Long time sportswriter and high school football expert Robert Wilson is doing a predictions column each week during the high school football season on teams from Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties. Robert went 14-4 last week (77.8 percent) and is 34-6 (85.0 percent) for the season.
Bayou Academy (3-0) at MRA (3-0)
Madison-Ridgeland Academy was known as a passing team a year ago with strong-armed quarterback Philip Short and his prolific passing attack. Four receivers had more than 100 receiving yards and Short threw for a Mississippi record 593 yards in the state championship win over Jackson Prep.
MRA showed last Friday night against Jackson Academy that the Patriots have a strong running attack to compliment Northwest Rankin transfer quarterback Zach Beasley’s passing ability. MRA ran for 248 yards, 142 in the second half, as the Patriots rallied for a 20-10 win. Senior Rayf Vinson, who has verbally committed to Navy, scored two touchdowns and has six TDs this season. The running-passing combo combined with MRA’s solid defense, led by Under Armour All-American junior linebacker Stone Blanton, makes this year’s team very difficult to compete with.
Class 5A Bayou finished 2019 with a 1-9 record and allowed 40 or more points in each of the last seven games. Longtime Mississippi high school coach Flip Godfrey, Bayou’s second-year athletic director, took over the head coaching duties this season and has made a quick turnaround, winning his first three games. Senior linebacker Hayes Holman and junior quarterback Larson Ingram are two of Bayou’s top players. Metro Jackson fans remember Godfrey winning back to back state championships at Canton Academy in 1995-1996 and also coaching at Madison St. Joseph from 2005-2014. Godfrey has been a head coach for more than 25 years and is back after several years in the sporting goods business.
This won’t be a fun trip from the Mississippi Delta for Bayou. MRA should break away in the third quarter and cruise to a win.
MRA 35, Bayou 7.
Ridgeland (1-0) at Terry (1-0)
Both Class 5A Ridgeland and Class 6A Terry had big wins last week. Senior quarterback Zy McDonald was named the Mississippi Scoreboard Football Player of the Week after passing for 344 yards and three touchdowns and running for 146 yards and two TDs in Ridgeland’s 34-14 victory over Pearl in Sam Williams’ coaching debut. Kris Thigpen’s debut as Terry’s new head coach was a success with a 33-7 win over Florence. Thigpen was promoted from assistant coach and replaced Bo Russum. Thigpen is Terry’s third head coach in three years. Thigpen was an assistant coach at Ridgeland from 2016-2018 when McDonald was a freshman and sophomore. Thigpen played quarterback and led Taylorsville to a state championship in 2002 and also was an assistant coach at Collins on their championship team in 2014. McDonald and his Titan offense are too much for the Yellowjackets.
Ridgeland 35, Terry 14.
Clinton (1-0) at Northwest Rankin (0-1)
If the season opener is any indication, Clinton has a stingy defense. It starts up front with seniors Deandrae Cavett (6-foot-2, 260 pounds), Lentrell Rushing (5-9, 300) and Jabreal Woodall (6-1, 252). Brandon found out last week as Clinton’s defense kept the Bulldog offense off the scoreboard in a 30-7 win. Brandon’s only score was on a kickoff return. Clinton senior quarterback Caleb Miller has returned after battling shoulder issues a year ago, had surgery in February and looked good with two TD passes and one TD run. Meanwhile, Northwest Rankin played a great first half and led Madison Central 10-6 before the Jaguars came storming back with 28 second-half points for a 30-21 victory. Northwest senior quarterback Caleb Parten completed 17 of 28 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Clinton’s D will slow down Parten this week.
Clinton 24, NW Rankin 14.
Jackson Prep (3-0) at ACCS (2-1)
Jackson Prep had a rare open date to get ready for this one and that’s not good news for Adams County Christian School. Prep coach Ricky Black, the second winningest high school football coach in Mississippi history with 296 wins, is a master of devising a plan to take advantage of his team’s strengths and expose the other team’s weaknesses. Black has 258 wins at Prep since 1997. Prep has a 24-1 mark against the Natchez school with the only loss coming in 1982. The schools played last year for the first time since 2003. ACCS came into last year’s game at Prep a 3-0 record and a 12-game winning streak and left with a 37-0 loss. Look for Prep quarterback Riley Maddox, running back Matt Jones and linebacker Braedon Mabry to have big games. ACCS coach David King has done a fabulous job with his program, averaging 11 wins over the seven seasons, but Friday won’t be one of them.
Jackson Prep 35, ACCS 7.
Other games: (Projected winner in bold)
Brandon (0-1) at Warren Central (1-0)
Florence (0-1) at Scott Central (1-0)
Forest (1-0) at Pelahatchie (0-1)
Hartfield (1-2) at Leake (3-0)
Hillcrest (0-4) at Riverfield, La. (1-1)
Kemper County (1-0) at Raymond (1-0)
Lamar (1-2) at Park Place (2-1)
Loyd Star (1-0) at Pisgah (1-0)
Madison Central (1-0) at Pearl (0-1)
Northeast Lauderdale (0-1) at Jackson Academy (1-2)
Rebul (0-3) at Prairie View, La. (2-1)
Richland (1-0) at McLaurin (0-1)
St. Andrew’s (0-1) at Madison St. Joseph (0-1)
Simpson (1-2) at East Rankin (1-2)
Tylertown (0-1) at Germantown (1-0)
West Lincoln (1-0) at Puckett (1-0)
Yazoo City (1-0) at Canton (0-1)