The “Southern Six” will be well represented this weekend as 21 teams compete to advance to next Tuesday’s South State championship matches. There are seven head-to-head matchups involving teams from the 228 Sports coverage in the six most southern counties of South Mississippi with five of the matches involving squads from the same division.
Boys’ and girls’ doubleheaders will take place at Ocean Springs and Stone.
A look at the boys’ side in Class 6A has coastal foes Gulfport (12-7-2) and Ocean Springs (10-2-1) squaring off at Greyhound Stadium at 2 p.m. The Hounds defeated the Admirals 1-0 in their only regular-season meeting. Gulfport comes off a thrilling upset of defending state champion Northwest Rankin on the road while OSHS was taken to penalty kicks by Oak Grove before pulling out the win.
Biloxi (13-3-1) took care of Pearl and will now host Brandon (15-2-1) in the other Class 6a South State semifinal match-up.
In Class 5A, Division 7 has 3 of the 4 remaining teams in the South State bracket. Picayune(9-6) upset George County in penalty kicks and the 3 seed now gets to host division and county rival Pearl River Central (13-7). The two teams split their regular season matchups with each winning by 1 goal at home. Division 7 and defending state champion Long Beach (13-2-3) will host South Jones (14-2-2). The Braves squeaked by East Central 3-2 to advance. This will be the first meeting of the season between the Braves and Bearcats.
In Class 4A, Division 8-4A also has 3 of the remaining 4 teams vying for South State berths. Stone (15-7) is making a run similar as Picayune as the 3-seed as the Tomcats defeated Poplarville on the road and now will host division rival Bay High (16-5-2). The Tigers swept both regular season matches by 1-0 scores. Pass Christian (15-7-1) awaits Greene County.
In the Class I bracket, St. Patrick (15-4) travels to St. Stanislaus (9-6-1) as both the Irish and Rock-a-chaws both picked up 2nd-round wins on the road. St. Patrick swept both regular season matchups 5-3 and 1-0. Sacred Heart will host the winner of the Thursday night’s matchup between Loyd Star and Crystal Springs.
The 6A girl’s bracket has a similar feel as the boy’s side as Ocean Springs (15-1-2) is at home ahead of their boy’s counterpart taking on NW Rankin (18-1-4). The two teams battled to a scoreless tie earlier in the year. Gulfport (18-2-1) will host Brandon (13-2-3) on Saturday and this will be their first meeting of the year. All 4 teams are division champions while the Lady Admirals are looking for back-to-back state championships.
In 5A, defending state champion Florence (14-5) heads to Lucedale for a south state championship rematch with George County (11-4-2). The Lady Rebels escaped Picayune in overtime while Florence dispatched Long Beach to advance. The winner has a date in the South State championship with either East Central (14-6-1) or West Harrison (15-4-1). This is the first meeting of the year between the Lady Hornets and Lady Hurricanes.
In 4A, the Stone Lady Tomcats (14-4-1) are still in the hunt to defend their state championship as they will host Greene County-North Pike on Saturday. Bay High (9-10-3) continues its run as a 3 seed as they host rival Pass Christian (14-5-3) in a neighborhood rivalry. The Lady Pirates swept the regular season matchups 1-0 and 6-1.
In the Class I playoffs OLA (7-8-1) travels to Sacred Heart (6-6-2). The Lady Crescents swept the Lady Crusaders 3-0 and 3-1 in the regular season. The winner gets the winner of Loyd Star (18-3) and St. Patrick (15-1) with the Lady Irish having home-field advantage Saturday.
All South State Championship games are scheduled for Tuesday, January 31.