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Mississippi High School Playoffs: Meridian upsets Ocean Springs, Oxford survives first-round scare

Teams from Class 7A's Region 2 and Region 3 flexed their muscles in the first round of the MHSAA Playoffs

JACKSON — The opening night of the MHSAA Class 7A Playoffs was not kind to teams from DeSoto County and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Teams from Region 1 were nearly swept by Region 2 opponents, with heavyweights Tupelo and Starkville winning comfortably at home over DeSoto Central and Southaven and Madison Central beating Lewisburg 46-0 on the road.

The lone saving grace was No. 1 seed Oxford, which slipped by Region 2 four-seed Germantown 47-44 in double overtime.

There was no such savior for Region 4. 

Brandon and Oak Grove cruised past Harrison Central and Biloxi, Pearl upset Gulfport 17-14 on the road and fourth-seeded Meridian knocked off top-seeded Ocean Springs down on the coast 35-23 thanks to another big performance by star tailback Daniel Hill, who finished with three touchdowns.

MORE: SBLive Mississippi Friday Night Scoreboard

Tonight’s results set up four regular-season rematches in the second round. In the North, Starkville will travel to Oxford for a “Little Egg Bowl” rematch and Tupelo will host Madison Central.

In the South, Brandon will host cross-town rival Pearl in this season's second rendition of the “Rankin County Super Bowl." Meridian will ride the Daniel Hill farewell tour to Hattiesburg for another showdown with Oak Grove.

MORE: MHSAA Class 7A Playoff Bracket

Class 6A’s running clocks

The opening-round of the MHSAA Class 6A Playoffs featured six blowouts and two close games.

All of the heavyweights rolled to big wins. In the North, South Panola beat Callaway 56-6, Warren Central beat Saltillo 46-19 and Grenada cruised past Vicksburg 37-8.

In the South, top-ranked West Jones whipped Hancock 48-20 and defending state champion Picayune shut out Forest Hill 42-0. The other two South games were tight — Pascagoula pulled out a 7-6 win over Hattiesburg on the road, and the Terry Bulldogs knocked off George County 41-39 in Lucedale.

Looking ahead to next week, the North has two good games with top-seeded South Panola at home against Neshoba Central and Warren Central set to host Grenada.

If Picayune takes care of business against Pascagoula at home and West Jones beats Terry next week, it’ll set up a South State Championship for the ages between the Maroon Tide and the Mustangs.

MORE: MHSAA Class 6A Playoff Bracket

Shocking road wins

It’s time to hand out some kudos to Friday night's road warriors:

  • In Class 5A playoff action, Lafayette trailed for much of the night, but took a 14-10 lead on a six-yard touchdown pass to Al’marian Reed-Jones with a minute left in the third quarter and held on to beat the Canton Tigers.
  • In Class 4A, Lawrence County erased a 19-14 halftime deficit at McComb and scored the go-ahead touchdown with seven minutes to go in a 28-25 win over the previously unbeaten Tigers.
  • Also in Class 4A, Pass Christian tailback Jacquez Alexander provided the go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter and the Pirates held on to beat Quitman 27-7.
  • In Class 3A, Amanda Elzy upset Choctaw County at Ackerman with a 95-yard pick-six to break a 32-32 tie with 20 seconds left in the game.
  • In Class 2A, Heidelberg knocked off defending state champion Bay Springs 20-14.

Looking ahead

Aside from the marquee second-round matchups, there are some sneaky good games in the smaller classifications.

Both of the matchups on the South side of the Class 1A bracket should be barn-burners, with Hollandale-Simmons set to host Taylorsville and Region 8 champ Resurrection Catholic traveling to undefeated and top-ranked Velma Jackson.

MORE: Complete Playoff Brackets for all MHSAA Classes

In Class 2A, Raleigh will face Scott Central in a matchup of defending state champions, while Region 1 champion Hamilton will face Region 3’s top-seeded Charleston Tigers.

In Class 3A, all eyes should be on Bassfield, where Jefferson Davis County will host Noxubee County in a heavyweight showdown, with the winner advancing to South State.