This week features a light slate of 11 games with many South Mississippi teams on a bye prior to the start of region competition in Class 5A and Class 6A next week.
There are only two games this week that pit two Coast teams against each other — Harrison Central at George County and St. Stanislaus at Pearl River Central.
The Harrison Central offense has shown new life over the last two weeks, scoring a total of 96 points in wins over Stone High and Forest Hill after losing 17-7 to Jefferson Davis County in the season opener.
Gino Johnson and Jaiden McClain both hit the 100-yard rushing mark in a 64-8 victory over Forest Hill on Aug. 31.
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The Red Rebels stand at 2-1 and George County is 1-3.
My prediction: Harrison Central 21, George County 14.
Here’s how I see the rest of Friday night’s games playing out:
Biloxi 21, Northshore (La.) 17: Aside from a 6-0 loss to Sun Herald No. 1 East Central in Week 2, the Biloxi offense has been up to the challenge during a 2-1 start to the season. The Indians toppled St. Stanislaus 42-7 in the opener and rolled over Stone High 37-14 on Aug. 31. Northshore (1-1) beat Biloxi 34-21 in Slidell last season, but I think the Indians are a much improved team over a year ago. Biloxi junior quarterback Cincere Jupiter has completed 25 of 45 passes for 430 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. Junior linebacker Anthony Crouse paces the Biloxi defense with 35 tackles.
Lakeshore (La.) 31, Hancock 20: We’ll see if Hancock (2-1) took advantage of the bye week after suffering a 34-20 loss at Gautier on Aug. 31. Lakeshore put it on the Hawks 51-23 in Mandeville, Louisiana, a year ago.
Wayne County 35, Moss Point 17: Wayne County rolls in at 2-1 after beating Jefferson Davis County 42-38 back on Aug. 31. This is another game in what has been an extremely difficult non-region slate for Moss Point, which is 1-3. The Tigers should be much more competitive when Region 8-4A play begins on Sept. 28 with a home game against East Central.
St. Patrick 20, Sacred Heart 17: Sacred Heart sits at 0-4 after playing a tough slate to begin the season, including a 33-6 loss at Sumrall. After fumbling the ball nine times on a sloppy field at Pope John Paul II in Slidell, St.Patrick (2-1) will have to play a much cleaner brand of football. Bricen Rivers leads St. Patrick with 36 carries for 173 yards and four touchdowns.
Long Beach 21, Greene County 14: Long Beach quarterback Cade Crosby is averaging 19.3 yards per completion this season. He has thrown for 732 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception. Greene County (2-2) has a defense that’s allowed just 28 points over the last three games.
Pearl River Central 21, St.Stanislaus 14: The Rockachaws (0-3) have scored only 7 points in each of their first three games. Pearl River Central (1-2) showed some life on offense on Aug. 31 in a 41-0 victory at Forrest County AHS. Senior Kobe Whitehead leads PRC with 40 carries for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
Vancleave 31, Perry Central 17: This game has been moved from Perry Central to Petal. Vancleave (2-2) is anxious to erase the memory of last week’s deflating 38-35 defeat against Long Beach. Johnson ranks as one of the top rushers on the Coast with 72 carries for 459 yards and eight scores.
East Central 28, Hazlehurst 0: Hazlehurst has had a hard time getting the offense going during an 0-4 start. East Central is 3-0 with one of the best defenses in the state. Senior linebacker Avery White has 39 tackles through three games.
Resurrection 28, Northlake (La.) 14: Resurrection is quietly off to a nice 2-1 start after shutting down Forrest County AHS 14-0 last week. Senior Terrance Spivey has been an impact player on both sides of the ball, running 77 times for 363 yards and five scores. As a defensive end, he has 21 tackles.
Poplarville 38, Heidelberg 17: The Hornets (3-1) should wrap up non-region play with a convincing win before traveling to Greene County in the Region 7-4A opener.
South Jones 31, Bay High 10: Bay High (0-4) hasn’t won a game since Sept. 16, 2016. It’s hard to see the two-year drought coming to an end Friday night in Bay St. Louis.
Sun Herald Top 5
No. 1 — East Central (3-0)
No. 2 — Gulfport (3-1)
No. 3 — D’Iberville (2-1)
No. 4 — Picayune (2-2)
No. 5 — Poplarville (3-1)