BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Friday Night Football Showdown has a number of prominent games on tap during week nine of the high school football season and WLOX will be there.
One of the special games hitting the football turf beginning Friday night at 7:00 sends St. Stanislaus (4-3, 2-0) traveling to Hurley to take on unbeaten East Central (6-0, 2-0). The Rockachaws and Hornets share the top spot in the Region 8-4A ranks with 2 wins and no losses.
St. Stanislaus first-year head coach Jeff Jordan has his team back in the hunt, despite losing so many key offensive weapons from the Rockachaws 2016 squad. Senior Jake Greer secured the starting quarterback job during the spring and you can see why he's won the job. Through seven games Greer has completed 60 percent of his pass attempts for 1,274 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also tuck the ball in and take off running, resulting in 360 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.
5-11, 170 pound senior wide receiver leads the Rockachaws with 32 receptions for 444 yards and 6 touchdowns. Sophomore tight end Thomas Williams has 19 catches for 317 yards and 4 TDs.
The St. Stanislaus offense will face a solid East Central defense. Head coach Seth Smith has relied on an aggressive linebacker corps that has a nose for the football. Avery White and Cade Miles have combined for 150 tackles. Free safety Andrew Seward, the 2016 WLOX Defensive Player of the Year, enters the St. Stanislaus game with 67 tackles.
Senior running back Tony Brown headlines the East Central offensive attack. He has 1,136 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Brown is averaging a whopping 9.9 yards per carry. Teams just can't focus on Brown because 201 pound junior running back has ripped off 385 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns.
In other Region 8-4A games Pass Christian (3-4, 1-1) is on the road at Moss Point (2-6, 1-1). The Pirates and Tigers are vying for a playoff slot. Vancleave (1-6, 0-2) travels to Bay High (0-7, 0-2).
The Friday Night Football Showdown will follow the action between Picayune and Long Beach. The visiting Maroon Tide (6-1, 3-0) share the Region 4-5A lead with unbeaten Hattiesburg. Both teams are 3-0 in the region, while the home standing Bearcats (5-2) are one game out of first-place at 2 and 1.
Picayune head coach Dodd Lee consistently fields a playoff contending team and his 2017 Maroon Tide are in the thick of the Class 5A State Championship race. If a team is going to beat Picayune, they must contain senior running back Shaun Anderson. He has rushed for 1,239 yards with 14 touchdowns, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. Last week Anderson exploded for 401 yards and ran into the Stone end zone five times in the Maroon Tide 42-35 win over the Tomcats.
Long Beach has lost two in a row and a win over Picayune would not only help the Bearcats in their quest for the playoffs, it would also give them a confidence boost. Head coach Forrest Williams has one of the top young quarterbacks in the state in sophomore Cade Crosby. The Maroon Tide defensive secondary will face the Bearcats passing game that has produced 1,252 yards on the season, averaging 178.9 yards passing per game. Crosby has 1,175 of those passing yards and has thrown for 8 touchdowns.
When it comes to the Long Beach ground attack, keep an eye on No. 38 Dennis Andrews. The junior has 1,071 yards on 141 carries and 15 touchdowns.
Poplarville (7-0, 2-0) takes a unbeaten record to Sumrall (5-3, 1-1) in a Region 7-4A confrontation. The defending Class 4A South State Champs rely on a solid running attack led by senior Austin Bolton who has rushed for 1,358 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Friday Night Football Showdown will also feature the Region 4-5A clash between unbeaten Hattiesburg (7-0, 3-0) at Wayne County (4-3, 2-1). The Tigers have one of the most talented teams in the state. Quarterback Jarod Conner has connected on 60 percent of his pass attempts for 1,011 yards and 11 touchdowns. Conner can also tote the football having rushed for nearly 500 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Wayne County will counter with senior quarterback Zabryan Jackson. He's not very big at 5-9, 147 pounds, but he used great quickness and speed to pile up 473 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. Jackson has 406 passing yards a 2 touchdowns. Senior running back Joshua Page has 401 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. He can also throw the football having completed 8 of 16 attempts for 200 yards.
Here's a rundown of other Region 4-5A games: Stone (3-3, 1-2) on the road at Gautier (2-5, 1-2) and Pearl River Central (0-7, 0-3) travels to West Harrison (1-6, 0-3).
The Friday Night Football Showdown will converge on the rivalry between Gulfport (4-3, 3-0) and Harrison Central (3-4, 2-1). The Region 4-6A game will be played in Lyman. Over the past 13 years, the Admirals have dominated the series having won 11 of the last 13 head-to-head games with the Red Rebels, but Harrison Central won last year's game by the score of 14-13.
The return of junior quarterback T.Q. Newsome has made a major difference in the Admirals offense since he returned from an injury. Coach Eddie Pierce has watched his team win three straight games and hold a one game edge over Harrison Central, Hancock, D'Iberville and Biloxi in the Region 4-6A standings. Newsome has the ability to breakaway from the rush and pickup yards on the ground or he can find an open receiver. Another key offensive weapon for the Admirals is fullback Jordan Lee. The 5-foot-9, 220 pound sophomore has seen his carries increase the past few games and he's delivered having rushed for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Harrison Central head coach Casey Cain will make sure running back-quarterback Keon Moore will get the ball in his hands as much as possible. The 200 pound senior has 1,236 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
The Friday Night Football Showdown will also be in the Kiln. That's where D'Iberville (3-4, 2-1) and Hancock (5-2, 2-1) will be involved in a spirited contest. Both the Warriors and Hawks are vying for a playoff position, one game out of first-place with three weeks remaining to the regular season.
Hancock was beaten by Gulfport last Friday 26-7 while the Warriors of head coach Eric Collins beat Pascacgoula 42-13. Junior Ja'Quavis Foster has been the most productive running back for D'Iberville. He's rushed for 705 yards and 5 touchdowns. fullback Jordan Harley has 437 yards rushing with 4 TDs and junior Devon Dixon has 355 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.
Hancock has a very good passing game with junior quarterback Caleb Garcia capable of delivering the ball down field. He's connected on 62 percent of his pass attempts for 1,147 yards and 9 touchdowns. He has three quality receivers in Marquis Cherry, Rondell Womack and Brooks Rayburn, who has 5 touchdowns.
Womack is one he Hawks leading rushers with 543 yards and 3 touchdowns. 195 pound junior running back Blake Comeaux has been the go-to back on the ground with 692 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Here's a rundown of other Region 4-6A games: Ocean Springs (3-4, 1-2) at Pascagoula (2-5, 0-3) and Biloxi (2-5, 2-1) at St. Martin (3-4, 0-3).
George County (2-6, 1-2) will have the home field advantage hosting undefeated Pearl (8-0, 3-0) in Lucedale. The Pirates sit atop the Region 3-6A standings. If the Rebels are to have a chance to upset Pearl, George County must generate more offense. The Rebels have tallied only 15 total touchdowns on the season.
The Tallulah Academy(4-4, 2-3)-Christian Collegiate Academy (4-3, 3-1) game will also be featured on the Friday Night Football Showdown. The game will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. in Gulfport. Christian Collegiate head coach Joe Roberts has guided his Bulldogs to a 3 and 1 record in the District 2-MAIS 8-Man football standings.
Christian Collegiate has three players who have rushed over 350 yards. 195 pound junior Micah Spinks has 486 yards and 9 touchdowns. Senior Cody Hilton has 423 yards and 4 TDs and senior Alex Conley has 356 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns.
In the Region 4-1A ranks, Resurrection (3-4, 2-1) is on the road at Mount Olive (2-6, 1-2). The Eagles are in position to secure another playoff slot. Stringer and Lumberton lead the region race at 2-0. Resurrection and East Marion are tied for second-place.
St. Patrick (2-5, 0-2) was knocked-out of playoff contention last week after a 34-28 loss to Richton. The Fighting Irish travel to undefeated Perry Central (7-0, 2-0).
Join A.J. Giardina and Patrick Clay for the Friday Night Football Showdown beginning at 10:15 p.m. on WLOX ABC-CBS.
Remember to go out and support your local high school team!