It’s time to let the big dogs eat.
All prep football teams in the two largest classifications in the state of Mississippi, Class 6A and Class 5A, begin region play this week (as well as Class 1A). Class 4A will follow suit in one more week.
With most of the preliminary bouts out of the way, here are 7 games to watch in the “Southern Six” this week:
- George County at Gautier (Game of the Week) — Two teams seemingly going in different directions face off as Region 4-5A action begins, as the Gators host the Rebels. Both teams were off last week, but Gautier is coming off two straight wins and stands 2-1 on the year while GCHS is win-less after three outings. The Rebels have won three straight in this annual series, as well as 11 out of the past 13 contests. Gautier Senior standout signal-caller Kaden Irving gets one more shot to beat the Rebels.
- West Harrison at East Central — Staying in Region 4-5A play, a pair of perhaps surprising unbeaten squads square off as the home-standing Hornets host the Hurricanes in Hurley. Both teams also were open last week, after each began the season with three straight wins. The Hornets are 3-0 for the seventh straight year, while this marks the first time ever that WHHS is 3-0. East Central is 6-1 all-time in this series.
- Gulfport at St. Martin — A pair of teams off to nice 3-1 starts face off as the Admirals visit west Jackson County to begin Region 4-6A action. To say that Gulfport has dominated this series since its inception would be a bit of an understatement, as the Admirals have won every game played on the field since 2011 and stand 15-1 overall excluding an SMHS forfeited Covid win two years ago. Both teams are coming off wins last week, and SMHS has yet to lose to a Mississippi school this season.
- Biloxi at D’Iberville — The renewal of this longtime neighborhood Harrison County rivalry also serves as the Region 4-6A opener for both the Indians and Warriors. Both squads are coming off contests in which they faced perennial state powers with differing results, as Biloxi notched its first-ever win over Pearl while D’Iberville fell to Picayune. The Warriors have dropped three straight games and stand 1-3 overall while the Indians have bounced back with two straight wins after a season-opening loss to unbeaten East Central.
- Ocean Springs at Hancock — The unbeaten Greyhounds head to Hancock County to face the home-standing Hawks. Ocean Springs is 3-0 and coming off an open week, while Hancock moved to 3-1 with a resounding 49-0 thumping of hapless Jackson Lanier. The OSHS defense is guided by Trace Carter, who had 10 tackles in a win over George County, and Keshawn Thomas who had a sack and a fumble recovery. Ocean Springs played for its only state football championship ever in 2004, and that season marked the beginning of the Greyhounds’ dominance in this annual series as they have won 17 of the past 18 games since 2004.
- Pearl River Central at Picayune — Perennial Pearl River County rivals face off in the renewal of this neighborhood affair as each team opens the Region 4-5A section of their respective schedules. The defending Class 5A state champion Maroon Tide continues to roll along, winning 14 consecutive games after last week’s win over D’Iberville. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils continue to struggle as they are off to an 0-3 start this season and in the process have dropped 17 of the last 20 regular season games. In addition, Picayune has won 25 of the last 26 meetings between these two teams.
- Pass Christian at Poplarville — Arguably one of the most anticipated non-region games across the state this week, as Class 4A foes clash when the Pirates head to Pearl River County. Both squads are off to 3-1 starts, with the Hornets’ only loss in the season opener to Picayune and PHS’s only blemish was in an overtime loss to Forrest County AHS. Poplarville tailback Maurice Travis had 113 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 48-6 win over Terry last week.