Prove me wrong or right
It’s already November and you know what that means in the state of Mississippi: playoff football.
Yazoo County has a trio of teams headed to the post season, while another finishes out its regular season this week. Benton, Manchester and Yazoo County all hit the road for the first round of their respective playoff bracket.
Benton will travel to West Helena, Ark. to face DeSoto School, Manchester travels to North Delta for the second straight year and Yazoo County makes the trek to Corinth for their first playoff game since 2009. Yazoo City wraps up its season Friday night at Callaway.
So, who will win their game and who will return to Yazoo to turn in their jerseys? I don’t know and you don’t know, but it sure is fun to guess.
Headed into the playoffs, Benton is playing the best football. The Raiders have won six straight games since starting the season 0-4, don’t have many turnovers, run the ball and stop other teams from running the ball. That’s a recipe for success any high school team would love to have headed into the playoffs.
DeSoto School is no slouch, though and might be the best competition Benton has faced in a while. However, if you look at common opponents, Benton has the edge. The Raiders defeated Central Holmes 39-0, while the Thunderbirds won just 21-6. Against Greenville Christian, Benton won 26-14, while DeSoto won 28-0. Both teams were shutout by Winona.
I like Benton to make it seven straight victories, but it’ll be a close one.
Manchester may be the most talented team of the three Yazoo schools headed into the playoffs. The Mavs have five running backs (Daniel Tarver, Jammie Jamison, Demarcus Mahone, Ben Fouche and Russ “stiff-arm” Allen) who have a legitimate shot at scoring a touchdown on any run. Good luck trying to guess who’s going to get the ball against North Delta.
However, North Delta is one of the best teams in the state and is currently ranked fifth in MAIS-AA by the Clarion-Ledger.
One problem the Mavericks face this week is tackling. Against Canton, Manchester defenders tried to knock down ball carriers, rather than wrap them up and drag them to the ground. Luckily, the Mavs have the speed (Mahone) to make up for mistakes.
Mistakes in the playoffs, though, is what loses games.
Last year, the Green Wave beat the Mavs 34-0 in the playoffs and I fully expect Manchester to find the end zone a couple times this Friday night. Unfortunately, it won’t be as many visits as North Delta. It’ll be close and the Mavericks have the best chance of pulling off a first round upset, but those are very, very rare.
Let’s be honest with each other, if not for a weak district, the Panthers would be preparing for the basketball season right now (a four-win playoff team is nothing to get excited about).
That said, Yazoo County has a favorable match up in Corinth, who has won just five games in 2011.
The Panthers biggest problem this year has been turnovers. In the two games I witnessed in person, and from talking with head coach Bernard Euell, if Yazoo County doesn’t turn the ball over, they win more than four games and might have upset Yazoo City (yes, I just typed that) and Cleveland.
The only thing keeping me from predicting an upset by the Panthers is the simple fact they haven’t shown the ability to hold onto the ball.
In the playoffs, everybody is has talent. What decides winners and losers is who makes the least amount of mistakes.