Gulfport defense vs. St. Martin offense highlights this week’s high school clashes
This week is when the games really begin to count.
Region competition gets rolling across the Coast in Class 5A and Class 6A Friday night with a handful of interesting match-ups.
Picayune has earned the right to be the favorite in 4-5A. In 4-6A, it's anybody's game. St. Stanislaus is the heavy favorite to win Region 8-4A, but those teams don't start region play until next week.
Following an 8-3 week, I'm starting to regain some confidence.
To the picks:
Hattiesburg 42, West Harrison 14: The Tigers (3-2) are as talented as any 5A team in the southern half of the state and they may be Picayune's biggest challenge in 4-5A. West Harrison (1-3) faces a difficult region schedule ahead.
Pascagoula 24, Long Beach 17: The Bearcats (2-3) have played much better football over the last three weeks and they has two games remaining on a five-game road swing. Pascagoula (1-3) showed signs of life with a 36-29 win over George County before the bye week. The running back duo of Javarious Walker and Reginald Hunter should lead the way for Goula.
East Central 35, Purvis 30: The Hornets (3-2) have shown that they can score with anybody on the Coast, but there has to be improvement on defense after losing 63-55 to St. Martin last week. This game at Purvis (2-2) provides a nice tuneup for region competition.
Picayune 42, Gautier 14: The No. 1 Maroon Tide (4-0) have a favorable region schedule that has Hattiesburg, Pascagoula and Stone High all coming to Picayune. Gautier (1-3) also faces the daunting task of making the 75-mile trek to Picayune.
St. Andrews 35, St. Patrick 13: The Fighting Irish (0-5) have to make the long trip to Ridgeland for their final non-region game of the season.
Harrison Central 28, George County 27: This game in Lucedale could turn out to be the most entertaining contest of the night. George County (2-2) is more explosive on offense, but turnovers continue to haunt the Rebels. Keon Moore should have a big game for the Red Rebels (2-2).
D'Iberville 28, Biloxi 17: The Indians (2-2) have proven capable on defense, but the offense hasn't hit its stride just yet. D'Iberville (2-2) needs to win this home game to get past last week's 40-14 loss to St. Stanislaus and start the region slate on a positive note.
Ocean Springs 24, Hancock 20: The Greyhounds (3-1) have to make the trip to Hancock County Friday night. They've been perfect on the road so far and they'll face a Hancock team that has quietly had a nice season so far at 3-1.
Stone High 31, Pearl River Central 24: The Stone High football team finally gets to play a home game in Perkinston this season. The Tomcats should come out fired up after finishing a strong 3-1 on the road to start the season.
Northview (Fla.) 17, Vancleave 16: Northview has played a difficult schedule and sits at 2-2. Vancleave (0-4) has had a hard time getting over the hump.
Tallulah (La.) 38, Christian Collegiate 31: These two teams split a pair of games last season. Tallulah rolls in at 4-0 while CCA sits at 2-1.
Resurrection 21, Escambia County Academy (Fla.) 20: This will be one of Resurrection's biggest tests of the season, but the Eagles' passing game is one of the best in Class 1A.