2023 high school football games to watch

Aug. 23—If you're wanting to know the big high school football games each week of the regular season, we've got you covered. There's the usual assortment of traditional rivalries, and some new rivalries will be born or renewed with the addition of a seventh classification this year.

Mind you, some of these games are deemed "big" because of how good certain teams are expected to be. There will always be surprises, but here is our best stab at the premier matchups in our area.

Week 1

—Oxford at Lafayette (Aug. 25): This is the earliest the Crosstown Classic has ever been played. The Chargers and Commodores have met in August only twice before: Aug. 31, 1990 and Aug. 30, 2012.

Oxford had a lackluster 5-5 season in 2022 and missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. Lafayette went 7-5 and fell in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

—Tupelo vs. Memphis Whitehaven (Aug. 26): This game is being played on a Saturday at Northwest Community College. It's the third meeting between the teams, who have played in 1931 and 1954.

Tupelo is coming off a huge season in which it went 13-1 and reached the 6A North final. Whitehaven was 5-5 last year and missed the playoffs.

Week 2

—Booneville at Baldwyn (Sept. 1): Everyone loves the Skunk Bowl. After losing three in a row to Booneville — including a 2-0 decision in 2021 — Baldwyn earned a 24-13 victory last season.

The overall series is tied at 34-34-3.

—Starkville at West Point (Sept. 1): This is normally a good game, but Starkville has owned the series the last few years, winning seven of the last nine meetings. The Yellow Jackets rolled to a 44-13 win last season en route to becoming 6A state champions.

West Point recovered from that setback to reach a seventh straight 5A title game.

Week 3

—Lafayette at Itawamba AHS (Sept. 8): These teams are meeting for the first time in a decade. IAHS was 12-1 last season and reached the third round of the 4A playoffs, but a lot of holes have to be filled. This game will be an excellent early test for the Indians.

Week 4

—Booneville at Ripley (Sept. 15): Each of the last five meetings have been decided by 12 points or less, including a 21-14 Ripley win last fall.

While Booneville is strong at QB with junior Noah Gillon, Ripley is breaking in junior Jack Reid after starter Ty Long was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

—East Webster at Baldwyn (Sept. 15): These teams have met six times, all since 2014, and it's been a really good series. They met twice last year, with Baldwyn winning 45-23 in the regular season and then 21-20 in the first round of the 2A playoffs.

Week 5

—Amory at Corinth (Sept. 22): Amory moves from 3A to 4A, while Corinth goes from 4A to 5A. These teams haven't seen each other since 2016, and Amory leads the series 23-17-1.

—Oxford at Starkville (Sept. 22): These rivals have split the last four Little Egg Bowls. Starkville won 47-28 last season and leads the series 34-12-1.

Week 6

—Louisville at Houston (Sept. 29): This is a rematch of last year's 4A North final, which Louisville won 31-21 on its way to the state title. The stakes won't be quite as high this time, but it will be a Region 3-4A game thanks to realignment.

Houston is 0-15 against Louisville.

—West Point at Tupelo (Sept. 29): It's good to see this rivalry renewed. West Point and Tupelo have met 41 times but not since 2020, and it's just the third meeting since the series took a hiatus following the 2004 season.

Week 7

—Amory at Itawamba AHS (Oct. 6): IAHS has won five straight in this series, including a 35-28 win last season. For the first time in five years, the Panthers and Indians are region foes (1-4A).

—Tupelo at Madison Central (Oct. 6): This is Tupelo's 2-7A opener. The Golden Wave beat Madison Central twice last fall — 34-0 in the regular season and then 28-7 in the second round of the 6A playoffs.

Week 8

—Clinton at Starkville (Oct. 13): This will be a critical 2-7A showdown. Clinton beat Starkville 35-28 last season, part of a three-game skid that nearly kept the Yellowjackets out of the playoffs.

They met again in the postseason, and Starkville rolled to a 30-2 win.

Week 9

—Biggersville at Baldwyn (Oct. 20): This game will likely decide the 1-1A title. These teams were also region foes in the 2019-20 seasons, and prior to that they hadn't met since 1998.

—Ripley vs. Amory (Oct. 20, at Tupelo): Region 1-4A is stacked, so this game — at this late juncture in the season — should have a lot riding on it. These teams first met in 1943, and Amory leads the series 12-5.

Week 10

—Amory at Shannon (Oct. 26): Ken Topps is the new head coach at Shannon, a program that's trying to return to the glory days — when Topps was the Red Raiders' quarterback. Finishing off the regular season with a win against Amory would be a huge step in the right direction.

—East Webster at Nettleton (Oct. 26): These teams have split their four previous meetings, the most recent being in 2014. They are region foes (4-3A) for the first time.

Week 11

—Starkville at Tupelo (Nov. 2): These teams faced off twice last season. Tupelo won in the regular season, but Starkville won in the 6A North final.

There's no telling how 2-7A will shake out, but don't be surprised if the region title comes down to this game.