The Rock’s Locks Black Friday edition has finally arrived.
Just like last season, we’ve got a trio of “Southern Six” squads left alive in the chase for a spot in their respective state championship games, but unlike last year when two of the three teams were playing each other in the same classification this year there is a legitimate shot to get all three squads to Oxford next week in a trio of separate classes.
Rock’s Locks sailed into the Thanksgiving holiday week with a perfect 7-0 mark last week, bringing our season total to 126-38 for a winning percentage of almost 77 percent.
There are ust two weeks left in the current prep football campaign. Will any of our three “Southern Six” squads get “another Monday” of practice….???
“An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day…upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way…”
- Picayune at West Jones — A much-anticipated showdown between the back-to-back and defending state champion Maroon Tide and the undefeated to-date Mustangs takes place in Soso with the Class 6A South State championship belt on the line. It marks the fifth time in the past six seasons that these teams have met in the state playoffs, and the series is 2-2 over that span. West Jones is a perfect 12-0, and has scored 35 or more points in eight of those 12 wins while allowing an average of just over five points per game defensively including just less than three points per game in the 10-game regular season slate. Meanwhile, Picayune is averaging 37 points per game. West Jines has been a perennial power in South State over the past two decades but has a history of underachieving when it gets this deep in the playoffs. After all, the Mustangs have won just one state championship over that span and that came during the Covid season in 202. Picayune, on the other hand, has won four state titles in that same span and played for one more. It’s easy to see a path for a Mustang win in this one, but we’ll stick with the two-time defending champs and take our chances…Picayune 24, West Jones 19.
- Gautier at Laurel — These teams had met just once all-time previously and that was 23 years ago until three weeks ago, and now the Gators and Golden Tornadoes will face off for the second time in less than a month and for the third time ever. But more is on the line this time than ever before, as the winner of this one wins the Class 5A South State championship and a berth in next week’s Class 5A state championship game. Gautier has never played in the state championship, while Laurel has won three state crowns and played for three others. Can the Gators take that next step? Unfortunately, we don’t see it…Laurel 30, Gautier 28..
- Poplarville at Columbia — The second Pearl River County squad in the “Southern Six” to face a current unbeaten team this week is the Hornets, which travel to Columbia in the Class 4A South State championship. Poplarville is 10-3, and is in its seventh South State championship game in the past eight seasons after missing out last year. This is the 14th meeting all-time in a series that dates back to 1954, but just the third ever in the postseason and the Hornets have won the previous two. The Wildcats sit a perfect 12-0 on the season and are looking to get back to the Class 4A state championship game for the first time in two years after they won the state title in 2021. Poplarville has never won a state title in four attempts, while CHS has won both times it has appeared in the state championship contest. We think the road will take its toll on the Hornets in this one y’all….Columbia 28, Poplarville 23.