For the second week in a row, I have voted the Greenville Christian Saints as the top overall team in the state of Mississippi in the Associated Press weekly football poll. I am the only sports editor in the state to rank the Saints number one. This ranking is for all classifications.
Before you accuse me of homerism, let me give you my rationale.
Two weeks ago, GCS went to the outskirts of Atlanta and held their own against the Collins Hill Eagles. Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.) is the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s top ranked team. They also were ranked No. 7 by the USA Today.
So, if Greenville Christian can do so well against Collins Hill — they trailed just 16-14 at the end of the third quarter — then why shouldn’t they be able to defeat the top teams in Mississippi?
With all due respect to Mississippi high school football, Georgia is a much bigger and wealthier state than Mississippi, and it is still in the football-obsessed Southeast. The best teams in Georgia should be better than the best teams in Mississippi.
Am I making any sense?
Well, whether you agree with me or not, the good news is we will get our answer Friday night when Greenville Christian travels to Hattiesburg to take on Oak Grove. Oak Grove, no doubt, deserves all the respect it gets. All the other sports editors ranked them No. 1. The Saints are in for a quite a battle when the ball is kicked.
But, if I have learned anything about the Saints over this last year, it is that you should not underestimate Coach Jon Reed McLendon and his young men
Friday’s game reminds me a lot about what happened before Greenville Christian played Madison-Ridgeland Academy to open the season.
Before the game, not many people were giving the Saints a chance. After the game, the Saints road back to Greenville with a 64-32 victory.
Here are my weekly football picks.
Note all high school games are Friday at 7 p.m.
Greenville Christian (4-1) at Oak Grove (2-0): Who Dat say they are going to beat the Saints? Greenville Christian 40, Oak Grove 32.
O’Bannon (3-0) at Simmons (2-0): Thanks to Coach Lang and Coach Johnson this game is back to being a blockbuster. Simmons 30, O’Bannon 26.
Carroll Academy (3-1) at St. Joseph (2-1): If you listen closely, you can hear the echoes awakening. St. Joseph 14, Carroll Academy 13.
Indianola Academy (2-2) at Washington School (1-3): The Generals are going to show improvement in this longtime rivalry. Indianola 32, Washington 21.
Humphreys Academy (2-1) at Deer Creek (2-2): The Deer Creek quarterback Brayden Smith and Bo Ray is starting to be quite a one-two combo. Humphreys 30, Deer Creek 26.
Riverside (0-2) at West Tallahatchie (0-3): In a matchup of two teams who need a win, the Bulldogs get it done. Riverside 15, West Tallie 12.
Gentry (2-1) at Leland (0-3): The Rams will be too much for the Cubs on Friday. Gentry 44, Leland 10.
Mississippi State (2-0) at Memphis (2-0) (Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN 2): Mississippi State fans are right in their belief that they should never lose to Memphis, but sometimes it does happen (Yes, I am a Memphis fan). Memphis 42, Mississippi State 41.
Tulane (1-1) at No. 17 Ole Miss (2-0) (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2): Tulane looked great against Oklahoma, but the fighting Kiffins will be just too much. Ole Miss 23, Tulane 16.
No. 1 Alabama (2-0) at No. 11 Florida (2-0) (Saturday 2:30 p.m. CBS): It is hard to believe that Florida could be a 15 1/2 point home underdog to anyone. But, the Tide look just that good. Bama 33, Florida 17.
No. 22 Auburn (2-0) at No. 10 Penn State (2-0) (Saturday 6:30 p.m. ABC): In the end, after reviewing all the factors, I will just take the SEC over the BIG 10. Auburn 24, Penn State 10.
Last week’s record: 7-1
Overall record 16-4.
David W. Healy is the sports editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.