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 picked 27 of 33 games (81.8 percent, second highest this season) correctly last week and for the second straight weeks was more than 80 percent. Robert is 213-76 overall (73.7 percent) for the season.
Canton (6-3) at Provine (8-2) (Thursday at Hughes Field)
This winner of this game will get the No. 4 seed in Class 5A, Region 2 while the loser will miss the playoffs. Canton quarterback Jacobian Morgan has passed for 2,142 yards and the Tigers have scored less than 20 points in only one game this season, a 28-7 loss to Ridgeland. Provine wide receiver Deion Smith has caught 29 passes for 771 yards, 26.6 yards per catch, and scored 17 touchdowns. Rams coach Tim Wilson has made one of the biggest turnarounds in Mississippi, going from 3-8 in his first year in 2018 to this season.
Lanier (5-4) at Lawrence County (6-4)
The winner of this Class 4A, Region 6 game will the No. 2 seed in the playoffs next week and the loser will be the No. 3 seed. It’s a big game because the No. 2 seed will host while the No. 3 seed will travel. Second-year Lanier coach Michael Ashford has a good defense, allowing more than 14 points in only three of its games this season. Even though Lanier two straight games, the defense was solid, losing to McComb 13-6 and South Pike 14-0. Ashford should be commended for his second straight trip to the playoffs for the Bulldogs, a program that had lost 38 games in a row from 2010-2014.
Madison Central (7-2) at Germantown (4-5)
This is the first time the two Madison County rivals have met in football. It is a Class 6A, Region 2 game. Madison Central is in the playoffs, but a win could possibly move them up to a higher seed depending on the outcome of the Starkville-Warren Central game. The Jaguars, considered the top team in Mississippi three weeks ago after winning their first seven games, lost at Starkville 24-21 and South Panola 38-34, both in the final minutes. Germantown has had growing pains, moving up from 5A to 6A this season. The Mavericks’ first year as a school was 2011 and moved up 5A in 2013. Germantown went 3-7 the first year in 2011 and has had a winning season every year since. Unless they pull the upset Friday, the Mavericks will end that streak. Madison Central should be able to take out its frustration over the past two weeks on its neighbor and get ready for the playoffs.
Madison Central 28-7.
Oak Grove (6-3) at Pearl (6-3)
Pearl and Oak Grove are in a five-way tie for second place in Class 6A, Region 3 going into the final week of the regular season. The winner of the game makes the playoff. The outcomes of the Petal-George County and Brandon-Northwest Rankin games will determine the seeding and if the loser makes the playoff. Pearl, despite losing its star player Kenyatta Harrell to a season-ending knee injury against Petal earlier this season, has scored at least 42 points in three of its last four games. The last time Oak Grove came to Pearl was in 2017 when the Pirates went 15-0 and won the Class 6A state title, including a 42-0 win over Oak Grove. This one won’t be as one-sided, but Pearl should win and secure a playoff berth.
Ridgeland (7-2) at Holmes County Central (7-3)
The winner of this game will be the No. 2 seed and the loser the No 3 seed behind Neshoba Central in Class 5A, Region 2. Both teams have lost to Neshoba, Ridgeland losing 42-28 and Holmes County Central losing 27-20. Ridgeland, under first-year coach David White, has clinched its first winning season since 2013. Holmes County Central, under second-year coach Marcus Rogers, has clinched its second consecutive winning season for the first time since the school was formed in 2015 after the consolidation of McClain, Marshall and Williams-Sullivan High Schools. The Jaguars went 11-2 last year and lost to Olive Branch 21-0 in the 5A quarterfinals.
Holmes County Central 22-21.
South Delta (8-1) at Pisgah (8-2)
The winner of this Class 2A, Region 4 game is the No. 2 seed and the loser is the No. 3 seed. The winner will host next week and the loser will travel next week. Pisgah coach Michael Granberry has a unique situation because his father, Kenny Granberry, is a volunteer assistant and brings a wealth of experience to the staff. Kenny has been coaching for three decades and won 204 games as a head coach at Raymond High and Central Hinds Academy. Both South Delta and Pisgah lost to Pelahatchie, South Delta losing 63-34 on Oct. 10 at home and Pisgah losing 29-26 on Oct. 18 at home. Pisgah should win this one, especially playing at home.
Jackson Academy (6-4) at Parklane (6-4)
Parklane got the attention of JA last week when the Pioneers almost pulled off a big upset over Jackson Prep. Parklane, which hadn’t beaten Prep since 1995, was so close to ending the streak but lost in double overtime. JA is led by 5-foot-9, 225-pound sophomore running back Marcus Harris, who had his seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing game in last week’s win over Starkville Academy. Harris has 1,302 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns this season. The Raiders have won three straight games. A win by JA secures the No. 3 seed in Class 6A regardless of the outcome of the Madison-Ridgeland Academy-Oak Forest, La. game.
Park Place (5-5) at Hartfield (7-3)
This is a first round MAIS Class 5A playoff game. Hartfield comes in as the No. 5 seed and Park Place as the No. 12 seed. Hartfield, which has had one of the biggest turnarounds in Mississippi this season, finished second in District 2, one game behind three-time defending state champion Lamar. Park Place is the bottom seed of this division. Hartfield beat Park Place in the regular season matchup 40-14 on Sept. 6 at Park Place. The Hawks were ahead 34-7 at halftime. The winner will play at No. 4 seed Pillow next week. Park Place will have a tough time slowing down Hartfield, especially speedy wide receiver Brandon Buckhaulter, an Ole Miss commitment, who had four catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting.
Winners are Underlined
Vicksburg (1-8) at Callaway (4-5) (Thursday) (South Jackson)
Brandon (6-4) at Northwest Rankin (3-6)
Canton Academy (2-8) at North Delta (6-3)
Clinton (4-5) at Greenville (3-6)
Columbia Academy (2-7) at Clinton Christian (5-5)
Crystal Springs (6-3) at St. Andrew’s (2-8)
Enterprise-Clark (8-1) at Puckett (5-5)
Forest Hill (3-7) at South Jones (3-7)
Laurel (7-2) at Wingfield (1-9) (South Jackson)
MRA (9-2) at Oak Forest, La. (6-3)
McComb (5-4) at Raymond (3-7)
McLaurin (2-8) at Yazoo County (8-2)
Morton (4-6) at Pelahatchie (8-2)
Presbyterian Christian (5-5) at Jackson Prep (8-2)
Rebul (0-10) at Christian Collegiate (3-6)
Richland (4-6) at Florence (2-8)
Riverside (2-8) at Madison St. Joseph (2-7)
South Panola (9-1) at Murrah (1-8) (Hughes)
Terry (2-8) at Meridian (1-9)
Velma Jackson (6-3) at Raleigh (4-5)
West Jones (9-0) at Jim Hill (2-8) (North Jackson)