It’s homecoming at Moss Point on Friday night and the Tigers hope it’s the start of a successful run through Region 8-4A.
East Central head coach Seth Smith remarked last week that Moss Point (1-6, 0-1) may not lose another game in region play after the Tigers fell 36-12 to the Hornets in the region opener.
The Tigers, who host Vancleave on Friday, have the talent to make a run at the postseason after enduring one of the toughest schedules to start the season that anyone could have imagined, including the No. 1 teams in both Class 4A (East Central) and Class 5A (Hattiesburg).
Vancleave (3-3, 0-1) stumbled on the road to start region play, 41-28, at St. Stanislaus after jumping out to a 20-0 advantage.
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Moss Point is a strong, physical group on defense, but the Vancleave offense will match every bit of that physical style. Vancleave senior running back C.J. Johnson should take another step toward a 1,000-yard season after putting up 726 yards and nine touchdowns through the first six games.
My pick: Moss Point 28, Vancleave 27.
Harrison Central 31, St. Martin 28: This may turn out to be the most entertaining game Friday night. Harrison Central (5-1, 2-0) rides in on a five-game winning streak and coming off an impressive 21-0 win over Biloxi last week. Harrison Central seems to have a new star on offense each week and it was Jaidon McClain last week with 16 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown. With a loss already on its region record, this game is more important for St. Martin (4-2, 1-1). The combination of Ham McGee and Jay McGee in the backfield will allow the Yellow Jackets to score with anybody.
D’Iberville 38, Pascagoula 20: D’Iberville junior quarterback Jaden Walley already has 90 rushes for 776 yards and eight touchdowns through five games for the Warriors (3-2, 1-1).
Gulfport 42, Hancock 17: Gulfport senior quarterback T.Q. Newsome has turned into one of the best offensive players in the state as a senior. He has completed 63 of 97 passes for 1,003 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception. On the ground for the Admirals (5-1, 2-0), he has 74 carries for 455 yards and six scores.
George County 17, Jim Hill 7: Points have been hard to come by for George County (1-6,0-2) with only 40 points scored through seven games. Junior defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson continues to be a dominant force on the interior, making 47 tackles and 16 for negative yardage.
Biloxi 20, Ocean Springs 17: Biloxi (3-3, 1-1) is looking for a turnaround on offense after losing 21-0 to Harrison Central last week. Ocean Springs (3-3, 1-1) has to improve on defense after losing 49-28 to D’Iberville.
Gautier 38, West Harrison 20: If things break down on offense for Gautier, senior quarterback Dalyn McDonald always seems to make something happen. He has 574 yards yards passing and 386 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns total.
Hattiesburg 45, Pearl River Central 20: The Blue Devils have picked it up significantly on offense. After scoring a total of 21 points in the first two games, PRC (2-4, 1-1) has averaged 41 points over the last four. Hattiesburg quarterback Jarod Conner has thrown for 932 yards and six touchdowns while running 109 times for 868 yards and 14 scores. The Tigers (6-0) are now ranked the No. 1 team in the state by the Associated Press after Starkville lost to Northwest Rankin last week.
Wayne County 38, Long Beach 28: The War Eagles (4-2, 1-1) have shown the ability to win shootouts, including last week’s 53-41 win over PRC. Long Beach junior quarterback Cade Crosby is having a huge season with 1,499 yards passing, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Bearcats (2-4, 0-2) have to find a way to come up with more stops on defense.
Picayune 45, Stone High 21: Picayune senior running back Jortin Raine crossed the 1,000-yard threshold last week, pushing his total to 126 rushes for 1,003 yards and four touchdowns. He has five games of 100 yards or more this season for the Maroon Tide (4-2).
Poplarville 42, Forrest County AHS 17: The Hornets (5-1, 1-0) picked up an impressive 31-14 victory at Greene County last week, putting them in great position to claim another Region 7-4A title.
St Stanislaus 28, Bay High 14: The Rockachaws (2-4, 1-0) have won two of three games while Bay High is coming off its first win in two years.
East Central 35, Pass Christian 7: Pass Christian (1-5) should have a hard time scoring against the East Central defense, which continues to impress with each week. Senior wingback Ryan Evans returned to the fold last week for East Central, giving the Hornets a little depth in the ground game.
Richton 24, St. Patrick 14: Richton has had a strong 5-2 start to the season. St. Patrick (3-3, 0-1) has lost three of its last four games after a 2-0 start.
Resurrection 30, Salem 7: This game should give RCS (4-2, 1-1) a shot at an easy rebound after falling hard, 30-0, to Stringer last week. Salem has long six straight and stands at 1-6.
Sun Herald Top 5
1. East Central (5-0)
2. Gulfport (5-1)
3. Picayune (4-2)
4. Poplarville (5-1)
5. Harrison Central (5-1)