High School Sports

Patrick’s Picks: Can East Central and Long Beach stay undefeated?

East Central's Ryan Evans slips through the Jefferson Davis County defense into the end zone for a touchdown on Sept. 8 in Hurley.
East Central's Ryan Evans slips through the Jefferson Davis County defense into the end zone for a touchdown on Sept. 8 in Hurley. amccoy@sunherald.com File

There are 10 teams on a bye week Friday night in South Mississippi, but there are still some games worth checking out.

The contest in Hurley is an intriguing one, featuring the state’s No. 3 team in Class 3A, Hazlehurst, and the No. 3 team in Class 4A, East Central.

If East Central’s 31-7 win over Class 3A contender Jefferson Davis County last week is any indication, the Hornets should be in good shape to improve to 4-0.

Hazlehurst (3-1) is coming off a 20-18 loss to Class 5A Callaway and features former Moss Point head coach Willie Brown as its defensive coordinator. You can bet the Indians relied on Brown’s knowledge of East Central in preparations for Friday’s game.

Hazlehurst finished 12-1 last season and came up one game short of the Class 3A state title game.

Expect Hazlehurst to be more prepared than Jeff Davis was last week, but I’ll take the Hornets by a score of 35-17.

After a mediocre start to the season, I’m 29-5 in my picks over the last two weeks. For the season, I’m 48-16.

Here is how I see the rest of the games playing out:

St. Stanislaus 24, Pearl River Central 7: The St. Stanislaus defense held Biloxi and St. Martin to a total of 19 points. A week after falling 9-7 at St. Martin, the Rockachaws (1-2) have a good shot to get back to .500.

Poplarville 38, Heidelberg 20: Heidelberg (3-1) is a tough Class 2A team, but it’s hard to see anyone slowing down Poplarville (4-0) through the rest of the regular season. Poplarville senior running back Austin Bolton has 10 rushing touchdowns.

Biloxi 24, Northshore (La.) 14: I see the Indians ending their three-game skid to begin the season. Biloxi won 18-10 at Northshore for their first win last year.

Resurrection 13, Northlake Christian (La.) 12: The Eagles are 0-4, but they’ve played a pretty tough schedule.

Harrison Central 27, George County 14: The Red Rebels (1-2) should be feeling good about themselves coming off the bye week after winning 47-0 at Forest Hill on Sept. 1. Senior running back Keon Moore, who has 413 yards and four touchdowns rushing, should again lead the way against a winless George County squad.

Long Beach 24, Greene County 17: It’s offense vs. defense at Long Beach Friday night. The Greene County defense has allowed just 34 points through four games for the undefeated Wildcats. Long Beach (3-0) has one of the best offenses on the Coast behind sophomore quarterback Cade Crosby, averaging 38 points a game.

Hancock 24, Lakeshore (La.) 20: Lakeshore (2-0) is a Class 4A team that has won both of its games with ease so far. Hancock (3-0) is seeking its first 4-0 start to the season since 2000.

Wayne County 27, Moss Point 20: After beating West Jones 43-7 in the season opener, Wayne County (1-2) has fallen in consecutive games to Oak Grove and Jeff Davis. Moss Point (1-3) put up a nice showing in a 28-19 loss to Byrd (La.) in Shreveport last week.

Perry Central 28, Vancleave 14: Perry Central (4-0) has been somewhat of a surprise early in the season and it’s all about defense. Perry Central is giving up just 7.5 points a game. After scoring 63 points through the first two weeks, Vancleave (1-3) has just 13 over the last two games.

South Jones 35, Bay High 17: It’s homecoming in Ellisville as South Jones looks to improve to 4-1. Bay High showed some spark in a 40-37 overtime loss to Lawrence County last week, but this will be a difficult road trip.

St. Patrick 21, Sacred Heart 14: The Fighting Irish (2-1) are looking for their third consecutive victory after ending a 23-game skid on Sept. 1. St. Patrick is winning thanks to a stout defense that has given up 18 points total over the last two tames.

Russell Christian 31, CCA 28: The Christian Collegiate Bulldogs (2-2) travel to Meridian Friday night looking to get above .500 against undefeated Russell Christian (3-0).