Who has what it takes to become a champion?

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2016

It’s that time of year again where the air is brisk, bleachers become ice blocks, pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere and high school football playoffs begin.

Even after a season of ups and downs and gut-wrenching games, the best part of football has yet to arrive.

It’s when the best players and teams around the state step onto the gridiron to settle their differences, battling through sweat and tears to compete for the luscious 2016 MHSAA Football State Championship.

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In the Class 5A tournament, teams are transcending into their first postseason action with everything on the line. It’s time to throw regular season records and statistics out the window, because each playoff game can be won by any team on any given night.

Picayune started Friday’s game as a No. 1 seed coming out of Region 4 against Wingfield who is a No. 4 seed from Region 3.

If Picayune advances, the team will play an opponent that knocked the Tide out of the playoffs last year, Wayne County High School.

With a healthy Josh Littles and crucial starting snaps for the rest of the Maroon Tide’s backfield, Picayune could make some noise in the following month against some of the best teams in the state.

For me, I want to see a Stone County versus Picayune rematch in the playoffs and luckily, that match up could come to fruition.

Stone has to take on the undefeated Laurel in the first round and if they produce that upset, they have to play to offense-savvy Hattiesburg Tigers.

It might not seem likely that Picayune will have its chance to get revenge on the team that beat them back in October, but this is playoff football, and anything can happen.

In the Class 4A tournament, Poplarville dismantled an unprepared Pass Christian High School team in the first round last week and play Quitman in the second round.

With a nine game winning-streak, the Hornets have enough momentum to make a deep run in this year’s playoffs.

However, if Poplarville does advance, they face one of the toughest opponents in the next round, St. Stanislaus High School led by quarterback Myles Brennan, who committed to LSU.

Even though I predict two state championships are coming back to Pearl River County, strap your seatbelts because it will be one bumpy ride.

Watching the Hornets play is like sitting in the eye of the storm. Everything is calm, everyone is content and then out of no where, a huge play happens, shredding any game plan opponents had.

Not only is this some of the best football in the state, but it is some of the best in the nation. These young men have bright futures ahead of them and it all starts here, in the MHSAA Football Championships.