This week’s slate of high school football games in South Mississippi is likely the best yet this season with a handful of contests that will tell us a great deal about which teams are contenders prior to the start of region play.
Jefferson Davis County-East Central, Poplarville-Stone High and Picayune-Gulfport are among the marquee contests, but one game that can’t be ignored is St. Stanislaus-St. Martin.
It’s an early homecoming contest for the Yellow Jackets (2-1) after off a 32-0 loss at Crestview, Florida.
St. Stanislaus (1-1) is also coming off a defeat against an out-of-state opponent after falling 35-12 at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile.
Both teams have proven competitive early on despite losing their star quarterbacks from a year ago. SSC product Myles Brennan saw late snaps as a freshman in LSU’s season-opening 27-0 win over BYU in New Orleans. Former St. Martin star Wayne Overman is now at the Air Force Academy following a stellar high school career.
Aside from last week’s shutout loss, St. Martin has shown more spark on offense than SSC without their former star quarterback.
My pick: St. Martin 24, St. Stanislaus 21.
This is how I see the rest of Friday night’s games playing out:
Picayune 28, Gulfport 14: Gulfport’s starting quarterback, junior T.Q. Newsome, was injured in Saturday’s 31-0 loss to Archbishop Rummel in New Orleans. If Gulfport struggles without Newsome Friday, No. 2 Picayune can pick up a decisive road run.
Pascagoula 14, Gautier 10: It’s been an inconsistent season for Gautier (1-2) so far after winning 31-21 over Ocean Springs in the season opener. Pascagoula (1-2) always seems to find a way to rebound and I see the Panthers walking away with a win Friday night at Gautier. The Gators haven’t beaten Pascagoula since 2009.
Ocean Springs 20, George County 10: Points have been hard to come by for George County (0-3) early on while Ocean Springs (1-2) seemed to find some life on offense in a 42-16 win over Murrah last week.
FCAHS 28, Resurrection 14: RCS is off to an 0-3 start mainly due to the level of competition. The Class 4A Aggies (2-1) will be another tough hill to climb in Brooklyn.
Poplarville 31, Stone High 24: If you like a good ground game on offense, this game will be fun to watch in Perkinston. This will likely be No. 1 Poplarville’s toughest test before the postseason.
West Florida 21, D’Iberville 20: A Coast team has yet to beat an out-of-state squad yet this season. I see a trend developing here.
Byrd (La.) 28, Moss Point 13: The Moss Point football team has a long trek ahead of it with this game set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. Moss Point head coach Eugene Harmon set this game up as a fun experience for his players and a chance to get some exposure at a large event, the “Battle of the Border VII.”
Long Beach 31, Vancleave 21: This game will be feature a big contrast on offense. Long Beach (2-0) will throw it around a little behind sophomore quarterback Cade Crosby while Vancleave (1-2) will keep it almost exclusively on the ground.
Lawrence County 28, Bay High 17: Lawrence County (1-2) is never short on athletes while Bay High is looking for a turnaround following an 0-3 start.
Pass Christian 17, West Harrison 14: Expect Dustin Allison to have a breakout game for the Pirates (0-3).
East Central 31, Jefferson Davis County 28: Friday night’s most entertaining contest may be taking place in Hurley this week. East Central (2-0) is off to a strong start as expected, but Jefferson Davis County (3-0) seems to be getting better every week. This game is a coin’s toss.
Pope John Paul II 35, St. Patrick 14: Congratulations to St. Patrick for ending its 23-game losing streak with a 33-6 win over Mount Olive. The competition is a little tougher this week in Pope John Paul II (1-0).
Christian Collegiate 35, Riverdale Academy (La.) 28: CCA (2-1) is on the road in Coushatta, Louisiana.