We are now into the third week of the high school regular season and teams are beginning to get into a rhythm. Though there will always be a team or two that comes on strong late in the season, most teams begin to show you their true colors by mid- to late-September.
Week 3 contains several tough matchups that will reveal a lot about where our local teams stand. This is especially true for the Laurel Tornadoes, who take on their Class 5A border-rival Wayne County War Eagles.
The Tornadoes and War Eagles look pretty equally matched coming into this one. Both are lead by versatile quarterbacks who can burn defenses with their scrambling ability. Both have Division I-caliber playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
I'm predicting a win for the visiting Tornadoes in this one, however, for a couple of key reasons.
The first reason is that Laurel has already proven its ability to stay poised in adversity and make big plays when it matters most. The Tornadoes caused four turnovers and scored 14 unanswered points to get a win in front of a packed stadium at Poplarville High School.
The second reason, which is pretty disappointing to admit as a Wayne County graduate, is that War Eagle Stadium seems to have become a shell of the intimidating venue it was in the early 2000s. There is a very real possibility that the majority of fans in attendance on Friday will be Tornadoes’ fans. If home-field advantage is taken out of the equation, it'll be difficult for the War Eagles to conjure enough momentum to come out on top.
Brad's prediction: Laurel 27, Wayne County 17
Winners are in bold print.
Northeast Jones vs Raleigh
South Jones vs W. Lauderdale
West Jones vs Quitman
Taylorsville vs Jeff. Davis Co.
Stringer vs Enterprise
Petal vs Ole Brook
Bay Springs vs Lumberton
Sylva-Bay vs Tri-County
Heidelberg vs Lake