Hold onto your hats football fans. A wild weekend of football is coming up for this area.
While everyone is busy hyping Saturday's Southeastern Conference Western Division clash between No. 13 (The Associated Press poll) Mississippi State and No. 1 Alabama and rightfully so, there's some high school matchups on the schedule Friday that will serve as nice appetizers.
There are two huge prep games being played within 10 miles of each other when Noxapater plays at West Oktibbeha in Maben and Eupora makes the trip to East Webster in Cumberland. It's difficult to determine which is the bigger game.
The Timberwolves of West Oktibbeha have run the table so far in Class A, Region 3, District 4 and have beaten all six opponents by a combined score of 283-79. They face the toughest two tests of the season with Noxapater this week and at Pelahatchie to end the regular season.
With Von Smith at quarterback, Tiberias Lampkin at running back and Adam Lowrey as coach, the Timberwolves have been hard to figure out. The only loss for West Oktibbeha (8-1 overall, 6-0 division) was to Eupora, a Class 2A school.
Those Eagles have won five-straight games after losing a 27-6 decision to Calhoun City way back on Sept. 14. It's going to be a challenge for the Wolverines (8-2 overall, 3-1 division), but they have played good defense this season with four shutouts. East Webster can still win Class 2A, Region 2, District 4, but must have things go totally right in its favor Friday night.
Also on the slate, Starkville High School travels to Callaway and Starkville Academy hosts Presbyterian Christian as those two programs work for postseason positioning. Those games deserve keeping an eye on as well.
Once the dust clears from Friday night, so does the playoff picture for high school football.
There's still quite a bit to determine in college with five games remaining in the regular season. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have put together a good season to this point with their 7-0 record.
The challenge against the Crimson Tide will be great, no question about that, but what an awesome opportunity for MSU to make a statement. As long as the Bulldogs can compete against the top-ranked and defending national champion, win or lose, surely some respect will come their way.
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.