Week four of high school football season has arrived. Here are Zac Chamblee’s predictions for some of the biggest games in the Hattiesburg area.
Hattiesburg (3-0) at Oak Grove (3-0)
Here we are. To be honest, I’ve been dreading having to pick this game now for a solid month. It’s the Game of the Year, the “Battle For The Burg” if you will, and I can’t remember a matchup of these teams with more hype and talent on the field. I’ve been on record saying Hattiesburg is my pick to win Class 5A this year, so obviously the Tigers are stacked. In 6A, Starkville is the clear-cut favorite after spanking West Point last Friday, but Oak Grove could be right there in the end. Thousands should show up to watch quarterbacks Jarod Conner and John Rhys Plumlee put on shows for their respective teams. Both Division I commits have their offenses humming and averaging about 42 points a game. I know both defenses are playing well, too, but I think we’re in for a shootout much like 2016. Only difference, I believe Hattiesburg will come out on top like they did last year. But like I said and will continue to say, I know it can go either way.
Hattiesburg 43, Oak Grove 37
Sacred Heart (0-3) at North Forrest (0-3)
As their records indicate, whoever comes out on top in this area matchup will pick up a much-needed win. We’ve seen North Forrest get better incrementally on offense the last few weeks, but defensively the Eagles are allowing about 48 points per game. On the other side, Sacred Heart is giving up 40 and just like North Forrest scoring 13. Just like last year’s matchup, it should be a competitive ballgame. North Forrest was able to pull away a little bit in the second half of that one, and I think the same could happen this year. I also think the Eagles have too much talent offensively to lay another egg.
North Forrest 38, Sacred Heart 27
Laurel (1-2) at Petal (0-3)
The time is now for Petal. A loss here would send the Panthers into their district gauntlet with a winless record. But a win could turn the tide and make for a boost heading into the second season. We’ve seen some glimpses from Petal. The first half against Hattiesburg and the second last week against Brother Martin certainly stand out. The Panthers also had a lead in the fourth quarter against Gulfport two weeks ago only to come up short. Another tough test comes this week in the form of the Laurel Golden Tornadoes, who should be just as hungry for a win after dropping two straight. Led by running back Zias Perryman, who averaged 10 yards a carry last week against Oak Grove, I think Laurel will probably bounce back and gut out a tough road win.
Laurel 24, Petal 20
Taylorsville (3-0) at Seminary (1-2)
If the first three weeks have shown us anything, it’s that Taylorsville is vulnerable and maybe not quite the powerhouse they were last season. Yes, the Tartars remain unbeaten, but twice so far in 2018 they’ve been pushed to the brink. They’ve got a target on their back, and Seminary is hoping to knock them off and avenge last year’s blowout loss. The Bulldogs are not what their record indicates. They’re a talented team that should hang around with the Tartars. But there’s really only so much you can do against Taylorsville’s phenom quarterback, Ty Keyes. I’m not yet prepared to bet against this young man.
Taylorsville 28, Seminary 21
Enterprise (0-3) at Sumrall (3-0)
Not much to see here, probably. Sumrall’s starting defense has yet to allow a touchdown, and now they face an Enterprise team that’s lacking firepower and consistency on the offensive side. Defensively, Enterprise allowed over 300 yards on the ground last week against Stringer, so Dannis Jackson and Ty’Rek Preston could very well have a field day in this one. The Bobcats should keep it rolling and move to 4-0.
Sumrall 37, Enterprise 13