Here are the ten games to watch for Week 9.
Tupelo (5-2) at Madison Central (5-1)
Golden Wave make the three-hour trip down to “The Jungle” to face the fifth-ranked Jaguars in a key Region 2-6A contest. Madison Central is seeking to remain unbeaten in district play, while Tupelo is coming off their second straight region loss to Starkville last week and needs a win to keep playoff hopes alive. Tupelo is averaging 166.6 yards per game on the ground anchored by a dynamic duo in Quay Middlebrooks and Jaboree Dooley. Tupelo does average 117 yards passing through the air led by the two quarterbacks in Jeremiah Harrell and Lake Reed along with receiver K.D. Gibson. Madison Central is very balanced on offense averaging 231.7 yards per game rushing led by running back Robert Dumas (11 rushing touchdowns) along with DeAndre Pullen and quarterback Vic Sutton. Wide receiver Isaiah Spencer along with tight end and Tulane commit Blake Gunter. Both teams have really good defenses so this could be a low scoring affair, but the Jags are tough to beat at home.
Pick: Madison Central 21-17
Oxford (5-2) at Clinton (2-4)
It’s a rematch of last year’s Class 6A North State Championship game as the Chargers make the trip down to Clinton to face the Arrows in a key Region 2-6A matchup. Oxford is looking to remain unbeaten in the district, while Clinton needs to a win to keep playoff hopes alive. The Arrows are led by a fierce rushing attack that averages 156.2 yards per game anchored by quarterback Jordyn Battee along with running backs Jakobe Calvin and Juan Taylor. Clinton is averaging 123.8 yards per game passing with Michael Tripp being the top target. The Chargers are anchored offensively by the two quarterbacks Michael Harvey and Trip Maxwell that average 118.6 yards per game passing with Dane Harmon being the top target. Running backs Omar Howell and Roman Gregory anchor the ground game that averages 113.2 yards per game. Oxford defense only allows 16.2 points per game anchored by Alex Sanford and Keegan Wilfawn and is the difference.
Pick: Oxford 27-20
Gulfport (5-2) at Harrison Central (5-0)
Admirals make the short trip up Highway 49 to Lyman to face the Red Rebels in a critical Region 4-6A contest. The winner of this game will remain unbeaten and has their chances of hosting a first round playoff increase. Harrison Central is led by a potent passing attack that is averaging 214 yards per game anchored by quarterback Christian Turner along with wide receiver Isaiah Atkins. Running backs Malik Tolliver and Raymond Collins lead the running game that is averaging a little over 100 yards per game. Gulfport is very balanced on offense averaging 32.3 points per game, 180.8 yards passing and 166.4 yards rushing per game anchored by quarterback Jacob Palazzo, running back Tyler Reed (15 rushing touchdowns) and receiver Tavaris Henshaw. Admiral offense too much on the road.
Pick: Gulfport 38-31
Ridgeland (4-2) at Vicksburg (5-2)
Titans make the trip over to Vicksburg to face the Gators in a key Region 2-5A contest. Ridgeland is coming off their first district loss to Neshoba Central last week, while Vicksburg looks to remain unbeaten in the region. Ridgeland is anchored by a potent offense that is averaging 265.7 yards passing and 159.2 yards rushing per game led by quarterback Thomas Dyess, running back Kamari Payne along with receivers Ayden Williams and Ja’Braxton Boone. Vicksburg will lean on the run-heavy wing-T rushing attack anchored by quarterback Ronnie Alexander along with running backs Collin Johnson and Otis James. Titan offense too much.
Pick: Ridgeland 35-24
Houston (6-1) at Pontotoc (4-3)
Hilltoppers head back to Pontotoc County this time to “The Hollow” to face the Warriors in a critical Region 2-4A contest. Pontotoc looks to remain unbeaten in the district, while Houston is coming off their first loss of the season to North Pontotoc last week. The Warriors have had to move Nic Townsend to quarterback after the injury to Conner Armstrong and has done well leading the offense that’s averaging 156.7 yards rushing and 111.7 yards passing per game. Running back Jordan Ball leads the rushing attack for Pontotoc. Houston has been rolling on offense averaging 32 points per game, 262.5 yards rushing and 111.3 yards passing per game led by quarterback Red Parker and running back Jalen Washington (13 rushing touchdowns). Hilltopper offense too much and they bounce back on the road.
Pick: Houston 38-21
Louisville (6-1) at West Lauderdale (6-1)
The ninth-ranked Wildcats make the trip down to Collinsville to face the Knights in a critical Region 4-4A contest. Both teams are 2-0 in region play, so the winner will have much clearer path to the district championship. Louisville will be led by a very dangerous offense that averages 35.7 points per game, 182.3 yards passing and 208.6 yards rushing per game led by quarterback Jace Hudspeth, running back Emory James (nine rushing touchdowns) and receiver Jarvis Rush. West Lauderdale, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, will lean on the run game that averages 339.9 yards per game led by running back Jakarius Grant (11 rushing touchdowns) along with quarterback Jackson Parker. Both teams have really good defenses so this game could be low scoring, but the Wildcat defense comes up big late.
Pick: Louisville 17-14
Magee (5-1) at Raleigh (4-3)
Trojans head over to Raleigh to face the Lions in a pivotal Region 6-3A contest. Both teams are 2-0 in region play, so the winner will have much clearer path to the district championship. This will be a battle of two heavy run games. The Lions are playing just their third game of the year and is led by a potent rushing attack that is averaging 297.3 yards per game anchored by quarterback Jia’Vonte Jones along with running backs Suntarine Perkins and Javarious Walker. Magee, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, is averaging 251.5 yards rushing per game anchored by quarterback Tristan Newsome and running back Jawon Shaw. Linebacker Jody Durr is one to watch for the Trojans. Magee has had Raleigh’s number lately, but the Lions get it done at home in a close one.
Pick: Raleigh 22-21
Clarkdale (6-1) at Enterprise-Clarke (7-0)
It’s an all-Bulldog matchup as Clarkdale heads down to Enterprise in a key Region 5-3A contest. Enterprise-Clarke is looking to remain unbeaten, while Clarkdale is coming off their first loss of the season to Morton last week. It will be a battle of two heavy run teams. Clarkdale is averaging 328 yards per game on the ground anchored by quarterback Cal Culpepper along with a running backs Mason Horne (11 rushing touchdowns), Drake Shirley and Lance Rawson. Enterprise is averaging 257.7 yards per game led by quarterback Derryon Gray along with running backs Zee Sims, Gavyn Dear and Parks Burt. The Enterprise defense only allows just under 10 points per game and is the difference at home in a close one.
Pick: Enterprise-Clarke 28-25
Jackson Prep (5-3) at Jackson Academy (6-2)
It’s one of the state’s biggest rivalries as the Patriots make the short 8-mile trip over to the “The Brickyard” to face the Raiders in a huge MAIS Region 1-6A contest. JA, ranked No. 2 in the Little 10, No. 2 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 2 in MAIS Class 6A, is led by a potent offensive attack last week with Tate Collins at quarterback along with Marcus Harris at running back and receivers Trey Adams and Dakota Jordan. Jackson Prep, ranked No. 8 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 5 in MAIS Class 6A, is led by a rushing attack that averages 137.6 yards per game anchored by quarterback Paxton Thompson along with running backs Lake Womack and Owen Ishee. Receiver Garner Watkins is the top target on the outside for Prep. The JA defense is the difference at home.
Pick: Jackson Academy 35-20
Leake Academy (7-1) at Heritage Academy (9-0)
This is matchup a lot of people have been waiting for as the Rebels head up to Columbus to face the Patriots in what could be the first of two matchups in MAIS Class 5A. Leake Academy, ranked No. 4 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 1 in MAIS Class 5A, is led by a potent offensive attack as well with quarterback Rhett Atkinson, running backs Canon Parks and Whitt Welch along with receivers Riley Myers and Levi Brown. Heritage Academy, ranked No. 5 in the MAIS Top 10 and No. 2 in MAIS Class 5A, is led by a potent offensive attack that averages 36.8 points per game anchored by quarterback Mack Woodard along with running back Luke Fisher along with receivers Wesley Miller and Mitchell Woodard. This game could be a shootout, but the Patriot offense too much at home.
Pick: Heritage Academy 38-28