Friday Night Look Ahead: Possum Bowl and BHS homecoming highlight big week
Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023
To quote Loyd Star alum and Hill Top native Nathan Case, it’s time for the ever-lovin’ Possum Bowl. That’s just one of the marquee matchups this Friday as high school football inches towards the end of the regular season.
Loyd Star (6-1) vs. Bogue Chitto (4-3)
Hornet Field, Highway 550
The 2023 Possum Bowl is back at Loyd Star for a second straight year and the pomp and circumstance will be at an all-time high for this Lincoln County matchup as it’ll be the first game played on the host team’s new football field.
The last three games in the series have come down to the wire and the matchup this Friday will be another one between two teams that will be evenly matched. Last season Bogue Chitto won the game 17-16 in overtime, in 2021 the Hornets won at BC by a 26-24 final score and in 2020 the Bobcats won at Loyd Star 27-20 in overtime.
Loyd Star comes in averaging 325 rushing yards per game. Freshman quarterback Jordyn Kees paces the Hornet offense with over 1,000 yards gained on the ground through seven games. Keeping Kees from breaking off long runs will be one of the biggest assignments for the Bobcat linebackers led by senior tackler Ken May.
Kees scored on a long touchdown run last week in a 19-12 road win at Amite Conty. That fourth quarter touchdown was a big part of the Hornets getting a crucial Region 7-2A victory in a game that they trailed 6-0 at halftime.
Bogue Chitto will counter with an offense that has balance as senior quarterback Jax Leggett went 5-of-6 passing for 161 yards and three scores last week in a 41-0 win over West Lincoln. Junior receiver Noah Magee leads the Bobcats with 16 catches for 161 yards and five touchdowns.
On the ground, Bogue Chitto coach Gareth Sartin spreads the carries out between Leggett, May, freshman Jayden Poole, junior Isaiah Collins and senior Easton Sartin.
Sartin leads the Bobcats with 794 yards rushing on 102 carries.
The Loyd Star defense has a deep group of experienced players that lead that unit including leading tackler Brandon Burt, linebacker Jaden Lea and defensive back Caleb Smith. The defense has also been bolstered by a group of younger players that have got better with more reps in 2023. That bunch includes Zack Cotten, Luke Cotton, Tristan Fortenberry and Cooper Creel. Creel, a sophomore, had a huge interception for the Hornets in the win at Amite County.
You’ll no longer find high school prognosticating on this page, that’s been retired since Professor Hoopla, B.S. rode off into the sunset.
And for that, this writer is thankful as on paper, this one looks to be another tight, tight battle for the Possum Bowl trophy.
Brookhaven High (2-5) vs. Provine High (5-2)
King Field, Brookhaven
Nobody does homecoming like Brookhaven High. To see what that means, just drive down East Monticello Street throughout the afternoon on Friday.
The area will be packed as alums will fill the school’s auditorium for the annual homecoming production that honors the returning classes with song and dance.
Much of that crowd will then fill Panther Park for pregame tailgating and then the attention will turn to King Field as the 2023 homecoming queen will be crowned in a pre-game ceremony.
The cherry on top of all that fun would be a victory for the Panthers against their region opponents from Provine High.
It’s been a minute since the schools met, with Ole Brook winning 13-0 back in 2016. The series dates back to the 1950s and Provine holds a 13-11 advantage all-time in head-to-head matchups.
Provine started the season off with a 32-0 loss to their JPS rivals Callaway but bounced back to win three straight after that over Lanier (40-0), Canton (26-20) and South Pike (25-14). The Rams then lost 6-0 to Terry before winning 42-36 over Jim Hill and then getting a Region 3-5A win last week 18-7 against South Jones.
Brookhaven Academy (1-7) vs. Parklane Academy (6-2)
R.M. “Red” Stuard Field, Brookhaven
Separated by just 26 miles, Parklane Academy and Brookhaven Academy have met 20 times on the football field since the schools both started fielding a team in 1971.
PA has always been the bigger school and that’s even more true this season as the Pioneers are the largest MAIS 5A school in the state while Brookhaven Academy has an enrollment that puts as one of the smallest 5A schools.
Former BA coach Tripp McCarty and his 2011 team are the only one in school history to beat Parklane, topping the Pioneers 16-12 that season.
Parklane is coached by another former Brookhaven Academy head coach in Ron Rushing. The Pioneers lost their opener to Madison Ridgeland Academy by a 48-25 final score and also dropped a 54-14 loss to Jackson Prep.
Rushing’s team is unbeaten in MAIS District 3-5A action and also have a 13-6 win over MHSAA 5A North Pike High and will be among the top seeds when the MAIS 5A playoffs start later this month.
Enterprise (3-4) vs. Salem (0-7)
Harry Cole Field, Highway 583
It’ll be homecoming for the Enterprise Yellow Jackets Friday when they resume their long rivalry with Salem Attendance Center.
The Yellow Jackets and Wildcats have played each other 47 times, with EAC winning 15 times in the series. EAC head coach Trey Woodard and his Jackets have won three in a row over Salem, including a 38-28 victory last season in Walthall County.
Through the first two games of Region 8-1A play, Lumberton (4-3), Resurrection Catholic (5-1) and Lumberton (4-3) are all off to a 2-0 start. Likewise, Enterprise (3-4), Salem (0-7) and East Marion (1-6) are looking for a region win after starting 0-2.
To reach the playoffs, Woodard and his team need to string together back-to-back wins this week and next against Salem and East Marion.
West Lincoln (2-5) at Wilkinson County (1-6)
Wildcat Field, Woodville
West Lincoln will finish up the road portion of its 2023 schedule by making the trip to Woodville to face Wilkinson County on Friday.
The game will be the first ever between the schools as Wilkinson County moved down from the 3A class this year to join Region 7-2A and West Lincoln has one of the youngest football programs in southwest Mississippi after fielding its first team in 1998.
WC picked up its lone win of the season by a 40-18 final score over McLaurin. Loyd Star beat the Wildcats 44-30 two weeks ago and last week Wilkinson lost 62-14 at South Pike.
Lawrence County (3-4) vs. Purvis (4-3)
Cougar Stadium, Monticello
There was a time when you saw Purvis on your schedule and automatically chalked that up as a win, but the Tornadoes are improved and 1-1 in Region 7-4A ahead of a big division game against Lawrence County in Monticello.
Purvis got region play started with a 21-19 at Forrest County AHS two weeks ago and then lost 21-13 to Sumrall last week.
Lawrence County is coming off a 48-26 loss to University Lab School of Baton Rouge last week. LC senior running back Ahmad Hardy rushed the ball 24 times for 244 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.
Through seven games this season, Hardy has rushed for 1,378 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Wesson (6-0) at Franklin County (3-5)
Bulldog Field, Meadville
Wesson started Region 7-3A last week with a dominating 45-12 win last week over Port Gibson.
Coach Jeremy Loy’s team piled up 474 all-purpose yards in that victory.
Next up is a rivalry game against Franklin County.
The Bulldogs from Meadville won 19-13 last year in Wesson. That snapped a three-game win streak that Wesson had in the series. From 2013-2016, when the schools were previously members of the same region, FC went 4-0 and won by an average of 21 points.