As I was looking back over the playoff schedule today, I realized something: We could lose a lot of area teams. I know, it’s the third round, where the mismatches are few, but few NeMiss teams can be considered clear-cut favorites.
I’ve decided – against my better judgment, I’m sure – to rate the chances of each of the 10 remaining area teams advancing this Friday. Winners will play for the North half title and a trip to Jackson (except for Marshall Academy, which is in the MPSA Class AA semis). I’m using a 1-10 scale, with 6-10 meaning that team is a favorite, 0-4 an underdog, and 5 even money (no wagering!).
Tupelo (vs. South Panola): 3. The Golden Wave lost 22-9 to the Tigers in the regular season. This one’s at home, but SP is in playoff mode now.
Starkville (vs. Olive Branch): 4. Sure, Starkville beat the Quistors 17-14 four weeks ago, but I don’t think it got OB’s best effort. Also, Starkville’s been up and down all year.
Itawamba AHS (vs. Noxubee Co.): 6. A lot of folks are making Noxubee the fave, but consider this, for what it’s worth: IAHS beat Shannon 28-27; Shannon beat West Point 36-35; West Point beat Noxubee 22-0.
West Point (at Kosciusko): 5. West Point won this matchup 17-14 on Oct. 12. Both teams are allegedly better since then, and Kosy gets the Wave at home this time.
Aberdeen (at Corinth): 5, in the lone NeMiss-only game. One always wonders how long those high-octane offenses will hold up in the playoffs; Nettleton made it to Jackson last year before running out of gas.
Corinth (vs. Aberdeen): 5, obviously. The Warriors have been not only playing well overall, but they’ve made big plays late in games. They’re as hot as any team around.
Ripley (vs. Louisville): 3. Louisville is the big fish in a small pond this year. No disrespect, Ripley, but 12-0 means little when you’ve never faced a team like this. Hope you prove me wrong.
Baldwyn (vs. Hollandale Simmons): 7. That might seem a bit high, considering Simmons just beat Eupora 26-16, and Eupora beat Baldwyn 14-6 – on Sept. 28. Then again, Baldwyn just pounded Riverside, 41-12, a team that beat Simmons 28-26 on Oct. 5.
East Webster (vs. Mound Bayou JFK): 8. On paper, JFK looks like it could be the first team to come within 24 points of East Webster. Maybe, but the Hornets won’t get much closer than that.
MPSA Class AA
Marshall Aca. (vs. Winston Aca.): 6. The Brent Adams show rolls on to Jackson. Well, Clinton technically.