Well week one is in the books and now the weeks begin to pick up and not drag along as they did during the dog days of summer. I didn't fair too well in week one with my picks getting only two out of five correct but, hey, this is a long season and I'm going to be a bit rusty.
Last week had some great matchups across the state and this week is just as good. Of the five games that I have picked for this week, three pit top 25 teams against each other and two of those three are top 10 teams going up against each other. It should be a whole lot of fun. Let's get down to it shall we?
Last Week's Record: 2-3
Game of the Week: West Point vs. South Panola: The game that has started each team's season the past few years is set to be my game of the week in week two of the 2013 season. This is an incredibly interesting ball game to me and is every single year. West Point seems to always hold their own against the 6A power from Batesville but I was shocked when I saw Louisville handle the Green Wave so easily at Davis Wade a couple of weeks ago. However, how much stock can you put in a jamboree?
I expect MSU commitment Aeris Williams to have a great game and I expect West Point to do their part on defense. I also expect South Panola to look like a team on a mission after stumbling a few times last year before winning another championship. The Tigers aren't number one in the state in a lot of the polls and mine included and I think that gives them a chip on their shoulder and they will win this ball game by six points. It'll be close throughout and a defensive ball game. In the end, South Panola will score when it counts. South Panola
Bassfield vs. Forrest County AHS: Can anybody stop Bassfield? There might not be many 3A or 4A teams outside of Louisville and Noxubee County that could, but they're not on the schedule. The Yellow Jackets have a 17-game winning streak going at this point after winning the State Championship with ease a year ago and going a perfect 16-0 just a season after falling a game short of Jackson. Led by twins Alvin Moore and Calvin Moore and junior defensive back Jamal Peters, the defense has vowed to not give up any points all season. With some of the best talent in the state on one team (not to mention 2A), I don't expect many points to be put up against them all season and they should take this game and another step towards back-to-back State Championships.
Forrest County is right on the outside of my top 25 and is one of the top teams in 4A. This will be one of the toughest challenges all year for Bassfield but I think this team is one of the best in the state regardless of classification. Bassfield
Oxford vs. Starkville: The mini Egg Bowl comes a few months early as Oxford and Starkville go head to head on Friday. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a vengeful win over Noxubee County last week and want to prove to the state that just because they lost some key pieces from last year's team they can still contend. Facing a former rival, Starkville looks to continue to build up to competing in 6A and this will be a tough test.
Oxford is coming off of an impressive 12-point victory of Jackson Prep last week and looks to get a key upset when they take on the defending 5A State Champions. MSU commitment Darius Liggins had a solid game in week one and will be tough to contain for the Yellow Jackets in this game. It should be a fun one to watch but I think Starkville prevails by 10. Starkville
Pearl vs. Brandon: An intriguing matchup between these two rivals from right down the highway for week two. Both of the two teams got huge wins in week one with Pearl's being a bit more impressive blistering Clinton. Brandon had the game of the week knocking off top 5 Madison Central with a late touchdown drive from quarterback Gardner Minshew. The defense for the Bulldogs was particularly filthy with the nastiest defensive front wall in the state in Fletcher Adams and Kyle Strickland.
The Pirates face an uphill battle in this game attempting to stop the high-powering Brandon offense and get something going against their defense. I think that will be far too much to overcome but they will give them a fight for a quarter or two. Brandon
Picayune vs. Petal: The second top 10 matchup of the week is between Picayune and Petal. Being in central Mississippi, I and others tend to forget about what happens on the coast. In reality, the football tends to get better the farther south you go down I-20. This is probably the next best thing to South Panola/West Point and should be a tremendous battle.
The Panthers of Petal got a big win on Saturday of last week knocking off their rival Hattiesburg. Picayune represents a much bigger task for Petal as they're ranked number nine this week in my top 25 poll. This will be a physical ball game with some offense on both sides but I expect Petal to come out on top by 3. Petal
Player of the Week: Brock Roberts, Bogue Chitto: This was a pretty tough decision for me to choose the player of week in week one because two players really had games that stood out. One of those players was Diamante Pounds from Saltillo. He had an incredible ball game against Desoto Central breaking 234 yards on the ground and scoring all three TDs for Saltillo. One of those TDs came on a 95-yard kickoff return in their win.
Roberts stood out a bit more though putting up 219 all-purpose yards but six total touchdowns in the game. I was interested to see what Bogue Chitto would do with the loss of current Bulldog Brandon Wells gone from the offensive lineup but they seem to be doing just fine with Roberts under command. Six touchdowns, wow.
Now let's take a look at this week's top 25 for the state of Mississippi. There's a little movement here and there, but the top three teams stay the same.
Top 25: 1. Brandon 2. South Panola 3. Olive Branch 4. Petal 5. West Point 6. Oak Grove 7. Meridian 8. Madison Central 9. Picayune 10. Starkville 11. Wayne County 12. Louisville 13. Bassfield 14. Noxubee County 15. Gulfport 16. Pascagoula 17. Natchez 18. Pascagoula 19. Pearl River Central 20. Callaway 21. Oxford 22. Hazlehurst 23. Greene County 24. Charleston 25. Pearl