The high school football playoffs begin in earnest tonight, with all classifications in action, either in first or second round play.
In Class 6A, the big clash is at Warrior Field in Oak Grove, where the 10-1 Warriors host Hattiesburg High in a rematch of a game played earlier this season.
In the first meeting, on Sept. 20 at D.I. Patrick Stadium, Oak Grove defeated Hattiesburg 45-30.
HHS has lost two straight entering the playoffs, while OG won its final two regular season games after suffering its only loss of the season at Brandon.
Petal will open the 6A playoffs on the road, at Region 4-6A champion D’Iberville. The Panthers needed a win last week at Terry to secure their spot in the postseason.
If Oak Grove and Petal both win tonight, the two rivals would square off in another rematch next week at Petal. The Warriors won the earlier meeting this season 31-14 at Oak Grove.
In Class 5A, playoffs get underway with Laurel hosting Stone and West Jones at Picayune. The Golden Tornadoes earned the right to host a first-round game by defeating the Mustangs 35-34 in overtime last week.
Also in 5A, Wayne County will host Gautier in a first-round game.
Two other area teams making their debut in this year’s postseason are Lumberton and Presbyterian Christian.
The Panthers will open the Class 1A playoffs with a first-round trip to Noxapater, while the Bobcats travel to Jackson to face longtime nemesis Jackson Academy in the MAIS Class AAA (Division 1) semifinals.
PCS is still looking for its elusive first win against either of the two MAIS Jackson powers, and JA has eliminated the Bobcats the past three seasons in the Division 1 semis.
Playoffs continue for teams in Class 4A, Class 3A and Class 2A, with second-round games.
Forrest County AHS and Purvis both have tough assignments on the road in the 4A playoffs. The Aggies will battle Columbia, while the Tornadoes are at Quitman.
Both FCAHS and Purvis were impressive winners in the first round last week, with the Aggies defeating Florence 42-7 and the Tornadoes whipping Poplarville 49-14.
In Class 3A, Seminary at Collins are also on the road for the second round. The Bulldogs face Southeast Lauderdale, an upset winner over Morton last week, while the Tigers take on Tylertown.
In Class 2A, Bassfield and Taylorsville could be on a collision course for next week’s third round, but first the Yellowjackets and Tartars must get past tonight’s games.
Bassfield will be at home against Union, while Taylorsville is at Scott Central.
Also in 2A, East Marion is on the road against undefeated Lake.