Teams looking to solidify a hold on first place in their region, some seeking to rebound from past defeats and some wanting to get their seasons back in gear are among the matchups for the Week Seven version of Friday’s Five Football Things to Remember.
1. Check the calendar boys. For the first time this year, a DeSoto County football team takes the field on a Thursday night, as two teams head for separate games in Oxford. DeSoto Central plays in Oxford and both squads will be looking for their first win in region play this season. Oxford also wants its first region win in Class 6A ever since being bumped up from 5A last season. DeSoto Central has the more productive scoring offense by a 20-19.29 point-per-game margin, but Oxford is better statistically in scoring defense by a 12.57-20.71 per-game difference.
The Jaguars put up 14 against Horn Lake in a 43-14 loss last week, while Oxford was shut out by South Panola 14-0.
The other Thursday game in Oxford will have Lewisburg at Lafayette, where the Patriots look to stop a two-game skid, including last week’s 34-7 loss to Olive Branch. Lewisburg averages 26.5 points scored per game, while Lafayette dents the scoreboard to the tune of 20.83 points a contest. But, the Commodores have allowed an average of 32.83 points a game to Lewisburg’s 17.5 points allowed. However, the two losses have put the Patriots in an 0-2 hole in region play, while Lafayette is 1-1 with last week’s 45-14 victory over Saltillo.
2. It’s tough at the top. So, we’ll see who can stay unbeaten at the top of MHSAA 6A-1 when Southaven travels to Tupelo and in MHSAA 5A-1 when Olive Branch hosts Grenada. The Chargers have the stiffer challenge, facing an unbeaten Tupelo team that has held opponents to just 45 points in six victories while scoring 229 points themselves, an average of 38.17 points per game. Southaven has averaged 17.83 points on offense but has allowed 19.17 on defense. Southaven edged Hernando 13-10 last week while Tupelo blanked Columbus 44-0.
Olive Branch will bring a team second to only Hattiesburg for scoring offense among 5A schools to its home turf Friday against Grenada, a new addition to the 5A field. The Quistors have scored an average of 40.50 points a game, compared to Hattiesburg’s 46 points a contest. Olive Branch is number one among 5A schools defensively, however, allowing an average of just 7.5 points a game, including shutouts of DeSoto Central and Saltillo. While Olive Branch beat region and county rival Lewisburg 34-7, Grenada defeated Lake Cormorant 32-15.
3. Who is still flying high? The Horn Lake Eagles are the third team at the top of the MHSAA 6A-1 standings and will need a win at Columbus to keep from being grounded back into the middle of the pack. Sixteen points short of Tupelo on offense for the season, the Eagles with one less game played actually have the better scoring average at 42.6 points a game. Horn Lake allows an average of 13.6 points on defense. Columbus, recovering from a three-game losing streak to start the year, fell at Tupelo last Friday night. It was the Falcons’ first loss in its last three decisions.
4. Streaking! And that’s not a good thing. Looking to put “W’s” on the board for the first time in awhile Friday will be Magnolia Heights, Center Hill and Hernando. Magnolia Heights looks to stop a four-game losing streak in Friday’s home game against North Delta. It will be the last MAIS Class AAAA-II non-division game of the season for the Chiefs, which lost last week to Marshall Academy 35-0. Hernando’s effort to halt a losing skid will come Friday at home against South Panola. After winning its first three contests, the Tigers have now dropped three in a row, including last Friday’s defeat at Southaven. For Center Hill, the Mustangs want to squelch the “0 for the season” result so far on Friday, hosting Saltillo.
5. There’s gotta be more! And there is, with Friday matchups, such as West Point at Lake Cormorant, where the defending MHSAA 5A state champion Green Wave meet a Gators’ team still reeling from the fatal loss of linebacker Jaquarius Harper last Saturday morning in an accidental shooting incident, and University School of Jackson (Tenn.) comes to Northpoint Christian, where the Trojans hope to rebound from last week’s loss to Harding Academy that stopped a three-game winning streak for Northpoint.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.