Week 9 schedule headlined by Little Egg Bowl

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The regular season ends next week for Water Valley while Oxford and Lafayette have three more weeks to jockey for playoff position as week nine arrives on Friday.

This week’s schedule is headlined by the annual rivalry game between Oxford and No. 4 Starkville while Lafayette travels to Cleveland Central with a chance to possibly lock up a postseason berth. Water Valley holds Senior Night when they host Booneville in a crucial region match for both teams.

The Little Egg Bowl, as it has become to be known as, is returning this year after not taking place last season. The Mississippi High School Activities Association pushed back the start of the 2020 season by two weeks, causing Oxford and Starkville’s game to not happen.

A full schedule resumed this season, meaning the game returned, but it was guaranteed to return as the Chargers (4-3, 3-1 2-6A) and Yellowjackets (8-0, 4-0) are now region opponents with Oxford joining 2-6A this fall.

While it referred to as a rivalry game due to the nature of Oxford and Starkville also home to Southeastern Conference rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State, it has become very one-sided.

Since reviving the game in 2012 — after a 32 year gap between the last time the two teams played each other — Starkville has won seven of the last night games. The Yellowjackets have won all regular season meetings minus their loss in 2013. Oxford’s most recent win in series occurred in the second round of the 2019 Class 6A playoffs.

This week’s game at Starkville is a gut check of sorts for the Chargers, who dropped their first region game last week at Clinton. Oxford is currently sitting third in the region behind Starkville and Madison Central, whom they have yet to play. Friday’s game will dictate how important the Chargers regular season finale at Madison Central on Nov. 4 will be.

LAFAYETTE

Lafayette is rolling, coming off their 51-0 thumping of New Hope last week and winners of their last three region games.

The Commodores (6-2, 3-1 1-5A) have rebounded nicely after dropping their region opener to No. 6 West Point, but with three weeks remaining the schedule does not get easier this week. A final road trip of the season awaits Lafayette, who travels to Cleveland to take on Cleveland Central with a battle to keep pace with the Green Wave at stake.

Cleveland Central (4-3, 3-1) is coming off a 33-22 win over Columbus as they also bounced back following a loss to West Point. The Wolves won their first meeting against Lafayette during their inaugural season in 2017, but since then the Commodores have been winners of the last two. The most recent win for Lafayette was a 34-14 win in 2019.

“It’s huge,” said Lafayette head coach Micheal Fair about this week’s game. “(Cleveland Central’s) big. This offensive line is going to be the biggest one we’ve see this year by far. They’ve got speed all over the field and not to mention it’s really hard to win in Cleveland. We know that. They’ll get our best shot I do believe.”

With home games against Greenville and Lake Cormorant to close out the regular season, a win in Cleveland would set up the Commodores for a chance to secure a home playoff game next month.

WATER VALLEY

Water Valley faced their first setback in Region 1-3A and with only four games in the region schedule, it puts their playoff chances at a minimal risk with only two games remaining.

A battle of the Blue Devils takes place this week with a Booneville team fresh off a 40-7 win over Alcorn Central coming to Bobby Clark Field. The chance to lock up the two seed in 1-3A is at stake.

Water Valley (4-3, 1-1 1-3A) is coming off a loss at Kossuth and looking to right the ship against Booneville (5-3, 1-1). The last time the two teams played in the regular season was 1978 with Water Valley coming away with the win, but have more recently met in the 2018 playoffs with Water Valley winning on their way to a state title.