Crunch Time arriving for football teams

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crunch Time has arrived for many area football teams. In some cases, the first region/district games won’t appear on the menu until next Friday night.

     Crunch Time quickly determines the wannabes and the real deals. All of these non-region/district games have been amusing, challenging and character-building experiences. Teams with positive playoff hopes have to work harder in practice and play harder in games if they plan to make the state playoffs, which begin in early November.

     Tradition runs deep and Brookhaven Academy has been the most successful when it comes to winning district championships. The Cougars have won six straight district titles. They were Class AA state champions in 2009 when they finished 15-0.

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     The road could be a little tougher this season for Coach Tripp McCarty’s crew. Columbia Academy is much improved and Adams Christian has potential. The Cougars host South AA power Centreville Academy Friday night in what could be a preview of a state playoff game.

     Elsewhere in Lincoln County, the Brookhaven Panthers kick off their Region 3-5A menu Friday night when they host the Wingfield Falcons. Wingfield (0-4) is the weakest team in Ole Brook’s region so it looms as a victory for Coach Tommy Clopton’s Panthers.

     There are tougher region foes ahead: McComb, West Jones, Wayne County, Stone County, South Jones and Pearl. Last year the Panthers finished fourth in the region race and managed to make the playoffs. In 2010, under former BHS boss Tucker Peavey, they also finished fourth in the region but made it all the way to the state championship game where they lost to West Point.

     Bogue Chitto is the runaway bell cow among the four county schools. The Class 1A Bobcats have designs on a strong run in the playoffs. Unbeaten (4-0, 2-0), they are ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Prep Poll and host a strong Hinds  AHS team Friday night for a Region 4-1A game on Troy Smith Field.

     The Bobcats, coached by Gareth Sartin, are blessed with several stars on offense. They are much improved on defense. Usually, defense makes the difference when the playoffs begin.

     It’s already been a long season for the Loyd Star Hornets and the Enterprise Yellow Jackets. The Hornets (0-4) have played a brutal non-region schedule and have an open date this week. Coach Randall Huffman’s team will begin Region 6-2A play against region favorite Madison St. Joseph next week.

     The Yellow Jackets (0-5) are enduring another difficult season under a fourth head coach in four years. Injuries and a depleted roster have made it a daunting task for first-year coach Brooks Burns.

     As luck would have it, they Jackets host an unbeaten team of Richton Rebels (5-0) Friday night. If the Jackets didn’t have bad luck, they would have no luck at all.

     Meanwhile, at West Lincoln, the Bears boast an amazing 2-game victory streak. Due to a postponement caused by Hurricane Isaac, the Bears beat Enterprise on Labor Day and then knocked off Sacred Heart’s Crusaders that Friday.

       First-year coach Willie Brumfield has brought a positive attitude to West Lincoln and it seems to be contagious. They host the Mr. Hermon, La. Yellowjackets for homecoming Friday night and it should be a good game.

     The Bears are in the second year of an independent schedule. They could climb to Class 2A next season and be in the same Region 6 with Loyd Star and Enterprise.

     Hazlehurst, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, is the brightest star among area schools. Coach Randal Montgomery’s Indians (5-0) are strong and swift on offense and defense. They were state runners-up last season.

     Wesson (2A) and Franklin County (3A) could make the playoffs in their respective classifications. The Cobras reside in a weaker than usual region this year. Franklin County should be second in the 3A region behind Hazlehurst.



     Professor Hoopla B.S. donned a jacket Wednesday morning when he went outside to feed the critters. It finally feels like football weather.

     Last week’s forecast saw Hoopla predicting the winners of 23 games and getting 18 correct. Not bad at all.

     Hoopla’s latest list of predictions will provide winners and losers, starting with a pair of Thursday night community college specials.

     Co-Lin at Hinds: Expect the Eagles to be in a foul state of mind after losing to Gulf Coast last week. Hinds 30-10.

     Southwest at East Central:  In a showdown of winless South Division teams, the Warriors chop out a victory. East Central 10-6.

     Wingfield at Brookhaven:  Panthers return to action and claim a region victory on King Field. Brookhaven 28-6.

     Centreville Academy at Brookhaven Academy:  In a heavyweight slugfest, the Cougars scratch out a narrow win. Brookhaven Academy 21-20.

     Hinds AHS at Bogue Chitto:  In an offensive showcase, the Bobcats outscore the Bulldogs. Bogue Chitto 36-26.

     Mount Hermon at West Lincoln:  Bears are pumped up for their homecoming game and so are the Yellowjackets. Mt. Hermon 27-14.

     Richton at Enterprise:  Rebels look impressive on Harry Cole Field. Richton 34-18.

     Franklin County at Lawrence County:  Whoever scores last should be the winner. Franklin County 30-27.

     Hazlehurst at East Marion:  Indians rely on their defense to provide the margin of victory. Hazlehurst 18-9.

     In other area games,  Presbyterian Christian over Copiah Academy 39-21, Parklane over East Rankin 40-19, North Pike over Amite County 16-6, Jefferson County over South Pike 14-12, Stone County over McComb 17-14 and Crystal Springs over Rosa Fort 22-8.

     Loyd Star and Wesson have open dates to contemplate the future.

     After mowing the lawn, Hoopla reveals Saturday’s winners.

     South Alabama at Mississippi State: Obviously,  the Jaguars are in over their heads. State 38-10.

     Ole Miss at Tulane:  Wounded Rebels tour the Superdome and surf the Green Wave.  Ole Miss 31-21.

     Southern Miss at Western Kentucky:  Quarterback Austin Davis is dearly missed in Hattiesburg. Western Kentucky 29-20.

     Southern U. at Jackson State:  Tigers roar to a second straight victory. Jackson State 38-8.

     In other Magnolia State action,  Arkansas State over Alcorn State 48-12, Northwest State over Valley State 27-10, North Alabama over Delta State 26-17 and Belhaven over Campbell 21-14. Millsaps and Mississippi College have open dates to promote their cross-country teams.


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