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August 8, 2011
BDJ high school preview: Class 6A North
Region 1 has been a one horse race for years now, with South Panola not only being the most dominate team in the district, but in the whole state. The district has a new member this year with Grenada coming in and Starkville dropping down to 5A.
South Panola- The Tigers are once again the team to beat in Mississippi 6A this year. They will be lead on offense by junior quarterback Tevis Flowers and junior running back Antonio Connor. On defense the Tigers will be led by a pair of Ole Miss commits in senior linebacker Temario Strong and senior defensive tackle Issac Gross. The Tigers reload every year and this year will be no exception.
Desoto Central- The Jaguars struggled all year long last season and hope that they can put it all together this year. On offense, they will be led by junior quarterback Clay Fortin. He led the team in rushing and receiving last year. On defense, the Jaguars will be led by senior linebacker Drew Armstrong and senior defensive back Ricky Tappan. The Jaguars might be able to surprise a team or two, but it's going to be tough for them.
Southaven- The Chargers lose quarterback Dominique Harris from last year's team but have 800-yard tailback Chris Rice returning. He will be relied on heavily this season. On Defense, the leading returning player will be linebacker Tyler Edwards who had 52 tackles last year. Southaven usually has a pretty decent team and this year should be no exception.
Grenada- This group of Chargers will be a very young team with a new head coach. The offense will be led by junior quarterback Payne Horan who threw for over 1,800 yards last year as a sophomore. The defense will be led by senior linebacker John Petty. This year will be a learning year for the Chargers but they have the players to surprise a few teams.
Olive Branch- Olive Branch may be the only team in the district that can stay with South Panola. They have quarterback Todd Mays and wide receiver D'Arthur Cowan. They will be able to pass the ball for sure. On defense, a pair of senior linebackers Leonard Pegues and Wynton McManis will lead the way.
Tupelo- A very young Tupelo team will take the field this year. Led by a very strong offense and a young defense, the Golden Wave will be led by quarterback Luke Hobson who passed for 1,500 yards last season. Also returning is one of the best juniors in the state in tailback Ashton Shumpert who rushed for 1,300yds last season.
Columbus- The Falcons will rely heavily on their offense this year to try to make the playoffs. They will be led by quarterback Cedric Johnson who passed for 1,100 yards last year. They will also have 1.000yd rusher Damian Baker and wide receiver Deonte Jones. On defense, the Falcons will be led by safety Quan Latham.
Horn Lake- The Eagles will be lead on both sides of the ball by running back/ linebacker Manny Leyva. He led the team in rushing last year on offense and was a tackling machine with 140 tackles for the Eagles.
BDJ Playoff team predictions- South Panola, Olive Branch, Tupelo, and Southaven.
This year Region 2 should be a very entertaining district to follow. There are three or four very good teams and this should be one of the more competitive districts in all of Mississippi at any level.
Greenville-Weston- The Hornets are hoping to break into the playoff picture this year with a combination of youth and experience. On offense, the Hornets will be led by tailback Donald Jackson, who should get a ton of carries. On Defense, they will look to junior linebacker Fred Webster to lead the youthful unit.
Madison Central- The Jaguars will be lead on offense by senior quarterback Drew Rowell, who had 1,200 yards passing and 600 yards rushing. On defense, Madison Central will be led by Isaac Glenn, who had 84 tackles a year ago. Also helping the defensive line will be Washington State commit Maurice Bennett.
Northwest Rankin- The Cougars will be one of the best teams in Mississippi 6A this year. They have experience returning all over the field. On offense, running back Ramone Nash had over 550 yards last season. Everything will center around junior quarterback and MSU baseball commit Reid Humphreys, who returns from a 1,500yd season. On defense, the Cougars will be led by Wil Freeman who had 64 tackles and eight sacks. The secondary will be manned by hard hitting safety Nigel Green, who had 89 tackles last season.
Clinton- The Arrows will be very competitive in Region 2 this season. The offesne will rely heavily on running back Keonte Harper and will receive the bulk of the carries. The strength of the team will be defense, where tackling machine Herbert Harris returns at middle linebacker. Harris had 92 tackles as a junior and will again be the center of the defense. Also in the secondary is Mississippi State commit Cedric Jiles at cornerback.
Vicksburg- The Gators will be a team that could crack the playoffs this year. They will be very good on offense where quarterback Cameron Cooksey will return from a 2,300yd season. Also returning is 1,000yd rusher Kawayne Gaston. Also returning is wide receiver/ defensive back A.J. Stamps. Stamps had over 1,000yds receiving last year and led the Gators with 82 tackles.
Warren Central- The Vikings will be in a rebuilding mode this season. The offense will be young and have to grow up quick before district play begins. The defense will be the strength of the team. Linebacker Given Brekenridgep returns coming off a 106 tackles year. Also returning is linebacker Tyler Comans who chipped in with 90 tackles last season. Warren Central also has special teams weapon Devon Bell, a Mississippi State commitment.
Murrah- The Mustangs will be trying to improve enough to make a playoff run this season as well. The offense will be led by the double quarterback tandem of Shaheed Green and Chris Webster. They teamed up and both did pretty well moving the team last year. Also returning is running back Frederick Franklin who had over 400yds rushing for the Mustangs last season.
Jim Hill-The Tigers are the new team to the district and will have a tough row to hoe in their first season. They will be led by Mississippi State wide receiver commit Frederick Brown on offense. The defense will be led by defensive tackle Emani Holmes who will be counted on to help control the line of scrimmage.
BDJ Playoff team predictions- Madison Central, Northwest Rankin, Clinton, and Vicksburg.
BDJ North State Championship game prediction- Northwest Rankin vs. South Panola
BDJ North State Champs - South Panola