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West Oktibbeha will hit the field tonight with plenty on the line.
Facing Nanih Waiya, the top team in Class A, Region 3, the Timberwolves (6-2, 5-1 in Region 3) have a chance to pull themselves into a first-place tie in the division.
It's the kind of game that should have an electric atmosphere, but West Oktibbeha head coach Adam Lowrey says his team has been trying to put emotions aside in preparation for the Warriors.
"I think being excited didn't help us against Weir," said Lowrey, who's team lost 27-19 to the Lions two weeks ago. "So we've just been going to work. When we get on that football field, we clock in, and just work. Friday is payday. I haven't even mentioned a lot about (tonight's game). I told my boys if they even mention Nanih Waiya, I'm going to get them."
The Warriors (5-2, 5-0 in Region 3) come to Maben on the heels of what was perhaps their most impressive win of the season. Last week, against the same Weir team that defeated Lowrey's Timberwolves, Nanih Waiya easily dispatched the Lions 55-14.
Lowrey says he's not letting that blowout score affect the minds of himself or his team.
"Weir fumbled four times, threw an interception, had two blocked punts, and had a kick returned for a touchdown," said Lowrey. "Mississippi State couldn't beat our junior high with that many turnovers. Weir wasn't ready to play. They had just come off that big win against us and had a short week, so that score doesn't intimidate us one bit."
Tonight's game kicks off at 7 p.m.
"It's a great opportunity for us," said Lowrey. "We can get right back in the hunt (for the region championship)."
East Oktibbeha (2-6) at Weir (4-3)
East Oktibbeha carries tons of momentum into Choctaw County to battle Weir.
The Titans have scored 124 points over their last two games, surpassing their scoring total from their first six games combined.
The points might not come quite as easily against the Lions tonight, though Weir had plenty of trouble last week stopping Nanih Waiya, allowing 55 points in a loss to the Warriors.
East Webster (8-0) at Hamilton (3-5)
Coming off back-to-back losses on the road, Hamilton finally returns to its homefield.
Their welcoming present is the undefeated East Webster Wolverines, currently the 5th-ranked team in the Associated Press Class 2A football poll.
Hamilton has given up at least 34 points in half of its games this season, a fact that probably makes Ledrick Patterson, Timakis Bell, Demetrius O'Briant and the entire East Webster offense salivate.
The highest-scoring team in Class 2A, the Wolverines have won every game this season by at least 21 points.
West Lowndes (5-2) at Ackerman (1-7)
Just a week after falling to East Webster, Ackerman gets a look at the team tied with the Wolverines atop Class 2A, Region 2.
Since a lopsided opening-week loss to West Oktibbeha, West Lowndes has put together a very successful season, having won five of six and three in a row coming into this contest.
Conversely, Ackerman hasn't won a game since squeaking past Starkville Academy in overtime in the season's first week.
On the bright side for the Indians is evidence that indicates their offense is coming around. After scoring in double-figures just once over the season's first five games, Ackerman has now done so in three straight.
J.Z. George (3-5) at Eupora (4-3)
In its final regular season home game, Eupora hosts J.Z. George.
Both the Eagles and the Jaguars have identical 1-1 records in Class 2A, Region 2, and currently sit tied for third in the division.
Statistically, both teams are similar offensively with Eupora outscoring J.Z. George by just six total points this season.
The difference in this contest could be defense, as the Jaguars have given up nearly seven more points per game than the Eagles on average.