Rowdy's Five: Week 5 Edition
(West Point running back Brandon Harris finds an opening with the football. Photo courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA)
We’ve reached the time of the season where some assumptions of teams will either be validated or thrown completely to the wayside.
With the exception of MHSAA Class 1A, most teams are either taking the week off or squeezing in one more game before everything gets real. Therefore, the weekly Rowdy’s 10 Roundup will look a little different as a result. Regardless, we’re ready for another week of football.
Let’s look at some specials on the menu.
Private School Mania
The MAIS will have a big spotlight this week because of a few notable, but huge matchups. First, let’s start with the big boys.
Between Jackson Prep and Lamar, they have a combined 10 state championships since 2012. The Patriots have won seven straight state championships while the Raiders have won their class three years in a row. As expected, both teams are still legit. Prep may have hit a bump in the road a few weeks ago, but that doesn’t make a whole season go down in flames.
Will Morris has picked up right where Joseph Hutchinson left off at Lamar, throwing for 210 yards a game. His top target, Jacob Partridge has made his job a little easier since taking over behind center. The Patriots have Matt Jones and Jake Lange to carry the offensive load.
That isn’t the only big MAIS game.
Greenville St. Joseph travels to Batesville to take on North Delta in a battle of unbeatens. The Irish have not one, but two Elite 10 members going up against a Green Wave team that has also been convincing to start the season, defeating defending champion Tunica Academy and taking down Indianola Academy.
Simpson Academy and Hartfield Academy is another undefeated vs. undefeated matchup. Two very similar teams on the surface will look to make a difference Friday night. MRA has a big game as well, but not against the MAIS.
MAIS vs. MHSAA
The aforementioned big game is against MHSAA Class 2A foe Philadelphia. After coming off a thrilling last second win over Noxubee County, the Tornadoes welcome perhaps the best team the MAIS has to offer to Neshoba County.
Phillip Short and company have outscored their opponents 241-29 through five games this season. Short, himself, is having a whale of a year with 1,123 yards and nine TDs through the air. Safe to say, they have the capability to light up the scoreboard, but will the defense do their part against Elite 10 member Lideatrick Griffin?
He is a player who can make things happen wherever he is on both sides of the ball, but a supporting cast around them can give the Patriots a dogfight. Who will reign supreme is to be determined, but this is fascinating.
After a 3-1 start against some stiff competition, the West Point Green Wave are not taking the week off, let alone taking their foot off the gas going into Week 5. They get to travel to Noxubee County to take on a Tigers squad that can de dangerous.
Noxubee County has shown, at times, how good of a defense they have despite losing a top notch linebacker in Tyrese Hopkins. They defeated Louisville… who defeated West Point. Transitive property may point to Noxubee County as a result, but going up against a team two classifications above them is always tough. They also just so happen to be the three time defending 5A champs if it makes it sound harder.
West Point is still humming along on the ground with Brandon Harris and Dantariyus Cannon, but again, Noxubee County’s defense is the real deal. Buckle up.
Battle In The Boneyard
D.L. Harrison Field, where an opponent’s dreams of winning come to die. Most of the time.
The Boneyard in Calhoun City is a hard place to play, no matter who the opponent. The Calhoun City Wildcats will welcome more top tier competition Friday against none other than the defending 3A state champion Water Valley Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils are the only defending MHSAA champion that has not lost in 2019. They haven’t really missed a beat with Jacob Truss leading the offense and Grant Burress on defense. Their opponent, the Wildcats, have Kody Townsend to deal with on the ground. They may be 2-2, but lost to legit 3A foes in North Panola last week and Houston before that. If the Wildcats can find a way to move the football, we might have ourselves a game.
The majority of teams in 5A and 6A are taking this week off ahead of region play next week, including a chunk of the teams in our Top 10. It will be interesting to see next week if their bye weeks led to rust or were really needed.
Starkville went through a really tough non-region schedule and had setbacks in the process. They were the only team to face four Top 10 teams in a row and came out of it 2-2. Madison Central and Pearl went through the rigor as well.
It will be crucial for all teams this week to ready up for the real season, where everything will count and championship runs really start.
Follow Jared on Twitter at @RowdySES.