The Coast’s rivalry contests on the final Friday night of the regular season will be a little more intense than usual.
Biloxi-Gulfport and Pascagoula-Gautier both essentially amount to elimination contests.
Gulfport gets in the playoffs with a win or if it loses and is involved in a three-way tie for fourth place with Ocean Springs and St. Martin.
Biloxi is in the playoffs with a win. The Indians can still get in with a loss combined with a St. Martin defeat.
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Pascagoula-Gautier is an elimination game in its purest form. The winner moves on while the loser goes home.
After a 13-2 performance in Patrick’s Picks last Friday, I’m hoping for another big week.
Long Beach 35, West Harrison 21: Long Beach put a scare into Stone High last week in a 35-34 win for the Tomcats. With no playoff bid on the line, expect Long Beach (2-9, 0-6) to pick up its first Region 4-5A win.
Pascagoula 21, Gautier 20: This should turn out to be one of the tighter contests of the night. Pascagoula (5-5, 4-2) is coming off a 14-0 defeat to Picayune while Gautier (4-6, 3-3) ran over West Harrison 56-19 last week. The winner travels to play the winner of Laurel-Wayne County in the first round of the playoffs.
Picayune 35, Pearl River Central 24: The Maroon Tide never quite got rolling on offense last week. I expect Josh Littles to be a little more explosive following his return from injury a week ago. A win gives Picayune a first-round playoff game at home.
Ocean Springs 21, Harrison Central 17: There is no postseason bid on the line in this one. The Greyhounds (5-5, 2-4) have to be smarting after losing 31-0 to Gulfport last week.
D’Iberville 38, St. Martin 30: The St. Martin defense has had some issues against the ground game this season and D’Iberville runs the ball very well. St. Martin (6-5, 3-3) can get in the playoffs with a win or if it loses and is involved in a three-way tie for fourth place at 3-4 with Gulfport and Harrison Central.
George County 35, Hancock 20: George County (6-4, 4-2) is in the playoffs no matter what happens. The Rebels will just have to wait and see what their seeding is.
Biloxi 27, Gulfport 24: “Ghostbusters,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Gremlins” were the top moves in the theater the last time Biloxi won a game at Gulfport. The year was 1984. I expect the Indians to finally end their run of futility on the road against the Admirals.
Hattiesburg 42, Stone 34: Hattiesburg (8-3, 5-1) is averaging 47.8 points a game this season and Stone High is no slouch on offense either. If Stone wins, it is the No. 1 seed in Region 4-5A. If Hattiesburg wins, it will need Picayune to lose to PRC to earn the No. 1 seed. Stone High is playing for a region title for the first time in two decades.
Resurrection 28, Salem 7: Lumberton (8-2, 5-0) stunned Resurrection (8-2, 4-1) in Pascagoula last week. Resurrection is still alive for the No. 1 seed in Region 4-1A, but it needs a Stringer win over Lumberton Friday night.
East Central 38, Forrest County AHS 20: East Central is as capable as any team of challenging St. Stanislaus in Class 4A South State. The Hornets just have to hold onto the ball.
St. Stanislaus 41, Greene County 17: While Greene County has shown it can hang with decent competition, the Rockachaws should move onto the second round with ease.
Purvis 28, Moss Point 27: The Tigers (5-5) got hot this time a year ago with a pair of playoff wins, but they need to play much better than they have in recent weeks to move past Purvis.
Poplarville 35, Pass Christian 20: Poplarville (8-1) has been a juggernaut against 4A competition and it’s hard to see the Hornets slowing down against a Pass Christian team that’s in the postseason for the first time in 13 years.
North Sunflower 42, Christian Collegiate 28: North Sunflower travels to Gulfport with an 8-2 record in the first round of the playoffs against CCA (4-5).