• Jared Redding

Rowdy's Five: Week 1 Edition

Brandon quarterback and Elite 10 member Will Rogers rolls out to pass during the Northwest Rankin Jamboree on August 16, 2019. Photo Courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA

Hello, everyone! The wait is almost over.

All of the practices, two-a-days, countless reps in the weight room and hours spent watching film have all boiled down to this week. It’s back.

We at SES Mississippi are excited to kick off year six of being this state’s premier media outlet for Mississippi high school football. We have been working tirelessly all offseason to once again be your go-to source and have all sorts of weekly content planned to go along with coverage on Friday nights. This series is one of those things.

Rowdy’s Five will be where I, Jared “Rowdy” Redding, will share the main storylines from the previous week of action and will also dive into things to watch out for the upcoming slate of games across the state. Because we are in Week 1, we’ll just start off with things to watch this weekend.

NOTE: There is no particular order of importance.

Top 10 Matchups

The 2019 season will start off with a loud bang to be heard around the state with two season-opening games featuring Top 10 teams. One of those matchups actually feature two Top 5 teams.

The No. 2 ranked Starkville Yellowjackets travel to Brandon to take on the No. 4 Bulldogs this Friday. Two of the most talented arms in the state will go head-to-head with Starkville’s Luke Altmyer and Brandon’s Elite 10-member, Will Rogers. While all that looks nice, both defenses have an opportunity to have a solid year as well and will look to prove themselves.

Be sure to follow our very own Cal Brown as he will have you covered for this matchup with live tweets, highlights and interviews at @CalBrownSES. Don’t let this matchup , however, completely overshadow the fact that there are two defending state champions clashing up in the northwestern part of the state.

No. 6 West Point travels to No. 8 Horn Lake in another game with high anticipation from all corners of the state. On one side, there is West Point. They are a squad with another fresh bullseye on their back and pieces to make a four-peat a reality. On the other side, there is Horn Lake. They are looking to prove that although heavily depleted, they still have talent to continue hanging with the big boys of Class 6A and defend their throne.

How’s this for a warm welcome back?

2A Championship Rematch

In small school circles, perhaps no game is more talked about than Scott Central against Taylorsville. Does this matchup sound familiar? Well that's because they faced off last December in Hattiesburg.

This time, quarterback Ty Keyes is back and healthy to lead the Tartars and try to exact revenge for the Rebels taking their 2A throne away last season.

They won’t get the chance to play each other in December this season due to region realignment and being put in 2A south, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t see each other again after this week. This could be a potential 2A South Half matchup where one can go to Hattiesburg and the other stays home.

Potential Top 10 Upset Alerts:

No. 5 Oxford, No. 10 West Jones

The Chargers are no longer under the 6A radar anymore and for good reason. The majority of that 9-3 squad a year ago is back and ready for more than just the first round this year. That being said, there is one 6A team that may have a chip on their shoulder this season, and that would be Oxford’s Week 1 opponent.

Northwest Rankin was one of the most dangerous teams to face last season. They went undefeated in 6A Region 2 only to suffer a second round setback to none other than Madison Central. That was a team that really had the guns to win a title with the likes of Jumari and Jarrian Jones. They’re gone, but P.J Lindsey was a big reason for their success and will likely do the same this season at running back. It also helps that their head coach is Toby Collums. Look for them to possibly surprise a lot of people, including Oxford if everything falls their way.

Also be sure to keep an eye on George County as they face off against No. 10 West Jones. The Rebels struggled last season in one of the toughest divisions in the state, going 4-8. They’ll likely improve this season with the likes of E10-member McKinnley Jackson on the defensive line and the QB-WR tandem of M.J Daniels and Jonovan Jackson back in the fold. Those players were battle-tested last year in 6A Region 3 and will look to use that to their advantage against one of the better teams that 5A has to offer.

All of this doesn’t mean that these potential upsets will happen, but if there are any that have a legit shot, it’s these teams.

Ugly Affairs

In case one forgets, this is to be expected from every opening game on any level of football.

Players have waited all summer and are eager to go out on the field in a game and make contact with their opponent. In these situations, sometimes emotion can get the best of these players and they disregard the rules of the game.

Expect to see a lot of penalties in Week 1 of all sorts and in various types of situations. The raw emotion coming with season openers could also maybe lead to some chipping and chirping between players of opposing teams, especially early in the game when both teams aren’t completely settled in.

Obviously these type of things happen and can happen at any game at any time, but Week 1 is usually where it’s most common due to excitement, anxiety and various other reasons.

Weather Taking It’s Toll

Let’s not lie to ourselves: it’s hot in Mississippi around this time of year.

At least we likely won’t experience the wet monsoon that most of us did to begin 2018 where rain covered most of the state from top to bottom. And let’s hope that we won’t have any games cancelled all together because of it, like the Red Carpet Bowl last year.

There is a chance of a little precipitation on Friday evening, but most of it looks like it’ll occur during the morning time around the Jackson-Metro area (as of 8/19). If we don’t get wet, well…it’ll just be hot and very humid. We’re looking at possible temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s to go along with the humidity.

It is of the upmost importance to stay hydrated for fans, coaches and players alike and drink the appropriate amount of water. While we don’t wish for it to happen, expect to see players cramp up during the game and plenty of play stoppages because of it.

This kind of stuff should happen for about a month and a half starting with this week. Then “football weather” will kick in and we’ll all be adding layers.

Let the games begin.

Follow Jared on Twitter at @RowdySES.

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