November 3, 2022: Gulfport Admirals Jacob Palazzo (3) rolls out under pressure during the Biloxi versus Gulfport game at Milner Stadium in Gulfport, Mississippi. Photo: Bobby McDuffie/228 Sports
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(A Look Ahead) 7 prep games to watch this week

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From here on out, every game counts.

The prep football state playoffs are in full swing, with teams that are left playing in every classification now facing win or pack-it-in situations.

While August holds hope for the beginning of each new prep football campaign, November is the one to remember for those that hope to bring home a gold football in December.

Of course, those memories this month can be unseasonably balmy pleasant ones or also can be those that come to an end in the cold November rain.

Here are seven games in the “Southern Six” to keep an eye on this week:

  1. Northwest Rankin at Ocean Springs (Game of the Week) — The unbeaten Greyhounds just wrapped up their second straight perfect 10-0 regular season and in the process secured their second consecutive Region 4-6A title. Big things are expected out of OSHS as this postseason begins, as the Greyhounds look to become the first team from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to bring home a state championship in the largest statewide classification since Moss Point in 2000, so 22 years since it happened. This is just the third meeting all-time between the Greyhounds and Cougars, but the second in three seasons after NWR nipped OSHS 17-14 in the playoffs in 2020. This is the first meeting between the teams ever in Ocean Springs. The Cougars kind of backed their way into the playoffs and stand 4-6 on the season.
  2. Laurel at Picayune — These two old foes are quite used to seeing one another in the playoffs, as this marks the seventh time in the past 10 seasons that the Maroon Tide and Golden Tornadoes have faced off in the postseason. Picayune has won four out of the past six meetings, but both Laurel wins have come on the road in Lee-Triplett Stadium. Laurel was picked by many observers to win the Region 3-5A title, but due to a few stumbles along the way finished the regular season at 6-5. Picayune is 11-0 and has won a school-record 22 straight games.
  3. Wayne County at Gautier — The home-standing Gators face an old nemesis to open the Class 5A state playoffs as the War Eagles clad in Auburn-like uniforms invade the Swamp. Gautier has never beaten WCHS on the football field, standing 1-6 overall in seven all-time meetings with the only official “win” coming due to a forfeit in the 2020 Covid season. Gautier stands 8-2 overall and finished second in Region 4-5A, and the Gators had their eight-game win streak snapped by powerful Picayune 48-42 in overtime last week. Wayne County is 7-4 overall and is coming off a 14-7 loss to West Jones which dropped the War Eagles into the third spot in Region 3-5A.
  4. East Central at West Jones — The Hornets hit the road to Soso as the third seed in Region 4-5A after a 28-21 win over Vancleave last week, while the aforementioned seven-point win over Wayne County gave the Mustangs the number two slot in Region 3-5A and the opening round home game in the Class 5A state playoffs. East Central stands 8-2 on the season, and West Jones sits at 7-3 overall. This is the sixth all-time meeting between the teams, and the Hornets have yet to figure out how to overcome the Mustangs as WJHS is a perfect 5-0 all-time in the series. This is the third all-time meeting in the playoffs between the two teams, including a 56-20 win for the Mustangs three years ago.
  5. Moss Point at Quitman — The match-up comes in the second round of the Class 4A South State playoffs and marks the first meeting ever between the Tigers and Panthers on the football field. Moss Point stands just 3-7 overall, but the Tigers hammered visiting Forrest County AHS to open the playoffs last week. Quitman is just 5-5 overall, but stunned home-standing McComb last week 42-21 to open the postseason. Moss Point is the second seed in Region 8-4A, while Quitman qualified as the fourth and final seed out of Region 5-4A.
  6. Warren Central at Gulfport — The home-standing Admirals stand at 9-2 overall as they welcome the Vikings into historic Milner Stadium Friday night to open the Class 6A South State playoffs. Gulfport’s only losses this season came to a pair of unbeaten teams, in defending Class 5A state champion Picayune and undefeated Ocean Springs. Warren Central isn’t the normal three-seed, as the Vikings are 9-1 overall with just a 21-3 loss to Brandon so far. The Vikings, despite having just one loss, fell to the third seed and must hit the road due to tie-breakers. This marks just the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools, but the first meeting in the playoffs since 1988. The all-time series is tied at 2-2.
  7. Resurrection at Hamilton — The Eagles qualified for the Class 1A state playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine seasons after missing the postseason last year. Resurrection won the three-way tie-breaker for the fourth and final spot in Region 4-1A between RCS, Richton and Mt. Olive thanks basically to a close two-point loss to Lumberton in the regular season. The reward for the Eagles is a long trip to Hamilton for the first-ever meeting between the teams. Hamilton stands 11-0 and won Region 3-1A. Hamilton won the state championship in Class BB in 1981 and 1982, the first two years of the statewide playoff system in the state. This year marked the first district title for the Lions in 36 years, since 1986.

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Written by Curtis Rockwell

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