking you all these questions?
No matter. You are here for one reason and one reason only: to read my hot takes for this week. Yes, I am still not giving your team the respect they deserve, and, yes, I will continue to do so. So without further ado, let's dive in, shall we?
1. No. 6 West Point tops Lafayette.
Some people, even some of my counterparts here at SES, are picking Lafayette in an upset in this week, but I don't see it. Lafayette is a solid team and will make a deep run in 5A, I believe, but I don't think West Point would have let Oxford escape with a win a couple of weeks ago like Lafayette did. I like the Green Wave by at least a couple of scores as they remind everyone of why they are the favorite in 5A North.
2. No. 9 Tupelo gets back on track against Hernando.
A war-weary and injury-riddled Tupelo got a much-needed BYE week last week after dropping their first game of the season to Brandon 34-6. Tupelo has had its fair share of misfortunes this season as injuries have piled up for the Golden Wave, but I like them to get back in the win column this week. Hernando is sitting at 2-2 after back-to-back close losses to teams out of Tennessee, and I just think the Wave overpower the Tigers and want to prove to the state that they aren't going anywhere any time soon. Give me Tupelo at home.
3. Leake County remains undefeated, beats Ethel.
I don't think it's a very hot take to pick the Gators over Ethel this week, but the hot take lies in Leake County's record. After taking care of Vardaman last week 36-6, I am a firm believer that the Gators are good enough to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Leake County has a strong senior class that has led them through the early portion of their schedule, and I like the Gators to stay on a roll and move to 5-0 this week at home.
4. Vardaman and West Lowndes isn't decided until late in the 4th quarter.
Due to my involvement in Vardaman's program and the fact that I will be covering this game, I'm going to refrain from picking a winner to remain unbiased. I will, however, say that this matchup interests me a lot. Both the Rams and the Panthers are former members of Region 1-1A, so their history of playing goes back a while. Although both teams will enter Friday's game at 1-4, there is still a lot to play for for both teams as they have a ton of divisional games left on the docket. I expect both teams to establish the run early, and I don't think either team pulls away until the 4th quarter. It's also Vardaman's homecoming game, so add that into the mix, and I think we're poised for an emotional night in the Sweet Potato Capital.
5. Biggersville remains undefeated after winning on the road.
I grew up in 1A football, so I have seen Biggersville's program my whole life, and for the most part, it hasn't been a pretty story. That's why I love what the Lions have done so far in 2018.
Biggersville made the playoffs for the first time since 1997 last season (and for just the third time in school history) and has never made the postseason in back-to-back campaigns. Despite all that, the Lions are playing for school pride and have an energy around their program that I have never seen. This is definitely a feel-good story, and I think it gets even better this week as the Lions move to 6-0 and guarantee at least a .500 season.
6. Calhoun City defeats Bruce for the 13th-straight time.
Calhoun City and Bruce will play in the annual Skuna River Rivalry this week, and the Wildcats have annihilated the Trojans in their recent meetings. Bruce is a better football team than it has been in the last few seasons, but not as good as Calhoun City. The Wildcats have not lost to Bruce since Sept. 2, 2004 (that's 5,132 days come Friday), and I expect that trend to continue. The two teams did not meet in 2007 and 2008, but have played once every season since 2009 (twice in 2014 as they met in the playoffs). There is no love lost between these two schools, and I expect the Wildcats to keep it that way as they win and win big this Friday.
7. Winona squeaks by Water Valley.
I picked Water Valley to win big over Calhoun City last week. What actually happened was that the Wildcats held a slim lead for much of the game, but Water Valley escaped with a 14-13 win. I still really, really like the Blue Devils, but I think I like Winona a little more. I expect a close game on Friday, but for Winona to pull it out in the end.
8. No. 4 Clinton wins nail-biter over No. 10 Madison Central.
This is one of the most intriguing games of the week. I love matchups in the Jackson area, and both of these teams find themselves in this week's SES Top 10. I've been riding the Clinton Hype Train since they knocked off Brandon a few weeks ago, and although I think MC puts up a good fight, I believe the Arrows prove to be too much for them on Friday. Clinton wins 24-21.
9. Houston picks up win over Amory.
I didn't expect much from the Hilltoppers this season, but they have proven me wrong to this point. The Toppers enter Friday's game with a 3-1 record and are on a three-game winning streak. I always enjoy talking about Amory and how well they handle their program and social media accounts, but I have the Toppers taking them down this week.
10. Pontotoc rolls over Ripley.
Pontotoc fell last week in a valiant effort against the 6A Oxford Chargers, but that doesn't diminish what I think is possible for the Warriors this season in 4A North. Ripely comes into Friday's matchup with a 2-2 record, with one of their wins coming in the last minute over 2A Calhoun City. I just think that Pontotoc is too powerful for the Tigers and will handle this one without much difficulty.
Guest Take: John Luke McCord
I'm excited to welcome the other double-named John to this week's edition of Takes. Take a look at what JL has to say.
John Luke: Houston gets it done against a foe from region 2-4A again this week. Last week they took down Itawamba AHS. The two weeks prior to that it was New Hope and Calhoun City. All after taking Pontotoc to the wire in week one. The Toppers are for real. Additionally, we all continue to send our prayers out to the Houston community dealing with tragedy.