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Photo by Jared Thomas

No. 4: Oak Grove Warriors

Head Coach: Drew Causey

2021 Record: 10-3 (Class 6A Semifinalist)

Starters Returning: Offense: 6 Defense: 9

Players to Watch: WR/DB Jaylen Aborom; ATH J.Q. Gray; LB Johnnie Evans; DL Drew Maddox; DB P.J. Woodland; DE Jeramie Posey; WR Chaz Oatis.

Coach Speak: “We had a good season last year, but just didn’t play well enough in a couple games. Our team this year seems to be a little hungrier to compete at a higher level. Offensively not much will change how we operate. We have 6 starters returning, mainly at the skill position. A.J Maddox will be our starting quarterback. He is a dual threat guy that has a big arm. We are excited about the depth and athletes we have on offense. Defensively we have 9 starters returning. Our defensive line has the size and athletic ability to be a talented group. Our linebackers are very experienced and talented group with three senior starters. Our defensive backs are very good athletes that have a lot of game experience. Our region is one of the hardest regions in the state. Every school is well coached and has great athletes. You have to be ready to play every Friday night.”

Outlook: After reaching the Class 6A state championship consecutive three years (2018-2020) the Warriors fell short to Region 3-6A Brandon in the Class 6A South State Championship Game last year and finished the season 10-3 and are very eager to make another trip back to the state title game this year. Offensively the Warriors have six starters back that averaged 37.8 points per game last year. Promising sophomore A.J. Maddox will be the starting quarterback this season and will have some well-experienced playmakers to spread the ball around too. J.Q. Gray is back after rushing for 848 yards with 10 touchdowns and had 548 yards receiving with four touchdowns. Also back at receiver is Mississippi State commit Jaylen Aborom, who had 583 yards receiving with eight touchdowns. Chaz Oatis will also be a key factor at receiver. Defense will be the Warriors strength early on with nine starters back. Defensive tackle Drew Maddox (60 tackles last season) along with defensive end Jeramie Posey and linebacker Johnnie Evans (90 tackles, 4 sacks in 2021) return to anchor the front seven, while Aborom (72 tackles, 4 interceptions last year) at safety and defensive P.J. Woodland (73 tackles, 5 interceptions last season) will lead the secondary.

Season Opener: Aug. 26 vs. Harrison Central (at Gulfport).