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10 games to watch in Mississippi high school football (10/26/2023)

No. 8 Pearl at No. 2 Oak Grove highlights another big week in the Magnolia State

As we enter the final weekend of October high school football in Mississippi, there's a lot more on the line than bragging rights in this week's highlighted games.

No. 8 Pearl (6-2) at No. 3 Oak Grove (7-1) represents the only top-10 matchup, but there are several games with major playoff implications.

Without further ado, here's a look at 10 games we're paying close attention to this weekend in Mississippi:


Ripley (9-0) at New Albany (6-2)

Ripley has already locked up the top seed coming out of Region 1-4A, but puts the Tigers will put their undefeated streak on the line against a very good New Albany team from Region 2-4A that they are likely to see again in the playoffs. Led by its star sophomore quarterback Braden Shettles, the Bulldogs have put up 30 or more points in each of their last five games. On the other side, Ripley’s defense has only allowed 20 or more points in one of its nine contests. Something has to give at New Albany Thursday night.

East Webster (7-2) at Nettleton (6-2)

Choctaw County secured the district title with a win over Nettleton last weekend, but the battle for the No. 2 seed coming out of Region 4-3A comes down to the winner of this Thursday night tilt. The East Webster Wolverines have dominated all three games since back-to-back, mid-season losses to Calhoun City and Choctaw County back in September. Nettleton has scored at will, averaging better than 30 points a game, but they’ve also given up at least three touchdowns in all eight contests.

Bay Springs (8-1) at Jeff Davis County (8-1)

The Bay Springs Bulldogs have clinched the Region 5-2A title, and the Jeff Davis County Jaguars have done the same in Region 6-3A. That means the outcome of this game Thursday night, designed as a playoff tune-up for both championship contenders, comes down to bragging rights. Both teams have prolific offenses, which means there could be a lot of fireworks coming out of Bassfield.


No. 8 Pearl (6-2) at No. 3 Oak Grove (7-1)

Both of these Region 3-7A foes are still smarting from losses to No. 2 Brandon, but this game still has huge implications for both teams. Pearl is tied for fourth in the district with Northwest Rankin (at 1-2 in region games), and one of the two teams is likely to be left out of the playoff picture when the final standings come into view next week. On the other side, the Warriors need a win to secure the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage in the first two rounds of the MHSAA 7A Playoffs.

No. 7 Picayune (6-2) at George County (7-2)

It goes without saying that any game for a region title is worth watching, but the star power in this one is well worth the price of admission. George County appears to be getting better each week with quarterback Deuce Knight back in the fold, and sandwiched a narrow 28-26 win over Hancock between blowout victories over Long Beach and West Harrison the last three outings. We’ve all had Picayune penciled into the 6A Championship game since the pre-season, but the Rebels can throw a major wrench into those plans with a win Friday night.

No. 3 Ocean Springs (7-1) at Gulfport (5-3)

The Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Region 4-7A has two big boys this season, and they will meet this week in a game that will decide the district title. Ocean Springs is probably the biggest surprise of any team in the state, rising to the upper echelon of the SBLive Power 10 Rankings despite losing last year’s Player of the Year Bray Hubbard to graduation. Gulfport played a grueling schedule and fell out of those same rankings after losses to perennial powerhouse Madison Central, No. 7 Picayune and No. 2 Brandon, but have quietly put together three dominant wins over Biloxi, D’Iberville and St. Martin to put themselves in position to win the region Friday night.

Madison Central (5-3) at No. 5 Starkville (6-2)

Pre-season No. 1 Starkville has had its bout with injuries this season, but Friday’s game against giant-slayer Madison Central is an all-hands-on-deck moment for last year’s Class 6A Champion. The Jaguars have suffered some frustrating, one-score losses against Northwest Rankin, Warren Central and Tupelo, but also hold wins over No. 3 Ocean Springs, No. 2 Brandon and a very good Gulfport team. Starkville still has a path to the No. 1 seed in Region 2, but to set up a possible winner-take-all game at Tupelo next week, the Jackets have to find a way past the Jaguars.

Terry (5-3) at Hattiesburg (6-2)

The Terry Bulldogs travel to the Hub City for a big Region 3-6A showdown with the Tigers in a game that has big playoff seeding implications for both teams. Hattiesburg is tied with the undefeated West Jones Mustangs at 2-0 in district games, and a win Friday would set up a winner-take-all game for the district title at Hattiesburg next week. Terry needs a win to have a shot at hosting a first-round playoff game.

Meridian (5-4) at No. 2 Brandon (6-2)

This one looks like a mismatch on paper, but games aren’t played on paper. Brandon sits atop the district standings at 3-0, and looks to continue its march through Region 3-7A, arguably the toughest region in Mississippi high school football. Meridian is fighting like mad for its first playoff berth since 2017, and has already won big games at Northwest Rankin and Harrison Central. The big matchup here is Meridian’s Daniel Hill against the Brandon defense, which has improved since getting gashed in early games against Picayune and Madison Central.

Oxford (5-3) at Lewisburg (6-2)

The top two teams in Region 1-7A meet in a game that will likely decide the district title. Oxford needs to win, then protect their home field against third-place Hernando in the regular season finale next week to go 5-0 in the region. Lewisburg has already beaten Hernando, and would put themselves in the driver’s seat with a win Friday night. Lewisburg is undefeated at home this year, while Oxford has proven road warriors with a 4-1 mark in five away games.