September 5, 2017 2:51:20 PM
After a two-year absence, we finally have Starkville and Columbus playing one another to highlight the fourth week of the prep football regular season.
Columbus and Starkville have enjoyed a spirited rivalry over the years. However, the two schools have had trouble coming to terms to play a game when not inside the same region. Many of the rivalry games have been played as region contests in first Class 5A and later Class 6A.
Fortunately, Columbus fourth-year coach Randal Montgomery and Starkville first-year coach Chris Jones got on the same page and the teams play Friday night at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
Here are some thoughts on that game and other games in Week 4:
Columbus (0-2) at Starkville (2-1)
A pair of teams needing a lift meet Friday night in Starkville.
Columbus has 134 yards of total offense in two games combined. The Falcons have struggled moving the ball against the defensive lines of West Point and Noxubee County. The challenge may even be larger against the Yellow Jackets.
Starkville rolled over Noxubee County and escaped Oxford to start the season. The third week was not as kind with the Yellow Jackets falling 28-3 at West Point. Starkville is extremely talented. However, it is still trying to put things together on a consistent basis.
The teams last met in 2014. Starkville won the game, 43-0. Here is hoping this one is better.
Starkville 42, Columbus 7
New Hope (2-1) at Shannon (1-2)
New Hope is still working to itself as a Class 4A state title contender. The Trojans could take a huge step towards establishing that identity with a road win at Shannon.
New Hope was impressive in a 35-28 win over Houston Friday night. It appears that Kyree Fields and the rest of his offensive teammates have ironed out some of the kinks from a season-opening loss to Forest. The Trojans have experience but so many players are in new positions.
Shannon has fallen to Horn Lake and Noxubee County on the back-to-back Fridays. In the preseason, the Red Raiders were considered one of the best teams in Class 4A. Coach Darryl Carter's squad is young in lots of positions, so Shannon is most likely one year away from being among the state's elite.
It would be big if New Hope could run its modest win streak to three games.
New Hope 34, Shannon 30
Noxubee County (2-1) at Meridian (0-2)
The last time these teams met at Ray Stadium, Meridian came away with a rather-shocking 28-0 victory. The Wildcats followed that up with a 27-19 win in Macon last season.
Noxubee County enters Saturday's contest on a two-game winning streak. The Tigers were dominant in a 34-9 win over Columbus and efficient in a 21-18 win over Shannon. Noxubee County still needs some growth on the offensive line and the passing game must pick up the pace.
Meridian is winless as we enter week four. The Wildcats have fallen at Tupelo and Hoover (Alabama). This will be the home opener and there is little doubt Meridian will be ready to put forth the maximum effort to get the good feeling back.
It's a huge road test for Noxubee County. Coach Tyrone Shorter's squad has huge tests all the time.
Noxubee County 28, Meridian 21
Lamar School (1-3) at Heritage Academy (3-0)
Heritage Academy looks for a 4-0 start with a huge home game against Lamar School.
Lamar had struggled out of the gate with three straight losses. The Raiders are having some early-season issues on defense. One loss of note was a setback to Starkville Academy. That should be good news for Heritage Academy.
Playing at home, the Patriots will be looking for their fourth straight win to start the season. Senior Dontae Gray is off to a great start. Sophomore Carter Putt is growing at the quarterback position. We knew going in there was some talent on the offensive line.
It's another chance for a statement win. Heritage Academy has already had several of them in Sean Harrison's first two seasons as head coach.
Heritage Academy 34, Lamar School 12
Choctaw County 34, Caledonia 12 ... West Lowndes 20, Leake County 12 ... Pontotoc 34, Aberdeen 28 ... Nanih Waiya 34, Hamilton 0 ... Amory 34, New Albany 22 ... Louiisville 34, Ripley 0 ... Starkville Academy 21, East Webster 14 ... Indianola Academy 42, Winston Academy 6 ... Winona Christian 34, Oak Hill Academy 32 ... Victory Christian 42, Russell Christian 14 ... Aliceville 28, Keith 20 ... Phil Campbell 20, Lamar County 12 ... Pickens County 54, Holy Spirit Catholic 0 ... South Lamar 18, Hubbertville 12 ... Sulligent 42, Sheffield 0 ... Escambia Academy 38, Pickens Academy 20
Last Week: 17 - 1 (94.4 percent)
For Season: 44 - 5 (89.8 percent)