High School Sports

Patrick’s Picks: Can D’Iberville contain Poplarville’s star running back?

There may not be two better one-win teams in the state than the two squads that face off Friday night at D’Iberville.

The Warriors (1-1) play host to Poplarville, which dropped to 1-2 last week in a 65-35 shootout loss to Mandeville, Louisiana.

The Hornets have some issues to clean up on pass defense after giving up eight touchdown tosses to Mandeville quarterback DeVon Tott. While D’Iberville quarterback Jaden Walley is a gifted runner, the Warriors are capable of hurting opponents with the passing game.

D’Iberville junior receiver Justin Walley, Jaden’s brother, has six catches for 149 yards and a touchdown in two games.

For D’Iberville, the challenge is to slow down Poplarville senior running back Chase Shears, who has 24 carries for 401 yards and six touchdowns this season.

Shears has managed to keep up the same average of one touchdown for every four carries after doing the same a year ago.

That’s just silly.

My pick: Poplarville 38, D’Iberville 35.

Here’s how I see the rest of Friday’s games shaking out:

Biloxi 28, Hammond (La.) 17: Steve Jones, who has served as the head coach at Harrison Central, George County, Ocean Springs and Biloxi, is the head coach at Hammond, which sits at 1-1 ahead of Friday’s game at Biloxi. The Indians (2-0) are coming off a bye week and looking to keep building toward its Sept. 27 region opener against D’Iberville.

Bay High 28, Kenner (La.) Discovery 21: Bay High (3-0) had to overcome a variety of penalties and mistakes last week to win 17-14 on the road at Forrest County AHS. It’s a good sign for the Tigers that they’re finding ways to win when things aren’t going so well. Kenner Discovery is 1-0, but they beat a Fisher team that hasn’t won a game since 2017.

George County 28, Ocean Springs 14: The Rebels (2-1) seem to be building some momentum after thumping Pascagoula 42-14 in Lucedale last week. Senior defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson is the centerpiece of a tough George County defense and sophomore running back Trent Howell appears to be a breakout star, running 19 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns since entering the fourth quarter of the Aug. 30 win over Greene County. Ocean Springs travels to Lucedale with a 1-2 mark after topping Moss Point 52-26 last week.

Picayune 34, Gulfport 21: The Maroon Tide (2-0) have outscored D’Iberville and Meridian by the combined score of 104-13 to begin the season. Gulfport (2-1) should provide much stiffer competition, but Dodd Lee’s Picayune team appears to be a Class 5A juggernaut. A 37-13 thumping by Oak Grove last week puts Gulfport in need of a rebound on its home field.

Hancock 28, Stone High 24: The Hawks (3-0) picked up their most impressive win of the season last week, rallying from down 14-0 to beat Gautier 28-14. On the road in Wiggins Friday night, Hancock will be a heavy favorite to move to 4-0 over the Tomcats (0-2). Senior Sebastian Fausett has run 68 times for 513 yards and six scores for Hancock.

Harrison Central 20, Pascagoula 17: The Panthers (2-1) had their rushing attack stymied at George County last week and they’ll face another solid defense in Harrison Central (1-1) on Friday in Pascagoula.

St. Martin 31, Pearl River Central 24: The Yellow Jackets (3-0) have been a pleasant surprise so far and they picked up a quality win last week, 40-20, over St. Stanislaus. St. Martin senior Patrick Greer has been as productive as any quarterback on the Coast, completing 55 percent of his passes for 779 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

Pass Christian 38, West Harrison 28: Pass Christian senior quarterback Dustin Allison is off to the best start of his career, completing 60 percent of his passing attempts for 876 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Pirates are 3-0 under first-year head coach ahead of Friday’s home game against West Harrison, which is led by senior running back Llanes Dickerson with 52 carries for 459 yards and nine touchdowns.

East Central 31, Hazlehurst 27: Hazlehurst is 0-3, but their three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 8-1. East Central (1-1) appeared to get its mojo back on offense headed into Friday’s home game with 46 carries for 512 yards and six touchdowns against Vancleave last week.

Long Beach 31, Vancleave 24: The Bearcats’ passing game seems to be shaping up nicely after junior Guice Tripp completed 18 of 23 passes for 330 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in a 57-49 win over West Harrison last week. Vancleave (1-2) travels to Long Beach (1-2).

Pensacola Catholic 28, St. Stanislaus 21: Pensacola Catholic rolls in with a record of 3-0 while St. Stanislaus (2-1) is hoping to get back on track after falling 40-20 at St. Martin. The Rockachaws go out of state again next week when they go to Central Catholic in Morgan City, Louisiana.

St. Patrick 20, Pope John Paul II 14: Pope John Paul II won this match-up 17-6 a year ago, but the Jaguars have fallen on hard times early this season. They sit at 0-2 and they’ve been outscored 66-2. St. Patrick (1-1) is the home team.

Resurrecition 24, Leake County 10: RCS junior Will Clemens had one of the best all-around performances of the young season in last week’s 28-0 win over Northlake Christian. He had 15 carries for 90 yards, a rushing touchdown, two interceptions and three tackles. RCS (2-0) is bringing the defense in Lavon Capers’ first season on the job.

Friday’s schedule

All games at 7 p.m.

Hammond, La. at Biloxi

Kenner Discovery at Bay High

Poplarville at D’Iberville

Ocean Springs at George County

Picayune at Gulfport

Hancock at Stone High

Harrison Central at Pascagoula

Pearl River Central at St. Martin

West Harrison at Pass Christian

Hazlehurst at East Central

Vancleave at Long Beach

St. Stanislaus at Pensacola Catholic

Pope John Paul II at St. Patrick

Resurrection Catholic at Leake County

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.
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