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Season’s second half begins tonight

Starting tonight, the Ole Brook Panthers and many other schools in the state get a clean slate. When they take the field against South Jones and the lights beam on the gridiron, it is a new season.

That is because it is the beginning of district play, and now they get a chance to be 0-0 again.

While the first half of the season could be considered a warm-up, the stakes are much higher in district play.

With the high level of competition in all of their divisions, area football squads will have to bring their best game every Friday night.

Enterprise and West Lincoln both are on their bye weeks and Bogue Chitto and Wesson will be entertaining some tough foes for homecoming. Here is what I think needs to happen for area teams to come out on top tonight.

Brookhaven vs. South Jones

South Jones (5-0) is off to one of its best starts in recent memory and will host the Ole Brook Panthers (3-1) in a game that will serve as an early indication of where they stand in their division. South Jones’ defense has only allowed 22 points per game this season, but the Panthers could be their most formidable opponent thus far.

Ole Brook’s defense will perform, as usual, but the offense will be what truly shines through in this game. For that to happen, Demarrell Leggett needs to have a big game. I’m betting the kid with the meanest stiff arm in the land comes up big on the road and the Panthers win convincingly.

Panthers 28, South Jones 7

Loyd Star vs. Stringer

The Hornets enter this week after dropping a tough home game to the Scott Central Rebels by a score of 22-16. They were able to get drives established at will, but constant fumbles cost them the game. Stringer made quick work of Bogue Chitto last week and running back Anthony Thomas had his way. He needed only five carries to reach 121 yards in a 47-14 win, but I am confident in the ability of Loyd Star’s (2-3) defense. The Hornets will  finally resolve their turnover issues on the road with the help of a solid running game led by Parker Flowers and Zac Arnold. James Beard is sure to have a big play or two also.

Loyd Star 32, Stringer 20

Wesson vs. Mount Olive

Wesson fans expecting to see the Cobras facing a cupcake for homecoming may be in for a bit of a surprise. Mount Olive has already handily defeated two area teams in Enterprise and West Lincoln this season.

Those are their only wins of the year though, as they stand at 2-3 so Wesson fans should not have to worry about the Pirates posing too much of a threat. The Cobras and head coach Jeremy Loy will hurt Mount Olive through the air, but the final score will make the game seem closer than it was.

Wesson 38, Mount Olive 28

Bogue Chitto vs. Salem

Bouge Chitto has gotten off to a rough start to 2016. Their troubles continued in their first district game as they were blown out by Stringer. However, the Bobcats have a good chance of notching their first win of the season at homecoming against the Salem Wildcats.

If Demarcus Godbolt, Kody Halford, Sherman Jackson and the other weapons for the Bobcats can make something happen, they stand a chance to win a close one.

Bogue Chitto 34, Salem 30

Brookhaven Academy vs.

Columbia Academy

The Brookhaven Academy Cougars are still looking for their first win of the season as they face Columbia Academy’s Cougars tonight. Those other Cougars (4-1) will not make the road to that first victory easy. They are one of the better teams in District 4 play. Brookhaven Academy will do some things on offense, but they will finish the game still in search of the year’s first win.

Anthony McDougle is the sports editor for The Daily Leader. He can be contacted at anthony.mcdougle@dailyleader.com.