This is the time of year in prep football when things get a little bit fuzzy.
Quite a few “Southern Six” squads are off this week and are preparing to open region play next week. While at least three other teams in our coverage area not only aren’t off this week but actually begin region play.
And, there are still a handful of other area teams that aren’t off and aren’t beginning league play but just playing their fifth or sixth non-region games of the current campaign due to scheduling quirks.
Here are 7 games to keep an eye on in the “Southern 6” this week:
- Moss Point at Poplarville — These two teams are both coming off substandard performances last week as they each enter Region 8-4A play this week. The teams combined to score ZERO points in a pair of losses, as the Hornets are at home for the second consecutive week after getting thumped by visiting West Jones 42-0. Poplarville stands 3-2 on the season, which is still better than Moss Point which is 1-4 under new head coach John Feaster after taking a 49-0 tail-beating on the road at West Harrison last week.
- Pass Christian at Greene County — The Pirates and Wildcats also kick off Region 8-4A play Friday night at Johnny Ainsworth Stadium in Leakesville. Pass Christian is riding high at 4-1 under new head coach Jeff Stockstill, and are coming off a big 41-3 Homecoming win over Northeast Jones. Greene County finally notched its first win of the season last week with a 42-14 road win over Perry Central last week. The Wildcats are 1-4.
- Florence at Hancock — The Hawks are the only team in the “Southern Six” that sit a perfect 5-0 after five weeks in the current prep football campaign, as head coach Neil Lollar’s crew went on the road and man-handled Vacleave 35-14 last week thanks in part to a pair of short scoring runs by fullback Jeffrey Hopgood. Hancock is off to its first 5-0 start in 23 years, since the 2000 season, and will look to make it 6-0 this week at Homecoming against the visiting Eagles. This mars the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the football field.
- Meridian at Harrison Central — Suffice it to say that this is arguably one of the biggest non-region regular season home games in the history of the Red Rebels football team as the once perennial state power Wildcats come calling at Earl Phillips Stadium in Lyman this week. This is also the first-ever meeting on the gridiron between these two teams, and Harrison Central enters the fray unbeaten at 4-0 while Meridian is 2-3. The Red Rebels moved to that 4-0 mark with a 23-6 win over Mendenhall last week, while the Wildcats picked up their second win of the season with a 42-6 thumping of Jackson Callaway.
- Hattiesburg at George County — The Rebels have jumped out to an impressive 4-1 start this season including a rare win over Wayne County 14-13 in overtime last week. It marked the first time since 1991 that George County defeated the War Eagles 14-13 in overtime, as Wayne County had won 15 consecutive contests against the Rebels dating back those 32 years. This is one final tuneup for these two Class 6A squads, as the Rebels will begin play in Region 4-6A the following week as will the Tigers in Region 3-6A. Hattiesburg is 3-2 after a 42-14 win over Sumrall last week. This will be the first meeting between these two teams since the opening round of the Class 5A South State playoffs in 2005, when on the same playing surface at Gill-Martin Stadium the Rebels stopped the Tigers 20-7 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall 18 years ago.
- Stone at St. Stanislaus — While this isn’t the first meeting between these two schools, it’s certainly a rare occurrence as the Rock–Chaws and Tomcats haven’t played in 41 years, since 1982. Back then, the Tomcats were known as Stone County. This is the fifth meeting all-time between the teams, and SSC stands 3-1 and is coming off an open date while Stone sits at 2-2 and has won two straight games with an off week in between after starting the season off at 0-2. The Tomcats beat Quitman 21-14 last week.
- South Jones at Long Beach — The home-standing Bearcats host the Braves in the final pre-region tuneup for these two schools. Long Beach fell to Petal 42-14 on the road last week, while South Jones was busy beating North Forrest 27-14. The Braves are 2-3 and the Bearcats sit 1-4, as they face off for the first time since 2016.