October 29, 2014 6:50:14 PM
We are rapidly reaching the end of another high school football season.
The year has brought us some standout teams (Starkville High for example), some surprise teams (New Hope and Starkville Academy), some traditional powers doing what they do (Noxubee County and West Point) and some young, up-and-comers (Columbus and Aberdeen).
With either one or two weeks left in the regular season, almost every game in the area has bearing on the playoff race.
However, for Oak Hill Academy, Columbus Christian and Victory Christian, the time is now. Each of those schools play first-round playoff games Friday night.
So here we go, how about some Week 11 winners...
Murrah at Columbus
With back-to-back wins over Greenville and Madison Central, Columbus finds itself in the thick of the race for Class 6A, Region 2 playoff berth.
Columbus can qualify with a win over Murrah and some help with Northwest Rankin. The Falcons might win their final two games though and still need some help.
With that being said all Columbus can control is its Friday night home game with Murrah. The Mustangs also need a win to stay in the playoff chase.
A year ago, Malik Dear ran all over the Falcons, knocking them from playoff contention. Look for the Falcons to get a little revenge.
Columbus 21, Murrah 14
New Hope at West Point
Perhaps the most unlikely playoff matchup of the season takes place at McAllister Field when West Point takes on New Hope in a showdown for second place in Class 5A, Region 1 play.
New Hope is 8-1 overall, while West Point is 6-3. Each team is 4-1 in region play. Both teams would lose out to Oxford in a first-place tie-breaker, so the race is on for second.
New Hope bounced back from its first loss of the season to Oxford with a dominating performance in a win over Lewisburg. West Point has won four straight region games after its loss to Oxford.
In a game which felt like it took four day, West Point won last season's meeting, 76-50. This season, look for a much more entertaining and better played game. Let's give the nod to West Point but only the slimmest margin possible.
West Point 34, New Hope 32
Warren Central at Starkville High
Starkville High reaches the marquee part of its schedule for the final two weeks of the regular season.
Starkville moved to 9-0 with a 31-6 win over Murrah. While the Yellow Jackets struggled early, it was still an easy win. However, Murrah did break up Starkville's string of 17 straight quarters with allowing a point.
Starkville is 5-0 in region play. Warren Central and Clinton are both 8-1 overall and 4-1 in region play. Thus, the Yellow Jackets have put together the best nine weeks of football played in the state but could still finish first, second or third in the region.
It is hard to fathom that Warren Central or Clinton either one is on Starkville's level. However, it will be fun finding out.
Starkville 28, Warren Central 14
Hamilton at Smithville
Five teams are in the intense battle for the four playoff spots in the Class 1A, Region 1 race.
Hamilton, Smithville and Coldwater are in a three-way tie for third place. All three teams are a game behind second-place Falkner and two games behind first-place Coffeeville.
For Hamilton, the task is not easy. After facing its county rival on the road, Hamilton will end the season region leader Coffeeville at home.
The Lions know they must win one game to make the playoffs. Potentially, they may have to win two.
Smithville 30, Hamilton 26
Jackson Academy at Starkville Academy
Starkville Academy played arguably its most complete game of the season Friday night with its 31-0 win over archrival Heritage Academy.
The Volunteers have put together one of the area's best seasons with an 8-1 start. However, there is still plenty of work to be done. Jackson Academy and Pillow Academy may be the Volunteers' two toughest opponents and they come up this week and next week on the schedule.
Jackson Academy is having an atypical season. The Raiders are 5-4 after back-to-back losses to Jackson Prep and Madison-Ridgeland Academy.
Starkville Academy can all but nail down playoff home-field advantage and snag a secure victory Friday. However, it may again take the best effort of the season.
Starkville Academy 34, Jackson Academy 28
Oak Hill Academy at Canton Academy
Oak Hill Academy coach Tony Stanford quickly admits his team has a daunting task in the opening round of the MAIS Class AA playoffs.
Earlier this season, Oak Hill Academy beat Canton Academy 29-14 in a regular-season game played in West Point. Thus, we know the Raiders have the physical capability of winning this game.
However, Stanford admitted earlier this week the hardest thing to do in coaching is to beat a really good team twice in the same season.
Oak Hill's win over Canton is what got the Raiders into the playoffs for a third straight season. Now, they will have to beat them again to remain alive.
Canton Academy 34, Oak Hill Academy 21
Victory Christian 44, New Life 12 ... Columbus Christian 34, DeSoto School 14 ... Noxubee County 34, Houston 0 ... Leake Central 22, Caledonia 21 ... Aberdeen 42, South Pontotoc 0 ... Corinth 28, Amory 24 ... Eupora 42, East Webster 14 ... Louisville 44, Nettleton 0 ... Pelahatchie 50, East Oktibbeha 6 ... Ethel 22, West Oktibbeha 20 ... Magnolia Heights 28, Heritage Academy 7 ... Hebron Christian 34, Calhoun Academy 22 ... Kemper Academy 48, Central Academy 6 ... Lamar County 21, Winfield 20 ... Gordo 34, Pickens County 20 ... Sulligent 24, South Lamar 21 ... Escambia Academy 42, Pickens Academy 0
Last Week: 18-3 (85.7 percent)
For Season: 184-36 (87.6 percent)