By Robert Wilson
Germantown (3-0) at Warren Central (2-0)
Germantown interim head coach Scott Brown is very familiar with Warren Central. When Brown was the head coach at Clinton, the Arrows and Vikings battled each year in a rivalry that goes back the Little Dixie days before the MHSAA started the playoffs in the early 1980s. Brown was at Clinton for 16 seasons (1996-2011) and the head coach for the last seven years and had a 4-3 record against Warren Central. Brown was an assistant coach at Clinton when Warren Central’s current head coach Josh Morgan was playing for the Vikings in the late 1990s.
Brown’s Mavericks, who just moved up to Class 6A two years ago, are new to playing Warren Central, losing both meetings, 23-10 last season at Warren Central and 35-14 in 2019 at Germantown. Brown has been defensive coordinator at Germantown for the past four seasons before taking over this summer for Tim Shramek, who is now working with the MHSAA.
Morgan’s Vikings didn’t allow more than 21 points in regulation – lost 36-35 in double overtime to South Panola – and registered two shutouts in eight games last season. Germantown senior running back, Under Armour All-American and a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Preseason Elite Eleven Team Branson Robinson had only 111 yards and one touchdown against rugged Viking defense last season. It was one of Robinson’s lowest yardage totals last year. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Robinson, a Georgia commitment, had 1,179 yards in nine games, including a career-high 281 yards and five TDs in a 72-38 victory over Cleveland Central. He has 200 yards and five TDs so far this season.
Germantown also has a force on defense in senior defensive lineman and Ole Miss commit Zxavian Harris, a 6-8, 335-pounder and another Elite Eleven choice for the Mavs. In fact, Robinson and Harris – ranked Nos. 1 and 4 in Mississippi by 247 Sports in the Class of 2022 – gives Germantown the only team in the state with two players in the Top 20. Robinson is rated as the No. 3 running back and Harris the No. 24 rated defensive lineman in the country by 247 Sports.
Warren Central, has been traditional powerhouse even back in the 1970s and early 1980s when legendary coach Lum Wright built the Vikings into an outstanding program. Robert Morgan, Josh’s dad and Wright’s longtime assistant, took over for Wright and coached Warren Central from 1985-2003. Josh, who also played safety for Mississippi State, is in his 12th season at head coach. His older brother, Rob, is the offensive coordinator. Germantown defensive line coach Ben Dew played at Warren Central and was two years ahead of Rob and several years ahead of Josh. Ben’s dad, Robert, coached with Wright and Robert Morgan at Warren Central.
Warren Central once again has a solid defense. The Vikings’ two victories are over Forest Hill 27-0 and Vicksburg 7-6. Germantown has defeated Vicksburg 24-14 and Lake Charles, La., College Prep 40-26, and a forfeit win over Canton.
Germantown will have the best two players on the field, but Warren Central has more good players who can make a difference. Plus, the Vikings are playing at home where they don’t lose very often.
Warren Central 21, Germantown 14.
Hartfield Academy (3-0) at Presbyterian Christian (3-0)
Hartfield, one of the fastest growing schools in the MAIS, plays its first MAIS Class 6A football game in school history Friday when the Hawks travel down to Hattiesburg to take on the Bobcats.
Hartfield has cruised in three victories over Clinton Christian 49-7, Magnolia Heights 35-0, and Pillow 49-0. Senior running back Xavier Davis has been impressive, averaging an amazing 19.8 yards per carry and scoring a touchdown on almost 50 percent of his carries (seven TDs on 16 carries). The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Davis has gained 317 yards in three games and probably hasn’t played much more than half of those games. Hartfield has more than Davis. Versatile senior quarterback Cruz Garner, who has played several positions during his career at Hartfield, has been efficient like Davis. He has completed 15 of 24 passes (62.5%) for 302 yards and five TDs, one TD for every five passes thrown. Also a dangerous runner, Garner is averaging 14.4 yards per carry (101 yards on seven carries) and one TD.
PCS has also won three straight games over Simpson 9-0, Silliman, La., 42-2 and Columbia Academy 35-6.
Hartfield begins its Class 6A schedule with a victory.
Hartfield 28, PCS 14.
Clinton (1-1) at Brandon (0-2)
Clinton bounced back from a tough double-overtime loss on the road at Ocean Springs in its season opener with a 32-7 victory over Northwest Rankin. Senior running back Jakobe Calvin had 143 yards and one TD on 13 carries last week.
Brandon – under first-year coach Sam Williams – is suffering growing pains while playing a rugged schedule, losing to two of the best Class 6A teams in the state, 24-17 to Oxford and 42-19 to Madison Central.
Clinton leads the series – one of the oldest in the state – 41-33-1 and will add to its total Friday night. Another tough night for the Bulldogs.
Clinton 24, Brandon 14.
In other games:
Callaway (1-1) at Provine (1-1), North Jackson W
W Central Hinds (2-0) at Silliman, La. (1-2)
Clinton Christian (2-2) at Carroll (2-0) W
East Rankin (2-1) at Park Place (1-2) W
Hillcrest (1-3) at Greenville Christian (3-1) W
Jim Hill (1-1) at Ridgeland (1-1) W
Lamar (0-3) at Jackson Prep (1-2) W
W Madison Central (2-0) at Northwest Rankin (0-2)
Madison St. Joseph (2-1) at Jackson Academy (3-0) W
W MRA (1-3) at Simpson (2-1)
Magee (0-1) at Florence (1-1) W
McLaurin (0-2) at Richland (1-1) W
Murrah (0-2) at Terry (0-2) W
W Neshoba Central (2-0) at Forest Hill (0-2), South Jackson
Oak Hill (1-1) at Canton Academy (2-1) W
W Pearl (1-1) at Morton (0-2)
Pelahatchie (1-1) at Lake (1-1) W
W Puckett (2-0) at West Lincoln (0-2)
Rebul (0-3) at Northeast Baptist, La. (0-3) W
W Richton (0-2) at St. Andrew’s (1-1)
Riverfield, La. (1-2) at Tri-County (3-0) W
Sebastopol (1-1) at Pisgah (1-1) W
W Velma Jackson (2-0) at Raymond (1-1)