Nov. 2—You go through a whole football season, and you think you finally have some teams figured out. Then you remember that you're dealing with high school kids, and thus nothing is for certain.
To wit, I finally picked Ripley to win a big game, and the Tigers lost to New Albany. Granted, it was a non-region game, so the stakes were very low. And yes, Ripley lost quarterback Ty Long and running back/linebacker Jaylen Brooks to injuries in the first half.
Still, it just goes to show that predicting high school football results is generally a crap shoot. It sure is fun, though.
By the way, playoffs begin Friday for Classes 1A through 4A. Classes 5A through 7A finish up the regular season tonight.
Leflore County (6-4) at East Union (4-5)
This is a Class 2A playoff game, and it features two teams who are very familiar with close games. Four of Leflore County's games have been decided by six points or less, and the Tigers are 2-2 in those games.
East Union has had four games decided by 10 points or less and is 2-2 in those. Two of the games went into overtime.
Looking at strength of schedule, these teams are close to even. This is a brutally tough pick, but it's not the toughest one this week. More on that shortly.
The Pick: Leflore County 23, East Union 21.
Shannon (5-5) at Houston (8-1)
When these teams met in Week 2, Houston won 28-14. And here's your weird stat of the day: That was the closest game Shannon has been involved in this season, win or lose.
Trey Spurgon, the Red Raiders' quarterback, has been on a tear of late. Over his last four games, the junior has passed for 890 yards and 12 touchdowns.
But Houston has tailback Jalen Washington, who has rushed for 1,250 yards and 14 TDs. He had 388 yards two weeks ago against Kosciusko.
This is a 4A playoff game.
The Pick: Houston 34, Shannon 20.
Starkville (7-2, 2-1) at Tupelo (7-2, 3-0)
These rivals meet with the Region 2-7A title on the line. Tupelo beat Starkville in the regular season last fall, but then the Yellow Jackets got even in the 6A North final en route to a state championship.
This is the hardest pick of the week. Tupelo has had sort of a weird season. Its losses came in back-to-back weeks, then the Golden Wave opened region play with a 14-12 win at Madison Central.
After a dominant win against Germantown, Tupelo beat a bad Clinton team by just two touchdowns, 42-28.
Starkville, meanwhile, has suffered losses at the hands of Germantown and 4A juggernaut Louisville.
I'm just taking a stab in the dark on this one.
The Pick: Starkville 28, Tupelo 24.
—Booneville 27, Amanda Elzy 18.
—Nettleton 35, North Panola 30.
—New Albany 37, Northeast Lauderdale 23.
Last week: 3-3
Brad Locke is senior sports writer for the Daily Journal. Contact him on Twitter @bradlocke or via email at email@example.com