Undefeated so far: Week two high school football preview

Published 7:42 am Friday, August 30, 2019

All three high schools within the Eagle’s coverage went undefeated in week one. With their opening week wins, Oxford and Lafayette both landed in the top-10 of the AP Mississippi Prep Poll. Water Valley ranked third within the 3A classification.

Entering week two, things go up another level. Both Lafayette and Water Valley are playing teams up a classification, while Oxford is playing in what is arguably the biggest game in the state for week two. It’s Little Egg Bowl week!

Lafayette at Southaven, 7 p.m.

Lafayette handled Cleveland Central handily in game one without being able to throw the ball at all and mostly without their best player, Randy Anderson. They did it behind a strong defensive performance and a great rushing attack spearheaded by sophomore quarterback Tyrus Williams. Lafayette is confident Anderson should be back and close to 100 percent for this week two meeting with 6A Southaven, who is 0-1 after an opening week loss to Houston.

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The Commodores are going to try to throw the ball more in week two – and they need to. They can win some games as one-dimensional as they were a week ago (Williams went 1 for 7 passing), but they won’t be able to win big games that way. Williams is simply a better passer than he showed a week ago making his first career start. He’ll get better in that regard as he gets more comfortable and the Commodores may use Randy Anderson more as a quarterback than they did a week ago. When healthy, he’ll play quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back.

Oxford at Starkville, 7 p.m.

A late August Little Egg Bowl has arrived. Oxford goes to Starkville this Friday night for a matchup of the No. 5 (Starkville) vs. No. 6 (Oxford) team in the state. Oxford dominated Northwest Rankin 43-7 in their opener, winning in all three phases of the game. This week will be a different story, playing a much better Starkville squad. The Yellowjackets lost a nail-biter in week one to No. 1 Brandon, fumbling on the goal line in the fourth quarter to lose 27-21. Starkville was legitimately inches away from being that No. 1 team when they hosted Oxford.

Chris Cutcliffe has never beaten Starkville as a head coach. The Yellowjackets have won the past five regular-season matchups. The last time Oxford won was the 35-24 win back in 2013, with the Charger team that would go 14-1 with their only loss coming in the state championship game. Oxford has seen enough of Starkville’s tyranny. The offensive numbers for Starkville in week one weren’t pretty. They accumulated only 255 total yards, granted against the No. 1 team in the state.

Where Brandon picked on the Yellowjackets last week was through the air, throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon has the state’s best quarterback (Will Rogers is a three-star recruit committed to Mississippi State), but Oxford might have the best skill position guys in the state. They’ll try to take a page out of the Brandon playbook, all while doing their best to limit the Starkville offense the way they did Northwest Rankin a week ago.

Water Valley vs. North Pontotoc, 7 p.m.

It was a close victory, and a come-from-behind victory, but the Blue Devils left Ripley in week one with a 14-13 win. Down six entering the fourth quarter, Water Valley put up the only points in the final frame. It was Martavius Rockett as the hero in week one, catching the go-ahead touchdown pass with 4:23 to play before intercepting the Ripley quarterback on the next drive to ice the game for Water Valley. The Blue Devils put together just 188-yards of offense in the game, getting a critical fumble recovery for a touchdown from Kel Mcintosh to get on the board in the third quarter.

Now, the Blue Devils return home for their their 2019 home opener against 4A North Pontotoc. The Vikings opened the year with a 7-6 win over Saltillo. They’ll need to slow down Viking running back Raquan Booth, who averaged over 10-yards per carry last week. Moving forward, Water Valley will be looking to get more out of their rushing game that generated just 56 yards on the ground a week ago.

Nathanael Gabler covers Ole Miss and high school sports for the Oxford Eagle. You can reach him at nathanael.gabler@oxfordeagle.com with news tips, suggestions or comments. Follow @nategabler on Twitter.