Week 10 hath come and gone and for three of the state’s classes, there is one more week in the regular season. Here are four things we learned from Friday.
1. Calhoun City was efficient in a beatdown.
In a 42-7 thrashing of No. 3 Eupora, No. 1 Calhoun City was very efficient. The Wildcats had five possessions in the first half and scored five touchdowns. Brieton Sykes (143) and Chakel Gates (166) combined for 309 yards on the ground and five of the touchdowns. They are relentless and run behind a stout line. Gates scored on a 69-yard run on the Wildcats’ first play and after Sykes ran out of bounds on an otherwise tackle-breaking, highlight-reel touchdown run, he just punched it in from a yard out. Jesse Nabors ran for a touchdown and 66 yards.
And the defense held 1,000-yard Eupora back Lamonte Salley to 42 yards on 14 carries. City was efficient and effective. I haven’t seen Bassfield, but Calhoun City does it all well. Gates only threw three passes, but completed them all. A City vs. Bassfield rematch would be fun, but as quick as we’ve been to crown Calhoun, Baldwyn is sneaking around in the state’s Top 5 as well. The Bearcats are 9-1 and would have been 10-0 if not for a weather-delayed loss at Saltillo. Baldwyn has a good front and rushers with the same firepower City has. Plus Jacob Turner has shown he can effectively lead a passing game. If Baldwyn’s defense, which is as good as any in North 2A, can halt Sykes, then Baldwyn-Calhoun City is the most appealing North title possibility.
2. Thursday Halloween treat.
North Pontotoc and Mooreville are giving us an Oct. 30 pail of goodness. The two are both 4-0 and play Thursday in Ecru. Winner wins division, a division North has claimed stake on, but Mooreville has proved over and over that it belongs in the conversation of. I know North coach Brian Sutton respects the Troopers. He’s told me as much. But not everyone thinks they can win. I know they can. I have no idea who I’ll pick in a game that will be one for the ages. The two are ranked in the Journal’s Top 5 medium schools and North is No. 4 in the AP poll.
3. Armani Linton has “it.”
After Baldwyn beat Walnut by 43 points in a game Walnut badly wanted to win, Wildcats’ Ole Miss-commit Armani Linton talked with Jeff Roberts in a video interview I’ll post later. Linton has just grinded for every hard yard he got in a disappointing loss and no one would have blamed him for not wanting to talk.
But Linton was as gracious after the loss as he is after a win.Kid has it physically and kid has it mentally and personally. He’ll be an impact player at Ole Miss sooner than you think.
4. Thursday granted a Hatley first.
With Mantachie beating East Union and Hatley winning at New Site, Hatley clinched its first-ever playoff berth. Hatley has been playing football since 1963, the last tenured team in Mississippi that hadn’t gone to the postseason since its 1981 inception. That is over. I’ll be talking with coach Patrick Schooler, a Hatley grad, about a win that I promise you has turned Hatley upside down with excitement.