After stumbling in the second half of a 49-42 loss to Wayne County last week, Long Beach gets a chance to get back on track for the postseason Friday night.
The problem for Long Beach is that it hosts a Picayune squad that’s won six consecutive games and sits at 6-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-5A.
However, Picayune head coach Dodd Lee was less than pleased with his team following last week’s 42-35 win over Stone High, saying that his Maroon Tide lack that “eye of the tiger” on defense.
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to fix it. You can’t fix it,” Lee said a week ago.
Long Beach (5-2, 2-1) should be able to put up some points Friday night, but it likely won’t be enough against the Maroon Tide’s potent ground game.
My prediction: Picayune 38, Long Beach 28.
Here’s how I see the rest of the week shaking out:
Gulfport 28, Harrison Central 14: Gulfport (4-3) has by far the best defense in Region 4-6A and it’s hard to see Harrison Central (3-4, 2-1) getting on the scoreboard much unless it can piece together somewhat of a balanced effort. Gulfport has rebound well since a 37-7 thrashing at the hands of Picayune on Sept. 8.
D’Iberville 35, Hancock 31: D’Iberville (3-4, 2-1) appears to have turned the corner on offense since losing 26-23 at Biloxi in the region opener. The Warriors have scored a total of 85 points over the last two weeks in wins over Ocean Springs and Pascagoula.
Ocean Springs 24, Pascagoula 21: It’s been a struggle on defense for Pascagoula (2-5, 0-3) the last three weeks. While the Panthers match up better with Ocean Springs than their last three opponents (Harrison Central, Gulfport and D’Iberville), Ocean Springs (3-4, 1-2) seemed to find new life in a 26-21 win over Biloxi last week.
Biloxi 27, St. Martin 17: The Yellow Jackets (3-4, 0-4) have had a rough go of it in 4-6A following a 3-1 start to the season. Biloxi had a setback last week against the Greyhounds, but I see the Indians (2-4, 2-1) putting up a strong defensive effort as junior linebacker Donte Starks takes on his former St. Martin teammates.
Pearl 31, George County 10: Pearl rolls in at 8-0 and 3-0 in Region 3-6A while George County stands at 2-6 and 1-2. Pearl hasn’t always blown out the competition this season, but it will be a heavy favorite in Lucedale Friday night. Pearl is as balanced as they come on offense. The Pirates have passed for 1,178 yards and 14 touchdowns while running for 1,178 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Stone 35, Gautier 14: Stone is off to a 1-2 start in region play, but it has already played the two best teams in 4-5A — Picayune and Hattiesburg (7-0, 3-0). The Tomcats (3-3) can start their march to the playoffs with a decisive win at Gautier (2-5, 1-2).
Poplarville 42, Sumrall 10: Sumrall is 5-3 and 1-1 in Region 7-4A, but Poplarville (7-0, 2-0) has a chance to plow through the rest of the region.
Pearl River Central 28, West Harrison 21: This game at West Harrison (1-7, 0-3) gives winless PRC likely its best chance to pick up a win this season.
East Central 35, St. Stanislaus 20: There’s little doubt that this game will decide Region 8-4A with the Hornets (6-0, 2-0) and Rockachaws (4-3, 2-0) by far the two best teams in the region.
Moss Point 17, Pass Christian 14: Both of these teams can take an important step toward locking up a playoff bid with both squads sitting at 1-1 in Region 8-4A.
Bay High 17, Vancleave 13: This is Bay High’s best shot at winning a game the rest of the way as the injury bug has hit Vancleave.
Perry Central 45, St. Patrick 10: St. Patrick (2-5, 0-2 in 8-2A) lost 34-28 to Richton last week. Perry Central (7-0, 1-0) beat the same Richton team by the score of 63-6.
Resurrection 38, Mt. Olive 7: Resurrection (3-5, 2-1) should improve to 3-1 in Region 4-1A against a Mt. Olive team that is 2-6 and 1-2. RCS senior quarterback Blake Porter leads the Coast in passing, completing 111 of 186 passes for 1,284 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Christian Collegiate 35, Tallulah (La.) Academy 31: CCA is 4-3 overall and 3-1 in district play.