During the football season, colleague Dalton Middleton and I normally host a webcast previewing the week’s big games.
This being Thanksgiving week, our schedules were tight, and we were unable to do a show. Which means we didn’t make online predictions about the games.
So, against my better judgment, I am here to predict winners of the three MHSAA North final showdowns involving area teams. All three are being played tonight.
• Greenwood at Corinth (4A): These teams met in the third round last year, with Greenwood rallying for a 40-38 win. It was a bitter loss for Corinth, which had the game in hand before some late turnovers.
The Warriors look like a better team this season, especially on defense. They’re allowing just 13.2 points per game, which is six points better than last year.
Greenwood, however, is 13-0 and averages 38.8 ppg. And the Bulldogs allow 7.2 ppg and have tossed five shutouts over their last seven games.
Corinth’s Wing-T rushing attack, led by Tam Patterson, is a whole other beast. I’m sure Greenwood will find ways to limit it, but it averages 298 yards per game for a reason.
Prediction: Corinth 28, Greenwood 22.
• Neshoba Central at West Point (5A): The Green Wave are seeking a fourth-straight state title, and they’ve looked like champs this season, especially in the second halves of games.
West Point has trailed at the half in four of its games and won three of them, including last week’s 21-14 victory over Lafayette.
Like West Point, Neshoba Central is adept at running the ball, averaging 296 yards per game. The Rockets have a 2,000-yard rusher in Jarquez Hunter. It’s a tough matchup.
I have a rule, though: Never pick against West Point.
Prediction: West Point 27, Neshoba Central 21.
• Starkville at Oxford (6A): This is a rematch from Week 2, when Starkville won 45-17.
It was a weird game, though. The Yellowjackets raced to a 24-0 lead, but it was 24-17 with 7:07 left in the game.
Oxford was doomed in part by four turnovers, and Starkville pulled away late.
I imagine this game will be close throughout. Oxford’s defense has been lights out since that loss, not allowing more than 14 points to an opponent.
Starkville has won six in a row in this series, and I think the streak keeps going.
Prediction: Starkville 24, Oxford 23.