There are some big division football games on the schedule this Friday for area high school teams.
When a squad starts experiencing a little bit of success, the importance of games becomes bigger and bigger.
Take the East Oktibbeha Titans for example.
East Oktibbeha didn't play well in losing their first Class A, Region 3, District 4 game on the road at Sebastopol earlier this month, but bounced back at home to defeat Ethel 33-24 to even its region mark.
The Titans travel to meet the West Lowndes Panthers in their next region outing and that is shaping up to be a pretty interesting matchup. The Starkville Daily News has picked that encounter between rivals as the High School Game of the Week.
East Oktibbeha football coach Randy Brooks had made it no secret that the goal for his program is to host a first-round playoff game.
In order to make that happen, it would help if the Titans can go into Lowndes County Friday night and defeat the Panthers.
"If we are going to make history and host a first-round playoff game, then we need to win the rest of our games," Brooks said earlier this week.
There are some tremendous challenges ahead for East Oktibbeha, but it can't worry about those right now when West Lowndes stands in the way.
In another Class A, Region 3, District 4 game, the West Oktibbeha Timberwolves travel to Weir. Following the win over Nanih Waiya last week, this also proves to be an important contest for the Timberwolves.
The Starkville Academy Volunteers also see a major test coming their way within the conference in the form of the Jackson Prep Patriots.
The Vols come into the game with some momentum after defeating conference opponent Hillcrest Christian last week 45-0. It will be interesting to see if they can keep that up against coach Ricky Black's Patriots.
In the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, Class AAA is broken up into four divisions. Starkville Academy and Jackson Prep are both members of District 2-AAA.
Even though the Vols are Division II and the Patriots are Division I, the upcoming game is considered a conference game and is included in the record.
It will be considered an upset if Starkville Academy can beat Jackson Prep at home, but if it doesn't happen, the Vols don't need to go into a shell.
There are still some key games left on the schedule for SA, especially within the division with Copiah Academy and East Rankin Academy. The Vols don't need to lose sight of those, no matter what happens Friday night.
After a week off, the Starkville Yellowjackets begin their Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 slate at Jackson Lanier.
It has been a season so far where the injury bug has shown more of a sting than the Jackets and that has been a major factor in why Starkville's record stands at 1-3.
The Jackets were beaten by Noxubee County, Madison Central and West Point. They defeated Tupelo. It's hard to imagine that SHS will face a team in the region that will be tougher than what it saw in the non-region.
As the temperatures start to get cooler, the action begins to heat up on the field with the start of division play.
It should make for quite an interesting series of events to follow in the upcoming weeks.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.
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