Patrick Magee

Patrick’s Picks: Poplarville, Picayune collide in whale of an opener

The 2017 prep football season is here and the matchups look intense

In the first episode of Prep Talk, Sun Herald reporters Patrick Ochs Patrick Magee discuss key matchups in the first games of the 2017 Coast prep football season. Prep Talk also hangs out with Gulfport quarterback TQ Newsome.
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In the first episode of Prep Talk, Sun Herald reporters Patrick Ochs Patrick Magee discuss key matchups in the first games of the 2017 Coast prep football season. Prep Talk also hangs out with Gulfport quarterback TQ Newsome.

The 2017 football season is finally upon us and week one is not lacking in prime matchups.

There’s no question that Friday night’s biggest game will take place in Poplarville as the No. 2 Hornets play host to No. 3 Picayune with plenty of Pearl River County pride on the line.

The last time the two teams met was in 2008 when both squads were in Region 8-4A. The Maroon Tide walked away with a 59-14 victory that night.

Poplarville and Picayune are both coming off 12-2 campaigns. Poplarville won the 4A South State title last season while Picayune was the 5A South State runner-up.

Aside from fullback Jesse Pernell, Poplarville returns much of the offensive talent from last year’s squad that put up huge numbers.

Picayune has to replace running back Josh Littles, who rushed for 2,399 yards and 25 touchdowns, and quarterback Skylar Bowman, but head coach Dodd Lee likes the pieces he has in place. Senior running back Shaun Anderson rushed for 1,096 yards and eight scores last season.

Picayune is a little banged up headed into the opener so I’m going to give Poplarville the edge on its home field — Poplarville 31, Picayune 28.

To the other picks:

St. Martin 28, Forest Hill 17: St. Martin has to replace its quarterback, Wayne Overman, and top receiver, Kalem Reddix, but I don’t see the Yellow Jackets suffering much of a setback this season. There’s enough talent at St. Martin this season to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Jefferson Davis County 35, Harrison Central 31: This is the hardest game to get a feel for considering this will be the first football game in the history of Class 3A Jefferson Davis County High School, which was created following the merger of perennial Class 2A power Bassfield and Prentiss, another former 2A program. Bassfield is always loaded with speed and Prentiss appears to have significant players returning from last year’s team that finished 8-5. Harrison Central will need a big game from Keon Moore to walk away with a win in the first Port City Bowl Classic.

Gulfport 17, George County 10: George County struggled in a 3-0 loss to Sumrall in a jamboree last week, but you can’t put much stock into that performance. Gulfport should again be loaded on defense this season — a bad sign for the Rebels.

Pascagoula 14, Moss Point 12: The Tigers ended a five-game losing kid to Pascagoula a year ago and now the Panthers have to make the trek to Dantzler Stadium in Moss Point. Pascagoula and Moss Point were both shut out in their jamborees last week. Pascagoula likely has just enough defense to get back on the winning side in Eugene Harmon’s debut as the Moss Point head coach.

Ocean Springs 17, Gautier 14: After Coast teams seemed to score points at will a year ago, you can expect to see a little more defense in the area this season. A couple of seniors, quarterback Malcolm Magee and running back Daveaune Gaines, should keep the offense moving for the Greyhounds.

Forrest County AHS 28, Vancleave 24: Following a 1-10 season, Vancleave is looking for a rebound. The Bulldogs need to get off to a good start on the road at Brooklyn, which is coming off a 4-7 campaign.

West Harrison 27, Bay High 17: West Harrison’s lone win a year ago came in the season opener over Bay High. I’m counting on a repeat at West Harrison.

Biloxi 31, St. Stanislaus 17: It’s year No. 3 for Bobby Hall at Biloxi and I expect this year to be his best yet after finishing 6-6 last season. At St. Stanislaus, things are about to change in a big way with Myles Brennan no longer throwing darts from behind center. Expect the Rockachaws to mostly keep it on the ground.

Pearl River Central 24, Hancock 14: I expect PRC to take a significant step forward in Larry Dolan’s second season as head coach.

D’Iberville 31, Tylertown 20: This is not the easiest trip to make to start the season, but D’Iberville appears to be the most dangerous Class 6A team on the Coast. Tylertown is coming off an 11-1 campaign and won’t make anything easy for the Warriors.

Christian Collegiate 28, Sharkey-Issaquena Academy 27: CCA enters another season of eight-man football coming off a 5-6 season.

St. Patrick 14, Snook Christian Academy 10: The St. Patrick football team hopes to end a 22-game losing streak against a program that is playing its first football game.

Resurrection Catholic 28, Perry Central 21: Class 1A Resurrection has proven on several occasions that it can hang with larger classification squads. The Eagles are loaded again and have a good chance to pick up a win over a Class 2A team on the road.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee