Week 3 of high school football season is here. Here are Zac Chamblee’s predictions for six of the biggest games in the Hattiesburg area.
Oak Grove (2-0) at Laurel (1-1)
The Warriors make the short trip up I-59 Friday night to face the Golden Tornadoes “Between the Bricks”. Oak Grove is coming off a blowout win over Wayne County, and Laurel is playing on a short week after falling short against Hattiesburg on Saturday night. This will be the fourth consecutive year these teams have faced one another. In each of the previous three match-ups, the home team has come out on top. I see that trend ending this year though. I think Oak Grove is simply the better team here. The key for the Warriors will be limiting Laurel’s two stud running backs—Zias Perryman and Michael Terrell. Keep in mind, Oak Grove has allowed only 59 total rushing yards through two games this season, including 12 last week against Wayne County. The Golden Tornadoes should surpass that in the first quarter, but I don’t see them beating the Warriors. Still, it should be a competitive game.
Oak Grove 27, Laurel 21
Sacred Heart (0-2) at Sumrall (2-0)
You’ve got two teams headed down two different paths here. Despite showing promise in last week’s second half against Richton, Sacred Heart is still searching for answers at a few spots, particularly on the defensive side. Sumrall, on the other hand, has been pretty consistent on that side, having not allowed a touchdown there through two games. The Bobcat offense also figures to get better and better each passing week with Dannis Jackson getting more experience at quarterback. Last year, we saw a competitive, fourth quarter game between these teams. But this time around, Sumrall could very well put this one away in the first half.
Sumrall 34, Sacred Heart 13
Poplarville (1-1) at Seminary (1-1)
The key for Seminary in this game is simple: Don’t let it spiral out of control early. In last season’s matchup, the Hornets raced out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter en route to a 47-0 win. Poplarville lost its top rusher, Austin Bolton, from that team, but apparently they returned pretty much everybody else. The Hornets will and should be the favorite in this game. Seminary is coming off a nice offensive and defensive performance against Franklin County, but things will get ratcheted up this week. Hard not to roll with Poplarville here.
Poplarville 35, Seminary 21
Collins (1-1) at Northeast Jones (0-2)
Call this one the Battle of the Tigers. On Friday night in the Jungle, Northeast Jones of Class 4A and Collins of 2A will square off. Don’t be fooled though, Collins is not your average 2A team. Right next to area teams like Taylorsville and Bay Springs, they are a clear-cut favorite to win a bunch of games and make a long playoff run in the process. Northeast Jones did keep it competitive in week one against Taylorsville, but right now, I think Collins has an edge over the Tartars. Collins showed some real heart last week going toe-to-toe with Goliath, Jeff Davis County, and coming up three yards short of a victory. They should bounce back this week.
Collins 28, Northeast Jones 17
North Forrest (0-2) at Columbia (2-0)
North Forrest has not been immune to slow starts in recent years, and this season is no different. Breaking in a new quarterback is always tough, especially in a tough non-district schedule. But for a second consecutive year, the Eagles are hoping to pick up their first win of the season against Columbia. They did so last year with a 24-21 win, but Columbia looks much-improved under first-year head coach Chip Bilderback. His offense, which is averaging 45 points and 443 yards a game thus far, could spell trouble for North Forrest.
Columbia 41, North Forrest 23
Pearl River Central (0-2) at FCAHS (0-2)
The Aggies are not far away from their first win of the Brad Calcote era. They fought tooth and nail with Perry Central last week only to come up short, 20-12. FYI, FCAHS totaled 268 yards in that game without completing a single pass. It was a hard-nosed, old school performance from the Aggies, who welcome the Blue Devils from Pearl River Central to the Farm this week. Both teams may be in rebuild mode, but you can always expect a competitive ballgame when they meet up. I’ll roll with FCAHS at home.
FCAHS 20, Pearl River Central 16