Prep football playoffs: Hard not to look ahead

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

The football playoffs for all six MHSAA classifications get into full swing Friday, but it is the following Friday that will really capture people’s attention.
On Nov. 19, there could be three No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchups among the Daily Journal’s ranked teams. Not to mention, five of those teams would be undefeated if they advance past Friday second-round games.
Lafayette, the Daily Journal’s top-ranked large school, could be facing second-ranked New Albany in the Class 4A quarterfinals. Lafayette (12-0) hosts 8-4 Louisville in a second-round game this Friday.
New Albany, also 12-0, will play at Kosciusko (7-5) in the second round. If Lafayette and New Albany win their second-round games, then they will play each other at New Albany’s Kitchens Field in the quarterfinals.
In the Class 3A playoffs, Division 1-3A champion Belmont and Division 2-3A champ Aberdeen are on a collision course. However, second-ranked Belmont (11-0) has to get past a two-loss East Side team (10-2) and top-ranked Aberdeen (11-1) has to dispose of a 9-3 Leland team in the second round if the two Northeast Mississippi teams are to meet in the quarterfinals. That quarterfinals matchup would be played in Aberdeen.
“I thought our kids came out and played hard from the start and put points on the board and played good defense,” Belmont head coach Kerry Moody said after his team demolished South Pontotoc 43-0 in this past Friday’s first-round game. “I’m just really proud of their effort once again.”
Calhoun City and East Webster have met in the playoffs the past two seasons. This season, both are 12-0 and are on the verge of meeting again in the postseason.
For that to happen – a quarterfinals matchup in Calhoun City between the Daily Journal’s top-ranked small schools – No. 1-ranked Calhoun City has to win on the road at Hollandale Simmons (8-4) and second-ranked East Webster has to defeat Mound Bayou JFK (8-4) at home on Friday night.
The former Division 1-1A rivals split their last two playoff contests, each coming in the second round, with East Webster emerging with a 28-14 win last year and the Wildcats winning 14-7 in 2008 before advancing to that year’s Class 1A state championship game where they lost to Puckett.
But as Calhoun City head coach Perry Liles said at the beginning of division play last month, “We gotta win next week. We always just play it one game at a time.
“A lot of people say that, but we really do that.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or

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