Friday Night Lights Look-Ahead — High School Football Previews for Area Schools on Oct. 15

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, October 14, 2021

West Lincoln at Amite County

7 p.m. Thursday

Trojan Field, Liberty

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Coach Brad Bland and his Bears are hoping they can recapture some of the magic from their 2020 season and get a much-desired win Thursday in Liberty. The Bears used two second-half touchdowns last season at Amite County to knock the Trojans off.

West Lincoln was a play or two away from beating St. Andrew’s last Thursday at home. The senior class for the Bears isn’t huge, but it’s filled with players that were contributors on playoff teams their first three varsity season. Those are the players that will be counted on the most if WL is going to win two in a row at Amite County.


The last time these two teams met…

The 20-18 win by West Lincoln last season in Liberty was a historical one as it was the first against Amite County in team history. AC had won the previous seven meetings, and none had been close other than an eight-point win by the Trojans in 2017.


What to watch for West Lincoln?

Improved execution is the only thing holding West Lincoln back at this point. A punt return TD against St. Andrew’s was wiped out by an unnecessary block in the back that happened 30 yards behind the play. The ensuing drive looked destined to score before a snap sailed high and sent the Bears scrambling to recover. The drive ended with West Lincoln running out of time ahead of the half and inside the SAE 10-yard line when the horn blew.

The potential game-tying 2-point conversion play never developed past the snap of the ball. If West Lincoln can clean up those errors, they’ll taste victory for the first time in 2021.


What to watch for Amite County?

The Trojans lost 20-8 last week to East Marion, but the game was close throughout as EM led 14-8 in the fourth quarter and the Trojans had the ball on the Eagle’s 30-yard line before turning it over on downs.

Stopping running back Murkelin Thompson will be one of the main tests for a West Lincoln defense that has improved as the season has progressed. Thompson ran 10 times for 70 yards last week against East Marion.



Brookhaven Academy at Centreville Academy

7 p.m. Friday

CA Tiger Field, Centreville

Brookhaven Academy has won all of the games they were favored in this season on the way to a 6-2 record. Those two losses were to ACCS in the season opener and to a bigger, deeper Copiah Academy team at home in week five.

The game this week against Centreville Academy is just the third time BA will face a team with a record above .500 this season — the other two being ACCS and CA. The Tigers are 7-2 on the season with their losses to ACCS and Central Hinds Academy. The game is a non-region contest but getting a victory over a team with a winning record will do nothing but good for BA’s position in how the MAIS seeds playoff teams.


The last time these two teams met…

The Cougars won in a blowout last season 53-6 and have won three in a row in the series. CA has won over 77 percent of the meetings between the schools though as their all-time advantage is 34-10.

The series started in 1976 and BA its first win against Centreville in 1984. The Tigers then went on to win 13 straight before the Cougars snapped that streak in 2001.


What to watch for Brookhaven Academy?

Developing more playmakers in the passing game was a goal coming into the season for BA coach Anthony Hart and his offensive coordinator Jaymie Palmer. That’s happened as junior Rayce Stewart along with seniors Logan Alexander and Michael Watts have joined junior Trevor Fortenberry as the main receiving threats for BA.

With CA planning on keeping the ball on the ground, Brookhaven Academy will hope to use their vertical passing game to get explosive plays and keep quarterback Tyler Fortenberry from taking too many hits in the running game.


What to watch for Centreville?

Senior running back Ben McGregor transferred to CA from Parklane last year and has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Tigers this season. He gained 129 yards and scored four times in a win over St. Al.

McGregor also rushed for 199 yards and averaged almost 10 yards per carry — including a 71-yard run — in a loss to ACCS. Slowing him down will be a huge part of the BA game plan.



Brookhaven High vs. Hattiesburg High

7 p.m. Friday

King Field, Brookhaven

Brookhaven High has to have a bit of amnesia and get over their tough 20-14 overtime road loss last week at Wayne County. The Panthers have another big Region 3-5A game awaiting them as division newcomer Hattiesburg High visits King Field for the first time in a long time.

The Panthers (2-5) are facing a Hattiesburg (3-4) team that’s won three in a row and is unbeaten in region play after squeezing by Natchez 40-36 and then getting blow out wins over South Jones and Florence.


The last time these two teams met…

In the opening round of the 2018 playoffs, Brookhaven High traveled to Hattiesburg where they lost 52-6 to a loaded team of Tigers. The schools also played in the 2016 first round and HHS won that game 42-14.

Prior to that 2016 game, the teams had not played since 1994. Hattiesburg and BHS were members of the same conference and then district going all the way back to the 1920s. The Tigers from the Hub City have a 33-10 advantage in the series with the last BHS win coming by a 28-27 final in 1986.


What to watch for Brookhaven High?

The Panther defense has been strong this season and that’s got to continue this week against Hattiesburg. The Panthers don’t want to get in a track meet with HHS — the Tigers actually boast one of the strongest 5A track programs in the state. BHS would prefer to play possession football, string together lengthy drives and limit the big play capabilities of Hattiesburg.


What to watch for Hattiesburg High?

Quarterback Tavares Wade is a playmaker for the Tigers. He operates out of the shotgun but plays the position like a running back. Wade had four first half touchdown against Florence last week.

BHS can’t allow him to sit back and pick his way through holes. Wade does a good job of being deceptive with the ball in the read-option game and has the speed to run away from people in the open field.



Bogue Chitto at East Marion

7 p.m. Friday

EMHS Football Field, Columbia

A Possum Bowl setback last week to Loyd Star gave the Bobcats their first Region 7-2A loss of the season, but there’s plenty left to play for this season. Holding on to second place in the region and the home playoff game that comes with it will likely hinge on how Bogue Chitto plays this week at East Marion.

Coach Gareth Sartin is bringing a banged-up bunch of Bobcats with him to Marion County as he played very few subs last week against Loyd Star. Bogue Chitto (5-2) still has Amite County to host next week before ending the regular season on Oct. 28 at Franklin County.


The last time these two teams met…

Only 50 miles separate the two schools, but this is only the second meeting all time. East Marion won 6-0 back in 1976 when the teams last played.


What to watch for Bogue Chitto?

Sophomore Easton Sartin was a workhorse at running back against Bogue Chitto as he carried 15 times for 157 yards and a score. BC quarterback Colton Frith added one passing TD that went to Cameron Williams and a rushing score of his own. Losing leading rusher Hunter Goebel in the game hurt the BC ground game against LS.

Twelve different Bobcats made a tackle in the Possum Bowl and for all intents and purposes, that’s the number of players Sartin used throughout the game. The group will have to band together to slow down a potent East Marion offense.


What to watch for East Marion?

Senior quarterback Amere Woodham helped carry his team past Amite County 20-8 last week. The 5-foot-6 Woodham ran the ball 15 times for 107 yards and one score.

East Marion is just 2-5 on the season but they pushed Loyd Star to the final minutes in a 35-32 loss. Prior to that the Eagles had two forfeit losses and had dropped games to 6A Harrison Central and 4A Northeast Jones.



Enterprise vs. Salem

7 p.m. Friday

Harry Cole Field, Brookhaven

It’s homecoming on Harry Cole Field and the Yellow Jackets and coach Trey Woodard want to make it one to remember with a win. Last season EAC took out Amite County in a rain delayed homecoming start.

Enterprise hasn’t won on the field since their season opening victory over Hillcrest Christian and Salem has yet to win a game in 2021. Both teams are hungry to taste victory in a stacked eight-team Region 4-1A.


The last time these two teams met…

There is a lot of history between these schools that started playing each other in 1965. Salem holds a 32-13 advantage in the all-time series, but the Jackets have won two of the last three meetings. EAC took a 31-8 win in 2019 and a 28-20 victory in 2017.


What to watch for Enterprise?

Woodard has been looking for improved production out of his running game and the team got some of that last week in a loss to Richton. Senior running back Seth Mitchell carried the ball eight times for 58 yards.
Mitchell also recovered a fumble on defense. Brayden Polk, Nick Stewart and Wyatt Garret all had seven tackles each for the Jackets against Richton. The hope is that the Yellow Jackets will swarm to the ball against Salem and create needed turnovers.


What to watch for Salem?

Sophomore Jadarrion Hammond is an athletic playmaker for Salem at quarterback. Hammond has thrown for 400 yards and rushed for 100 more thus far in 2021. Freshman Christopher Riley also sees time at QB for Salem. The pair have combined for four touchdowns and 14 interceptions this season.

Depth will be an issue to watch for Salem as Enterprise has a bigger roster and will be able to swap in and out more players to keep fresh bodies on the field, especially on the defensive side of the ball.



Loyd Star at St. Andrew’s Episcopal

7 p.m. Friday

SAE Football Field, Ridgeland

It’ll feel like two NFL division opponents playing each other twice in a season for Loyd Star and St. Andrew’s Episcopal as the teams meet Friday for the second time in 2021. The opening game of the season for LS called for the team to host Mize, but a COVID-19 quarantine forced the Bulldogs to forfeit.

St. Andrew’s similarly had a game against Salem cancelled, so Loyd Star head coach Brian Ford and SAE coach Johnny Nichols decided to get together twice this season so that neither school would lose a home game. St. Andrew’s has played as a MHSAA 3A member in the past, but this season the Saints are playing an independent schedule after going a combined 3-17 from 2019-2020.


The last time these two teams met…

The Hornets took a thrilling 26-23 overtime win way, way back on Aug. 27 at home. Another win over the Saints would knot the all-time series at 9-9.


What to watch for Loyd Star?

Mental focus might be the most important part of the game for the Hornets. Loyd Star is coming off a close Possum Bowl win over their rivals from Bogue Chitto. Sophomore fullback James Goodwin rushed for 94 yards on 10 carries and provided a pair of second half touchdowns that helped push the Hornets to a 26-24 win that kept their record perfect in 2021.

With region games at West Lincoln next week and at home against Amite County in the regular season finale on Oct. 28, Ford doesn’t want to have any let downs from his team who’ll be favored in all three games.


What to watch for St. Andrew’s?

The Saints have improved offensively since suffering their season opening loss at Loyd Star. St. Andrew’s showed balance on offense last week in a 21-19 win at West Lincoln.

Senior quarterback Davis Cress went 5-of-14 passing for 113 yards and two scores. Senior running back PJ Bryson carried the ball 17 times for 129 yards and one touchdown. When the school first met the starting QB was sophomore Friend Walker and senior running back Jamon Harkless was the one doing the damage on the ground as he carried the ball 32 times for 184 yards and two scores.



Wesson at Crystal Springs

7 p.m., Friday

CSHS Football Field, Crystal Springs

As four teams make the playoffs from the six-team Region 6-3A, a win against Crystal Springs is a near must if the Cobras hope to make the postseason. Magee and Raleigh sit atop the division with 2-0 records and are followed by CS and Hazlehurst both with 1-1 records.

Wesson and McLaurin are both 0-2 in division play and Cobra coach Jeremy Loy would love to snap a 4-game losing streak with a win against their Copiah County cohorts from Crystal Springs.


The last time these two teams met…

The first meeting between these two Copiah County schools came in 1941. Wesson has a 10-4 advantage in all-time meetings. Crystal Springs won in Wesson 19-12 the last time the schools met in 2019. That broke an eight-game winning streak by the Cobras in the series.


What to watch for Wesson?

The Cobras have given up 45 points to Hazlehurst and 62 points to Raleigh in their two region games thus far. The defense has been banged up and missing some key pieces but will redouble their efforts to slow down Crystal Springs.

Senior linebacker Lane Westrope recovered two fumbles against Raleigh and freshman Trevor McRee recovered another for the Cobras. Winning the turnover battle will go a big way towards boosting Wesson’s chances Friday night.


What to watch for Crystal Springs?

The Tigers have a pair of future Division I players in seniors Johnnie Daniels and Trevion Williams. Daniels is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound running back who holds an offer from the University of Memphis.

The 6-foot-5, 252-pound Williams is one of the most heavily desired defensive linemen in the state by college recruiters. Williams is currently committed to Florida State but has offers from LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss among many others.



Lawrence County at Sumrall

Bobcat Field, Sumrall

This is a big one for Lawrence County coach Jesse Anderson and his Cougars as Region 7-4A starts to sort itself out. LC comes in with a 4-3 record overall and are 1-1 in region play.

Sumrall and coach Shannon White are also 1-1 in the division after blowing out Purvis last week and getting beaten 40-0 by Columbia the week before. Sumrall started the season off 4-0 with some quality wins and will be a good test to see where Lawrence County stands in the pecking order of the division.


The last time these two teams met…

Sumrall got a forfeit win over LC in the second round of the 2020 playoffs due to COVID-19. The teams split their previous two meetings as region opponents from 2017-2018. The Cougars won a thriller 28-21 in Monticello in 2018.


What to watch for Lawrence County?

The Cougars will look to bounce back after dropping a 46-13 matchup at home last week to the mighty Poplarville Hornets. The LC rushing attack has been led this season by senior Jaheim Ball and Tommy Broomfield along with sophomore Ahmad Hardy.

Senior linebacker Dewayne Holloway has been the leading tackler thus far for Lawrence County in 2021. Sophomore defensive back Kannon Cato has picked off a team high three passes and will be one of the players most counted on to slow down the Sumrall ariel attack.


What to watch for Sumrall?

The Bobcats will look to be balanced but have a difference maker at quarterback in senior John Ford. On the season, Ford is 82-of-158 for 1,344 yards through the air. Ford has thrown 17 touchdowns against six interceptions in 2021.

Senior receiver Cade Dedeaux is the top pass catcher for the Bobcats as he’s snagged 27 passes for 567 yards and eight scores. White is in season number 11 at Sumrall. He was the head coach for nine years at Taylorsville and led the Tartars to state titles in 1998 and 2002.