Normally, on the final Friday in September, even though we’re usually early in region play some semblance of positioning for playoff position is already taking place.
And that’s exactly the case this week, as some teams look to avoid falling into a 0-2 hole in league play after being saddled with losses last week
Here are 7 games to watch in the “Southern Six” Friday night:
- Picayune at Vancleave (Game of the Week) — A battle of unbeaten unfolds in Jackson County as defending Class 5A state champion Maroon Tide comes calling against the home-standing Bulldogs. Vancleave stands 4-0 on the season for only the third time in the past 42 years, while it’s a pretty common occurrence for the ‘Yune. A home game of epic proportions such as this one doesn’t come along much for Vancleave, and this is probably the biggest game in Vancleave since the same teams met in the first round of the playoffs in 2010 which is also the last time VHS started the season 4-0. Asher Henley and Layton Eder tallied two touchdowns apiece for VHS in a Region 4-5A win over Long Beach last week. Picayune is 5-0 after opening league play with a win over Pearl River Central.
- D’Iberville at Ocean Springs — A pair of teams headed in entirely different directions face off on Hugh Pepper Field Friday night, as the unbeaten and defending Region 8-6A Greyhounds host the Warriors who cross over county lines with four straight losses in tow. OSHS opened league play with a big win over Hancock, as quarterback Bray Hubbard accounted for over 340 yards of total offense and three scores. Keyshawn Thomas paced the ‘hounds defense with 10 total tackles including a pair of sacks. D’Iberville fell to Biloxi despite getting 10 total tackles, two for loss, and an interception from Marquise Washington. This is the second time in six seasons that DHS has started a season 1-4.
- Pascagoula at Gulfport — The Panthers head to historic Milner Stadium in danger of dropping to 0-2 in Region 4-6A play after falling to Harrison Central last week, despite Keilon Parnell accounting for over 175 yards and one touchdown. The Admirals, who have won five of the last six games played on the field against PHS, beat St. Martin last week. Gulfport stands 4-1 overall, while ‘Goula is 2-2.
- Stone at Moss Point — The home-standing Tigers have suffered five straight defeats to open the season, and host the Tomcats from Wiggins to begin Region 8-4A action. Moss Point linebacker Kaleb Ralston had eight tackles, a blocked field goal attempt, a sack, a forced fumble and he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 37-20 loss to McComb last week. Meanwhile, Stone quarterback Connor Tice threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns in a big 43-6 win over South Pike that moved the Tomcats to 2-2 overall. Moss Point has won all seven meetings between the teams since the advent of a state playoff system 41 years ago.
- Gautier at Long Beach — The Gators head to Lumpkin-Magee Stadium to meet up with the winless Bearcats in Region 4-5A action. Gautier is coming off a 49-21 thumping of George County, a game in which senior standout signal-caller Kaden Irving was 32-of-53 passing for 448 yards and he accounted for all seven GHS touchdowns either through the air or on the ground. Receiver Kelvin Beavers had a big game on offense as well, as he hauled in 9 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Dillion Richburg had a hat trick for the Gators as he registered three interceptions. Long Beach has lost 15 straight games and has just three wins in the past 36 games played on the field.
- Biloxi at Harrison Central — Two teams coming off of wins to open Region 4-6A play meet at Earl Phillips Stadium in Lyman as the Indians face off with the Red Rebels. Biloxi nipped home-standing D’Iberville 34-27 last week, as running back Damaryion Fillmore tallied a trio of scoring runs with the third and final one being the game-winning score from 13 yards out with under two minutes to play. Meanwhile, HCHS jumped out to a big lead and hung on to beat Pascagoula on the road 44-31 thanks in large part to the play of quarterback Christian Turner who threw for 260 yards and three scores.
- East Central at Pearl River Central — The unbeaten Hornets hit the road to Carriere to face off with the win-less Blue Devils in the second week of Region 4-5A play. East Central got almost 280 yards rushing and three scores from standout back Eli Smith, as the Hornets moved to 4-0 overall. PRC dropped to 0-4 with a 49-7 loss to arch-rival Picayune, and the Blue Devils have now dropped 18 of their last 21 regular season games.
Check out the galley from St. Martin vs. Gulfport