Veteran sportswriter and high school football expert Robert Wilson is doing the PriorityOne Bank predictions column each week during the high school football season on teams from Hinds, Madison, and Rankin County. Robert had a 18-9 record (66.7 percent) last week and has a 90-29 record overall (75.6 percent) this season.
By Robert Wilson
Starkville (4-0) at Madison Central (2-1)
Starkville kept Madison Central from an undefeated season last year when it scored 14 points in the final 3 minutes, 30 seconds to defeat Madison Central 35-28 in Starkville. Starkville quarterback Trey Petty completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver with 24 seconds to play for the winning score. Starkville outscored Madison Central 28-7 in the second half.
The loss was the first one at Madison Central for coach Toby Collums, last year’s PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Football Coach of the Year after leading Northwest Rankin to a second-round playoff victory for the first time in school history and one of the biggest turnarounds in Mississippi.
Madison Central regrouped and won 10 straight games to win the MSHAA Class 6A state championship for the first time since 1999.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Petty, now a junior, is rated as the No. 9 player in Mississippi and the No. 48 quarterback in the country in the Class of 2024 by 247 Composite. He passed for two TDs and ran for 104 yards and one TD last season against Madison Central. Petty, who has been offered by Mississippi State and Southern Miss, has passed for 831 yards and 10 TDs, and ran for 88 yards and three TDs this season.
If Madison Central is going to avenge last year’s only loss the Jaguars must contain the elusive Petty. Madison Central’s defense is led by senior defensive backs DeAndre Pullen and Chris Berry and senior defensive lineman Edward White.
Madison Central has an outstanding quarterback as well in senior Vic Sutton, who has committed to Louisiana Tech. The 6-3, 200-pound Sutton – a member of the PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – has passed for 446 yards and seven TDs this season. He is rated No. 22 player in Mississippi by 247 Sports.
Sutton’s top receiver is senior Isaiah Spencer, who just received his first Power 5 offer from Georgia Tech this week. He has caught 19 passes for 233 yards and two TDs this season. Spencer, who has committed to Southern Miss, also has offers from Alcorn State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina and Alabama A&M. He is rated the No. 12 player in the Mississippi by 247 Sports.
This is the Class 6A, Region 2 opener for both teams. Madison Central had the week off while Starkville edged Class 5A powerhouse Louisville 21-20 last week.
Junior kicker-punter Max Zuluaga could be the difference. Zuluaga, the first team kicker on the PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson team last season, made 8 of 8 field goal attempts and 62 of 66 extra point attempts, punted for a 39.3-yard average and had seven touchbacks as a sophomore. He is the No. 5 rated kicker in the country in the Class of 2024 by nationalkickingrankings.com. Zuluaga has made 13 of 14 PATs and hasn’t tried a field goal attempt so far this season.
Madison Central 24, Starkville 21.
In other games (winners in bold):
Meridian (1-1) at Northwest Rankin (0-3), Thursday
Vicksburg (2-2) at Jim Hill (0-3-1), Thursday (North Jackson Field)
Wingfield (0-3) at Forest Hill (0-4), Thursday (South Jackson)
Callaway (4-0) at Ridgeland (4-0)
Canton (1-2) at Holmes County Central (2-1)
Canton Academy (5-0) at Tri-County (5-0)
Centreville Academy (3-3) at Central Hinds (3-2)
Clinton (1-2) at Germantown (2-2)
Clinton Christian (5-1) at Riverfield, La. (3-2)
Copiah (5-0) at Jackson Prep (5-0)
Greenwood (3-1) at Lanier (0-4), North Jackson
Hillcrest Christian (2-3) at Christian Collegiate (3-2)
Lamar (1-5) at Hartfield Academy (3-1)
Leake Central (1-2) at Velma Jackson (1-3)
Laurel (2-2) at Florence (4-0)
Madison St. Joseph (2-3) at Simpson Academy (3-2)
Newton County Academy (5-0) at Discovery Christian (0-5)
Oxford (2-1) at Murrah (0-4), South Jackson
Raleigh (4-0) at MRA (4-2)
Pelahatchie (0-4) at Morton (2-2)
Petal (3-1) at Pearl (1-3)
Pillow (3-2) at Jackson Academy (4-1)
Pisgah (1-3) at Richland (2-2)
Provine (2-2) at Neshoba Central (2-2)
Puckett (4-0) at Bogue Chitto (3-1)
Raymond (2-1) at North Forrest (0-4)
St. Andrew’s (2-2) at McLaurin (1-3)
Terry (3-1) at Brandon (3-0)
West Lincoln (0-4) at East Rankin Academy (1-4)