Friday Night Lights Look-Ahead — High School Football Previews for Area Schools

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, August 26, 2021

Brookhaven Academy vs. Central Holmes Christian School

7 p.m. Friday

Stone Stadium, Wesson

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Brookhaven Academy opens the home portion of the schedule by taking on the Trojans from Lexington in Stone Stadium at Co-Lin as the game will be part of the KDMC Kickoff Classic.

BA is 0-1 on the season after dropping their opener at ACCS in Natchez last week. Central Holmes had been scheduled to play Clinton Christian Academy, but were forced to forfeit after a rise in COVID-19 cases at the school during the first week of classes.


The last time these two teams met…

A 2017 MAIS first-round playoff matchup last brought CHCS to Lincoln County on Oct. 27 of that year.

Tanner Waldrop rushed for 234 yards and three scores as BA picked up their first playoff win since 2012 by a 45-18 final score.


What to watch for Central Holmes?

Expect the Trojans to battle fatigue and cramping as the school closed for a week on Aug. 11 until Aug. 18 due to COVID. Those missed practices would set any team back, but depth will definitely be an issue for CHCS.

The Trojans play in the MAIS 3A classification, the smallest for schools not playing 8-man football. Expect Central Holmes coach Mitch Womack to cycle in as many fresh players as he can throughout the night.


What to watch for Brookhaven Academy?

Starting the season off against ACCS like BA did last week would be a tall test for most MAIS schools not named Jackson Prep or MRA.

The film gave coach Anthony Hart and his staff plenty to look at as they start making adjustments. One area that BA will look to cultivate is finding more playmakers in the skill position group.

If teams know that quarterback Tyler Fortenberry is going to be looking for his younger brother Trevor in the passing game, they’ll increased their coverage wherever he is. That’s going to open up chances for other pass-catchers on the team. Facing a Central Holmes team that went 1-8 last season, Friday night will be a good time to get those newer, unexperienced receivers further into the mix.




Loyd Star vs. St. Andrew’s Episcopal

7 p.m. Friday

W.E. “Sambo” Smith Field, Brookhaven

The teams were scheduled to meet later in the season at St. Andrew’s, but the game was moved up to the opener for both teams and the location was changed to Loyd Star.

Loyd Star had originally been scheduled to host Mize this week, but a COVID-19 shutdown in the Smith County School District nixed that matchup.

St. Andrew’s had been scheduled to play Salem in their first game of the season, but the Wildcats from Walthall County are also out for a period of virtual learning.


The last time these two teams met…

It was way back in 2008 — that year the Saints took a 30-7 win on their home field. The last win for Loyd Star in the series was in 2003 as the two schools are tied 8-8 in head-to-head matchups.

The schools were once in the same 2A region and unfortunately for Loyd Star, much of that was when St. Andrew’s had Bradford Blackmon at running back. Blackmon was an all-state selection that went on to play in the Ivy League at Penn.

He’s part of the reason that the Saints have won five in a row in the series. The Saints are a 3A school now and finished 2-7 in 2020. Head coach Johnny Nichols is entering his fifth year at the parochial school located in Ridgeland.


What to watch for St. Andrew’s?

Five-foot-8, 195-pound senior running back Jamon Harkless is the straw that stirs the drink for the Saints. A four-year starter and just one of only five returning starters on the team, Harkless is going to be counted on to carry a heavy load as St. Andrew’s will use a sophomore, first-year starter at quarterback.

West Lincoln has faced St. Andrews for the last two seasons, beating them 26-20 in Ridgeland and 30-13 last season in Lincoln County.


What to watch for Loyd Star?

A full season of Versie Wilson carrying the ball would be huge for coach Brian Ford’s team and getting that going during the season opener would be a great place to start.

Wilson has been dynamic carrying the ball over his four-year varsity career. He had his junior season ended by a major knee injury but looks to come back and lead the team behind an offensive line that’s filled with experience.

Ford wants his team to play physical at the line of scrimmage and be the hammer, not the nail. Keeping the ball in 3rd-and-short yardage will allow the Hornets to do just that.




Bogue Chitto vs. Pisgah

7 p.m. Friday

Troy Smith Field, Bogue Chitto

Bogue Chitto is back on the field for season number 20 under the leadership of head coach Gareth Sartin.

The Bobcats look to be one of the teams to beat in Region 7-2A this season and an opener against Pisgah will be a great yard stick game for Sartin and his staff to use in measuring where their team is and what they’ve got to improve on.


The last time these two teams met…

The Dragons from Rankin County took a 50-18 win on their home field in 2019. Pisgah scored 54 in a 2018 win and 49 in the matchup the year before. They beat the Bobcats 50-0 in 2014.

The Dragons have won four in a row in the series that goes back to a 14-12 win by BC in 1991 at the first meeting between the schools. Sartin’s squad went 2-0 against Pisgah from 2007-2008 when the teams were members of the same 1A division.


What to watch for Pisgah?

Head coach Michael Granberry has been leading the team in Sand Hill for 10 years and in that time the green clad Dragons have made the playoffs eight straight years.

Regardless of who’s on the roster, Pisgah gets things done by using a power rushing game. The Dragons are the ninth biggest team in 2A according to the latest MHSAA reclassification numbers.

In the recent past Pisgah has had a larger roster than the Bobcats, allowing them to play more athletes on just one side of the ball. BC will have many players going both ways in the heat of August. The Pisgah depth might be their biggest advantage.


What to watch for Bogue Chitto?

The Bobcats usually have a lineage of quarterbacks where one multi-year starter passes the torch to the next BC signal caller.

Junior Colton Frith is the next in that line as he gained valuable experience starting much of the 2020 campaign. Frith is a player with another gear and his emergence running the ball and growing more comfortable as a passer will only make the Bobcats better.

The Bobcats use motion and misdirection to keep defenses on their heels and Sartin usually adds a new wrinkle here or there during the offseason. The hope for Bogue Chitto is that they’ll catch a young Pisgah defense unprepared at some point for a big, game-changing type play.




Enterprise @ Hillcrest Christian School

7 p.m. Friday

HCS Football Field, Jackson

The Jackets are out of quarantine and ready to get the season started after losing their first two games to start the 2020 season to COVID-19 related cancellations.

The week two matchup against Ethel has already been cancelled for Enterprise, so that makes the game this weekend against Hillcrest Christian in south Jackson all the more important.

EAC head coach Trey Woodard has the largest roster yet in his three years at the school as the program looks to keep forward momentum headed into the 2021 campaign.


The last time these two teams met…

This is the first every matchup between the schools. It’s actually the first time for MHSAA member Enterprise to play a school from the MAIS, the private school association that Hillcrest belongs to.

This will be the second game of the season for the Hillcrest Christian Cougars to play on the field. They’re 0-1 on the year with a 43-0 loss to Clinton Christian Academy in their season opener and their game last week against Delta Streets Academy was cancelled by COVID-19.


What to watch for Hillcrest Christian?

The Cougars are coached by first year head coach Charlie Jackson. Jackson led West Lincoln from 2015-2016 and finished with a 3-17 record in that span.

Hired to be the head football coach and head of school this summer at Hillcrest, Jackson had most recently been an assistant coach at Raymond.

HCS is a program that has little success since the school was founded in 1985. The Cougars have had two winning seasons in the last 20 years as they’re a combined 6-45 over the previous five seasons with five different head coaches serving during that time.


What to watch for Enterprise?

Senior quarterback Matthew Burns didn’t play his sophomore year but came back to the team in 2020 as a real difference maker.
Burns has a hard running style and is accurate as a passer, especially when rolling out to move the pocket.

He split snaps last season with Lawson Chemin, so look for Burns numbers to jump in 2021 as he leads the Jacket offense.




Wesson vs. Tylertown

7 p.m. Saturday

Stone Stadium, Wesson


The last time these two teams met…

For two teams that aren’t located too far away from each other, this meeting will be just the 10th time the schools have played.

From 2017-2018 the schools were members of the same 3A region. Tylertown won on its home field in 2018 by a 28-26 final. Prior to the game in 2017, the schools had not played each other since 1958.

The first meeting between the schools that would become Tylertown and Wesson was played in 1927, a game won 21-0 by the group from Copiah County.


What to watch for Tylertown?

Tylertown may just be the fastest team in the state, so whatever you are watching in regard to the Chiefs, don’t take your eyes off the field.

The senior wide receiver duo of Jeremiah Dillon and Jordan Anthony give Tylertown two future SEC football players. The pair are cousins who played last season at Parklane Academy before transferring back to THS as seniors.

Anthony is committed to the University of Kentucky and is considered the fastest high school sprinter in the nation. He won the 100M dash at the Nike Outdoor National Boys’ Track and Field Championship in July and was second in the 200M race.

Dillon is committed to play next at Ole Miss and caught 23 passes in eight games last season at Parklane.


What to watch for Wesson?

Converting third downs is important for anyone, but Wesson is looking to control the ball a little more in 2021 and putting themselves in 3rd-and-managable will be a huge goal against Tylertown.

Over the last two years Wesson has faced plenty of teams they could outrun, but they don’t want to turn this one into a track meet on the artificial turf of Stone Stadium.

Wesson junior quarterback Will Loy has been starting since his freshman season and knows exactly what the Cobra offense is trying to accomplish as his head coach is also his dad.




Brookhaven High vs. Lawrence County

Cancelled due to COVID-19




West Lincoln @ Franklin County

Cancelled due to COVID-19

Franklin County will host Bay Springs instead.