No. 25 Pearl (Miss.)
Location: Pearl, Miss.
2016 record: 11-4
2016 Super 25 Final ranking: Not ranked
The Pirates were the 6A state runner-up last season and that was with a team that was led by several big-time juniors who are now seniors.
The top three offensive players back are senior QB Jake Smithhart (2,508 yards passing, 32 touchdowns), senior RB Johnny Winston (1,342 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns), and senior WR-DB Johnquarise “J-Red” Patterson (875 yards and 12 TDs receiving and 50 tackles), along with senior WR-DB Tylan Knight (500 rushing-receiving yards and six TDs, three INTs, 123 tackles, four sacks and three INTs), and LB-RB Willie Brown (141 tackles, four INTs, three sacks).
The offensive line is led by 6-6, 325-pound senior OT Johnny Winston. Other key players: senior DB Cedric Moffett (59 tackles, 13 pass defends); senior CB Demario Nichols (52 tackles); senior WR Dylan Kelly (30 catches, 486 yards, six TDs in six games); and speedy senior WR Kendarius Evans.
The Pirates’ schedule includes a matchup in Shreveport, La., with Parkway (Bossier City, La.), which lost in the 5A quarterfinals to eventual state champion Landry-Walker (New Orleans) and tough road games at Petal and rival Brandon.
8/18 at Brookhaven
8/25 vs. Warren Central (Vicksburg)
9/1 vs. Northwest Rankin (Brandon)
9/8 vs. Parkway (Bossier City, La.) in Shreveport, La.
9/15 at Madison Central (Madison)
9/22 at Petal
9/29 vs. Meridian
10/6 at Terry
10/13 at George County (Lucedale)
10/20 vs. Jim Hill (Jackson)
10/27 vs. Oak Grove (Hattiesburg)
11/3 at Brandon