The rivalry, though one-sided in recent years, continues. Wayne County chose to abandon ship in Region 3-5A for the next two years - not saying it was a good or bad decision - during the off-season's redistricting of classifications, moving to Region 4-5A. But Pierson, who understands the importance of the rivalry that once drew crowds of 10,000-plus, scheduled the War Eagles in non-district play.
West Jones hasn't won a game in the series since 2010, but that doesn't mean the series has lacked a certain competitive nature.
After two-straight losing seasons, no one expects West Jones to win come Friday night, but it's certainly within the realm of possiblities, especially with its stout defense and defensive line. One question remains: Can the offense keep pace with the War Eagles?
West Jones -9
South Jones vs Sumrall
Back to its winning ways.
If South Jones wants to continue its newfound tradition of finishing the regular season above .500, it must continue with a week one victory over Sumrall. It will be a giant step in making sure the Braves clinch their third season above .500 in a row.
But it's only game one, so why the urgency so early? Glad you asked.
The last two seasons, South Jones went 3-4 in Region 3-5A play. They secured winning seasons by winning most of their non-district contests. If they, at the very least, go 3-4 in region play again this year, a win against 4A Sumrall goes a long way in making this year its third in a row.
Containing Sumrall QB Dannis Jackson will be a major key in South Jones earning a victory in this contest.
South Jones +12
Laurel at Callaway
Establish the run game and win with the pass.
In this year's media day scrimmage, Laurel showed it's hand at running back. The Tornadoes, who typically dominated in the passing game in recent years, will have to rely more heavily on their run game this year.
Establishing that run game will be key in game one against Callaway.
But nothing comes easy and establishing the run game against Callaway's Dandy Dozen defensive end James Williams, the state's top guy at the position, will be a tough task.
Malik Heath is another Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen athlete Laurel will have to bout with. Heath is a force at corner and a master at pulling in passes as a wide receiver.
This is a tough challenger for Laurel right off the bat.
NEJ at Taylorsville
Northeast Jones looked pretty good last week at the North Forrest Jamboree, especially for a team that lacks experience in real game situations.
Jazaylon Morris will get his first dose of what it's like to run the ball 20-22 times a game as opposed to running it 6-9 times an outing last season. If he runs like he ran against Greene County and Purvis in last Friday night's outing, the Tigers will be mighty fine.
Sophomore quarterback Mason Smith and several other first-year starters must grow up in a jiffy against the wiles of varsity football this Friday night in Week one. The rest of the season depends on it.
Northeast Jones +14