Keeping Score

Patrick’s Picks: St. Stanislaus-St. Martin among marquee contests in South Mississippi

St. Stanislaus running back Andrew Trapani rumbles for a first down against Biloxi at the Shrimp Bowl on Aug. 19.
St. Stanislaus running back Andrew Trapani rumbles for a first down against Biloxi at the Shrimp Bowl on Aug. 19. Sun Herald file

This week’s slate of high school football games in South Mississippi is likely the best yet this season with a handful of contests that will tell us a great deal about which teams are contenders prior to the start of region play.

Jefferson Davis County-East Central, Poplarville-Stone High and Picayune-Gulfport are among the marquee contests, but one game that can’t be ignored is St. Stanislaus-St. Martin.

It’s an early homecoming contest for the Yellow Jackets (2-1) after off a 32-0 loss at Crestview, Florida.

St. Stanislaus (1-1) is also coming off a defeat against an out-of-state opponent after falling 35-12 at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile.

Both teams have proven competitive early on despite losing their star quarterbacks from a year ago. SSC product Myles Brennan saw late snaps as a freshman in LSU’s season-opening 27-0 win over BYU in New Orleans. Former St. Martin star Wayne Overman is now at the Air Force Academy following a stellar high school career.

Aside from last week’s shutout loss, St. Martin has shown more spark on offense than SSC without their former star quarterback.

My pick: St. Martin 24, St. Stanislaus 21.

This is how I see the rest of Friday night’s games playing out:

Picayune 28, Gulfport 14: Gulfport’s starting quarterback, junior T.Q. Newsome, was injured in Saturday’s 31-0 loss to Archbishop Rummel in New Orleans. If Gulfport struggles without Newsome Friday, No. 2 Picayune can pick up a decisive road run.

Pascagoula 14, Gautier 10: It’s been an inconsistent season for Gautier (1-2) so far after winning 31-21 over Ocean Springs in the season opener. Pascagoula (1-2) always seems to find a way to rebound and I see the Panthers walking away with a win Friday night at Gautier. The Gators haven’t beaten Pascagoula since 2009.

Ocean Springs 20, George County 10: Points have been hard to come by for George County (0-3) early on while Ocean Springs (1-2) seemed to find some life on offense in a 42-16 win over Murrah last week.

FCAHS 28, Resurrection 14: RCS is off to an 0-3 start mainly due to the level of competition. The Class 4A Aggies (2-1) will be another tough hill to climb in Brooklyn.

Poplarville 31, Stone High 24: If you like a good ground game on offense, this game will be fun to watch in Perkinston. This will likely be No. 1 Poplarville’s toughest test before the postseason.

West Florida 21, D’Iberville 20: A Coast team has yet to beat an out-of-state squad yet this season. I see a trend developing here.

Byrd (La.) 28, Moss Point 13: The Moss Point football team has a long trek ahead of it with this game set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. Moss Point head coach Eugene Harmon set this game up as a fun experience for his players and a chance to get some exposure at a large event, the “Battle of the Border VII.”

Long Beach 31, Vancleave 21: This game will be feature a big contrast on offense. Long Beach (2-0) will throw it around a little behind sophomore quarterback Cade Crosby while Vancleave (1-2) will keep it almost exclusively on the ground.

Lawrence County 28, Bay High 17: Lawrence County (1-2) is never short on athletes while Bay High is looking for a turnaround following an 0-3 start.

Pass Christian 17, West Harrison 14: Expect Dustin Allison to have a breakout game for the Pirates (0-3).

East Central 31, Jefferson Davis County 28: Friday night’s most entertaining contest may be taking place in Hurley this week. East Central (2-0) is off to a strong start as expected, but Jefferson Davis County (3-0) seems to be getting better every week. This game is a coin’s toss.

Pope John Paul II 35, St. Patrick 14: Congratulations to St. Patrick for ending its 23-game losing streak with a 33-6 win over Mount Olive. The competition is a little tougher this week in Pope John Paul II (1-0).

Christian Collegiate 35, Riverdale Academy (La.) 28: CCA (2-1) is on the road in Coushatta, Louisiana.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee