I seldom have a perfect week picking Friday night football games but for once it happened.
Granted, there were only six games played last Friday in the Daily Corinthian coverage area, with the “Joe Bowl” featuring Walnut and Falkner being played on Thursday, but anytime I pick ‘em all without a blemish is noteworthy..because it normally just don’t happen.
So far yours truly has posted weekly records of 8-1, 6-3 and 6-0. That 20-4 mark comes with an asterisk, though, due to open weeks for area teams along with game cancellations due to COVID-19.
This week the schedule includes a mere six games once again, due in part to Booneville having an open date, Thrasher winning by forfeit over Baldwyn due to the Bearcats being in quarantine and a pair of local squads playing each other. Join me for a few minutes as I preview each game on the agenda along with my picks to win, beginning with the Daily Corinthian Game of the Week.
No. 6 MRA (5-0) @ No. 12 Corinth (2-1)
After Charleston (Corinth’s original opponent this week) opted out of the fall sports season, the Warriors went several weeks without an opponent for this week’s homecoming contest.
The school still conducted it’s voting for homecoming court (which was announced a couple of weeks ago) and never quit trying to fill the open slot.
Boy, did they hit the jack-pot when they finally did fill it last Thursday.
The Patriots arrive in the Crossroads City as the No. 6 overall team in the state while holding down the No. 1 slot in MAIS. Corinth is tied for No. 12 overall this week while also being number one in their classification (4A).
Both teams are defending state champions.
Pay no attention to the MaxPreps poll. They have Greenwood ranked No. 1 in 4A and the Bulldogs aren’t even playing this fall, having opted before the season began.
Warriors fifth-year head coach Todd Lowery said last week that MRA is an air-raid kind of offense and will throw the ball all over the field..a lot. So that vaunted Corinth defense had better buckle it up tight and bring their A-game to stay close with the ‘Pats. Another start like they had against Kossuth could spell trouble and nobody knows that better than the CHS players and coaches.
Among MRA’s five wins is a neutral-site, nationally televised week one 27-26 win over three-time defending Texas state champion Trinity Christian Academy. Trinity’s former offensive coordinator (and new Jackson State head coach) might sound familiar: “Prime Time” Deion Sanders.
The Warriors will need to do exactly what Lowery indicated last week as keys to victory: win the battle on both lines, hold on to the ball and execute the game plan. Corinth has enough team speed and experience to pull this game out at home but the Patriots are perennial state title contenders and have more than enough firepower to earn a tough road win.
Kent’s pick: Corinth
Biggersville (3-0) @ Myrtle (0-2)
The Smithville streak is over and now things can get back to normal for the Lions.
Well, somewhat normal.
Biggersville, the No. 2 team in class 1A, put a severe whipping on the Seminoles (64-0), who are the standard for success in 1A football, and now it’s on with the show.
Head coach Stan Platt has his team clicking on all cylinders with a freshman quarterback (Drew Rowsey) that has played more like a junior and an array of multi-talented playmakers such as Goldman Butler, Zae Davis, Zyonn Mayes and even linemen like Di’Renzo Shields and Bryson Pollard.
The Lions have scored 60 or more points the last two games and have intercepted nine passes on the season with a defensive backfield ranked among the best in 1A north half football.
Myrtle isn’t struggling just yet but on paper should be no match for Biggersville. But don’t try and sale that to Platt.
“Myrtle is a good team that is building its program from the ground up,” said the Biggersville head man. “(Head) Coach (Jeremy) Smithey is doing a fantastic job. It’s unfortunate they lost their all region running back (A.I. Nugent) to New Albany. They reached the playoffs last year and will likely get back there this year. We’re approaching this game as if we’re 0-0 and stressing that this (Myrtle) is a playoff team that is capable of giving us problems. We cannot sit back on our heels and think that teams are going to roll over and let us win.”
The Hawks are coming off an open week which followed season opening losses to Marshall Academy (14-0) and Walnut (39-13). I see it being a long night for the home team trying to chase down a plethora of Lions playmakers.
A running second half clock will likely be standard for BHS games from this point forward until the regular season ends as the Lions will be heavy favorites from here on out until playoff time.
Kent’s pick: Biggersville
Senatobia (1-1) @ Kossuth (1-2)
The Aggies started strong with a come-from-behind home win over 4A Mooreville. But the last two weeks have been forgettable for head coach Brian Kelly’s squad, with road losses at Adamsville and Corinth.
Kossuth looked impressive against the Warriors last Friday, at least midway thru the third quarter, as they used the passing game to throw Corinth off. Quarterback Brock Seago completed 14 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns with another TD on the ground. Receivers Hank Eaton and Keb Brawner were open most of the night and gave the Tribe secondary fits.
Now comes the Aggies homecoming date against Senatobia. The Tate County Warriors have lost a narrow 14-10 decision to Lake Cormorant and are coming off a 28-13 road win over Itawamba AHS.
Senatobia has been known for a nice combination of the running and passing games over the years. If that holds true, the Aggies will be busy on defense.
It’s homecoming at Kossuth and that always means an extra dose of enthusiasm and hard play.
Kent’s pick: Senatobia
Alcorn Central (2-1) @ Tishomingo County (1-2)
The first thing the Golden Bears have to do to have a shot at a road win over the Braves is score some points.
Central’s last win in the series came in 2004, when TCHS athletic director Dax Glover was a senior, in a 20-7 victory at Glen. Over the last ten games in the series the Braves have recorded four shutouts and have held AC to seven points or fewer eight times. Over that span Tishomingo County has outscored Alcorn Central 413-52, an average score of 41-5.
The last two contests, and three of the last four, have produced zero points for the Bears. Thus, it’s imperative head coach Matt Meeks Central squad score early and establish some sort of rhythm on offense while limiting the big-play ability of Tishomingo County. Braves quarterback Blake Counce has posted gaudy numbers the past two weeks with a combined 516 passing yards, including six touchdowns, and 165 rushing yards and another score. Counce is averaging 341 total offensive yards per game since TC defeated Belmont 17-7 opening week.
However, don’t discount the Golden Bears who, despite losing senior starting QB Charlie Staley in the season opener at Walnut, have posted back-to-back home wins over Falkner and Potts Camp. If Central opens this contest with a safety it will mark the third straight game to do so.
As much as I would like to see a nip-and-tuck game until the final horn my instincts say that’s probably not gonna happen.
Kent’s pick: Tish County
Walnut (3-0) @ South Pontotoc (2-1)
This is a relatively new series for the Wildcats as the two teams have played just three times over the past 15 years, with the Wildcats holding a 3-0 record against the Cougars.
Walnut took care of South Pontotoc 42-14 last fall at home between the hedges. They also own a 12-0 win in 2014 and a 22-13 victory in 2013.
The Cougars have played well to this point with decisive wins over Aberdeen and last week against Bruce sandwiched around their lone loss in week two, 34-0 at rival North Pontotoc.
The ‘Cats have arguably the best team in school history, led by senior athletes TJ Luellen and TJ Colom II along with quarterback Cade Hunt and a roster full of experienced and successful talent. Head coach John Meeks squad has outscored their three opponents 150-20. I predict that trend continues this week on the road, although the final score might not be so lopsided as the opening three games.
Kent’s pick: Walnut
McNairy Central (1-4) @ Harding Academy (0-2)
The Bobcats have a golden opportunity here to earn their second win of the season after playing a murderous opening slate of games as they travel to face the winless Lions.
To their credit, McNairy has lost to teams with a combined record of 17-3. In addition, MC, after scoring just six total points in their first two games, have posted 66 over the past three so the offense is starting to find itself. And coach Brian Franks squad will have the depth advantage with 74 players suiting up compared to 49 for Harding Academy.
Facing a weak Harding team on the road affords the ‘Cats a great chance for a momentum-building win heading into another road date at winless Bolivar Central next week.
Kent’s pick: McNairy Central