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(Rock’s Locks) Picking prime prep playoff games

It’s a matter of survive and advance for every prep football team in the state of Mississippi beginning this week. Every player, coach, and fan is looking for another Monday of practice.

Rock’s Locks went 12-1 last week for our best outing so far this season and now stands at 113-30 on the season for an overall winning percentage of just over 80 percent. Now, that’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself…

“Back where I come from, I’m an old Mississippian…”

  1. Northwest Rankin at Ocean Springs (Game of the Week) — The Greyhounds open the Class 6A South State playoffs at home against the visiting Cougars Friday night. Ocean Springs is looking to move to 11-0 on the season for the second consecutive year. That shouldn’t be a problem. Ocean Springs 42, NWR 14.
  2. Laurel at Picayune — The defending Class 5A state champion Maroon Tide open defense of their crown as the Class 5A South State playoffs begin at Lee-Triplett Stadium Friday night. These two teams have become old familiar foes in the postseason, as this marks the seventh time in the past 10 seasons that the Maroon Tide and Golden Tornadoes have faced off in the postseason. We’ll stick with the undefeated home team. Picayune 26, Laurel 16.
  3. East Central at West Jones — Man, this opening-round game in the Class 5A South State playoffs should be an interesting one. East Central stands 8-2 on the season, and West Jones sits at 7-3 overall, but the Hornets are 0-5 all-time vs.WJHS. We have to go with the odds until proven otherwise. West Jones 28, East Central 27.
  4. Wayne County at Gautier — Another Class 5A South State opening-round playoff game that pits an opponent (Gautier) against another (Wayne County) that it has never beaten on the football field. The Gators stand officially standing 1-6 overall in seven all-time meetings vs. the War Eagles with the only official “win” coming due to a forfeit in the 2020 Covid season. We like the Gators’ chances at home better than we do the aforementioned Hornets’ ones on the road, though. Gautier 35, Wayne County 20.
  5. Vancleave at Hattiesburg — The Bulldogs are back in the postseason again after missing last season, and they travel to the Hub City to face the home-standing Tigers in the opening round of the Class 5A South State playoffs. This marks the first-ever meeting between Vancleave and Hattiesburg in football, and VHS stands 7-3 overall and finished fourth in Region 4-5A while the Tigers won the Region 3-5A title and sit at 7-4 overall. Hattiesburg has won seven straight games after starting the season 0-4, and Vancleave hasn’t won a state playoff game in seven seasons. We don’t see either streak ending Friday night. Hattiesburg 41, Vancleave 28.
  6. Biloxi at Oak Grove — The Indians head north to the Hattiesburg area as well Friday night to open the Class 6A South state playoffs against the Warriors. Biloxi had won seven out of its last eight games before falling to arch-rival Gulfport last week, and that loss caused them to travel this week instead of hosting a home playoff game. The Indians haven’t won a playoff game in 11 years, and in that same time frame OGHS has played in five state championship games and won two of those. Biloxi is 0-3 all-time against the Warriors. Oak Grove 34, Biloxi 21.
  7. Warren Central at Gulfport — One of the top opening-round postseason games takes place Friday at historic Milner Stadium as the 9-2 Admirals host the 9-1 Vikings in the opening round of the Class 6A South State playoffs. Gulfport has lost only to a pair of unbeaten teams this season in powerful Picayune and dominant Ocean Springs. Man, what a tough first-round draw for Gulfport, in a WCHS squad whose only loss all season came to Region 3-6A champ Brandon 21-3. Warren Central 21, Gulfport 20.

A six pack to go:

Moss Point 30, Quitman 28

Raleigh 27, St. Stanislaus 21

Brandon 55, Hancock 6

Hamilton 21, Resurrection 19

Stone 24, North Pike 17

Poplarville 44, Newton County 14


Written by Curtis Rockwell

Curtis has almost three decades of experience at four different daily newspapers across South Mississippi, specializing in Sports and live Music.


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