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Rowdy's Five: Week 6 Edition


Water Valley quarterback Jacob Truss. Photo courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA

Week six is somewhat of a mixed bag across the state. As always, we are here for it.


Class 1A teams are in the middle of region play and their road to Hattiesburg. Classes 5A and 6A begin their road to Hattiesburg tonight. Classes 2A, 3A and 4A are finishing up non-region play for the most part. Some of those games take place tonight, including a few noted later on. Another week of exciting football is about ready for us all. Let’s highlight a few notable games.


Is South Panola Back?


For the 10th time in the last 15 seasons, the Tigers are 5-0. They went on to win a state championship in seven of those 10 seasons. This year’s South Panola squad is intriguing. They are balanced, look like a legit threat, and have high expectations again.


However, the state’s most storied football program hasn’t won a state championship since 2014. So the question we’ve been asking the past couple of weeks: is South Panola really back? If you’ve viewed JWill’s interview with quarterback Anterio Draper, it is noted that Draper and his teammates don’t have that in the back of their minds.


The Tigers have outscored their opponents 219-42 going into tonight. They haven’t given up more than 15 points thus far. Elite 10 member Janari Dean is as well as advertised and Jaqualian Gillespie is raking at linebacker. On paper, they look like the perennial power we’ve known them to be, but there is one concern. The reason why they’re ranked No. 7 on our Top 10 is due to strength of schedule. If pales in compared to their opponent tonight.


Starkville has faced four Top 10 teams in five weeks. Although they are 3-2, they’ve been battle tested, more so than South Panola. This is not discrediting South Panola by any means, but they are going up against a whole different animal despite their record. This is South Panola’s first game of a rigorous 6A Region 2 schedule. We’re going to learn a whole lot about this Tiger team after tonight.


MAIS vs. MHSAA (again)


If theres any MAIS team that has proven to compete or even defeat an MHSAA opponent, it’s Jackson Prep. Matt Jones and company have still looked impressive despite their season opening loss. However, they are up against the high flying Tartars tonight.


Ty Keyes, as usual, is putting up numbers again and is currently on pace to break Myles Brennan’s all-time state passing record. His receivers, notably Jabez Griffith, are making his life easier once again. The Tartars are 5-0 and haven’t slowed up one bit. Their opponent may be a little bigger in team size, but Taylorsville could be a big threat although Prep is known for knocking off these type teams.


Flowood, MS has themselves a game on Lakeland Dr.


Well-Oiled Running Coastal Machines


As FunnyMaine would say, “RUN DA BAWL!”


That is exactly what these two teams have been used to doing for a while now. They like themselves some old fashion, smash mouth football.


The 4-0 Picayune Maroon Tide made their Top 10 debut this week after a solid non-conference showing. Dodd Lee and his coaching staff have made little changes over the years and have their workhorse of choice this season in Cameron Thomas. He is at 888 yards rushing and 11 TDs so far. Their opponent looks similar with not only their offensive philosophy, but their colors and classification.


East Central has also impressed thus far. They have multiple guys who can make things happen on the ground in Dylan Grinsteinner, Will Young and Teshun McGee. All three combine for 1,612 yards and 22 scores. What better way for the Hornets to be welcomed to Class 5A play than against a 5A south juggernaut. Enjoy going to bed early.


Battle Of The Undefeated


Two legit North State contenders within their respective classes will go at it tonight, and boy it looks good.


Houston is looking more and more like one of the 3A teams to beat up north despite not playing their region yet. With guys like Bobby Townsend, Allen Robertson and Martravius Parker leading the charge, that make a legit squad automatically. They’ve been on both ends on the win spectrum, having to fight until the closing minutes and beating their opponent to submission. They’re going to have their hands full with the Indians.


The two headed monster of Ike Chandler and Davion Sistrunk will once again be needed to remain undefeated for Itawamba Agricultural. Chandler has already cracked the 1,000 yard rushing mark and has 11 touchdowns. They are a 4A contender for a reason, but they’ll have to run through the Hilltoppers before they can worry about that.


3A Game Of The Season, Again?


Flashback to September 21, 2018. The Water Valley Blue Devils and Winona Tigers met at Bobby Clark Field in what was, at the time, the game that 3A followers all had their eyes on.


The Tigers prevailed in a 21-20 pure classic and went on to win their next eight games. Only one problem, the Tigers were outpaced by Seminary in the playoffs and Water Valley went on to win a state championship. Fast forward a year later, circumstances are a little similar, despite both teams having a loss on their resume.


The defending 3A champs still look solid with Jacob Truss still leading the offense and Darius Tolbert having another solid year. Water Valley has the pieces to make it back to Hattiesburg and repeat.


Winona probably has something to say about that, especially with An’Darius Coffey on their sideline. The senior has accounted for 1,600 yards of total offense with 20 scores both through the air and on the ground. This year’s game is at Winona.

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