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Both teams were victorious, as well. Oak Grove beat a talented St. Martin team, 21-3, while Sumrall held off a school two classifications ahead of them, George County, 3-0. Here are a couple of takeaways from those two games:
Kevin Barnett will be a star for Oak Grove
When Jordan Duncan set off for Cal in early 2016, Kevin Barnett was, in a way, tasked with carrying on his legacy by wearing his jersey number, No. 2. To this point, Barnett, just a junior, has lived up to that hype. He led the Warriors in every receiving category last season and is looking to put up even bigger numbers in 2017. If last night was any indicator, he will not have any problem doing that. The junior reeled in two touchdown catches in allowing Oak Grove to start the season on the right foot. Come the end of this upcoming season, I would not be surprised to see Barnett catch 70 passes for 1200 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s just that good.
Sumrall is going to surprise some folks this season
Sumrall was so, so close to making the playoffs for the first time since 2012 last season. I expect they will break that streak this season. Like Oak Grove, Sumrall started the season off on a winning note last night, beating a pretty talented George County team, 3-0. The offense was, well, not that impressive, but that’s to be expected in the early going, especially since they’re breaking in a new quarterback, Dannis Jackson. No, the defense was what stood out last night. Linemen Cole Daniels and Terry Davis were living in the backfield. Linebackers like Graham Crawford, Carson Duck, Devan Goolsby and Ty’Rek Preston were flying to the football. The defensive backs, led by Nijewel Coleman and his big-time interception late in the ballgame, looked good, as well. All in all, this is a defense that could give people some trouble this year. The offense will come around and when it does, this could be a dangerous team.
Oak Grove is back
I realize the Warriors have yet to play in a game that actually counts. I get that. Still, it’s hard to think Oak Grove will not bounce back in a big way this season. This takeaway is more so driven by the time I’ve covered this team in the offseason and Friday night against St. Martin, I guess that was sort of a bow on what was a highly successful one. On paper, this is a team that should be feared. Can they stay healthy? Can they survive their brutal, SEC West-esque district schedule? To me, those are the burning questions for this team. I think they can do it. Just going on what I’ve seen in recent weeks, this is a team that’s carrying a whole lot of confidence and also, an obligation to get this program back to where we always expect it to be: At the top, competing with teams like Brandon, Meridian, Pearl and of course, Petal.