There are a lucky few teams – 12 to be specific – that are just one win away from playing for a state championship in football.
Of course that mean there are an equal number that will be joining the rest of the state, hanging up their shoulder pads and helmets for the season.
Here is a look at today’s North schedule, beginning with Class 5A, where we have two Northeast Mississippi schools facing each other – West Point at Starkville.
Both have the tradition to know what’s at stake.
Both have played a competitive schedule.
Certainly, I have more than once mentioned West Point’s, which includes South Panola and Noxubee County. Both of West Point’s losses are to these two schools, which begs the question – where are these two schools today?
West Point defeated Starkville 47-22 on Sept. 9, but does that mean anything today?
I’m sure Starkville head coach Jamie Mitchell has a tricky play or two up his sleeve for tonight. But on the whole, I think West Point has powered its way to this point on the calendar, and I see no reason why that will stop tonight.
In 2A is where we find the other remaining Northeast Mississippi school – Bruce – facing Eupora.
On the whole, I think Eupora might appear to be on more of a roll at this point. But I do not discount the motivation Bruce might have from previous seasons.
There is nothing like experience, and I think Bruce has just enough left to book their trip to Jackson for next week.
In 6A, it is so amazing to me that South Panola has not been on the tips of peoples tongues about the season they are having this year. They have only lost two game to top-ranked teams from outside Mississippi.
Did last year’s 9-4 record really make people forget South Panola?
Most football people in this corner of the state have not forgotten Bobby Hall, who has put Madison Central into another prime playoff position. And thank you MC for tossing Olive Branch out of the playoffs – some of the feedback I got throughout the season indicated they were still enjoying winning the 6A title last year just a bit too much.
But I just have a feeling that South Panola is back this season, and not enough people realize this yet.
Most people would say Noxubee County, and stop there.
Noxubee did defeat Louisville 41-28 on Oct. 18.
Yep, I went the long way around on this – Noxubee County!
In 3A, you have East Side vs. Charleston.
The way Charleston dispatched Aberdeen last week, go with Charleston.
And in 1A, you have Shaw vs. French Camp.
Perhaps French Camp has had an easier road through the bracket up till now, go with Shaw.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Yes, I know this is not high school, but still this week, give me a little slack.
Looking at State’s schedule before the season began, I was figuring they would be perhaps 6-1 or 7-0 before the Alabama game. Then they would lose four in-a-row before beating Ole Miss.
Then like a lot of people, when State got to 7-0, I started thinking about a one-loss season for them. Back to reality, where the MSU offense perhaps let them down in potential scoring situations (what I am going to call the RedZone-extended).
Against Alabama, turnovers in scoring situations in each half.
Against Texas A&M, at least three turnovers where State should have scored.
Against LSU, a fourth quarter turnover at a key point in the contest.
Then there is Ole Miss, who just turns the ball over any place on the field when their offense has it.
On the whole, Ole Miss has played above what some might have predicted beginning the year. The offense has been competitive with most teams, but the defense has shown some holes.
Really, Hugh Freeze appears to have Ole Miss headed in a good direction.
Still, I give the MSU offense the edge over the Ole Miss defense, which should give State the edge in this contest.
David Wheeler has been contributing to the high school sports coverage of the Daily Journal since 1985.