• John Macon Gillespie

Editor's Mailbag: Week 1

Photo courtesy of Keli Lindsey

High school football season is upon us.

Tonight, the first slate of games gets underway followed by a full schedule tomorrow on a holiday we at SES Mississippi refer to simply as "First Friday."

I took your questions on Twitter this week, and this is the first installment of the Editor's Mailbag presented by G's Place of the new season. Let's get started.

Your preseason pick for the Craddock Trophy? (@WebbLewis21)

Craddock Oil stepped up in a big way this season and is sponsoring the trophy given to SES Mississippi's Mr. Elite at the end of the season. The Mr. Elite title is given to the best high school football senior in the state of Mississippi, one who exemplifies strong character both on and off the field.

My preseason pick for the Craddock Trophy comes down to two Jackson-area quarterbacks in Jimmy Holiday and Will Rogers. I believe both of these signal-callers will have superb seasons after being named to the Elite 10, and they'll present the staff with a tough decision at season's end.

Who's going to be the first SES Mississippi staffer to call the Miss98 Scoreboard Show this Friday night? (@RowdySES)

I actually think it will be you, Jared. I expect you will find the airwaves sometime while I am handling my postgame duties at Vardaman and gathering up some information for the Calhoun County Journal. I should be close on your heels, though.

What is more likely? Oxford misses the playoffs, or Lafayette wins the state title? (@WalkerBaileySES)

Lafayette wins the state title.

I don't think the Commodores are in position for a title run, but I do think it's more likely than Oxford missing the playoffs, especially considering the fact that I think Lafayette will be pretty good, overall.

Best high school stadium you have been to? (@JWillSES)

Watkins Stadium in Laurel. Hands down.

Getting to cover a game "Between the Bricks" has been one of the highlights of my young career to this point. That's a special place.

Who is the dark horse in the super-stacked 3A North Half? (@JamesNLott)

Is it appropriate to call a defending champion a "dark horse?"

I feel like most people are talking about teams like Noxubee, Winona and North Panola as the 3A North favorites, but we forget that Water Valley had a superb team last year, and, while they have to replace some talent, have a very capable coaching staff at their disposal. I think I'm going to go with the Blue Devils. Houston is also a really strong choice after how they dominated DeSoto Central in their jamboree. The Toppers could be dangerous this season.

What is your prediction for North Panola this year? 7 wins or 9 wins? (@Cdiffee2003)

I think your assessment of seven or nine wins could be spot-on, and I'm going to split the difference and say eight with a deep playoff run.

Who do you think is the best team in a loaded 2A South? (@mcgill_horace)

With a healthy Ty Keyes, I have to say Taylorsville. Keyes is a master with a football in his hand, and if he stays healthy this year, I like the Tartars a lot. Don't count out Scott Central, though, the team Taylorsville squares off against tonight and fought for the 2A title last year. The defending-champion Rebels could repeat as champs if the cards fall right.

Can Neshoba make a deep run in the playoffs? (@statefan346)

In short, yes.

The team that eliminated Neshoba Central in the first round last year (Olive Branch) has made the move to 6A, and the Rockets return two 1,000-yard rushers in Jarquez Hunter and Tyler Mathis. That kind of tandem is tough to stop.

What team is going to log the most road miles? (@PingPongParis)

Probably a team in Region 3-1A or Region 4-1A.

The Delta region of Class 1A has to travel to the coast for playoff games and vice-versa. I still believe that the MHSAA could come up with a better solution for its 1A region problem, but that's just me.

South 4A dark horse? (@DrunBulletProof)

Give me South Pike. They return a 1,000-yard passer and rusher from a season ago and made a fairly deep run in the postseason. I think 4A South is Poplarville's class to lose, but South Pike could surprise some people.

Follow John Macon on Twitter at @JMakeSES or email him at

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