Long time sportswriter and high school football expert Robert Wilson is doing the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard predictions column each week during the high school football season on teams from Hinds, Madison, and Rankin Counties. Robert had a 17-8 record (68.0 percent) last week and has a 81-32 (71.6 percent) this season.

By Robert Wilson

Madison Central (3-0) at Starkville (4-0)

Toby Collums made school history last year at Northwest Rankin by leading the Cougars to a second-round playoff victory for the first time in school history. Collums was named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Coach of the Year after one of the biggest turnarounds in Mississippi last season. 

Collums’ new team – Madison Central – has won many second-round playoff games and has had more success than Northwest Rankin, but Collums – who replaced now Brookhaven Academy coach Anthony Hart – wants to take the Jaguars to the Class 6A state championship, something this school hasn’t done since 1999 before Ridgeland and Germantown were built and took some of the talent away. Madison Central hasn’t been back to the championship game since ’99, losing in the semifinals nine times, the most recent in 2018. 

Collums’ quest to reach the state title game begins Friday night with Madison Central’s first Class 6A, Region 2 game against undefeated Starkville.

Madison Central got past defending Class 5A state champion West Jones and cruised past Rankin County foes Brandon 42-19 and Northwest Rankin 38-7. The Jaguars, who were off last week, have won their first three games for the first time since 2019 when they won their first seven games before losing at Starkville 24-21. 

Senior running back Robert Dumas Jr. has run for 342 yards and seven touchdowns and junior quarterback Vic Sutton has passed for 263 yards and three TDs and ran for 55 yards and three TDs. Senior tight end and Tulane commitment Blake Gunter – a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite Eleven Team – has caught six passes for 115 yards and two TDs. Collums said the entire offensive line has played well this season. 

Collums said senior linebackers Vic Hollins and Sam Rice, who have a combined 63 tackles, have played well.

Starkville finished 6-3 overall and 2-3 in region play and did not make the playoffs last season, but the Yellowjackets are off to a good start. Starkville won its first five games last season before losing to Madison Central 15-9 last season when Creek Robertson – now playing baseball at Southern Miss – had 10 tackles, an interception and caught a TD pass to upset then No. 1 Starkville at Madison. 

Look for Madison Central to roll into Starkville and leave with a similar result this season.

Madison Central 21, Starkville 7.  

Tri-County (5-0) at Canton Academy (4-1)

Tri-County – under third-year coach Phillip Wasson – wants to get back to the state championship game where it has been four times in the past six seasons. The Rebels finished 7-4 and fell short last season. Tri-County’s last state title was in 2012. Wasson won two state titles as Washington School in 2011 and 2015.

Senior quarterback Rouse Boyce completed 14 of 20 passes for 251 yards and three TDs and senior running back Zac Clark had 23 carries for 224 yards and three TDs in last week’s 52-28 victory over Madison St. Joseph in Flora. The Rebels are led on defense by three seniors, ends Tanner Lee and Trace Dearman and middle linebacker Brayden Presley.

Canton Academy, behind first-year coach Gage Posey, is off to a great start, winning four of its first five games for the first time since the 2016 season when the Panthers finished 13-1 and defeated Tri-County 21-7 in the championship game. 

Posey said his best players are (senior) Marcus Goodloe, (junior) E.J. Luckett and (sophomore) Chris Hunter on offense and (juniors) Daniel Ford and Samuel Wofford on defense. 

Tri-County continues its undefeated season.

Tri-County 20, Canton Academy 12.

Central Hinds (5-0) at Centreville (5-1)

Coach Lance Teasley has guided Central Hinds to a remarkable turnaround, winning the first five games of the season after the Cougars had won only one each over the past two years.

Junior running back Brady Price has 670 yards and nine TDs, senior linebacker Luke Knight had 44 tackles, seven for losses and two sacks and junior defensive back Trey Kelly had four interceptions for Central Hinds this season.

Central Hinds, which is averaging 37.4 points per game, will have its toughest test yet Friday night, going up against one of the most successful programs in MAIS history and the winningest coach in Mississippi history.

Centreville coach Bill Hurst, in his 46th season – all at Centreville – has won 415 games and nine state championships, the first one in 1976 and last one in 2014. Centreville’s top players are three-year starter and senior running back-wide receiver-defensive back Caleb Kinabrew and Parklane Academy transfer Ben McGregor, a senior running back-wide receiver-defensive back. McGregor’s dad, Dusty, played on Hurst’s 1989 state championship team. Another player on that championship team, Brian Stutzman, is back at Centreville helping Hurst coach. Stutzman was the head coach at Parklane for the past six seasons and coached with Hurst from 1997-2014.

Hurst gets win No. 416.

Centreville 28, Central Hinds 21.

 Other games:

W Wingfield (1-2) at Forest Hill (0-4), Thursday, South Jackson

Bogue Chitto (3-1) at Puckett (3-1) W

W Brandon (1-2) at Terry (1-3)

W East Rankin (2-3) at West Lincoln (0-4) 

Florence (1-2) at Laurel (1-3) W

Germantown (2-2) at Clinton (1-2) W

W Holmes County Central (1-2) at Canton (1-2)

W Hartfield Academy (5-0) at Lamar (0-5) 

Hillcrest Christian (0-6) at Amite (1-5) W

W Jackson Academy (4-1) at Pillow (4-1) 

W Jackson Prep (3-2) at Copiah (4-1)

Jim Hill (1-2) at Vicksburg (2-2) W

Lanier (1-2) at Greenwood (2-2) W 

W Madison-Ridgeland Academy (3-3) at Raleigh (2-2)

W McLaurin (1-3) at St. Andrew’s (3-2) 

W Morton (1-3) at Pelahatchie (2-2)

Murrah (1-3) at Oxford (2-2) W

W Neshoba Central (4-0) at Provine (1-3), South Jackson

North Forrest (0-4) at Raymond (3-1) W

Northwest Rankin (0-3) at Meridian (3-1) W

Park Place (3-2) at Leake Academy (4-1) W 

W Pearl (3-1) at Petal (3-1)

W Richland (3-1) at Pisgah (1-3)

W Ridgeland (3-1) at Callaway (2-2)

W Riverfield, La. (1-4) at Clinton Christian (2-4) 

W Sharkey-Issaquena (2-3) at Rebul (0-5) 

W Simpson (2-3) at Madison St. Joseph (2-3) 

W Velma Jackson (3-1) at Leake Central (0-4)