MHSAA playoffs kickoff Friday

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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FAYETTE — Coming off a stunning 42-12 win at home on Senior Night last Thursday night against then-undefeated Wesson Attendance Center, the MHSAA Region 7-3A champion Jefferson County High School Tigers now must turn their attention to the postseason.

And it will be a battle of the Tigers when Jefferson County (6-3; Region 7-3A No. 3 seed) plays host to Southeast Lauderdale High School from Meridian (2-8; Region 5-3A No. 4 seed) in the first round of the 2023 MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs with kickoff this Friday at 7 p.m.

Jefferson County head coach Roderick Holmes said having played last Thursday night allowed him to give his players last Friday off to have another day of rest. However, this week has been what he called “a typical game week.”

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“We’re doing what we’ve doing. Normal conditioning we do during the week. Watch some film. We’ve been practicing outside (despite the cold weather this week),” Holmes said.”

As for what the Jefferson County Tigers have been working on in practice this week to prepare for the visiting Southeast Lauderdale Tigers, Holmes said, “We watched film. Looking at what they do on offense. Looking at what they do on defense. Putting in a game plan to counter what they do.”

Even though Southeast Lauderdale enters the playoffs well below the .500 mark overall, Holmes said he and his team will not take the visiting Tigers lightly.

“Being that they have a two-and-whatever record, they did make a playoff berth. Just like those guys want to win, we have be prepared for an 8-0 team,” Holmes said.

Holmes said that Southeast Lauderdale’s offense is different than others that Jefferson County faced during the regular season, but its defense is the same as many of its own opponents.

“They look like a predominantly wing-T kind of team. Most of the teams we’ve played this season run a spread offense. But that’s not something we can’t stop. Being that our last two opponents, South Pike and Wesson, from those teams we saw everything from a run-pass ratio,” Holmes said. “They run a 4-3 defense. They blitz a little bit. I don’t think their defense is one we haven’t seen. We encountered this a lot this year. There’s nothing special about it. We have to take advantage of the mismatches.”

As for who will have to have a big game for Jefferson County to come out victorious and advance to the second round, Holmes said, “We just need a full team effort for four full quarters. If we can get that, I don’t think we’ll be disappointed in the outcome. One unit I would like to see dominate is the offensive line.”

Franklin County at Kemper County (MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs — 1st Round)

MEADVILLE — A narrow 28-26 win on the road over the Port Gibson High School Blue Waves two weeks ago allowed the Franklin County Bulldogs to clinch the No. 4 seed out of MHSAA Region 7-3A for the 2023 Class 3A South State Playoffs.

That was the good news. The bad news? Franklin County has to travel to the other part of the state, more specifically to De Kalb, to take on the Region 5-3A champion and No. 1 seed Kemper County High School Wildcats in a first-round match-up.

Kickoff between Franklin County (3-7) and Kemper County (8-2) is slated for 7 p.m. The Bulldogs are coming off a heartbreaking 39-34 loss to Class 2A Loyd Star Attendance Center their Senior Night game last Thursday night despite nearly 400 yards of total offense. The Wildcats took care of Southeast Lauderdale High School last Thursday night at home 52-12.

In its loss to Loyd Star, Franklin County was efficient running the ball with 299 total yards on the ground with three touchdowns and surprisingly effective in the air, going 7-for-11 for 90 yards and one touchdown. The Bulldogs’ defense also returned a fumble recovery 67 yards for a touchdown. However, they were done in by nine penalties for 80 yards and three lost fumbles.

Those mistakes cannot take place if Franklin County has any chance of upsetting a very good Kemper County team on the road and advancing to the second round.

Wilkinson County at Bay Springs (MHSAA Class 2A South State Playoffs — 1st Round

WOODVILLE — In their very first season in Class 2A, the Wilkinson County High School Wildcats earned a playoff berth — narrowly, thanks to a 30-27 homecoming win over West Lincoln Attendance Center on Friday, Oct. 13.

Now Wilkinson County (2-8; Region 7-2A No. 4 seed) must travel to Bay Springs to take on the Bay Springs High School Bulldogs (9-1; Region 5-2A champion and No. 1 seed) in the first round of the MHSAA Class 2A South State Playoffs with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Friday.

The Wildcats are coming off a 29-8 loss at home on Senior Night to Bogue Chitto Attendance Center last Thursday night. The Bulldogs defeated Class 3A Jefferson Davis County High School on the road 38-20 last Thursday night to extend their winning streak to nine games in a row. Their only loss of the regular season was at home to eventual Region 6-2A champion Raleigh High School 34-14 back on Thursday, Aug. 24.