I get to puff out my chest a little for the first time this season.
I managed to finish 11-1 last week in my high school football picks, making up for a long run of underwhelming performances.
Considering Coast squads played in three overtime contests last week, it will be hard to top that drama with Friday’s slate of games. Pascagoula-Stone High, Ocean Springs-D’Iberville and Moss Point-East Central highlight the schedule.
Picayune 49, West Harrison 10: It’s hard to see anyone slowing down No. 1 Picayune (5-0, 1-0) in the southern half of the state. Senior running back Josh Littles hit the 1,000-yard a week ago and now has 121 carries for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.
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Pass Christian 28, Bay High 14: Pass Christian (3-2) has picked up some steam headed into the start of region play behind senior running back V.J. Swanier, who has 75 carries for 751 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both teams are coming off consecutive wins, but Pass Christian has simply played better up to this point. This game is crucial to both teams’ postseason chances.
Stone High 31, Pascagoula 28: Stone High, which sits at 4-1 after topping Pearl River Central its region opener last week, can make a statement Friday night with a win over Pascagoula in Perkinston. The winner of this contest will be in the hunt for a Region 4-5A title. Pascagoula (2-3, 1-0) is seeking its third win in a row.
East Central 34, Moss Point 24: If East Central (3-3) can avoid turnovers, it can beat any 4A team in the state. If the Hornets show up at Moss Point (2-3) and play relatively clean ball, they should have their second consecutive win over the Tigers after beating them for the first time last season.
St. Martin 28, Hancock 24: Both teams have to be stinging after losing in tight contests a week ago and this game is absolutely essential for both teams to help their playoff chances. The No. 10 Yellow Jackets (3-3, 0-1) have the home field advantage.
Harrison Central 31, Biloxi 14: The Biloxi offense still hasn’t managed to have a breakout game to this point. The Indians (2-3, 0-1) are improved on defense, but No. 8 Harrison Central’s ground game will be hard to contain behind senior quarterback Tavis Williams and junior running back Keon Moore.
Pearl River Central 28, Gautier 27: PRC (2-3, 0-1) is trending in the wrong direction after a promising 2-1 start to the season. Gautier (1-4, 0-1) has to make a second consecutive trip to Pearl River County after losing 62-38 at Picayune a week ago.
D’Iberville 24, Ocean Springs 23: The Greyhounds dominated D’Iberville on its home field 24-0 last year. I expect the Warriors to come out fired up on the road under first-year head coach Eric Collins.
Hattiesburg 31, Long Beach 20: Hattiesburg (3-2, 1-0) has the talent to hang with Picayune in Region 4-5A. Long Beach (2-4, 1-0) is much improved, but the Tigers are loaded with Division I prospects like junior running back Fabian Franklin.
St. Stanislaus 45, Vancleave 10: It’s hard to see Vancleave hanging with an offensive powerhouse like St. Stanislaus, which is 4-1 and looking to move its run of region wins to eight games.
Gulfport 31, George County 24: No. 5 Gulfport (3-2, 1-0) seemed to find a little momentum on offense last week in a 42-35 win at St. Martin in double overtime. Senior quarterback Cleveland Ford may be back behind center for Gulfport after sitting out last week with an injury. George County (2-3, 0-1) will look to avenge a tough loss to Gulfport in Lucedale a year ago.
Poplarville 38, Greene County 28: The No. 4 Hornets (3-1) have to make the 80-mile trek to Greene County, which is coming off convincing wins over Moss Point and Vancleave.
Christian Collegiate 48, Franklin Academy 30: CCA (2-2) traveled to Franklin Academy for a 55-38 win in Winnsboro, La., on Aug. 26.