The true Dandy Dozen of Mississippi high school football will be in Jackson the next two days – the 12 schools that will be playing for state championships.
The circulation area of the Daily Journal was almost shut out this season, but not for lack of effort and expectation by several schools.
The lone survivor this area can claim is in Class 5A, with Starkville squaring off against Pascagoula.
I suspect that most of the state will consider Pascagoula the favorite. But I somewhat said the same thing last week about West Point being a favorite prior to Starkville claiming the win.
Having observed Starkville head coach Jamie Mitchell at Ripley, and at Itawamba AHS, he schemes wrinkles and the unexpected as well as anybody in the state. And after getting his Starkville squad past West Point, never count Starkville out.
In 6A, we have South Panola vs. Brandon.
What is old is new again – South Panola is in a championship game. I still think South Panola has not received the credit they deserved.
A victory by them this season should wake up the rest of the state again.
But their task could be tough, as a rare appearance in a title game by a Jackson-area school could bring out a sizable crowd to cheer against South Panola. Without veteran leadership, South Panola might have an uphill battle.
But then again, perhaps not.
Do I have to mention 4A?
Noxubee County plays Greene County.
In 3A, Charleston from the North faces Hazlehurst from the South.
Charleston has been rolling through its side of the bracket, and I see no reason for it to stop now.
In 2A, you will have Eupora vs. Bassfield.
Eupora survived 31-28 last week against Bruce, a team I thought was motivated to break through to Jackson. Likewise, Bassfield played a close 17-14 affair with East Marion.
I tend to favor the North, again.
Last week in 1A, I had my suspicions about French Camp, which proved me wrong with a 28-8 win over Shaw in the North side of the bracket. Now they face Stringer.
I still have my reservations about French Camp, so this is my only South pick of the week.
Just to add a little more to this, reclassification by the MHSAA is close to being announced.
I was glancing at the numbers for this earlier in the week, and looking at the bottom schools that could be 6A, I saw the name of Hernando.
DeSoto County is still one of the fastest growing areas of Mississippi, so it should come as no surprise that another 6A school joins the list of DeSoto Central, Olive Branch, Southaven, and Horn Lake. But this will make for some interesting potential divisions in the major sports.
In football, what if South Panola and Madison Central were all of a sudden in the same division? What a thought, but I bet it does not happen – the powers-that-be would want to retain a certain balance of power, and keep these two schools in different divisions.
And if not South Panola? Another guess could be Starkville moving into a southern division, with Columbus staying in a northern division.
From a Tupelo perspective, Hernando becoming 6A might bring a new face to the basketball and baseball teams for 2013-14.
My best bet is that either DeSoto Central or Olive Branch will be in a four-team division with Tupelo, Starkville, and Columbus.
Hernando would then take that school’s place in a DeSoto county division, with Grenada and South Panola hooking up with a couple of Jackson-area schools.
Anything else, I think, would be logistically unsound. We will see within hours.
David Wheeler has been contributing to the high school sports coverage of the Daily Journal since 1985.