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Seven key games to watch in Mississippi high school football Friday night (Sept. 30)

Here's a look at some of the very best matchups from around the Magnolia State this Friday night
Brandon Bulldog players celebrate a late touchdown in Friday night's 28-7 win over Madison Central.

Top-ranked Brandon looks to keep its unbeaten streak alive with a trip to No. 6 Warren Central Friday night.

JACKSON — Region play is on for most teams across the Magnolia State, and that means we've got some great matchups brewing this weekend.

Here's a look at seven Mississippi high school football games to keep an eye on this Friday night.

MORE: Click here for a full list of Friday night's games

No. 1 Brandon (4-0) at No. 6 Warren Central (4-0)

The top-ranked Bulldogs moved to 1-0 in Region 3 with a 41-13 win over Terry last Friday night. To get to 2-0, they’ll have to beat a solid Warren Central team coming off a big win over Oak Grove, and on the road.

No. 5 Tupelo (5-0) at No. 10 Oxford (3-1)

Oxford dropped out of the rankings for a couple of weeks after losing to No. 1 Brandon in the season opener, but the Chargers have looked much better in their last three outings (all wins). They’ll get another shot at a top-10 opponent this week, when they host undefeated Tupelo in a Region 2 showdown.

No. 4 Picayune (5-0) at Vancleave (4-0)

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Can anyone stop the Maroon Tide? The answer remains to be seen, but the Bulldogs have looked the part of a serious playoff contender. Between Picayune’s Dante Dowdell and Vancleave’s John Peterson, there may be 1,000 rushing yards in this one game Friday night.

MORE: Mississippi High School Power 10, Class-by-class rankings

Florence (5-0) at Wayne County (3-2)

Last week’s 28-27 win over Laurel signaled that the undefeated Florence for real. This week’s trip to Wayne County against a battle-test War Eagles team is another big test for Rod Davis’ bunch.

Starkville (4-1) at Clinton (2-2)

Clinton has two losses to teams ranked in the top three, Starkville just dropped its first game of the season to No. 2 Madison Central. Every other team these two have played has gotten torched. Will Clinton finally break through against a top-tier opponent? Can Starkville overcome injuries at key positions? The season is still relatively young, but this game could have a huge impact on playoff seeding.

Scott Central (4-1) at Mendenhall (3-1)

The Rebels showed last week why they are still the top team in 2A, bouncing back from their first loss in more than a calendar year with a 52-6 romp over Lake. Next up is a showdown at home against Mendenhall, a Class 4A powerhouse riding a three-game winning streak. It’s one heckuva final tune-up for next week’s region opener against Pelahatchie.

Poplarville (4-1) at Purvis (4-1)

The season-opening loss to Picayune took some of the luster off Poplarville, but the Hornets have been beating people to sleep the past four weeks. They defeated Pearl River Central, Lumberton, Terry and Pass Christian by a combined score of 183-16. But the Region 7-4A presents a different kind of test — the Tornadoes have scored 27 or more points in four out of their five games, and come in seeking their third win in a row.