Nov. 17—Oh look, I went 6-0 on my high school football picks last week, AND my fantasy team dominated. That and a dollar will get me a bad cup of coffee.
There's no time to dwell on the past, anyway. These are the playoffs, and you never know what'll happen. We've had some surprises (hello, Mooreville!), some wild finishes (hello, Oxford! and Mooreville!), and some history made (hello, Hamilton! and Mooreville!).
You might be sensing a theme here...
Charleston (10-2) at Hamilton (7-5)
This is Hamilton's deepest playoff run since 1982. It's not terribly surprising, what with Wade Tackett being the head coach. He was our Coach of the Year in 2022 after leading the Lions to a 12-1 mark.
But they lost in the second round last season. This time around, Hamilton got over that hump, and the reward is perennial power Charleston.
This is the fifth time in the last six years that Charleston has reached the third round. The Tigers reached the Class 2A state title game last year and lost to Scott Central.
Tonight's game is at home, which might help Hamilton. Or it might not.
The Pick: Charleston 38, Hamilton 27.
Mooreville (9-3) at Amanda Elzy (7-4)
The fine folks at Mooreville would be the first to tell you that it's a little weird they're still playing football this deep into November. But here the Troopers are, and what a remarkable journey it's been.
Mooreville beat Aberdeen 21-20 just to get into the 3A playoffs, then beat Independence (on the road) in the first round, 13-12. Lead tailback Mason Gillentine barely played either game due to an ankle injury, and he didn't play at all last week against Humphreys County.
And yet, the Troopers rallied in the fourth quarter, as Brody Thompson threw three touchdown passes in the 27-20 road win.
I saw Amanda Elzy beat Booneville in the first round, so this is going be a steep hill for the Mooreville train to climb. I'm no homer, but I love a great story, and I hope this one keeps going.
The Pick: Mooreville 31, Amanda Elzy 30.
Vardaman (11-0) at Baldwyn (7-5)
Vardaman has a better record, but Baldwyn has a much better strength of schedule. The Rams played only one team higher than Class 1A (Bruce), while the Bearcats played several strong 3A teams, including Booneville and East Webster.
Vardaman is allowing just 7.7 points per game, but I'm real curious to see how the Rams handle Baldwyn's assortment of ball-catchers. Marquez Davenport, Hastin Nelson and Drelin Watson have combined for 1,707 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The Pick: Baldwyn 22, Vardaman 20.
—Starkville 28, Oxford 24.
—Tupelo 37, Madison Central 10.
—West Lauderdale 21, Houston 18.
Last week: 6-0
Brad Locke is senior sports writer for the Daily Journal. Contact him on Twitter @bradlocke or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org