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 8 of 10 games (80.0 percent) correctly last week. Robert is 260-87 overall (74.9 percent) for the season.
Jackson Prep (10-2) vs. MRA (11-2), Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Madison-Ridgeland Academy came up short by a touchdown a year ago after beating Prep 42-14 during the regular season. MRA held Prep star running back JerrionEaly to 98 yards and a late touchdown in the regular season, but Ealy gained 209 yards on 33 carries to lead Prep to its seventh straight championship. His 1-yard gain on fourth down at the MRA 42 with 17 seconds to play clinched the victory last year. MRA and Prep are here again and once again MRA won the regular season matchup, this time 34-22. Can MRA win its first state title since 2004 and defeated Prep again? Can Prep turn the tables on MRA again like it did last year? Those questions will be answered Saturday night. Prep coach Ricky Black goes for his 394th career victory and his 14th state championship. MRA coach Herbert Davis goes for his 180th career win and fourth state title and with a third different team. Brookhaven Academy and Pillow were the others. It’s very difficult to beat Black twice in one season.
Tri-County Academy (10-2) vs. Riverfield, La. (12-0), Thursday at 7 p.m. at Jackson Academy.
Tri-County has won four state championships, the last one in 2012, the last year the Rebels were Class A. This will be Tri-County fourth time in the past five years to play for the championship. The Rebels have been the title game 13 times. One of the goals that first-year Tri-County coach Philip Wasson had was to bring home the trophy to Flora. Wasson, who won two state titles at Washington School in 2011 and 2015, is one win away. Tri-County lost to Riverfield 50-49 in a heartbreaker in the second game of the season. Tri-County, which led twice by 20 points in the game, took a 49-42 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Riverfield converted a fourth and goal for a touchdown with less than 2 minutes to go and went for the win and scored the two-point conversion. Tri-County was able to drive down the field some, but not close enough to try to a field goal before time ran out. The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards. Tri-County will get it done this time.
Brandon (9-4) at Petal (11-1)
Brandon will try to win its second straight Class 6A playoff game on the road Friday in a rematch of its regular season game where Petal kicked a field goal on the game’s final play for a 27-24 victory. Brandon is trying to win its 10th game for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. The Bulldogs won a school record 13 games last year and lost to Oak Grove and current Ole Miss starting quarterback John Rhye Plumlee in the 6A semifinals. Brandon defeated D’Iberville 35-25 last week in the first round as senior quarterback and Mississippi State commitment Will Rogers threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Rogers has thrown 21 TD passes in the past five games. Rogers gets his TDs, but Petal gets the W.
Winners are Underlined.
Briarfield, La. (11-1) vs. Prairie View, La. (9-3) Thursday at 3 p.m. at Jackson Academy
Manchester (11-0) vs. Marvell, Ark. (11-1) Friday at 11 a.m. at JA
Greenville St. Joseph (12-0) vs. Indianola (10-4) Friday at 3 p.m. at JA.
Heritage (13-0) vs. Starkville (9-4) Friday at 7 p.m. at JA.