Here’s a look at what’s in store for the high school football teams as the regular season finish is in sight.
Brookhaven Academy hosts Wayne for district title
Expect a huge crowd in the stands Friday and on the hill that surrounds RM Red Stuard Field at the back of the Brookhaven Academy campus. The school last won a football district championship in 2018, and that’s on the line if the Wayne County Jaguars come to town.
BA tops the District 4-4A standings with a 2-0 record, while Columbia Academy and Wayne Academy are both 1-1 in division play. Columbia (2-9) pulled a shock last week by beating Wayne Academy 36-9. Bowling Green School (0-9) is the fourth member of the division.
Brookhaven Academy (7-2) has won five games in a row, including a 31-8 road final last week at Centerville Academy, while Wayne County is 4-5 this season. Winning your district in the MAIS earns you a top four spot in the 12-team playoff field and earns you a first-round bye.
Adams County Christian School (7-2) the team that defeated BA 46-21 in the season opener is No. 1 in District 3-4A. Greenville-St. Joe and Marshall Academy of Holly Springs are the two leading teams in the Northern Districts likely to earn first-round byes as well.
Last season, BA won two playoffs under then-coach Ron Rushing and faced Wayne Academy in Waynesboro in a semifinal matchup.
The Jaguars won that game 49-21 before falling 49-14 to Riverfield Academy in the MAIS 4A title game. The 2020 WA team finished 9-4 overall, but head coach Todd Mangum left after last season to take the main job at Simpson Academy.
Marcus Davidson is the new head coach of Wayne Academy and the Jags have played a tough program against some of the bigger programs. Wayne has losses to 5A Simpson Academy (6-3), 5A Park Place Christian, 5A Heritage Academy (8-1) and a 6-3 Winston Academy team that will be placed in the top half of the 4A series.
What is not new to Wayne Academy is their quarterback senior Stone Ross. Ross is electric with the ball in his hands as he ran 25 times for 250 yards last season when WA surpassed Brookhaven in the playoffs.
A big key to coach Anthony Harts’ defense is to get their hands on Ross early as they don’t want the fast QB going into space.
The Brookhaven Academy defense got 11 tackles and an interception from junior linebacker Rayce Stewart in the win against Centerville. Stewart steps in as middle linebacker after senior Trenton Tarver’s injury forced the move.
Coach Anthony Harts’ defense held CA at 245 total yards last week and will look for a similar result against Wayne this week.
Hornets in control atop Region 7-2A, Bobcats second
The Loyd Star Hornets and coach Brian Ford need to shake off the disappointment of losing their first game of 2021 last week and focus on two big Region 7-2A games still on the schedule.
Last week, Loyd Star lost 35-29 on the road at St Andrews. It was the teams’ second meeting of the season when Loyd defeated Star SA in the season opener on August 27.
Loyd Star travels to West Lincoln on Friday, then returns home to host Amite County in the season finale on Thursday, August 28.
Region 7-2A corresponds to. Region 6 in the first round of the playoffs. Scott Central (8-0) is the top dog in that division, although they have yet to play a Velma Jackson (7-1) team that is also undefeated in regional play.
The No. 3 team is currently Pisgah (2-6) and a win this Friday over Pelahatchie (3-5) would cement that position for the Dragons. The #4 spot will likely come down to next week’s regular season finale when Pelahatchie plays Puckett (4-4).
It will likely be the winner of that Pelahatchie and Puckett game who will travel to Loyd Star to defeat the Hornets in a first-round playoff game if Loyd Star settles things to secure the region title.
The first round of the 2A playoffs kicks off on November 5, and Bogue Chitto is aiming to host a game on that date as well, as the Bobcats nearly hold the No. 2 in the region.
Coach Gareth Sartins’ team has battled injuries all season and managed to win close games. The Bobcats (6-2) defeated East Marion 13-12 last week in overtime, closing the regional game Friday by hosting Amite County.
Next week, the Bobcats are en route in a non-division game for their regular season finale in Franklin County on Thursday, October 28.
If Pisgah finishes third in Region 6-2A and the Bobcats finish No. 2 in Region 7, a first-round matchup between the schools would be a rematch of their season opener played at Bogue Chitto. The Bobcats topped the Dragons 42-20 at Troy Smith Field that night.
Panthers have plenty to play for more than the last three weeks
The 5A regular season has three weeks to go and Brookhaven High School has a lot to play for in those three games.
The final home game of the regular season for coach Tucker Peaveys’ team is this week against Florence High (1-5) in a home game at King Field.
The Panthers then hit the road to face Natchez (3-5) and South Jones (2-5) over the next two weeks.
West Jones and Wayne County are both 4-0 in Region 3-5A, while Hattiesburg and Laurel High are both 3-1. However, each of those losses to HHS and LHS were to Brookhaven High.
The Panthers are at 2-2 after facing off against the top four teams in the region. They lost 26-0 to West Jones and 20-14 in overtime at Wayne County.
Wayne County is the team chasing BHS, and the War Eagles have Hattiesburg to play this Friday, along with games in the following weeks against Laurel and West Jones.
The No. 2 seed and a home playoff game are a real possibility for BHS, but first the team must sort things out over the next three weeks.
Florence is a freshman division member after moving from 4A. The Eagles are coached by former Southern Miss linebacker Rod Davis.
Region 3-5A will match Region 4 in the opening round of the playoffs. Picayune (7-1) and George County (5-3) are both 4-0 in regional play for that division. They are followed by a pair of 3-1 teams in East Central (5-2) and Gautier (6-1).
Win for Wesson at Crystal Springs puts Cobras into battle
Wesson coach Jeremy Loy and his team have battled adversity all season in their first year back in the 3A standings.
The Cobras took the kind of win that makes all the work worth it last week when they beat Crystal Springs 48-32.
That win was the first Region 6-3A win of the season for the Cobras and put them in the driver’s seat for the No. 4 seed and a playoff berth.
Raleigh is the top team in the region after beating Magee 28-13 last week. Then come the Trojans from Simpson County and Hazlehurst.
Wesson will play a road game at Magee this week and then close the regular season with a home game against McLaurin (2-6).
The No. 4 seed would put Wesson on the road at Tylertown in the first round of the playoffs. The teams met to open the season in Wesson and the Cobras built a 30-6 lead before THS came back roaring for a 46-30 win.
Lawrence County still run in to host
If Lawrence County and coach Jesse Anderson are going to host a 4A playoff game, they will have to do something that no other Region 7 team has done this season from Columbia High (7-1).
That matchup will take place next week in Columbia, first though the Cougars (5-3) play their home final against Purvis (1-6).
The regional champion will also be decided on Friday when Columbia travels to face Poplarville (7-1) in a highly anticipated matchup.
Columbia defeated LC 31-0 last year, but in 2019 the teams had a close pair that CHS won 20-13.
However, heading out for the first round of the playoffs is not something Lawrence County is not used to. In four years as head coach at his alma mater, Anderson has coached his team to playoff wins at Moss Point (20-19 in 2020), at Mendenhall (56-19 in 2019) and in Newton County (13-7 in 2019) ).
Region 7-4A will match Region 6 in the first round of the playoffs. North Pike (7-0) and Raymond (7-1) are the top teams in Region 6, as both are 3-0 in division play. They will work out who will finish first when they meet on Friday.
If LC finishes third in the division, they will likely go to the loser of the NP and RHS game in the opening round of the playoffs.
Enterprise and West Lincoln want to end with wins
The playoffs are still a possibility for West Lincoln and coach Brad Bland. Despite a record 0-7 a year, the Bears have a home game this week against Loyd Star before closing the year in East Marion on Thursday, October 28.
The Bears have played their best football this season at Perry Miller Field and have seen several close games against them there. St Andrews won 21-19, Bogue Chitto took a late win 17-6 and East Rankin Academy scored with less than a minute left to make a 20-14 decision.
The Bears won a close 28-26 against the Hornets last season and are looking for a third straight win against their provincial rivals LS.
As a 1A school, Coach Trey Woodard and his Enterprise Yellow Jackets have three regular season games to go. On Friday, the Jackets (3-5) head out to take on the defending 1A state champion Lumberton Panthers (4-3).
Resurrection Catholic (4-3) comes to Harry Cole Field on October 29 for the final home game of the season at Enterprise. The following week, EAC closes out the season with a trip to Mount Olive (4-3).
Eight teams make up Region 4-1A as Bay Springs (5-1) and Taylorsville (4-2) are both 4-0 in region play. Lumberton is in third place 3-1 and Richton (4-4) is currently in fourth place.
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