No. 2 West Jones (8-0) @ No. 6 Picayune (8-0)
The biggest game in the state of Mississippi will be in Picayune Friday night when the Maroon Tide host West Jones. The Mustangs are ranked 2nd in the MagnoliaPreps.com Power Ranking while Picayune is ranked 6th.
Keys to Victory: In last week's game against Wayne County, West Jones found it to easy to pass the ball effectively down the field. Picayune will have to cover well in this game. West Jones senior Ben Stevens has completed 129 of 205 passes for 1,525 yards this season with 16 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Stevens' favorite target is Xavier Hilton. Hilton has 51 catches for 557 yards with 5 touchdowns. West Jones has rushed for 817 yards in 8 games this season. It will be more important for Picayune to stop the pass than the run Friday night.
For Picayune, it all starts with Jamal Hall. Hall has rushed for 1,776 yards and 18 touchdowns. Hall has rushed for 3,626 yards and 36 touchdowns over the past 2 seasons. He has rushed for at least 125 yards in each game this season, with a season high of 293 yards that came against Pascagoula.
West Jones will need to key in on Hall to stop the run. In Last year's game, the Mustangs gave up 215 yards and 2 touchdowns to Hall. Hall is definitely the catalyst for the Maroon Tide offense. The Tide has only attempted 51 passes through 8 games this season.
On Defense, each team needs to force turnovers. For West Jones that means the Mustang defense needs to force fumbles. The best way to force fumbles will be to gang tackle Hall and come in and strip the ball away from him. For Picyaune, the Tide will need to cover very well and force Stevens into bad throws that can be intercepted. Stevens has not thrown an interception in the last two games.
Key Match ups: The match up to watch for in this game will be Jamal Hall VS Artis Thigpen. Thigpen leads the Mustangs in tackles with 89. Thigpen and Hall will definitely hit each other multiple times on Friday night. It will be interesting to see how much the Mustangs can contain the Picayune running game that averages 382 yards rushing per game.
Another match up to watch for will be on the sidelines between the Head coaches. Scott Pierson (West Jones) and Dodd Lee (Picayune) are both experienced coaches who have coached in big games before. It will great match up to watch, because in games like this a coaching decision late in the 4th quarter could decide the game.
In last year's game, West Jones narrowly edged Picayune, 21-20 in overtime.
Prediction: This should be a close game.
West Jones Mustangs 28
Picayune Maroon Tide 24