Oxford (8-0, 6-0) vs. Tupelo (6-3, 5-1)
The Oxford Chargers and the Tupelo Golden Wave will be battling for the Division 1-6A Championship Friday night at Bobby Holcomb Field. Oxford is coming off a 37-27 victory over Hernando, the team Tupelo’s lone loss came to, while the Golden Wave is coming off a 34-13 win over Horn Lake in Tupelo’s best offensive output of the season.
Tupelo has been steadily improving on offense as the season has gone on and have been battle-tested throughout the year, with every game up until last week having a margin of victory within two possessions. The Golden Wave a currently riding a five-game win streak after tripping up against Hernando to fall to 1-3 with on-field wins over Olive Branch, Lewisburg, Desoto Central, and Horn Lake. Their win over Southaven was a forfeit after Southaven went into quarantine. The win over the Eagles has been the most impressive, but the Horn Lake defense has been off and on this season.
Tupelo’s defense however just held Horn Lake to their second lowest total of the season with 13 points – second only to Lafayette, a team Oxford scored 33 on, who held Horn Lake to just six points. The Golden Wave defense has been improving throughout the year after giving up 25 to Neshoba Central, 24 to West Point, and 21 to Hernando, having not allowed more than two touchdowns during its five game win streak.
But it’ll be harder to keep Oxford off the scoreboard who leads the division in points per game with 39.2 points per game, and not all the points have been on offense. The Chargers have been able to score a variety of ways outside of just scoring on offense. Oxford has four pick-sixes this season, scored several in field goals when the offense has sputtered, and have a kickoff return for a touchdown. Winning the field position battle in other methods besides moving the ball on offense have been key in Oxford scoring points when their offense has been in neutral, so it is important Tupelo doesn’t make a mistake while on offense or while the special teams unit is on the field in some form.
Should make for an interesting battle at Bobby Holcomb Field.
Lafayette (7-2, 5-1) @ Lake Cormorant (6-2, 4-2)
The Lafayette Commodores have battled back after losing to West Point six weeks ago to be in position to win Division 1-5A with a win over the Lake Cormorant Gators. The Gators have a lot on the line too such as a likely home game in the playoffs with a win over the Commodores.
The division has been so crazy this season with odd results that a loss by Lafayette could drop the Commodores all the way down to a 4-seed. Both teams have clinched playoff berths, so there is no fear of either team dropping out of the playoffs with a loss, it is just a matter of seeding at this point.
Lafayette is coming off a struggling 24-18 win over a feisty Columbus team where the Commodores had to score with less than 90 seconds left to pull off the victory. Lake Cormorant is coming off a much easier 30-6 win over Saltillo.
Lake Cormorant is playing at home, which normally is an advantage in a regular situation, but this is Lafayette’s eighth road game of the season, so this is becoming second nature for the Commodores and aren’t phased by playing on the road again, but winning this game would allow Lafayette to have a much-welcomed home game in the playoffs, and possibly for two rounds – including the preverbal chance to host West Point in the second round of the playoffs if things fall in the right way (This of course requires West Point to beat Center Hill which isn’t a sure thing).
Lake Cormorant’s defense got a confidence boost after defeating West Point earlier this season and has allowed just 18 total points in the last three games after allowing around 21 points per game their first five games of the season. The Gators offense are a threat, having scored 35 against West Point and 28 against a very good Columbus defense. They have had hiccups with scoring just 14 against Senatobia and Center Hill early in the season and 10 against Grenada two weeks ago in their 12-10 loss to the Chargers, so they aren’t all-stars offensively, but they do enough to scare a team defensively.
Both teams have been in close games. Both teams have had close losses. Both teams have had close wins. This should be an exciting game with a lot of emotion where it will likely come down to who makes a play at the end to win it for their team.