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Rematches dominate local playoff schedule

 

Scott Walters

 

 

Many football fans don't like rematches. 

 

It's best when two teams play each other one time per season. 

 

The disdain for rematches only intensifies when it looks like a rivalry game will be played for the second time in a season. 

 

However, the deeper you get in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) playoffs, the odds of a seeing a team for the second time in a season increase. 

 

That's what we have Friday night as Starkville, West Point, and Noxubee County will look for a second win this season against their opponents. 

 

In Class 6A, Starkville will play host to Madison Central. In Class 5A, West Point will play host to Olive Branch. In Class 4A, Noxubee County will play host to Louisville. 

 

The winners will advance to next weekend's state championship play at Ole Miss' Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. 

 

Here is What to Watch For in Week No. 15: 

 

 

 

Jaguars or Yellow Jackets 

 

Can Starkville take the final step to play for a state championship? 

 

There have been few things that have been easy for Starkville this season. 

 

The Yellow Jackets are loaded with talent. Many felt like 2018 would be the year they made a run at a state championship. 

 

However, the offense has struggled with consistency in the second half of the season. 

 

Overall, the team is fairly healthy. The desire to compete for a championship is there. 

 

With Tupelo losing early in the playoffs, the door is open without a clear favorite in Class 6A. 

 

Starkville beat Madison Central 14-6 in the regular season. 

 

A similar defensive effort will be needed to get to Oxford. 

 

 

 

Conquistadors or Green Wave 

 

Will Olive Branch give West Point a competitive game? 

 

In the regular season, West Point racked up 406 rushing yards in a 51-7 victory against Olive Branch. 

 

It is hard to see the Conquistadors closing that gap when the teams play again for a much bigger prize. 

 

Granted, Olive Branch is 12-1. That is a byproduct of the squad being much deeper and older than a year ago, when it went winless in Class 6A. 

 

Many felt Olive Branch would be better. However, few had them on the short list of contenders for the Class 5A title. 

 

When West Point plays at home and plays well, the odds of beating it are virtually non-existent. 

 

In the second round of the playoffs, Grenada played West Point much better than it did in the regular season. 

 

Olive Branch will hope for a similar results. That and praying might help, too. 

 

 

 

Wildcats or Tigers 

 

Will Noxubee County-Louisville give us its normal drama? 

 

One of the state's best games Friday night is slated for Macon. 

 

Noxubee County and Louisville will play once again in the latest chapter of the old friendship between Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter and former Noxubee County coach and current Louisville coach M.C. Miller. 

 

The teams always play a highly entertaining football game. There aren't necessarily always well-played. However, the games are intense and typically decided late in the game. 

 

Noxubee County won 35-30 in the regular season. 

 

However, both teams have improved tremendously since that game. The Noxubee County offense is playing at a high level. 

 

Both offenses are capable, which means turnovers and field position will be critical. 

 

Noxubee County is usually a sure bet when playing for a North State championship at home. 

 

We will see if that trend continues. 

 

Scott Walters is a sports writer for The Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @dispatchscott. 

 

 

Scott is sports copy editor and reporter

 

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