A year ago, Stone High traveled to Picayune and handed the Maroon Tide their first loss of the season in an upset and one of the more entertaining games of the season.
A year later, it will be a lot harder for Dodd Lee’s Picayune team to be caught napping by the Tomcats. Picayune, which is ranked No. 2 by the Sun Herald, travels to Perkinston Friday night to take on John Feaster’s No. 7 Tomcats.
The two teams are headed in opposite directions at the moment. Picayune (5-1, 2-0) has won five consecutive games while Stone High (3-2, 1-1) has fallen in two of its last three. Stone’s lone win over the last three games came in a surprisingly competitive 45-36 game against West Harrison.
Picayune beat the same West Harrison team 56-14 a week ago.
My prediction: Picayune 35, Stone High 20.
Here’s how I see the rest of Friday night’s game shaping up:
Gulfport 28, Hancock 21: The Admirals (3-3, 2-0) have taken on the role of favorite in Region 4-6A, but Hancock (5-1, 2-0) has a chance to steal that mantle Friday night. Gulfport has been tough over the last two games since being humbled 37-7 by Picayune on Sept. 8.
Harrison Central 24, St. Martin 17: This is one game that could easily be decided on a coin’s toss, but the Red Rebels (2-4, 1-1) have been playing better ball lately. St. Martin (3-3, 0-2) needs a Region 4-6A win soon or its playoff hopes will quickly come to an end.
Biloxi 28, Ocean Springs 14: The Biloxi defense is getting better by the week while Ocean Springs is still trying to find its way in region play. As junior Kamron Suddeth gains confidence at quarterback, Biloxi becomes more of a threat to win a region title.
George County 31, Jim Hill 12: The Jim Hill Tigers (0-6, 0-2) have scored a total of 22 points through the first six points of the season. George County (1-6, 0-2) should easily pick up its first Region 3-6A win of the season in Lucedale.
D’Iberville 28, Pascagoula 17: Pascagoula (2-4, 0-2) has had a hard time slowing down opponents’ ground games lately and that’s what D’Iberville (2-4, 1-1) does best.
Long Beach 27, Wayne County 24: The contest is crucial for both teams’ playoff hopes. Wayne County (3-3, 1-1) isn’t quite as good as it has been while Long Beach (5-1, 2-0) has taken care of business against lesser competition. This game will tell us a great deal about both teams.
Gautier 35, West Harrison 28: Both of the teams roll in with five-game losing streaks.
East Central 38, Pass Christian 17: No. 3 East Central (5-0, 1-0) has as much talent as any team on the Coast while Pass Christian (3-3, 1-0) is riding a three-game winning streak. The Hornets will be the heavy favorite in the Pass on Friday night.
Hattiesburg 45, Pearl River Central 17: Hattiesburg (6-0, 2-0) thumped Stone High 62-27 last week. PRC (0-6, 0-2) will have to play good defense to keep the Tigers under 40 points.
St. Stanislaus 34, Bay High 17: “The Battle for the Crab Trap” should stay with the Rockachaws (3-3, 1-0).
Moss Point 24, Vancleave 21: Moss Point (1-6, 0-1) has played a brutal schedule up to this point, but the Tigers should end five-game skid at Vancleave (1-5, 0-1) Friday night.
Poplarville 41, Forrest County AHS 20: FCAHS (5-2, 1-0) appears capable of earning a playoff bid in 7-4A, but Poplarville should roll through region play.
Resurrection 35, Salem 17: Resurrection (2-4, 1-1) should easily pick up victory No. 3 against winless Salem.
St. Patrick 24, Richton 14: St. Patrick (2-5, 0-1) has stumbled to three consecutive losses after wins over Mount Olive and Pope John Paul II (La.), but the Fighting Irish have a good shot at their third win against Richton (1-6, 0-1).