Horn Lake Northwest Rankin football preveiw

Horn Lake quarterback Raydarius Jones (7) hands off to running back Tyler Grim (25) in last Friday’s 20-7 first-round MHSAA 6A playoff victory over Northwest Rankin. The Eagles travel to Starkville for a second-round contest this Friday night.

Credit: Jim Jarrett Photography

DeSoto County football teams still in playoff action take to the field again Friday night. Horn Lake makes a long trip to Starkville in an attempt to keep the Eagles’ MHSAA 6A hopes for a North Half finals berth alive, while a cross-county battle Friday has Olive Branch traveling to Lake Cormorant with both teams seeking a North Half finals appearance in Class 5A. Here’s a capsule look at both games.

HORN LAKE AT STARKVILLE: Horn Lake is on a two-game winning streak after last week’s 20-7 first-round victory over Northwest Rankin.

Tyler Grim ran for 189 yards and a touchdown against the Cougars, while quarterback Raydarius Jones carried for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Eagles have a 9-2 overall record and finished in second place of MHSAA 6A-1 with a 5-2 mark. Horn Lake averages 27.09 points per game and allows 12.36 points per game.

Starkville is also on a two-game winning streak after the Yellow Jackets’ 6-0 first-round playoff win over Southaven last week. The Jackets’ defense held the Chargers to 99 yards total offense while being kept out of the end zone themselves the entire night. Two field goals amounted to the only points of the game and Starkville missed on three other field goal opportunities.

Quarterback Malik Brown threw for 193 yards in 14 completions but also tossed two interceptions against Southaven. Rodrigues Clark ran the ball 30 times for 192 yards. Cameron Hines caught nine passes for 107 yards.

Starkville has a record of 11-2 overall and tied Madison Central for the top spot in MHSAA 6A-2 with a 6-1 mark. The Yellow Jackets average 30.62 points per game on offense and allow an average of just 10.54 points a contest on defense.

OLIVE BRANCH AT LAKE CORMORANT: Olive Branch enters Friday’s rematch with Lake Cormorant with a four-game winning streak, a streak started on Oct. 20 with a 37-0 win over the Gators, also at Lake Cormorant. The Quistors enter Friday’s contest off a 21-6 first-round playoff victory over Vicksburg, the school’s first postseason contest since the 2015 season.

Demarcus Ware II scored two touchdowns for Olive Branch and Jordan Green returned an interception 47 yards for another score in last week’s win. Ware also set a school record with 26 rushing touchdowns in a season, a mark that was 32 years old. The Conquistadors held the Gators to five first downs and just 81 yards total offense. Ware carried for 133 yards on the ground and quarterbacks Cole Catledge and Jacob Stephenson combined for 125 passing yards.

Olive Branch finished the regular season second in MHSAA 5A-1 with a record of 6-1 and are 11-1 overall. The Quistors average 34.75 points a game on offense and allow an average of 11.58 points on defense.

Lake Cormorant qualified for the playoffs on the last week of the regular season when the Gators bounced Lafayette from a playoff spot in a 35-27 “winner-take-all” regular season finale. Lake Cormorant is on a three-game winning streak and has won four of its last five games, a streak interrupted by the Oct. 20 loss to Olive Branch.

The Gators have a 6-6 overall record and finished fourth in MHSAA 5A-1 with a 4-3 mark by virtue of the win against Lafayette. Lake Cormorant averages 22.25 points a game on offense and allows an average of 26.58 points on defense.

In last week’s 16-7 first-round win over previously-unbeaten Cleveland Central, quarterback Ben Rohrbacher threw for 135 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Running back Brian Jackson carried for 127 yards in 21 carries, including his longest of 50 yards. Xavier Malone was the Gators’ top receiver with 104 receiving yards on just two catches, including a 71-yard scoring pass play.

UP NEXT: Winners of Friday’s games will play for North Half championships and a berth in the MHSAA state championship games. The Horn Lake-Starkville winner meets the winner of Madison Central-Warren Central game in the 6A North Half contest on Friday, Nov. 24. At the same time, the winner of Friday’s Lake Cormorant-Olive Branch game plays either Grenada or West Point in the 5A North Half championship.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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