1. BIG GAME TIME! What is shaping up to be first of at least two huge games involving DeSoto County teams takes place Friday night in West Point. That is where the defending MHSAA 5A state champion Green Wave hosts the Olive Branch Conquistadors and both will come in as unbeaten and highly-ranked teams. Olive Branch has been the improbable “worst to first” story in high school football this fall to this point. The Quistors have gone from winless for all of last year in 6A to now challenging for the top in 5A. Friday will be Olive Branch’s stiffest challenge of the season, however. The two-time defending state champs from West Point have won 20 straight games dating back to a 28-6 loss to Starkville on Sept. 2, 2016. This will be the first time the teams have played each other since 2004, when the Quistors won by a 21-14 score. West Point leads the series 3-2, having lost the last two meetings, in 2003 and 2004. The Green Wave won the first three times, 1982, 1984 and 1988, all three times in the playoffs. Olive Branch’s wins were in the regular season when both schools were in the same 5A region before the Quistors moved up to 6A.
2 TROPHY TIME. Southaven and DeSoto Central has its Odis McCord Classic trophy game and Lake Cormorant and Horn Lake now have the Lake Bowl. However, Center Hill and Lewisburg also have a rivalry trophy that will be up for grabs Friday night at Lewisburg. The football helmet-shaped trophy that looks like a Lewisburg Patriot on one side and a Center Hill Mustang on the other side currently resides at Center Hill, which claimed a 44-7 win over Lewisburg last season. Lewisburg will try to take it back, while stopping a three-game losing streak and winning its first MHSAA 5A-1 contest, while Center Hill comes in after breaking a six-game winless skid in last week’s 20-9 home win against Saltillo.
3. KEEP ON, KEEPIN’ ON. At 6-0 overall and 3-0 in MHSAA 6A-1 play, the Horn Lake Eagles host the Oxford Chargers (5-3/1-2) looking to stay at the top of the region race with Tupelo. The Eagles’ defense dominated Columbus in last week’s 28-2 victory and Tyler Grim’s 250 yards rushing and two touchdowns aided an offense that played without quarterback Raydarius Jones. Grim now has 939 yards and 15 touchdowns for the year. Oxford claimed its first-ever MHSAA 6A-1 victory with last Thursday’s 21-7 defeat of DeSoto Central. The Chargers will need to stop a Horn Lake offense that averages 40 points a game and allows nearly 12 points a game. Oxford has averaged 19.5 points on offense and nearly 12 points a game on defense.
4. BOUNCEBACK TIME: Both Southaven and Hernando are in need of rebounds, and not the basketball kind, when they take the field Friday night. Southaven struggled at Tupelo and played much of the game without starting quarterback Micah Chillers in a 44-14 loss. The Chargers were held to just one first down in the first half and that was by penalty as the offense failed to generate anything against the Golden Wave. This week, Southaven hopes to rebound against Columbus, hoping to extend the Falcons’ losing streak to three games. Columbus allows more than 32 points a game on defense and the Chargers’ defense is a little better, having allowed nearly 23 points a game on defense. Meanwhile Hernando, with the longest losing streak in DeSoto County at four, heads up to DeSoto Central, which also has struggled with a three-game losing streak. Hernando has not won since a 24-17 home victory against White Station (Memphis) on Sept. 8. The last time DeSoto Central tasted victory was Sept. 15 in a 35-7 home game against Memphis Central. Statistically, Hernando has the better numbers, with 163 points scored and 156 allowed. DeSoto Central has scored 147 points, but has allowed 166 points this season.
5. TROJANS TACKLE LYNX. Northpoint Christian faces a stiff challenge Friday night when it travels to face the unbeaten Lynx of Lausanne Collegiate, Tenn. The TSSAA Division II-AA West Region leaders have scored 233 points in six wins this fall while allowing 75. Northpoint has scored 179 points and allowed 151 in seven games and brings a 4-3 overall record and 2-2 region mark into the game. The Trojans’ hopes fall on the arm and legs of quarterback Zac Montgomery, who has thrown for 682 yards and six touchdowns and run for 943 yards and 12 scores. Eric Grey is Lausanne’s main running threat. He has run for 1,176 yards and 15 touchdowns already this season.
EXTRA: Magnolia Heights has the week off after posting a 33-18 victory over North Delta last Friday night, a win that stopped a four-game losing streak. The Chiefs start division play next week at Pillow Academy.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.