• Jared Redding

Rowdy's Top 10 Roundup: Week 1

Oxford quarterback John Meagher tries to out-run Northwest Rankin defender Javian Gathright to the end zone on Friday, August 23. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Newbold)

It’s here. High school football in back in business here in the Magnolia State.

We know you’ve been waiting a long time for this week, and so have we. We’re excited to continue our coverage both on and off the field this season and this is one that will be a weekly affair.

Rowdy’s Top 10 Roundup will be your source for how each member of our Top 10 teams faired each week and keeping track of each of them throughout the season. Week one was a great welcome back for all of us with two Top 10 matchups and thrilling matchups.

Let’s take a look at how our preseason ranked teams did to start the 2019 season.

No. 1 Madison Central 42, Vicksburg 0

It’s fitting how our No. 1 team took part in one of the state’s most classic kickoff showcases, the Red Carpet Bowl in Vicksburg, Mississippi. That didn’t change anything. It was all business as usual for the Jags to start 2019.

Elite 10-member Jimmy Holliday accounted for three of MC’s six touchdowns, one on the ground and two through the air. Duke Arnold also scored twice at running back as they built a quick lead and never looked back.

Next week, the Jags will take part in, without question, the biggest game in the state. They’ll host Brandon, who is fresh off beating No. 2 Starkville and have another Elite 10 quarterback on their side. Buckle up, folks.

No. 4 Brandon 27, No. 2 Starkville 21

Speaking of Brandon, their season-opener was worth all the preseason hype and then some. Just ask our very own Cal Brown who was there to witness this gun show.

It took a little while for both teams to get their footing offensively, thanks in large part to both defensive units playing outstanding football. Then, it all exploded.

Five total touchdowns were scored within 6:07 until halftime. You are not reading that wrong. Starkville’s special teams proved deadly during that span with a kick returned for a touchdown and another returned right near Brandon’s goal line. The Bulldogs took advantage of a muffed punt and struck with precision during that time as well. Rogers’ touchdown pass to Joshua Montague in the third quarter proved to be the game-winner as Brandon held on from that point.

No introduction needed for Brandon’s next opponent. That’ll be the game to watch next week.

No. 3 Pearl 32, Clinton 22

There’s a reason why we named Kenyatta Harrell to this year’s Elite 10. That was backed up this past Thursday night. Harrell went off, scoring four touchdowns while rushing for 197 yards.

A very young Clinton squad made things interesting throughout the night after seemingly being buried early with a 12-0 deficit. They had long drives pay off and underclassmen grow up in the process. Every time the Arrows made things close, Pearl answered the bell, just like Harrell’s 40-yard score to put the icing on the cake with under 1:30 to play.

The Pirates will play host to the Warren Central Vikings next week, who is coming off of an impressive win over Holmes County Central in the night cap of this year’s Red Carpet Bowl.

No. 5 Oxford 43, Northwest Rankin 7

Expectations are through the roof for the Chargers this season. Now we see why. That defense might be one of the best of the state if they continue to play like they did against the Cougars.

It was all Oxford from the opening kick. That possession resulted in a safety, and the Chargers feasted from that point on. Elite 10-member J.J. Pegues scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one catching a slant where he had to find the end zone the hard way. The Chargers had short fields to work with offensively due to turnovers and punt returns on the night. Overall, these Chargers look legit.

Their next test is none other than the Starkville Yellowjackets, who will enter the game 0-1, but the Jackets have absolutely dominated this series, including a 56-7 rout last season. Look for Oxford to give them all the can handle this time around.

No. 6 West Point 34, No. 8 Horn Lake 6

West Point’s going to West Point, no matter who they’re playing, even if it just so happens to be a defending state champion.

While the hype turned out to be a little disappointing, it was still amazing to see just what West Point can do this season if healthy. The Green Wave had no problem toying with one of last year’s most dominant teams in their own backyard.

The Green Wave once again used explosive plays offensively to gain momentum from the likes of Brandon Harris, Dantariyus Cannon and Gray Berry. After the first quarter, the wheels just seemed to fall off for our No. 8-ranked team preseason.

West Point travels next week to face another defending state champion in the Louisville Wildcats, coming off of a bizarre 2-0 loss to rival Noxubee County.

No. 7 Olive Branch (BYE)

The Conquistadors took this week off and will open the 2019 season hosting the Clinton Arrows. Clinton is coming off of a loss to our No. 3-ranked Pearl this past Thursday.

No. 9 Petal at Hattiesburg (Saturday, 8/24)

The Panthers will open the 2019 season against nearby Hattiesburg. The Tigers are coming off of a 13-1 campaign and will look to grow up against a Petal team that has experience and talent back from last season.

No. 10 West Jones 24, George County 16

Things didn’t look good for our No. 10 ranked Mustangs for most of the first half. The Rebels held a 16-0 lead with under a minute left in the first half and looked like they could pull off the upset. They failed.

West Jones scored 24 unanswered points and 17 third quarter and completed the rally to open up the 2019 season 1-0. Alan Follis was one of the main reasons this was possible behind center. Wow, what a job by the defending 5A south half champs.

The Mustangs will travel to Northeast Jones next week.

Follow Jared on Twitter at @RowdySES.

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