If Week 1 of high school football was good, consider Week 2 supreme.
For starters, Mississippi is loaded with playmakers on offense, especially at running back. In the two matchups between Super 10 teams this week alone, four players — West Point’s Aeris Williams, South Panola’s Darrell Henderson, Petal’s Tyus Raine and Picayune’s Preston Dedeaux — combined to rush for close to 1,000 yards.
That’s impressive until you consider what it means for the defenses of some of the state’s top teams.
Here are the top five story lines from Week 2.
Panthers outgun Tide
Two thoughts: Zero punts, and where’s the D?
Sure, Petal’s thrilling 61-58 victory against Picayune was an offensive fan’s dream, especially after the two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense and punted the ball as many times as I did Friday night.
Panthers running back Tyus Raine had 334 yards on 21 carries (in case you’re counting, that’s nearly 16 yards per carry). His six touchdowns were enough to help Petal, ranked No. 6 in The Clarion-Ledger Super 10, snap a two-game skid in the series against the eighth-ranked Maroon Tide.
“Raine was having a big year last year until he (injured his hamstring),” Petal coach Marcus Boyles said. “Our offensive line did a great job of opening holes for him (Friday) night.”
Preston Dedeaux was nearly as good for Picayune (0-1), too. The senior rolled up 283 yards on 35 carries, but it wasn’t enough.
Driving with the clock threatening to expire in the fourth quarter, Maroon Tide quarterback Boderick Scott threw his second interception of the night (the first was returned for a touchdown) to seal the victory for the Panthers (2-0).
OK, so there was a little defense played Friday. “We kept telling our defense, ‘We need one stop,'” said Boyles, in his second year with the Panthers. “We knew if they came up with one we’d have a shot.”
Other mammoth performances
Rumor has it South Panola’s Darrell Henderson and Madison Central’s Trey Smith are still running loose.
Well, maybe not. But judging by their Week 2 performances, they won’t be soon forgotten in the minds of West Point (0-1) and Gulfport, respectively. Henderson scored six touchdowns three different ways Thursday night, helping the Tigers, ranked No. 3 in the Super 10, outgun fourth-ranked West Point 55-33.
The junior opened the scoring spree — the Tigers (2-0) and Green Wave combined for 88 points — when he reached the end zone on a five-yard pass from Rip Kirk in the first quarter.
That was only the beginning of it. Henderson finished with 318 all-purpose yards, broke off touchdown runs from 31 and 68 yards and also returned a kick 67 yards for a score.
Not to be outdone, Smith, the Jags’ do-it-all running back and son of former NFLer Jimmy Smith, accounted for 333 of Madison Central’s 501 yards Friday night.
He rushed for 152 yards, caught six passes for another 181 — including one for 75 yards in the game’s opening minute — and scored five touchdowns to push the ninth-ranked Jags (1-1) past the Chargers (1-1). Whose performance was better? It’s too close to call.
Doomed No. 10
There’s no voodoo here — at least it doesn’t appear that way yet.
But here’s some advice to whichever team moves into the 10th spot in the Super 10 next week: Watch out.
It’s the second straight week the state’s 10th-best team has fallen. This time it was Starkville, which fell to Oxford 35-24 at home Friday night. The Yellowjackets (1-1) moved into the rankings after shutting out Noxubee County, last week’s No. 10, in their Week 1 opener.
Warriors make statement
For those wondering why Oak Grove, which missed the playoffs the last two years, was a preseason top-five team entering the season, look no further than its 45-14 drubbing of Wayne County, ranked No. 3 in Class 5A, Thursday night.
Nobody questioned the Warriors’ offense coming into this year, especially with quarterback Kirk McCarty, who passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns against the War Eagles, leading the offense for a second straight season.
Thursday wasn’t like 2012, though, when the offense was too often forced to bail out the defense in shootouts.
Seminary defensive back transfer Chris Booth had three interceptions in his first game with the Warriors, one of which he returned for a touchdown in the second half to help an opportunistic defense hold the Bobcats scoreless during the final two quarters.
Oak Grove could use another dominating performance or two this season. If it gets some, it won’t be sitting at home when November rolls around this time.
One is good, but two is better — as long as you’re on the winning side of things, of course.
That’s what happened Friday when Olive Branch, ranked No. 2 in the Super 10, and Philadelphia cruised to 71-0 victories over Raleigh-Egypt (Tenn.) and J.J. McClain, respectively.
The Conquistadors and quarterback transfer Ross Trail built a 45-0 lead at halftime before running past the Memphis-based school in the third and fourth quarters. The Quistors (2-0) get their first test Friday, when they host unbeaten Charleston.
Likewise, the Tornadoes, who have outscored opponents 120-0 this season, found the end zone in nearly every conceivable way Friday (short of a return on special teams), including on fumble and interception returns, along with a safety.