All games start at 7:30 p.m.
Amory (0-1) at No. 4 Itawamba AHS (0-0)
– This week: Amory is looking for its first win of the season after losing to Nettleton, 19-15, last Friday. Tonight’s game will be the season opener for Itawamba AHS, which will also be the first game to be played at Indian Stadium.
– Recent history: IAHS won 35-14 last year, while Amory won the previous two meetings: 24-14 in 2007 and 35-6 in 2006.
– Amory: 16 of the 22 starters last week were starting their first varsity game. … The Panthers need to tackle well so that they can limit the yardage and big plays that Itawamba’s playmakers have been known to make. … Amory’s defense caused 7 fumbles against Nettleton, but only recovered 2 of them.
– Itawamba AHS: Four new offensive linemen will be making their debut as full-time starters. … Deshaun McGaughy rushed for 1,386 yards and 20 TDs. … QB Maikhail Miller will be in his second season as the starter.
Baldwyn (0-0)at No. 3 Booneville (1-0)
– This week: The defending Class 2A state champ Bearcats open up their season against a Booneville team that beat New Albany 41-34.
– Recent history: Baldwyn has won the last three meetings: 26-0 last year, 21-7 in ’07 and 43-28 in 2006.
– Baldwyn: Michael Gray makes his head coaching debut. … QB Tanner Gaines passed for more than 1,000 yards in ’08 despite not entering the season as the starter. … LB Devin Lindsey could very well be a D-I prospect.
– Booneville: The Blue Devils played New Albany to a 40-point first quarter (tied 20-all). … QB Jerion Jones passed for 179 yards last week, while Bo Brown rushed for 115.
Houston (0-1) at No. 2 Calhoun City (0-1)
– This week: Both teams will be looking for their first wins of ’09. Houston got thumped at home by Eupora, 40-14, while Calhoun City lost a tough 32-27 decision at Coffeeville.
– Recent history: Calhoun City won 27-7 in 2006.
– Houston: Reggie Buchanan scored both of the Hilltoppers’ TDs last week on a pair of 2-yard runs. He is also part of a strong linebacking unit. … The Hilltoppers have 12 returning starters. … Moved up to Class 4A this season after playing in 3A.
– Calhoun City: The Wildcats gave Coffeeville everything it could handle last week before losing. … First-year head coach Perry Liles coached at Coffeeville. … Demarius Howard scored on a 73-yard reception from QB J.R. Jennings last week.
Memphis East (0-1) at No. 1 Shannon (1-0)
– This week: Memphis East, a Memphis powerhouse, will get its second shot to knock off a top Mississippi team. Memphis East lost 23-14 to Olive Branch last week. Shannon, meanwhile, moved into the top spot of the Daily Journal’s large schools’ rankings by beating then No. 1 West Point, 27-20, last Friday.
– Recent history: Haven’t played in last three seasons.
– Memphis East: The Mustangs will be facing a two-quarterback offense for the second consecutive week. … QB Jazzy Parker completed 24-of-43 passes for 279 yards, while WR Brandon Barron had 6 receptions for 99 yards against Olive Branch. … Committed 10 penalties for 75 yards last week.
– Shannon: RB Keon McGaughy rushed for 166 yards and scored 3 TDs – a 67-yard run and pass receptions of 61 and 29 yards – against West Point. … QBs Legilbert Bogan and Jake Scott allow Shannon’s offense to feature different looks.
No. 4 Nettleton (1-0) at North Pontotoc (1-0)
– This week: Nettleton comes to Ecru following a 19-15 win over Amory last week. North Pontotoc got its first win under new head coach J.J. Plummer when the Vikings won at Lewisburg, 27-13, last Friday.
– Recent history: Haven’t played in last three seasons.
– Nettleton: QB Anthony Franklin completed 11-of-16 passes for 185 yards and 2 TDs against Amory.
– North Pontotoc: Myles Snyder ran for 2 TDS and RB Joe Robbins ran for more than 100 yards against Lewisburg.
Video interview below with Nettleton coach Jack Clark by Adam Gore of GoreSports.net.
New Albany (0-1) at No. 2 Ripley (0-0)
– This week: New Albany is coming off a shootout loss to Booneville (41-34), while Ripley will be opening up against a traditional opponent.
– Recent history: Ripley has won the last two games, and 16 of the last 22 meetings.
– New Albany: QB Tyler Basil threw for 351 yards and 2 TDs, while rushing for 3 TDs against Booneville.
– Ripley: The Tigers scored on all 5 possessions in a scrimmage against Center Hill two weeks ago. They also shut out Center Hill.
Pontotoc (0-0)at South Pontotoc (1-0)
– This week: South Pontotoc is coming off a thrilling 21-20 win over perennial small-school power East Webster. This will be Pontotoc’s first game of the season.
– Recent history: Pontotoc won 42-0 last year and 35-7 in 2007, while South Pontotoc beat Pontotoc 10-9 in 2006.
– Pontotoc: RB Randall Crayton rushed for 885 yards and 11 TDs last season.
– South Pontotoc: The Cougars have already matched last year’s win total by rallying on the road to beat East Webster.
Tupelo (0-0) at New Hope (0-0)
– This week: Tonight’s game is the season opener for both teams. Tupelo finished 8-4 a year ago, losing in the opening round of the 5A state playoffs. New Hope was 8-5 and made it to the third round of the 4A playoffs, losing to eventual state champion Noxubee County.
– Recent history: This is the first meeting between the schools in football.
– Tupelo: OL Jessie Clayton, the lone starter returning on the line, has left the team. Clayton was attempting to come back after offseason knee surgery. … Duane Jones has replaced assistant Darryl Carter, who left last month to become head coach at Kemper County, on the Golden Wave staff. Jones coaches the running backs.
– New Hope: New Hope has moved up a classification to 5A this season, joining Clarksdale, Gentry, Hernando Oxford and Saltillo in Division 1. … The Trojans are coached by former Mooreville head coach Michael Bradley (1996-2001), who is in his fourth season. … RB Terrence Dentry rushed for 1,316 yards and scored 19 TDs last season. … QB Zak Thrasher started every game as a sophomore last season.
John Wilbert and Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal