• Jared Redding

Rowdy's Five: Playoffs I

Former Water Valley defensive coordinator Jeff Roberts tosses a football in last year's 3A State Championship Game. Photo courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA.

It’s here. It seems like it didn’t take very long, but we’re here. Playoff football is upon us.

Every class of football in Mississippi is now officially on the road toward a ring, or another ring if you’re that kind of program. There are a few interesting storylines to look out for tomorrow night. Let’s see some things to look out for, shall we?

Master vs. Apprentice

Water Valley is still rolling in attempt to go back-to-back in Class 3A. This time, they will be without a familiar face on the coaching staff. Instead, he’ll be on the other sideline coaching against them as a head coach.

Jeff Roberts played an instrumental role in Water Valley’s Cinderella story last season as Brad Embry’s defensive coordinator. At season’s end, he became one of the more sought after coaching prospects for teams on the market for a head coach. Fortunately for Choctaw County, they found Roberts to continue where Ben Ashley left off.

In year one, the Chargers won their region in impressive fashion, especially with that defense. They will be up against Jacob Truss, Martavius Rockett and company offensively who have the capability to make noise for the remainder of playoff action. This one should be a doozy.

Long Distance, One Mission

Could you imagine how many state championships Madison Central and Olive Branch could’ve won had it not been for South Panola’s long extended dynasty?

All three of those teams mentioned are in the playoff hunt. Two of those teams will face off tomorrow night to open 6A postseason play. Madison Central will make the near 200 mile road trip north to Leslie Pool Field to face off against the Conquistadors. This has to be the most exciting game of the night if you’re a big fan of defense.

The Jaguars, despite being No. 1 for the majority of the season, are the No. 3 seed because of two losses to Starkville and South Panola. Despite this, no matter what seed they are, they seem to always find a way to be on the state championship doorstep every time. Olive Branch is another team that is looking to make their third straight trip to the state semis, this time, as a member of Class 6A. Who will prevail?

Well Hello There, Myrtle

For the first time in school history, the Hawks can have the opportunity to play for a state championship. Although that road will be long and ridiculously challenging, there is a chance.

The Hawks finished last season’s campaign 7-1, but were playing independent level football under the command of Justin Hollis. A year later, playing in 1A Region 1, the Hawks went 5-2 in the region and earned themselves a playoff seed. It may be unfortunate for them that they have to face a hungry 1A powerhouse in Noxapater.

The Tigers placed second in arguably 1A’s toughest region. K.D. Carter has had himself a year and it may not slow down anytime soon. Hey, crazy things have happened before. Enjoy the ride.

Flying Over Payton’s Backyard

Velma Jackson has been a pretty interesting, but fun bunch to watch this season. Things started out rough for the Falcons with a 0-3 start, but its about at this point when talent usually finds a way.

They went on to win seven of their next eight games. Their offense has got hot as the right time, just in time for postseason football. Jordan Harvey has been that key playmaker that the Falcons needed to step up in big situations. He will be up against perhaps the class of 3A football.

The revived Columbia Wildcats have been on an absolute tear this season with few signs indicating them slowing down soon. Kentrel Bullock is a good cog in that machine, but there are many more players like him on that loaded roster. Look for them to defend Payton Field Friday. It won’t be all that easy, make no mistake.

MAIS Semifinals

Clinton is where each of these teams want to be playing after this weekend.

Some teams, more notably the dynasties of the bunch, are looking to be back where they believe they belong while others have other ideas.

6A should be fun with Prep and Academy battling it out again while MRA and Oak Forest will do the same. Could we get the epic rematch we saw a month ago? Heritage Academy will look to make it past Pillow Academy while Starkville and ACCS battle in 5A. Riverfield-Lee and Wayne Academy-Tri-County Academy will be the games in 4A. In 3A, Greenville St. Joseph and Carroll Academy will battle while Winona Christian and Indianola Academy will do the same.

In 8-Man, Manchester Academy, Humphreys Academy, Columbus Christian Academy, Marvell Academy, Talluah Academy, Briarfield Academy, Prarie View Academy, and DeSoto will battle for a state crown.

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