(WDAM) - The first round of the South State football playoffs is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with 17 Pine Belt teams in the mix spread over three classifications.
Three more classes will wrap up the regular season Friday, with more playoff implications on the line.
7 p.m. kickoff
· #4 Vancleave (5-5) @ #1 Greene County (7-3)
· #4 Stone (3-6) @ #1 Moss Point (3-6)
· #4 Northeast Jones (4-7) @ South Pike (11-0)
· #3 Purvis (6-5) @ #2 Pass Christian (7-3)
· #3 St. Stanislaus (6-4) @ #2 Poplarville (5-5)
· #4 Franklin County (2-8) @ #1 Columbia (10-0)
· #4 Magee (8-3) @ #1 Jefferson County (6-4)
· #3 Wilkinson County (3-3) @ #2 West Marion (10-1)
· #3 Jefferson Davis County (5-5) @ #2 Hazlehurst (4-6)
· #3 Raleigh (5-5) @ #2 Kemper County (3-7)
· #4 Union (6-4) @ #1 Taylorsville (10-0)
· #4 Heidelberg (3-8) @ #1 Philadelphia (10-1)
· #4 North Forrest (3-7) @ #1 Wesson (7-4)
· #4 West Lincoln (5-6) @ #1 East Marion (7-2)
· #3 Collins (3-7) @ #2 Amite County (6-5)
· #3 Bogue Chitto (5-6) @ #2 Perry Central (5-5)
· #3 Bay Springs (9-2) @ #2 Scott Central (8-2)
Petal (9-1, 6-0) clinched the region championship and top seed with a 42-7 road win at George County (6-4, 3-3).
Oak Gove (7-3, 4-2) muscled its way to the front of the line of a pack of five playoff contenders with a 31-7 thrashing at Pearl. A win next over visiting Northwest Rankin, would give the Warriors the second seed.
If the season ended today, Petal would be top seed, Oak Grove second (head-to-head tiebreaker vs. Brandon), Brandon third and Northwest Rankin fourth (head-to-head vs. George County).
But next week, while Oak Grove is hosting the Cougars, George County goes to Meridian (2-9, 1-5), which clocked Terry 52-10 Friday, and Brandon and Pearl square off in their annual throwdown.
One scenario could result in crazy. If Northwest beats Oak Grove, George County beats Meridian and Pearl topples Brandon that would leave five teams tied with 4-3 region records.
Each would sport 2-2 records when compared head-to-head with the other four, so the next would be how each fared against the remaining region members. None of the five beat Petal, and all five would have beaten Terry and Meridian.
That would send the quintet off to the next tiebreaker, points differential in region games played against each other.
West Jones (10-0, 6-0), the defending Class 5A South State champion, has clinched top seed and no worse than a region co-championship. The Mustangs can finish the unbeaten run and seize the region crown for themselves with a win against visiting Jackson Wingfield (1-10, 1-5).
Laurel (8-2, 5-1) can do no worse than second seed. With a win next week against visiting Jim Hill (2-8, 1-5) and a loss by West Jones, the Golden Tornadoes would share the region title with the Mustangs.
South Jones (3-8, 2-4) was eliminated from the playoffs by Friday’s 33-16 loss to Forest Hill (4-7, 3-3).
Forest Hill will host Brookhaven (5-5, 4-2) to determine the third and fourth seeds from the region. If South Jones were to win its final regular-season game at Natchez (4-6, 2-4) and Brookhaven beats Forest Hill, the Braves would lose out on the fourth seed on the head-to-head.
Picayune (10-0, 6-0) and Wayne County (8-2, 6-0) meet to decide the region championship and top seed.
Pascagoula (5-5, 3-3) is in the playoffs. A win over last place Long Beach (1-9, 0-6) locks up the three seed because the Panthers have victories over whichever team comes out of Friday’s win-or-go-home match between East Central (6-4, 3-3) and Hattiesburg (4-6, 3-3).
A loss by Pascagoula would allow the Hattiesburg-East Central winner to vault into the third spot, but Pascagoula owns any head-to-head tie as well as a three-way tie between the Panthers, the Hattiesburg-East Central loser and Pearl River Central (3-7, 2-4) should it beat Gautier (2-8, 1-5) Friday.
Lumberton (8-3, 7-0) earned its fourth consecutive region crown and top seed regardless of Friday’s outcome with Mt. Olive (5-6, 4-3).
Resurrection Catholic (8-2, 6-2) will be the region’s second seed after a 42-12 win over Salem.
Stringer (6-5, 5-2) can tie Resurrection for second place with a win over Richton (6-5, 4-3), but the Eagles hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. A win over Richton locks in the third seed for the Red Devils.
If Stringer loses to the Rebels, a potential four-way tie could exist for the final two playoff spots. For that to happen, Mt. Olive would have the tall task of knocking off Lumberton while Sebastopol need only beat winless Sacred Heart to join the Red Devils and Rebels at 5-3 in the region.
In that scenario, Richton earns the third seed (wins over Mt. Olive and Stringer) and Stringer would be fourth seed (wins over Sebastopol and Mt. Olive).
In a three-way tie between Stringer, Richton and Sebastopol, the Red Devils would be odd man out. Sebastopol would become third seed because of its win over Resurrection, and for this scenario to exist, Richton gets fourth seed because it would have beaten Stringer.
Losses by Richton and Mt. Olive and a win by Sebastopol would give the Bobcats the fourth seed. Losses by Stringer and Mt. Olive and a win by Sebastopol would give Stringer the fourth seed.
Wins by Mt. Olive and Sebastopol and a Stringer loss, would also put Stringer in as fourth seed. Wins by Mt. Olive and Sebastopol and a Richton loss would give Sebastopol the final playoff spot.