Time for some prep football playoff action
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Nov. 7, 2003
Finally, we've reached the good time of the year for high school football… the playoffs. It's simple, win or go home.
When it comes to some teams, you might wonder how they got here in the first place.
Of the 96 teams competing in this week's first-round games for Classes 2A, 3A, and 4A, 13 come in with losing records.
Finishing under .500, but qualifying for the postseason, are Northeast Lauderdale, Pass Christian, Ripley, Holly Springs, North Panola, Humphreys County, North Pike, Mound Bayou, and Newton, all at 4-6; Carthage at 3-6, Gulfport St. John at 3-7, and Columbia and Kemper County at 2-8.
Making the playoffs at 5-5 are Neshoba Central, St. Stanislaus, J.Z. George, Richland, Purvis, Water Valley, West Tallahatchie, and Lake.
At the other end of the spectrum are unbeatens West Jones, Tylertown, Loyd Star, and Seminary, all of which are 10-0.
South Panola and Oak Grove are both 10-0 in Class 5A as is Weir in Class 1A. Simpson Academy (10-0) and Trinity Episcopal (11-0) are the only unbeaten teams in the MPSA.
In eight-man football, Mississippi School for the Deaf is 7-0.
With an 8-2 mark heading into tonight's Class 3A playoff game with Purvis at Collinsville, the West Lauderdale Knights have the most wins in a season for a Lauderdale County team since Northeast Lauderdale and Southeast Lauderdale both went 8-3 in 1990.
The last time a Lauderdale County team had nine or more wins was when West Lauderdale finished 10-2 in 1984 under Joe Williford.
Rock em, sock em
Quitman travels to Bay St. Louis for a Class 4A battle with the St. Stanislaus Rockachaws. It will be the first home playoff game at Brother Philip Memorial Stadium for the Rocks since the playoff system was reintroduced in 1981.
St. Stanislaus' three previous playoff appearances have each ended in failure at South Pike.
Gulfport St. John head coach Buddy Singleton thinks his team has a chance at Philadelphia, 8-2, despite the Eagles' 3-7 record that includes four straight losses to close out the regular season.
Meridian will open the Class 5A playoffs at either Pascagoula or St. Martin next week. The Wildcats have already whipped St. Martin on the road once this year, while Goula barely beat Quitman in early September.
The Cats go to Northwest Rankin tonight. The Cougars blanked Northeast Lauderdale 23-0 in the season opener.
Last week, Northwest yielded 385 rushing yards to Picayune.
Meridian has won all four games in the series which began in 1997. The teams did not meet the last two years.
What's another day?
While nearly all of the playoff games are slated for tonight, that's not the case for Northeast Lauderdale. The Trojans won't take on the Gautier Gators until 2 p.m. Saturday since the Gators share War Memorial Stadium in Pascagoula with Pascagoula High School and the Panthers will be hosting Moss Point in their regular season finale tonight.
Northeast will be making its first playoff appearance since losing 39-13 at home to Bay Springs in 1985.
Play til you're a loser
Bassfield and Richton apparently weren't satisfied with their ho-hum 5-5 seasons, so they've agreed to play in Saturday's Panther Bowl at Lumberton. Somebody's got to finish with a losing record.
The Shrimp Bowl in Biloxi's Yankie Stadium Saturday night pairs Mercy Cross, 4-6, with Mooreville, 4-6. Why anybody would pay to see this game is beyond me.