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Mississippi high school football playoffs: Predictions for 1A, 5A, 6A state titles

The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson) logo The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson) 11/14/2019 Anthony McDougle, Mississippi Clarion Ledger
a group of people playing football on a field: West Point's Brandon Harris (2) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in a game against Starkville on Friday, September 6, in West Point. © Jennifer Calhoun West Point's Brandon Harris (2) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in a game against Starkville on Friday, September 6, in West Point.

The Class 1A, 5A and 6A playoffs kick off this week for high school football in Mississippi.

All the usual suspects are in action in each classification. However, there are also some under-the-radar teams that could make some noise.

So who will win each class? Check out my predictions.

Class 1A

The Simmons Blue Devils were at the top of the 1A mountain for the past four years. They were unceremoniously knocked from that perch last season when Nanih Waiya beat them in the 2018 1A title game.

This season, Simmons isn't even in the playoffs. So who's favored to win it all this time around?

Lumberton (9-3, 8-0) should be the favorite to come out of the South. They've already beaten three teams — Richton, Sebastapol and Resurrection — on their side of the bracket. 

It will come down to Nanih Waiya (10-2), Noxapater (10-2) and Biggersville (9-1) in the North. Biggersville and Noxapater should meet in Round 2. The winner of that game will see Nanih Waiya in the North State title game.

Nanih Waiya has looked like the best team in the classification all season.

Winner: Nanih Waiya 

Class 5A

Defending champion West Point (11-1) is the favorite in this class. They are the top team in the Clarion Ledger Super 10 rankings and have been the top-ranked team in 5A all season. They will, however, have a tougher road to a fourth-straight championship. 

Lafayette (8-3) and Grenada (7-4) lost to the Green Wave by a combined 11 points. Both of them are in the postseason, and it's possible West Point sees them both in the North state playoffs. 

Picayune (11-0) and West Jones (11-0) are the best teams in the south. West Jones got the better of Picayune last season, defeating them 21-13 in the South state title game. Picayune will get the better of West Jones this time, but West Point will secure its 11th state championship. 

Winner: West Point

Class 6A

When all the top teams in the classification are so close to equal, predicting a champion is like taking a shot in the dark. Nevertheless, here we go. 

As far as talent, No. 2 Starkville (10-2) is the best team in the state and they'll be in the hunt to hoist the gold ball.

No. 5 Madison Central (9-2) looked like the best team in the state for most of the season before being derailed by back-to-back losses to Starkville and South Panola. But as long as Madison Central has Jimmy Holiday, the team is a threat. 

No. 3 South Panola (11-1) is playing as well as anyone in the class, and they have a healthy Janari Dean in the backfield. Let's not forget about No. 4 Petal (10-1), No. 10 Oak Grove (8-3) and Brandon (8-4) in the South. 

a baseball player taking a swing at a pitch: South Panola's Janari Dean (4) runs against Madison Central's Andrew Mack (9) on Thursday, October 23, 2019, at Madison Central High School in Madison, Miss. © CHRIS TODD/For Clarion Ledger South Panola's Janari Dean (4) runs against Madison Central's Andrew Mack (9) on Thursday, October 23, 2019, at Madison Central High School in Madison, Miss.

But South Panola is rolling right now and the only blemish on their record is a 24-20 loss to Starkville on Sept. 27. Starkville and Madison Central would have to face one another in the second round if they can beat their opponents this week. 

Starkville will beat Madison Central a second time, but they won't beat South Panola. The Tigers win their first title since 2014. 

Winner: South Panola 

More: Here are predictions for 2A, 3A, 4A in the Mississippi high school football playoffs

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi high school football playoffs: Predictions for 1A, 5A, 6A state titles

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