Long time sportswriter and high school football expert Robert Wilson will be doing a predictions column each week during the high school football season on teams from Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties. Robert picked 20 of 29 games correctly last week, including the biggest game of the week, Brandon’s exciting 27-21 victory over Starkville. Robert picked the score 28-27. Robert is 21-10 overall for the season, a 67.7 winning percentage.
Brandon (1-0) at Madison Central (1-0)
Brandon faces another huge test, a trip to the Jungle where not many teams come out with a victory. Madison Central believes it, too, has a legit shot at winning a state championship. The Jaguars whipped outmanned Vicksburg last week. Madison Central’s talented quarterback Jimmy Holiday, a TCU commitment, should lead the way in a key win over Brandon over its talented quarterback Will Rogers, a Mississippi State commit. The home team has won this matchup for the past four seasons and Brandon hasn’t won in Madison since 2013.
Madison Central 28-24
Warren Central (1-0) at Pearl (1-0)
Pearl running back Kenyatta Harrell had one of the best games in the state last week in the Pirates’ 32-22 victory over Clinton. Harrell gained 197 yards and scored four touchdowns. Warren Central is going to be a tough test for Pearl. The Vikings shutout 5A contender Holmes County Central 13-0 last week as Jerrious Stovall scored a touchdown and Josh Griffin kicked two field goals and the defense didn’t break. The Pirates will pull this one out in the fourth quarter.
Simpson (1-0) at Jackson Prep (0-1)
The seven-time defending state champion Patriots were surprised by Heritage Academy last week in their season opener. It was the first time since 1983 that Prep had lost an opener to an MAIS team. Simpson isn’t a pushover. The Cougars are always tough in their class and sometimes can compete at the highest level of the MAIS. They lost in the Class AAA championship game to Lamar last year and are always in the hunt for a state title. This year will be no different. Prep hasn’t lost two games in a row since it lost to Memphis University School and George County in 2001, and the Patriots haven’t lost to two straight MAIS teams since 1989 when Parklane and Washington beat them back to back games. It won’t this year either. Prep coach Ricky Back will pick up career win No. 384.
Callaway (1-0) at Murrah (1-0) (Hughes Field)
Former Northwest Rankin defensive coordinator Marcus Gibson’s debut as Murrah’s head coach was a success with a 26-12 victory over JPS rival Wingfield last week. It gets tougher with their North Jackson JPS rival Callaway, which has won this series seven of the last 10 years, including the last three each by double figures. Chadwick Germany started his second season with Callaway’s head coach with a 37-24 win over Kemper County. Gibson’s attempt to get Murrah closer to its first winning season since 2012 will have to wait a week.
Forest Hill (0-1) at Ridgeland (1-0)
Former Oklahoma and Nevada assistant coach David White’s debut as Ridgeland’s head coach was a success last week with an impressive 24-21 road victory over Class 6A Ocean Springs. The Titans haven’t had a winning season since 2013 and White plans on changing that trend this year. He takes one step closer with a win over Forest Hill. Ridgeland’s most lopsided win was against Forest Hill a year ago, a 51-8 decision. This one was will be over early.
Pelahatchie (1-0) at Puckett (0-1)
Sam Williams is his third season as Pelahatchie’s head coach and he has the Chiefs rolling once again. They averaged an amazing 45 points per game last season. Class 2A Pelahatchie even took on Class 4A Florence last week in its opener and came away with a 34-19 victory. Willliams has beaten Puckett 58-22 and 48-0 since he arrived at Pelahatchie. Puckett lost to a heartbreaker to Rankin County rival Pisgah 22-20 last week. Puckett won’t get close to Pelahatchie for the first third straight year.
Copiah (1-0) at MRA (2-0)
MRA is off to a fast start, winning its first two games by a combined score of 97-13 in wins over Bessemer, Ala., Academy and Washington School. Talented quarterback Philip Short, considered the top offensive player in the MAIS, completed 15 of 19 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Patriots jumped out to a 43-0 lead on Washington. In fact, MRA has outscored it opponents 83-0 in the first half. Copiah won’t score in the first half either.
Provine (1-0) at Lanier (1-0) (South Jackson Field)
The two Jackson Public School rivals opened up their respective seasons with victories last week. Class 5A Provine defeated Class 6A Columbus 15-6 and Class 4A Lanier defeated Class 4A Yazoo City 34-14. Provine has owned this series winning every year for the past two decades, the majority of those being lopsided wins. But last year’s 19-6 Ram win was the closest since 2010. Second year Lanier coach Michael Ashford has the Bulldogs pointed in the right direction, but Provine is too much to handle. Sscond year Provine coach Tim Wilson has a very stingy defense this year.
Canton Academy (0-1) at Hartfield (1-0)
Hartfield is one of the fastest growing schools in the MAIS and it is beginning to show on the football field. The Hawks started off coach Jeff McFerrran’s fifth season with a 29-10 victory over St. Aloysius. Quarterback Cruz Garner and running back Austin Willis combined for more than 200 yards and scored one touchdown each and defensive back Brandon Burkhaulter, an Ole Miss commit, had two interceptions, including one for a TD. Class 4A Canton plays its second straight Class 5A team after a 17-6 loss to Copiah last week in the season opener. Hartfield will be just as difficult an opponent.
Terry (1-0) at Canton (1-0)
Canton surprised some people with its 28-14 victory over Madison County rival Velma Jackson this week and now goes up a class to take on Class 6A Terry. Jacobian Morgan completed 15 of 25 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in the big win. Coach Calvin Bolton guided Canton to a 7-6 record last year and hopes to push the Tigers to another winning season. Terry opened up the Bo Russum era last week with an easy 55-0 victory over Raymond. This won’t want be as easy, but the Bulldogs should survive.
Wingfield (0-1) at Raymond (0-1)
One of these teams is going to be on a one-game winning streak after Friday night. Wingfield has lost 16 games in a row, dating back to 2017. Raymond has lost 24 of its last 25 games. its only win is that span was a 26-24 win over winless Richland last year. The winner is going to feel good at least for one week.
Winners are Underlined
Bogue Chitto (1-0) at Pisgah (1-0)
Carroll (1-0) at Hillcrest (0-2)
Catherdal (0-1) at Madison St. Joseph (0-1)
Central Hinds (0-1) at Oak Forest, La. (0-1)
C.H.E.F., La. (0-1) at Clinton Chrstiian (0-1)
Claiborne, La. (0-1) at Rebul (0-1)
Clinton (0-1) at Olive Branch (0-0)
East Rankin (0-1) at River Oaks (0-1)
Florence (0-1) at Crystal Springs (1-0)
Germantown (1-0) at Neshoba Central (0-1)
Gullfport (1-0) at Northwest Rankin (0-1)
Jim Hill (0-1) at Port Gibson (0-1)
Leake (1-0) at Jackson Academy (0-1)
Loyd Star (0-1) at McLaurin (0-1)
New Orleans Home School (0-1) at Richland (1-0)
Riverfield (0-1) at Tri-County (1-0)
St. Andrew’s (0-1) at Newton (0-1)
Vicksburg (0-1) at Velma Jackson (0-1)