One of the best ways for a sportswriter to make a fool out of himself is to try and predict the weekly outcomes of any type of sporting event, but especially high school football games.
Not that I need any help, but here goes…
Have no fear, Rock’s Locks is here again y’all.
Yes, Rock’s Locks is back in South Mississippi for yet another prep football season. Rock’s Locks has been a steady feature in several daily newspapers (remember those?) across South Mississippi for much of the past three decades. Each week we will attempt to provide some insight with some prep pigskin prognosticator picks and provide
you readers with much material to ridicule me with I am sure.
There has been a lot of talk about Rock’s Locks over the years. But I didn’t care what was said, I decided to try and sometimes make a fool out of myself again this year.
Some big games highlight the schedule for the opening week. At times this year we’ll be calling on Cane the Wonder Dog (he is a rescue) for help with some upset picks, but to open the season we’ll go It alone…
In the words of Marvin Gaye….Let’s get it on.
Here are 7 games in South Mississippi to keep an eye on this week:
- Pascagoula at Moss Point (“Kneed to See” Game of the Week) — The annual “Battle of the Cats” returns to Dantzler Street for the first time after a four-year absence as the 83rd meeting between these two old rivals unfolds Friday night. The series resumed last season after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. This span between home games marks the first time that the Tigers have gone that long without hosting the contest in over 80 years, since the series was halted for a 15-year span back in the 1930’s-40’s. Ironically enough, Pascagoula has taken over the all-time series lead within the past decade after PHS head coach Lewis Sims left his alma mater (MPHS) and came across Jefferson Street 13 years ago. The Panthers hold a 42-37-3 advantage. New MPHS head coach John Feaster gets his baptism into the rivalry this week. It’s still a bit hard for us old-timers to get used to this battle kicking off the season instead of being played as the regular season finale as it was for many years. This might be Sims’ final time to coach on the field he made a name for himself on as a player (and head coach) some years back, and the Panthers have won two in a row, so we’ll side with the visitor in this one…Pascagoula 23, Moss Point 16.
- Picayune at Brandon — The two-time defending Class 5A state champions open the year by traveling from Pearl River County to Rankin County to open the fourth year of the “Cody Stogner Era”. This is a rare meeting between a pair of perennial state powers on the gridiron, as the Maroon Tide and Bulldogs have met only twice previously splitting a pair of games 19 and 20 years ago. While Picayune was bringing home its second straight state crown in Class 5A last season, Brandon finished as the runner-up in Class 6A. Now both teams have moved up a classification, but this should still be a war. The Maroon Tide enters the game on a 26-game win streak, the longest in the state. We just can’t pick against the Maroon Tide until they prove us wrong. Picayune 21, Brandon 17.
- East Central at George County — The Hornets head up U.S. Highway 63 a few miles to Gill-Martin Stadium to renew this neighborhood rivalry with the Rebels. The teams had been region rivals for some years recently until expansion this season moved GCHS up a level to Class 6A and left ECHS in Class 5A. I, for one, am glad that the powers to be saw fit to keep the series going. This will be the seventh meeting between the two schools on the gridiron in the past 11 years, after the series was resumed in 2013 after an 11-year absence. The Hornets have won four out of the past five games, and that’s good enough for us…East Central 28, George County 23.
- Gautier at Gulfport — This marks the first meeting on the gridiron between the Admirals and Gators in 13 years, since a 45-6 road win for Gulfport in 2010. It’s just the fifth meeting overall between the two Gulf Coast squads, and the Admirals have won three straight since Gautier stunned Gulfport 30-13 in historic Milner Stadium in the first meeting in 1999 which was just the third year that the Gators fielded a program. This one will be the only game of the annual “Port City Classic” at Milner on Friday night, and we think the home-field advantage will make a difference in this one. Gulfport 31, Gautier 28.
- Long Beach at Pass Christian — The annual “Oyster Bowl” takes place in the Pass this year as the Pirates host the neighboring Bearcats. It marks the 64th meeting all-time between the two rivals, and the Pirates have won three straight games and three of four since the series was resumed in 2017 after an 11-year absence. We’ll stick with the recent success that the Pass has enjoyed. Pass Christian 34, Long Beach 13.
- Stone at Biloxi — This is the 14th all-time meeting between this pair of “Southern Six” squads in a sporadic series that dates back actually to the 1920’s. The teams have made it a point to meet more regularly recently, as this marks the sixth contest between the Indians and Tomcats in the past seven seasons. This encounter comes in the annual “Shrimp Bowl” at the Biloxi Sports Complex, and BHS leads the all-time series 12-1. Both teams are coming off south state playoff appearances last year, but we like the odds with the Indians…Biloxi 20, Stone 17.
- Bay High at Resurrection (in Gautier). — The first-ever meeting in the regular season between these “East Coast” vs. “West Coast” foes. It’s a rare meeting in the state of Mississippi size-wise as well, as the Class 1A Eagles punch up a few weight classes against the Class 4A Tigers. We think both teams have a shot at earning postseason berths this year, but we’ll go with the old-school theory and take the bigger school in this match-up. Bay High 22, RCS 14.
A six-pack to go:
Vancleave 27, St. Martin 21
Ocean Springs 28, Madison Central 21
Greene County 19, West Harrison 17
St. Patrick 8, Sacred Heart 6
Hancock 23, Natchez 20
D’Iberville 20, Columbia 19
Jefferson Davis County 32, Poplarville 28
(This is a column of opinion by Curtis Rockwell, the Sports Director of 228Sports)