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Week 1 Predictions: Epic matchups highlight area slate


Scott Walters


Well all of the preliminaries are over.


The prep football season begins Friday night with several quality matchups on tap.


Soon, we will see if Noxubee County can repeat as Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state champions. We also find out if Starkville win take the final step and play for a Class 6A state championship.



Columbus, Caledonia and New Hope made strides last season. We will see if that continues.


Also can Starkville Academy go back to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools state championship again but win it this time? How much better will Heritage Academy be?


So many questions and now we start getting answers



Breaking down Week One .....


Starkville High at Noxubee County


Once again, the area's best opening-week contest appears to be in Macon.


Even though Starkville rolled to a 51-19 victory last season, Noxubee County had a strong offensive showing against the stout Starkville defense. The Noxubee County defense recovered from this long night to dominate against Class 4A competition.


Fast forward to this season and both teams will have a ton of returning starters on the field.


The advantage at quarterback may go to Noxubee County where Timorrius Conner is returning for his third season as starter. For Starkville, Montario Montgomery makes his debut under center.


The two quarterbacks will be facing two of the best defenses in the state. It will be fun to see which offense can gain the advantage.


Starkville 31, Noxubee County 14



Kemper County at Columbus


Rumor has it that Columbus will be very good on the ground this season.


Junior quarterback C.J. Gholar has called his teammates Kendre Conner and Kylin Hill "the two best running backs in the nation."


The Falcons should be able to run the ball with consistency. A deep and talented offensive line will help pave the way for that success.


Kemper County has a lot of key players back from last year's 11-win team. The Wildcats should present a solid season-opening opponent. However, these Falcons are ready to fly.


Columbus 28, Kemper County 14



New Hope at Louisville


Louisville makes its return to Class 4A competition and faces a quality New Hope team in the season opener.


A year ago, New Hope won 10 games. The Trojans lost several key play-makers from that team. However, New Hope has worked hard on building depth and will display some young talent going both ways this season.


New Hope surprised many a year ago and took advantage of the underdog role early and often. It will be interesting to see how they respond now they considered one of the established programs.


New Hope 28, Louisville 21



Marshall Academy at Starkville Academy


Coach Chase Nicholson makes his debut as Starkville Academy welcomes Marshall Academy to J.E. Logan Field.


Starkville Academy returns six offensive and seven defensive starters from last season's 11-win team. Colt Chrestman, Drake Gordon and Houston Clark give the squad a solid nucleus to build around on the offensive side of the ball.


However, the story for Starkville Academy last season was on the defensive side of the ball. The Volunteers return a lot of punch on that side. Look for a statement to be made in the season opener.


Starkville Academy 28, Marshall Academy 6



Columbus Christian at Heritage Academy


Columbus Christian faces quite a challenge in its season opener at Heritage Academy.


Columbus Christian will be looking to replace K.C. Cunningham and some other talented seniors. However, junior Dawson Shaw returns. That is a good place for the Rams to get started.


Heritage Academy looks to bounce back from last season's atypical 5-7 finish. The Patriots feel like they have more depth. The key will be better offensive production. Look for junior quarterback Tyler Anderson to be a key to getting that going.


Heritage Academy 34, Columbus Christian 6





Caledonia 28, Shannon 26 ... Aberdeen 41, Corinth 30 ... East Webster 58, Vardaman 0 ... Oak Hill Academy 24, Newton County Academy 22 ... Lamar School 34, Winston Academy 12 ... West Lowndes 34, Durant 8 ... Madison-Ridgeland Academy 28, Amory 27 ... South Pontotoc 42, Hamilton 12 ... Central Academy 42, Park Place Christian 0 ... Sharkey-Issaquena Academy 30, Hebron Christian 0 ... Lamar County 24, South Lamar 20 ... Aliceville 34, Bryant 0 ... Addison 30, Pickens County 27 ... Sulligent 34, Hale County 0





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