With the playoffs now in full swing, I feel like I’ve finally got a bead on all the teams. I’m hoping we can send five to Jackson in December – doubtful – and here are the teams I think have the best shot, and why. I welcome your thoughts.
Tupelo: The Golden Wave must first get past Clinton this week, and then South Panola the next week. If Tupelo can somehow upset the Tigers, then the 5A race becomes completely wide open. With weapons like Chad Bumphis and Ken Davis, the Wave can make a run.
West Point: Speaking of wide open, I could see any of the eight remaining 4A teams winning North. I go with the Green Wave because of its past playoff experience and that stingy, playmaking defense. West Point is the Daily Journal’s No. 1 large school.
Ripley: The question all year has been, Just how good is Ripley? The Tigers are 11-0, but some have said that’s due in part to a weak schedule. Region 1-3A certainly wasn’t the strongest in the state, but it wasn’t bad either. Ripley has two tremendous running backs, Michael Poole and Jaquise Cook, and a proven winner walking the sidelines, Mac McCurry. Ripley is the Journal’s No. 1 small school.
Bruce: Could just as easily go with Baldwyn, which seems to be locked in. Bruce beat Baldwyn in triple-OT in the regular season, and I imagine a rematch – which could happen in the North final – would be just as tight. But the Trojans have Richard Freelon, and their offense is coming together around him. That defense is tough, too.
East Webster: This is an easy one. The Wolverines, who lost in last year’s state title game, are 10-0 and have destroyed every single opponent behind quarterback/defensive back/kick returner Jonathan Banks. Average margin of victory: nearly 40 points. Yikes
Marshall Academy: The Patriots are all we’ve got left here. With Brent Adams under center, they’ve always got a shot.