As expected, the final week of the regular season will feature plenty of drama as teams try to lock up playoff bids in Class 1A, 5A and 6A in South Mississippi.
Class 1A Resurrection (4-6, 3-2) is already playoff-bound, but Friday's game against East Marion (5-5, 3-2) will decide the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in Region 4-1A.
The playoff picture is much more complicated in Regions 4-5A and 4-6A.
Hattiesburg (10-0, 6-0) will be the No. 1 seed in 4-5A and Picayune (8-2, 5-1) is the No. 2 seed. Stone (6-3, 4-2) has already landed a playoff bid, but seeding is still to be determined.
Wayne County (5-5, 3-3) and Long Beach (6-4, 3-3) are tied for fourth place at the moment, but Wayne County has the easier path to the playoffs thanks to its 49-42 win over the Bearcats on Oct. 6.
Long Beach hosts Stone High this week in a crucial regular season finale while Wayne County travels to Gautier.
Long Beach can earn a playoff bid in two different scenarios:
▪ Long Beach beats Stone High and Wayne County loses to Gautier.
▪ If Long beach beats Stone High by 3 or more points, it won't matter what Wayne County does against Gautier.
If both Long Beach and Wayne County lose, Wayne County is in as the No. 4 seed. Wayne County is also in the playoffs with a win if Long Beach loses or wins by 2 points or fewer.
Gautier (3-7, 2-4) can still join Long Beach and Wayne County in a hypothetical three-way tie for fourth place, but is eliminated due to a series of tie-breakers involving point differential.
A look at Region 4-6A
With the top two seeds decided in Region 4-6A, four teams are in the hunt for the other two playoff bids.
Gulfport earned the No. 1 seed in Region 4-6A Friday night with a 35-6 over Ocean Springs and Hancock (8-2, 5-1) is the No. 2 seed after topping Biloxi 21-19. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds are up for grabs.
St. Martin (6-4, 3-3), Biloxi (3-7, 3-3) and D’Iberville (4-6, 3-3) are all tied for third place.
St. Martin hosts D’Iberville this week in a game that will send the winner to the playoffs while Biloxi has the tough task of hosting rival Gulfport in the regular season finale.
St. Martin can get in with a win or a Biloxi loss combined with a Harrison Central loss.
Biloxi will be in the playoffs with a win or a D’Iberville loss. In the event that Biloxi, St. Martin and Harrison Central tie for fourth place, Biloxi will earn the No. 4 seed and a playoff bid.
The only way D’Iberville can land in the postseason is if it beats St. Martin.
Harrison Central (3-7, 2-4) can finish in a three-way tie for fourth place, but is eliminated due to tie-breakers.
All of the Class 4A first-round playoff matches are set for the state’s southernmost six counties: Poplarville (10-0) hosts Northeast Lauderdale (6-5), Pass Christian (5-5) hosts Florence (7-4), Lanier (4-7) goes to East Central (9-0), St. Stanislaus (5-5) travels to McComb (4-6) and Moss Point (3-8) will go to South Pike (8-3).
Not many folks gave Pass Christian a chance to beat St. Stanislaus Friday night and secure a first-round home game in the playoffs, but that's exactly what the Pirates did.
Pass Christian thumped St. Stanislaus 30-7 in the regular season finale to improve to 5-5 overall 3-2 in Region 8-4A to earn the the No. 2 seed.
Pass Christian's big win earns head coach Casey Wittman this week's Game Ball for the top coaching performance.