Week 8 of high school football season is here. Here are Zac Chamblee’s predictions for five of the biggest games this week in the Hattiesburg area and Covington County. Note: Zac will be covering Collins-North Forrest on Friday and did not make a pick for that matchup.

Meridian (3-3) at Oak Grove (5-1)

This should be a good challenge for Oak Grove. Meridian is never short on talent, and the Wildcats will be eager to avenge last season’s 66-41, basketball score loss to the Warriors. To me, though, most signs point to Oak Grove winning again. John Rhys Plumlee seems to have this team on a mission to get back to the postseason. I’m thinking they take a positive step in that direction Friday by improving to 3-0 in Region 3-6A. 

Oak Grove 38, Meridian 27 

Sumrall (7-0) at Lawrence County (5-2)

Now is where things get very interesting for Sumrall. Let’s be honest, the Bobcats have played a favorable schedule to this point. Well, we’re about to find out just how good they are, because Lawrence County is no joke. The Cougars are averaging 320 rushing yards a game, and their defense has allowed a grand total of 26 points since Aug. 24. But according to Mississippi high school football extraordinaire Brandon Shields, they’ve struggled dealing with athletic quarterbacks. Hello Dannis Jackson. He and the Bobcats should get the job done on the road. Honestly, I’m hoping they do and move to 8-0 heading into next week’s showdown with Poplarville. 

Sumrall 21, Lawrence County 17 

Pearl River Central (2-4) at Hattiesburg (6-0)

Not a whole lot to say here. Pearl River Central has put up some points the last few weeks, but they’ve yet to see a defense as fast and physical as that of Hattiesburg. On top of that, the Blue Devils have allowed 50 or more points in three games so far. I’m thinking Snoop Conner and the Tiger offense will make it four on Friday. 

Hattiesburg 51, Pearl River Central 13 

Wesson (4-2) at Seminary (4-3)

If you were sleeping on Seminary before last Friday, surely you were woken up by the Bulldogs’ road win over previously unbeaten West Marion. Keep in mind that Seminary’s three losses came to three state title contenders (Poplarville, Taylorsville and Collins). I can’t say the same thing about Wesson, though. The Cobras have a big-time challenge on their hands dealing with Seminary’s dominant ground game and defense. 

Seminary 27, Wesson 10 

Petal (1-5) at Brandon (6-1)

Petal desperately needs this win, because a loss here would send the Panthers to 0-3 in Region 3-6A. That would be a tough hole to climb out of considering Brandon, Pearl and Oak Grove are still unbeaten in district. Offensively, Petal is still going through some major growing pains, which spells trouble against anyone but especially at a contender like Brandon. 

Brandon 34, Petal 17