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Picking games is fun when you're on top

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Nov. 15, 2002
One of the highlights of the EMG Prep Sports Journal has been the weekly football picks. Perhaps its because when you're leading the standings, you get to lay the smack down.
This week's picks have some interesting twists and turns highlighted by several rematches of games played earlier in the year. One of those old coaching axioms is it's hard to beat the same team twice in the same year.' A lot of that is true.
For example, McComb beat Gautier 29-14 in the regular season, but it was the Gators taking a 14-6 win over the Tigers in the Class 4A playoffs last week.
I'll agree with it's hard to beat a good team twice in the same year unless you're a real good team.'
Anyway, here's my take on tonight's games.
Pascagoula at Wayne County: I'm going with the War Eagles. After all, they manhandled Goula 34-14 on the road on Sept. 20.
Harrison Central at Oak Grove: Oak Grove's only loss was to Wayne County and that's good enough for me to take the Warriors in this one.
Warren Central at Starkville: Warren Central lost to lightweight Murrah on Nov. 1. That's all the info I need here.
Hattiesburg at Gulfport: Hattiesburg has a real good passing game. Gulfport has a real good football team. Gulfport has won four straight over the Tigers in the last three years. Here's to No. 5.
Noxubee County at Louisville: Noxubee beat Louisville 36-22 on Oct. 4 at Louisville. Get ready for an instant replay. Omar Conner is just that tough to stop.
George County at West Jones: If you don't have a favorite team still playing, this game would be worth the ride to see. Both are very, very good teams. The Mustangs are unbeaten and at home, so I'll go with green and gold from Wal Mart High.
Laurel at Picayune: This one is very interesting. You're dealing with two very good teams from Division 7-4A and a win by either one would be no surprise. Laurel beat the Maroon Tide 24-14 on Oct. 25 at Picayune after Picayune had beaten the Golden Tornadoes twice last year at Laurel. Laurel should duplicate that feat this time.
West Point at Provine: For several years, the Rams have been the pride and joy of the Jackson Public Schools' system and West Point will find out why.
Franklin County at Newton County: These two have met only once before with Newton County taking a 32-7 win in the 1990 playoffs. The second matchup will produce a similar result, although maybe a little closer.
Heidelberg at Hazlehurst: Apparently Hazlehurst is for real as Philadelphia found out with a 34-12 loss last week. Heidelberg beat Philadelphia 12-7. Do the math.
Collins at Morton: The Merchant brothers tangle again this year after Morton went on the road and got a first-round win at Forrest County AHS. Bruce's Collins team ripped Doug's Morton squad 34-0 on Oct. 25 and Morton hasn't gotten 35 points better since then. Here's case of a No. 1 seed having to hit the road to give a lower seed a home game.
Enterprise at Bay Springs: Jud Gartman's Bulldogs bit those canines from Jasper County often in taking a 21-0 win on Oct. 4 at Enterprise and there's no reason they can't come away with another win in tonight's rematch. Expect a much closer game this time around.
Taylorsville at Seminary: Taylorsville beat Seminary 32-21 on Oct. 25 at Taylorsville and is the No. 1 seed from Division 7-2A. With the MHSAA's everybody needs a home game' mentality, the Tartars now find themselves playing at No. 3 seed Seminary. You don't want Taylorsville coming with a mad on.
Lake at Dexter: Home teams usually win first-round playoff games. However, Lake's Region 3-1A was a lot stouter than Dexter's Region 4-1A, so I'm going with the Hornets.
Nanih Waiya at Mize: Nanih Waiya has several weapons from which to choose from on offense. Mize is from football country and winning down there never comes easy and won't tonight either for the Warriors.
St. Aloysius at Puckett: Having seen Puckett last week, if St. Al can run the ball up the middle they might pull off an upset. Says here the Flashes can't and won't.
Magnolia Heights at Lamar: A couple of factors weigh in against the Raiders in this one. One is Lamar's playoff past. The Raiders are 1-5 lifetime and most of the losses haven't been close. These two have met only once previously with Magnolia Heights winning in 1987.
But the most influential piece of data entered into this decision was Magnolia Height's 63-13 win over North Delta and a 32-12 win over Marshall, the two teams playing for the AA North State championship.
North Delta at Marshall: North Delta won 14-7 on Sept. 27 at North Delta. For some reason, I think that old coaches' axiom will hold true here and Marshall will come out on top. Anyway, both are glad they're not playing Magnolia Heights again.
Wayne Academy at Heidelberg Academy: The Rebels beat the Jaguars 22-7 on Oct. 4 at Waynesboro. Wayne suffered a rash of turnovers in that game and could make matters very interesting if that bugaboo doesn't strike again.
So there you have it. Remember, I don't have to get them all right, just enough to stay ahead of the eight other folks in the game.