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 went 8-1 last week(88.8 percent), 17-1 over the past two weeks (94.4 percent)and is 193-50 (79.4 percent) for the season.
Northwest Rankin (9-3) at Oak Grove (11-0)
Northwest Rankin coach Toby Collums’ Cougars made school history last week when Caleb “Hot Sauce” Partencompleted a two-point conversion pass to Jordan Cavitt with about a minute to go to give Northwest Rankin a 29-28 victory over d’Iberville in the Class 6A second round playoffs, the first time a Cougar football team had ever won a second-round game. Parten passed for 216 yards and two TDs and junior running back Cam Marion had 118 yards and two TDs to lead the Cougar’s offensive attack. Now Northwest Rankin will face an even tougher challenge, finding a way to knock off No. 1 Oak Grove, riding an 11-game winning streak, in the semifinals. Oak Grove came to Northwest three weeks ago and left with a 56-30 victory. Quarterback Kabe Barnett completed 14 of 15 passes for 199 yards and four TDs and ran nine times for 100 yards. He has thrown 32 TDs with only five interceptions. Collums has done one of the best coaching jobs in the Metro Jackson area this season, turning around a team that won only three games last season. He will look to Parten (who has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,905 yards), Marion (1,384 yards, 17 TDs), Cavitt (741 receiving yards) and defensive back JavianGarthright to pull the upset. And then Collum can count on sophomore kicker Christian Bagloine for a winning kick in the final minutes. He has kicked two game-winners this season.Oak Grove is averaging 45 points and is just too strong.
Oak Grove 35, Northwest Rankin 21.
Oxford (11-0) at Clinton (10-2)
Oxford is the defending Class 6A state champion and winners of 23 straight games. The Chargers haven’t lost since a 45-17 decision to Starkville early last season. Oxford didn’t play Starkville this season due to covid-19 restrictions at the beginning of the season. Clinton did play Starkville and sent the Yellow Jackets home with a 35-7 loss, ending their season and leaving them out of the playoffs. Clinton has played a better schedule than Oxford and should end Oxford’s long winning streak. Quarterback Caleb Miller, lineman Kenny Walker and wide receivers Michael Hughes and Carsson Deyoung on offense and linemen JabrealWoodall and DeAndrae Cavett, linebacker Roger Gray (who doubles as an outstanding punter) and defensive backs Ja’marea Briscoe and Jeremy Mack on defense will lead the Coach Judd Boswell and the Arrows into the championship game next week. Oxford is averaging 32 points per game this season, but Clinton will keep the Chargers out of the end zone enough to win.
Clinton 28, Oxford 21.
West Point (10-3) at Ridgeland (10-2)
Ridgeland senior quarterback Zy McDonald showed once again why he is one of the best players in Mississippi last week when he passed and ran for 483 yards and threeTDs to lead the Titans to a 32-29 victory Friday night over Neshoba Central in a Class 5A second-round game. McDonald’s favorite target, senior wide receiver Richard Mays Jr., was spectacular as well, catching eight passes for 137 yards and three TDs.
Now, Ridgeland and first-year coach Sam Williams plays host to four-time defending 5A state champion West Point. Playing in big time games in nothing new for West Point, but it is for Ridgeland. This is the first time the Titans have made it this far since 2011.
McDonald, who has verbally committed to Louisiana-Lafayette, has passed for and ran for 3,557 yards and 40 TDs. Mays, a UL-Monroe commit, has caught 56 passes for 1,093 yards and 14 TDs. And West Point better watch out for super sophomore wide receiver Ayden Williams, one of the top sophomore receivers in the South.
McDonald and Co. will rise to the occasion again and carry Coach Sam Williams to the championship game next week.
Ridgeland 35, West Point 28.
Other games: (Winner in Bold)
Biggersville (12-0) at Nanih Waiya (11-0)
Columbia (10-2) at Magee (10-0)
East Union (10-1) at Calhoun City (9-2)
Enterprise-Clarke (10-1) at Taylorsville (12-1)
Itawamba AHS (8-3) at Louisville (11-1)
Mendenhall (6-5) at Poplarville (9-3)
Simmons (8-1) at Lumberton (10-1)
West Jones (11-2) at Pascagoula (8-4)
Winona (11-1) at Noxubee County (9-1)