• Jared Redding

Rowdy's Five: Week 4 Edition

Lafayette lines up on offense against Oxford on Sept. 9, 2016. Lafayette went on to win the game 23-3. (Photo courtesy of Cailyn Brock, The Charger Online)

For most teams, the “real season” is almost here. Throughout non-region play, we’ve seen some expected outcomes as well as a few sharp turns the other way. Regardless, it has been a blast. We’ll likely continue to have a blast as this week will provide a little bigger sample size of what certain teams can do down the road.

Let’s take a look at five things to watch for this Friday night.

#1 vs. #2 (take two)

Just when you thought that we wouldn’t see another game like Madison Central and Brandon a few weeks ago. You may have forgotten that these two teams were on the schedule in Week 4.

This game could be a lot more interesting of a game than the previous one-two matchup. The reason? Kenyatta Harrell vs. Madison Central’s defense.

The Elite 10-member Harrell is absolutely on fire to start the season. He leads the state with 742 rushing yards (which currently ranks second in the nation), 12 rushing touchdowns and 72 points scored. Yeah, that is pretty darn good. What is also good, no, great, is the defense he is up against this Friday.

Through three games, the Jaguars on defense have allowed only two offensive touchdowns. It should be a tall task to try to contain Kenyatta Harrell, but we said the same thing about Elite 10-member Will Rogers a few weeks ago. Look how that turned out.

Let’s not forget that Madison Central has an Elite 10 member of their own in Jimmy Holiday under center. It will be interesting to see if the Pirates are up to the task of limiting his offensive production. Enjoy the ride.

East Mississippi Clash

If you are a big believer in the transitive property, you might say that Louisville is the better team. Louisville beat West Point, who beat Starkville last week 41-35.

The Wildcats have earned their spot in the Top 10 this season with the way that Drea Shumaker and Kaleb Mosley have been making things happen through the air ever since their season opening loss to Noxubee County. Their opponent is 1-2 this week and will take on another Top 10 opponent for the fourth week in a row. No team has done that so far.

It may be a little odd to see the Yellowjackets start the season 1-2, but that doesn’t make them a bad team. Look at their losses: Brandon and the three-time defending 5A champs. Luke Altmyer is still among the state’s elite QBs and Rufus Harvey and Jaylen Ware are both dynamite on their respective sides of the ball. They’ll give Louisville all they can handle, but the team that makes the fewer mistakes will likely win. This is the other Top 10 matchup this week.

The 48th Crosstown Classic

There is no bigger and more well-known rivalry in all of Mississippi high school football.

Oxford and Lafayette clash at William L. Buford Stadium for the annual Crosstown Classic. Lafayette leads the overall series 24-21-2 (not counting the 2004 playoff game). However, the Chargers have owned their rivals three miles away as of late. Oxford has won six of the last seven, including the last two years. Last year’s installment was perhaps the best game of the rivalry since 2010 and this year’s has the potential to be even better.

The Chargers rebounded with a 33-14 win last week over Grenada to maintain their No. 5 spot in the rankings and move to 2-1 on the year. J.J. Pegues proved to be too much once again on the ground and through the air. He has talent around him on both sides of the ball, just like his rivals do around do-it-all athlete Randy Anderson.

Anderson has been banged up a little bit to start the season, but last week’s performance against Horn Lake was a slight indicator that he may be even better than before the injury. When you need Anderson on the ground or at receiver, you have Tyrus Williams who can hurt you both ways at QB. Their front seven is the real deal as well. It’ll be interesting to see how both of their elite athletes do against the other team’s defense.

Keep in mind the last three times that Lafayette has beaten Oxford (’10,’11,’16), they have went on to win a state championship. Could that happen again this year?

David vs. Goliath

The title above is an accurate one for this 1A Region 2 matchup, but it may be a little deceiving too.

On one end, there is the high-flying TCPS Eagles. Khi Holiday and Noah Foster have proven to be the most prolific QB-WR duo this season anywhere across the state during their 3-0 start. Look at the numbers. Holiday leads the state with 1,132 passing yards, 679 of those yards to Foster. Together, they have connected for seven touchdowns.

Those numbers look nice on paper, but they’ll have to run through the defending 1A champion Warriors from Nanih Waiya to make a statement.

The Warriors are off to an odd 1-2 start, but they have been gutsy enough to roll with the bigger boys such as 4A West Lauderdale and 2A Union. The Warriors lost both, but now they face their first region opponent and everything will count. In their case, hopefully that rough stretch has prepared them for this moment. They’re talented, sure, but will it show against the Eagles?

Runners-Up Meet Up

It’s always cool to see two state championship participants willing to play each other the following season. It’s also good to see two teams schedule opponents like each of these two teams to prepared for the "real season."

How is it possible to mention Taylorsville without mentioning their sensational quarterback Ty Keyes? He is once again putting up impressive numbers with 302.7 passing yards per game. His main target, Jabez Griffith, is a big reason for it. They are off to yet another 3-0 start and looked pretty impressive again for most of the time. Their opponent is also 3-0, but have done so the complete opposite way.

The Bulldogs have shown that replacing Marquis Crosby wasn’t all that bad with Jordan Barrett and his 111 rushing yards per game. They also have a secondary that has total seven interceptions this season as well, not bad. They’ll need a few more of those if they want to top the Tartars and provide a big jolt of momentum going into 3A region play.

Follow Jared on Twitter at @RowdySES.

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