We’re four weeks into the high school football season. Let that sink in for a minute.
Sure, it seems the season is flying by (at least to this writer). Before you know it, we’ll be in Jackson crowning some new champions, and perhaps re-crown some others.
We’ll find out more about the playoff picture in the coming weeks, when region play begins and the real jockeying starts. Of course, it’s already started in some places. After all, 11 ranked teams lost this week.
With that in mind, here’s the top storylines from Week 4 of high school football.
There’s no doubt Oxford relies on young talent this season. But as Chargers coach Johnny Hill will tell you, these aren’t your typical freshmen and sophomores.
From an outward perspective, it’s surprising. The Chargers are breaking in a sophomore and first-year starter quarterback — Jack Abraham — and in their convincing victory over Lafayette on Friday, another sophomore, Kenzie Phillips, rushed for around 230 yards and three touchdowns.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent that mixes well with our old group,” Hill said. “Our sophomore group is exceptional.”
That new group also includes Ole Miss wide receiver commit D.K. Metcalf, a sophomore and the son of former NFLer and Ole Miss standout Terrence Metcalf, along with freshmen starters Colt Skidmore and Thomas Allen, whose father Tom, is an assistant on coach Hugh Freeze’s staff in Oxford.
“They say having a sophomore out there is a loss,” said Hill, whose Chargers gave up 67 total yards on offense against Lafayette. “I’ve got two freshman and a sophomore out there, and we ain’t lost yet.”
It’s the second straight year Oxford has started 4-0. The Chargers get a bye week before hosting West Point (1-2) to open Region 1-5A play in Week 6.
“If you’re going to make it to Jackson,” Hill said, “you’re going to have to go through West Point.”
Tigers win it for Hurst
Centreville Academy (3-1) didn’t waste any time etching its coach’s name in Mississippi history during Friday’s 36-17 victory at Parklane Academy.
The Tigers scored the game’s first 17 points and led by as much as 27 points in the second half, helping Bill Hurst grab his 347th victory and pass Jim Drewry on Mississippi’s all-time wins list.
“They wanted to make sure to make it a special night for me,” said Hurst, who received a rousing standing ovation and was presented with a trophy from Parklane after the game. “They went out and played from the get go.”
The Tigers came up big to honor their coach, who credits his wife, Pat, for supporting him as much as anyone else.
Casey Haygood completed 19 of 29 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a score, Colby Shaw caught three touchdown passes and the Tigers won so convincingly it made last year’s 13-12 nail bitter over the Pioneers (2-2) seem like a distant memory.
“Any time you can beat Parklane, it’s a good win,” said Hurst, who has spent his entire career at Centreville, dating to 1975,
From ‘goat’ to hero
It was a set of uncharacteristic plays for New Albany (2-2) outside linebacker Chris Brown.
The Bulldogs’ senior and defensive leader jumped offside twice in the fourth quarter, one of which extended Amory’s game-tying drive.
“He could have been the goat Friday,” New Albany coach Ron Price said. “Instead, he’s the hero.”
When Amory (2-2) blocked Eathen Rainey’s 42-yard field goal attempt behind the line of scrimmage, Brown scooped the ball and ran what Price says “was probably 100 yards” for the game winner as time expired.
Officially, it was a 25-yard run by Brown, but the result was the same: A 13-7 victory for New Albany.
“We tell our kids they have to play for 48 minutes,” Price said.
The Bulldogs have made a habit of doing that. Their last three games have come down to that final 30 seconds.
Itawamba AHS scored late to edge New Albany in Week 2 and Rainey kicked a 32-yarder as time expired to push the Bulldogs past Pontotoc last week, in addition to Friday’s game.
“Nothing gets you over the hump better than winning,” Price said. “To be able to win these close games proves they’re maturing as kids.”
Wingfield breaks through
Apparently, Wingfield decided it was tired of losing.
The Falcons (1-3) rolled North Forrest 53-13, securing their first win of the season and snapping the state’s longest losing streak (31 games).
It’s the first win for the Falcons since a 34-0 victory over Jim Hill in 2010 and the most points the team has scored since that last win.
And the best news for Wingfield?
It has a legitimate shot at grabbing its second win of the season in Week 5, when it travels to Hughes Field to face Lanier, which now owns the longest skid in the state (28 games).
Ranked teams fall
There was plenty of jockeying among the state’s top teams this week, but none of them were as surprising as West Point’s 41-14 loss to Columbus (2-1) at home.
The Green Wave, ranked No. 7 in the Super 10, were held scoreless in the second half by the Falcons, who have won two straight since dropping their opener at Noxubee County (1-3).
West Point wasn’t the only Super 10 team to fall, though.
Sixth-ranked Madison Central (2-2) lost its second game to a ranked team by seven points, this time against No. 5 Petal (4-0), 42-35.
The Jags, who Bobby Hall is confident are legitimate contenders in Class 6A, fell against No. 1 Brandon (4-0) in their home opener.
Philadelphia, ranked No. 3 in 3A, allowed its first 19 points of the season in a loss to Super 10 No. 9 Louisville (4-0).
The top three teams in Class 4A, Greene County, Lafayette and Newton County, respectively, each lost, along with Pascagoula, the third best team in 5A.
Two No. 3s — Bruce (2A) and Durant (1A) — fell, while Lamar School (No. 4 in Academy AAA) and Marshall Academy (No. 1 in Academy A) suffered their first losses of the season.