It’s shaping up to be a big “Friday Night Under The Lights” with an All-Alcorn County matchup, along with potentially close contests at Biggersville and Alcorn Central.
It will certainly be a somber, emotional night in Booneville as the Blue Devils host Saltillo while Tishomingo County and McNairy Central will face stiff road challenges.
After an 8-1 opening week, I faded a bit last Friday, going 6-3 with one of those losses being Corinth’s could-have-been win at Olive Branch.
Week three of the 2020 season (well, week five for those in Tennessee) is here. Join me as I preview each Friday night game with my picks to win. The “Joe Bowl” featuring Falkner @ Walnut, was played Thursday with the home team Wildcats being the heavy favorite to win.
Kossuth (1-1) @ Corinth (1-1)
Yes, both squads come in with identical records but the losses are to two completely different caliber of teams.
The Warriors, who will be celebrating Senior Night, fell by one (24-23) at Olive Branch a week ago while the Aggies dropped a 28-7 road decision at Adamsville.
Corinth fans – along with players, coaches and pretty much everyone in Warrior Nation – believe their team should be unbeaten and among the top-10 in the state regardless of classification. After all, they are the defending 4A state champions. If it’s any consolation, CHS is still ranked No. 1 in 4A and is still receiving overall top-10 votes despite the loss to the 6A Conquistadors.
I could list key players and stats for both teams here but I won’t bother. There’s no need. True Kossuth and Corinth fans likely know those numbers. But as Warrior fifth year head coach Todd Lowery reminds us, “As always in a game like this you can throw records and everything else out the window.”
As far as the Aggies go Lowery heaped praise on 10th year KHS head coach Brian Kelly’s program.
“Kossuth is a big rivalry game so it’s about who shows up, plays hard and can limit mistakes and turnovers,” he said. “They have several weapons. Their quarterback (Brock) Seago is a good ball player and he has some good receivers to throw to as well as a running back (Zamarius Alexander) that runs hard. Coach Kelly and his staff do a terrific job coaching their boys up and being ready. And he will likely have a few cards up his sleeve.”
On paper this would be a one-sided affair. On the other hand, games aren’t won on paper ...
Kent’s pick: Corinth
Smithville (0-0) @ Biggersville (2-0)
If not for the Kossuth/Corinth game, this would likely be the “Game of the Week.”
The Seminoles have not played yet, due to being under quarantine, and are still receiving votes for the top-5 class 1A teams in the state. Biggersville has beaten Smithville (as was erroneously reported prior) but hasn’t won in the series since 1980, so it seems as though they have never beaten their bitter rivals.
The Lions had victory in hand two years ago until a late blocked punt deep in their own territory turned into the winning touchdown for the ‘Noles.
This year 13 Biggersville seniors along with a complimentary array of underclassmen seem to be due for their first win over SHS in 40 years.
“They (Smithville) will be well-coached with a new head coach (Chad Collums is back for his second stint at the Itawamba County school, having taken the Seminoles to a pair of North Half appearances during his first go-around),” said fifth year Lions head coach Stan Platt. “This is obviously a huge game. Smithville is always tough and I don’t expect anything different.”
The local media went with TCPS over Biggersville in week one. Not so in week three.
Kent’s pick: Biggersville
Potts Camp (2-0) @ Alcorn Central (1-1)
The Golden Bears will play their second straight game in the friendly confines of their newly-remodeled stadium, hosting an undefeated team after posting their first win of the season a week ago.
Central will welcome the Cardinals to Glen with lots of optimism and hope, having put a hurting on Falkner, 43-6. However, one of Potts Camp’s victories was in their season opener against that same Eagles team, 34-6.
Based simply on those numbers this should be an even game.
The ‘Cards are led by 6-1, 205-pound dual threat quarterback Josh Blake, who has thrown and ran for 463 yards and eight touchdowns in just two contests.
So the Bears will need to be tough on defense and limit the big play capabilities of Potts Camp.
“They (PCHS) present some different challenges,” said third-year AC coach Matt Meeks. “Their quarterback is a dual-threat guy and they have a fullback that is hard-nosed and runs downhill. The keys to victory for us are to stop their playmakers and play our style of football effectively.”
Kent’s pick: Alcorn Central
Saltillo (0-1) @ Booneville (1-1)
Booneville head coach Mike Mattox said it depends on how his team comes out that will go a long way in determining a win or a loss Friday night.
“Our team has responded well this week while we’ve learned another life lesson,” said Mattox, regarding the tragic death of junior defensive back Logan Harr as the result of an auto accident last weekend. “We just lost a teammate that was also like losing a family member. But we all know Logan would have wanted us to carry on and fight hard because that’s the kind of person he was.”
According to Mattox, the visiting Tigers are better than what they showed last week in a 13-3 loss to Ripley. In retrospect, the Blue Devils defeated Ripley 22-12 on opening night, despite taking their foot off the brake for two quarters.
I look for an emotional and fired up Booneville team to take care of business.
Kent’s pick: Booneville
Tishomingo County (1-1) @ Lewisburg (1-1)
The Braves showed heart and will-power last week as they almost rallied from an early 14-point hole to claim a win over 2A powerhouse East Union. The Patriots are coming off a 21-point loss to a good Arlington team.
Lewisburg is a 6A school with 6A numbers on the sidelines and a solid team with an opening night win over Byhalia. This game ended in a 43-0 home loss for Tish County a year ago. But then again, TC lost to East Union 48-10 in 2019 and almost won last week.
Being on the road for the first time against a larger school with plenty of talent will be the latest challenge for new head coach Richard Russo and his squad.
Kent’s pick: Lewisburg
McNairy Central (1-3) @ South Gibson (2-2)
The Bobcats, after losing their first three games to teams with a combined 9-0 record entering the week, and with all three being ranked among the top-50 in Tennessee, finally broke thru last Friday with a 33-13 road win at Chester County.
This week brings a new challenge for head coach Brian Franks and his squad. The Hornets have registered home wins over Trinity Christian Academy and Crockett County with both losses coming on the road at Lexington and Milan.
There seems to be no magic number in this case, except for eight. That’s the largest winning margin by either team in the last three meetings, including South Gibson’s 28-20 win in Selmer last year.
The ‘Cats are in week two of a four-game road trip.
Kent’s pick: South Gibson