Friday Night Lights Look-Ahead — High school football previews for area schools

Published 11:00 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

West Lincoln vs. St. Andrew’s Episcopal

7 p.m. Thursday

Perry Miller Field, Brookhaven

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West Lincoln will have the stage to itself Thursday when St. Andrew’s visits for homecoming. The Bears (0-5) were tied 6-6 at halftime with county rivals Bogue Chitto last week before seeing the Bobcats get a 17-6 win.

St. Andrew’s only win on the field this season was a 17-16 victory over fellow parochial school St. Patrick. Last week the Saints lost 30-28 at Sacred Heart, a team that topped the Bears 42-14 in the WL season opener back on Sept. 3.


The last time these two teams met…

The Bears are 2-0 against St. Andrew’s as they won 26-20 on the road in 2019 and 30-13 in Flea Hop last season. In the win last season, West Lincoln got 240 yards on 29 carries from running back Enrico Price as the now senior scored two rushing touchdowns for the Bears.


What to watch for West Lincoln?

Senior quarterback Ashtin Auttonberry has picked up 290 rushing yards this season on 49 carries. The gritty Auttonberry leads the team with four rushing scores including the lone WL touchdown against Bogue Chitto.

Points have been hard to come by this season for a West Lincoln offense that’s scoring under 14 per game thus far. A big night from Auttonberry and the first rushing touchdown of the season from Price — maybe a couple of those — is what the Bears will need to beat St. Andrew’s.


What to watch for St. Andrew’s?

The Episcopal Saints put the ball in the air against their Catholic brethren from Sacred Heart last week. SAE senior quarterback Davis Cress went 18-of-28 through the air for 252 yards and three scores. On the ground St. Andrew’s got 151 yards on 17 carries from senior running back PJ Bryson.

West Lincoln is young at the position of cornerback, so expect St. Andrew’s to attack with long passes early against the Bears.



Bogue Chitto vs. Loyd Star

7 p.m. Friday

Troy Smith Field, Bogue Chitto

Katy bar the door — it’s Possum Bowl time. The annual battle for the Possum Trophy and the 365 days of bragging rights that come along with it is one of the most anticipated games played in the recent history of the series.

The Hornets are 6-0 and the Bobcats are 5-1 and you might have to go back to the first year the game was played with the lingering stench of dead possums in the air to find a better combined record between the two.

In 1984 Bogue Chitto was 4-0 under first year head coach Ricky Deere coming into their District 7-1A game at Loyd Star. The Hornets were 2-2 under fifth year head coach Roe Burns. They’d lost 14-12 to William Winans in their opener and 30-14 to Mount Olive the next week before rebounding with wins over Wesson and Salem.

The story has been told so many times now, you might know it by heart. Burns and assistant Ricky Smith hung dead possums up on the campus of Loyd Star, claiming it was done by pranksters from Bogue Chitto.

They let the dead marsupials bake in the sun and then on game day they tossed them under the visiting bleachers for the BC fans to enjoy.

Loyd Star went on to win 8-6 and the Possum Bowl was born.


The last time these two teams met…

The game was the regular season finale for both teams last season, an overtime 27-20 win for Bogue Chitto. Loyd Star holds a 28-16 advantage in the series that began in 1968.

Bogue Chitto has won two in a row after Loyd Star had a five-game run prior to that. The game wasn’t played from 2001-2008. It was restarted in 2009 and a 41-34 BC victory in 2011 broke a 13-game win streak by Loyd Star in the rivalry.


What to watch for Bogue Chitto?

The Bobcats have found an identity over the last three weeks and the three wins they’ve secured during that time. The Bobcat defense has held their opponents to a touchdown or less during that time.

Coach Gareth Sartin’s team only completed two passes in the win against West Lincoln, but one of them went for a score from QB Colton Frith to Cameron Williams. Williams also had an interception and his performance on both sides of the ball will be key for the Bobcats.


What to watch for Loyd Star?

A 35-32 win over East Marion in the Region 7-2A opener for Loyd Star last week looked like it would be easy and then it wasn’t. The Hornets led 20-8 at halftime before the Eagles responded with 18 unanswered points in the third quarter.

The Loyd Star rushing attack has had a next-man up mentality all season. Against East Marion it was sophomore fullback James Goodwin who did the most damage for coach Brian Ford’s team. Goodwin carried the ball nine times for 128 yards and two scores. Junior Julius Smith also had an outstanding game for the Hornets as he caught four passes for 119 yards and one score.



Brookhaven Academy vs. Sylva-Bay Academy

7 p.m. Friday

R.M. “Red” Stuard Field, Brookhaven

Brookhaven Academy (5-2) is back at home for a second straight week after getting a 41-0 homecoming win last week against Hillcrest Christian. Still remaining is a big District 4-4A matchup at home with Wayne Academy on Oct. 22.

The MAIS seeds the top 12 teams from the 4A classification for the playoffs using a Power Point Ratings system. There are 18 teams that play 4A football, and the four top seeds get a first-round bye. Teams 5-8 get a first-round home playoff game, something BA is in line for as they currently hover around the seventh position.


The last time these two teams met…

The schools didn’t play each other until 2017 but have met every season since. BA holds a 3-1 advantage. Last season the Cougars won 35-7 in Bay Springs.


What to watch for Brookhaven Academy?

Coach Anthony Hart’s team would like to race out to another big early lead and then give way to the younger Cougars on the roster like they did last week against Hillcrest.

Senior quarterback Tyler Fortenberry went 5-of-7 through the air for 128 yards three scores last week. Carter Smith led the BA defense with 6.5 tackles, two for a loss, against HCS. Linebacker Trevor Fortenberry and Trenton Tarver also had 5.5 tackles each for the Cougars in the win.


What to watch for Silva-Bay Academy?

The Saints and coach Terry Underwood play in the MAIS 3A division, the smallest of the 11-man football classifications. They lost 19-16 to a Canton Academy team coached by former BA quarterback Gage Posey in the season opener. Last week the Saints (2-4) lost 54-20 to Wayne Academy at home.



Wesson vs. Raleigh

7 p.m. Friday

H.L. “Hook” Stone Stadium, Wesson

Wesson coach Jeremy Loy knows no one in Region 6-3A is going to feel sorry for his team. Last week the Cobras lost 45-0 to Hazlehurst at home in the region opener. Next up is another home game for the Cobras, this time against the Raleigh Lions.
Raleigh beat Crystal Springs 49-12 last week. The lone loss of the season for the Lions (3-1) was a 35-12 defeat to Madison-Ridgeland Academy. Loy knows that’s the way things will be for his team as they’re in a loaded 3A division after being 2A for the previous two seasons — there’ll be speed and physicality from their opponents every week.


The last time these two teams met…

This is the first ever meeting between these schools.


What to watch for Wesson?

Line play up front is going to be huge for the Cobras as Hazlehurst gave Wesson fits with repeated penetration last week. Senior offensive lineman Tyler Fuller will be back after being out last week and that’s a good thing for Wesson.

In the first quarter Wesson bled the clock out with rushes on first and second down to prolong drives and keep Hazlehurst off the field. That strategy stopped working when the Indians began hitting explosive plays in the second quarter. Picking up third down conversions will be huge for the Cobras.


What to watch for Raleigh?

Raleigh coach Ryan Higdon is in his second year at the Smith County School. Raleigh went 8-4 last year and lost to eventual 3A state champs Magee in the third round of the playoffs.

The Lions will look to use their speed on the perimeter of the field. Senior defensive back Jameon Page is one of the leaders of the Raleigh defense as he had two interceptions in the season opening win over Taylorsville.



Lawrence County vs. Poplarville

7 p.m. Friday

LCHS Football Field, Monticello

The Poplarville Hornet (5-1) have played for the 4A state championship the last three years in a row and how you measure up with them can tell a team or program how they matchup with one of the most consistent teams in the state.

Lawrence County (4-2) opened Region 7-4A play up with a 47-20-win last week at Forrest County AHS. More stiff region competition looms on the schedule with matchups against Sumrall (4-1) and Columbia (5-1) later this season.


The last time these two teams met…

A win over Poplarville Friday in Monticello would be the first ever for Lawrence County against the Hornets. LC lost 38-14 in Poplarville during the 2019 postseason. That game was an MHSAA 4A semifinal matchups. The Hornets also won in the first ever meeting in 2017 and again in 2018.


What to watch for Lawrence County?

Senior Tommy Broomfield continued his impressive play of late with another big game against FCAHS. Broomfield carried the ball 12 times for 155 yards and two scores. Fellow senior Jaheim Ball also had 97 yards on 12 carries and two scores.

Sophomore Ahmad Hardy was outstanding against the Aggies last week as a linebacker. Hardy made five tackles, all for a loss. The Cougar defense had seven sacks and picked off three passes in the win.


What to watch for Poplarville?

Poplarville had little recent history of winning before Jay Beech was hired to lead the program in 2014. In the following eight years Beech has made the school into a 4A powerhouse as they’re 79-24 overall and 22-7 in the postseason under his leadership.

Poplarville has played for the 4A state title four times under Beech but is yet to bring one back to Pearl River County. The Hornets use a power rushing attack on offense and are led on defense by Mississippi State commit Khalid Moore — the no. 2 ranked linebacker in the state.



Enterprise vs. Richton

7 p.m. Friday

Harry Cole Field, Brookhaven

Region 4-1A is tough and that’s been covered here before. Enterprise coach Trey Woodard and his team competed against Taylorsville at home in their region opener but were overwhelmed on the road last week at Bay Springs.

The matchup against Richton is one that Woodard knows will better favor his team. The schools come in both with 2-4 records as Richton lost 30-6 at Bay Springs in the region opener and 42-16 against Lumberton last week.

The last time these two teams met…

Enterprise won the first meeting between the teams in 2007 by a 22-15 final, but on the field the Rebels have taken the last six straight. Richton picked up a forfeit win last year due to COVID-19. The Rebels have won those six games by an average of over three touchdowns.


What to watch for Enterprise?

Senior quarterback Matthew Burns went 7-of-8 for 34 yards passing against Bay Springs. The Yellow Jackets lost three fumbles and had two interceptions in the loss.

Senior Nick Stewart led Enterprise with five tackles in thew in. Wyatt Garrett and Devin Coleman added four tackles apiece for EAC against Bay Springs while senior Taylor Presley snatched an interception.


What to watch for Richton?

Richton was 3-7 last season under coach Stephen Rice. Rice is in his seventh year at the school, his second stint leading the Rebels.

Blocking senior defensive end Devin Miller will be key for Enterprise. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Miller sets the edge for the Rebels and keeping him out of the EAC backfield will be big for Woodard’s team.



Brookhaven High at Wayne County

7 p.m., Friday

WCHS Football Complex, Waynesboro

Ole Brook fans can be forgiven if they think they’ve made a wrong turn on Highway 84 and ended up at the University of Auburn when they arrive in Waynesboro Friday evening. The Wayne County War Eagles dress like the AU Tigers and have facilities that speak to their place as an elite high school program in the state.

The school was created in 1989 by the consolidation of Buckatunna, Beat Four, Clara and Waynesboro High. Since then, the War Eagles have won four state titles — the last coming in 2015 — and are a combined 217-63 since the 2000 season.


The last time these two teams met…

It was the opening round of the 2017 MHSAA 5A state playoffs when these two last met, a 39-33 win for BHS at home. That broke a seven-game win streak for the War Eagles in the series. The schools have played five times in the postseason with BHS owning a 3-2 advantage in those games including the memorable 27-21 win during the Panthers championship winning 2004 season.


What to watch for Brookhaven High?

Brookhaven High coach Tucker Peavey is still looking for more precise execution from his offense. The BHS special teams and defense led the way in the win over Laurel last week, but the game could have been put away earlier if the Panthers had not had some drives stall out offensively.

Sophomore running back Xavier Gayten scored one rushing TD as he carried 22 times for 100 yards against Laurel. The Panthers lost three fumbles, but still won the turnover margin battle with Laurel. Keeping the ball off the ground will be big against Wayne County.


What to watch for Wayne County?

The War Eagles are under a new coach in 2021 as veteran Alabama head coach Jack Hankins was hired in January to lead the program. 2020 was a rare losing season for Wayne County as they went 4-6 under interim head coach Kevin Gandy.

Hankins won a 4A state championship at Thomasville (Alabama) in 2010 with a team that finished 15-0. His first Wayne County team’s only loss this season was a forfeit to Quitman. The War Eagles are 4-0 on the field with convincing wins over Pascagoula, George County, South Jones and Florence.