With just four teams left in the MHSAA Class 2A Football Playoffs, we’re down to the cream of the crop. The North State Final features two teams that should be familiar with each other, and we’ve got a showdown between an up-start and a juggernaut in the South.
Here’s a look at both of the games set for Friday and what to expect in each of them.
Leflore County (9-2) at Charleston (7-4)
The 2A North finale is a all-Tiger rematch from way back in September, when Leflore County beat Charleston 30-22 in a non-region matchup.
A lot has changed since then.
Leflore County comes into Friday’s matchup riding an eight-game winning streak. They beat Potts Camp 28-0 in the first round, but slipped by North Side 12-6 in the second round and won a nail-biter over East Webster 14-13 last week.
The Tigers have done it with stingy defense and on the legs of tailback Dekari “Turbo” Johnson.
Charleston swept its Region 3-2A slate and stormed into the North State Finals having beaten Eupora 46-18 in the first round, J.Z. George 56-12 in the second and Baldwyn 28-10 last weekend in the quarterfinal.
Coach Ladon Taylor’s bunch has found an identity on offense, with a four-headed rushing attack led by junior Corterrius Johnson (72 carries, 587 yards) and senior Markevious Prince (65 carries, 514 yards).
Expect a ton of handoffs and a tight, low-scoring affair.
Pelahatchie (8-5) at Scott Central (13-0)
Pelahatchie has enjoyed a magical run in the 2A South Playoffs, but they are going to need a miracle to get past the top-ranked Rebels.
The Chiefs have scored at will in their first three playoff games, beating Bogue Chitto 44-23 in Round 1, Philadelphia 39-35 in Round 2 and Kemper County 48-20 last week.
Two-way player Quay Ragsdale is the focal point of the Pelahatchie offense, and coach Ryan Keeton has been creative in finding ways to get the ball in his hands down the stretch.
They’ll need another huge performance out of him Friday, because Scott Central is a different animal altogether.
Junior quarterback Quez Goss is a special, special player who can make all the throws, as well as hurt opposing defenses with his legs.
The Rebels finished up a clean sweep of Region 6-2A with a 33-20 road win over Velma Jackson to close out October, and have scored a combined 168 points in the first three rounds of the playoffs in wins over Amite County, Lake and Newton.
If Friday’s game turns into a track meet, the Rebels can run with the best of them.