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 17 of 19games (89.4) correctly last week. Robert is 252-85 overall (74.7 percent) for the season.
Madison Central (9-2) at Olive Branch (8-3)
Madison Central was riding high several weeks ago, undefeated and ranked No. 1 in Mississippi before losing two straight. But now the Jaguars can still accomplish their goal of winning a Class 6A state title and it starts in the first round of the playoffs with a three-hour trip near Memphis. The last time Madison Central played at Olive Branch was the season opener in 2012. The home team won 31-28. Madison Central will win this one.
Madison Central 31-17.
Brandon (8-4) at D’Iberville (9-2)
Senior quarterback Will Rogers, a Mississippi State commitment, tuned up for the 6A playoffs by throwing for 255 yards and five touchdowns vs. Northwest Rankin and 365 yards and three TDs vs. Pearl. Rogers will put on a show on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this week.
Provine (9-3) at West Point (11-1)
Provine is one of the most improved teams in Mississippi this season, winning six more games than last year. But the Rams are facing the three-time defending Class 5A state champions, who might be the best team in Mississippi. The Green Wave has won 43 of their last 46 games and hasn’t lost at home since 2015.
West Point 42-14.
Ridgeland (8-3) at Lake Cormorant (7-4)
Zy McDonald passed for 322 yards and three touchdowns as Ridgeland scored 30 points in the second half in an impressive, 43-20 victory over Provine to secure a No. 3 seed in Region 2 heading into the Class 5A playoffs. Lake Cormorant is a tough draw though, having lost two games in overtime and one of their two losses in regulation was to three-time defending state West Point. And one of Lake Cormorant’s wins was over defending 6A state champion Horn Lake. Ridgeland’s first winning season since 2013 will end this week.
Lake Cormorant 28-21.
Forest Hill (5-7) at Wayne County (8-3)
A win this week in the first round of the 6A playoffs would give Forest Hill its first six win season since 2008. It won’t be easy. Wayne County has a tradition of being tough in the playoffs. This is the War Eagles’ best team since 2015 when they went 12-3 and won the 5A state title over Oxford and current Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham.
Wayne County 28-7.
Velma Jackson (7-4) at Columbia (11-0)
Velma Jackson has bounced back from losing its first three games by winning seven of the last eight to reach the Class 3A playoffs. Their first assignment is a tough one, a visit to South Mississippi to meet up with undefeated Columbia and the favorite to win the 3A state title. Velma Jackson lost to Jefferson Davis County 53-14 in the first round of last year’s playoffs and hope to make a better showing this time. The Falcons will, but it won’t be enough.
East Webster (10-1) at Pelahatchie (10-2)
This Class 2A first-round matchup is expected to be an offensive shootout. Both teams come in with amazing point production. Pelahatchie has scored more than 40 points seven times and only once was held under 27 points this season. East Webster has scored more than 40 five times and only once was held under 23 points. Ahmad Johnson, who leads the state with 41 touchdowns, and his teammates will get it done.
Oak Forest, La. (7-4) at MRA (10-2)
MRA traveled down to Amite, La., and handled Oak Forest 21-7 two weeks ago. The Patriots have some unfinished business in Clinton next week and don’t want to let up until they get to the championship game.
Jackson Academy (7-4) at Jackson Prep (9-2)
Prep has won a Mississippi record seven straight state championships and has beaten JA 10 consecutive times, including a 28-17 decision earlier this season. The Patriots want another shot at MRA next week.
Wayne Academy (6-3) at Tri-County (9-2)
Tri-County shifts into another gear when it’s playoff time. The Rebels have been to the championship game three times in the past four years. TCA has its eyes on the title, something that has eluded the Rebels since 2012. Wayne stands in their way.