Here are two things you have to know about Batesville (Miss.) South Panola.
This is a new team, one replacing many starters from last season's national championship run.
The schedule - and the expectations - will not be lowered because of it.
South Panola, No. 8 in the RivalsHigh 100, struggled against West Point Saturday as much as it did all of last season, when it rolled over opponents with ease. But in the end, it found its stride and held West Point to just a second-half field goal on the way to a 37-17 victory in a game that featured two two-time defending state champions.
"Hats off to West Point," South Panola coach Lance Pogue told the Dispatch. "They are a really tough, physical group of kids. That first half was a slugfest. I thought in the second half we might have a little bit more depth than them, and I thought that helped us a good bit."
Ahead 21-14 at halftime, South Panola opened the second half with a long drive that resulted in a field goal. West Point, however, wasn't going to go away easily. It answered with a field goal of its own to pull to 24-17, then forced a punt to get the ball back.
That's when South Panola took over, using an interception and a fumble recovery to start two scoring drives, both of which ended on rushing touchdowns from Marcus Dixon (101 yards, three TDs).
RivalsHigh take: A win is certainly a win and South Panola looked talented on the field. The Tigers also looked incredibly young and inexperienced. South Panola came into the season following up on a national title and had high hopes of showing people that it can reload. It is too early to write it off, but the team will need to grow up quickly to end the year in the Top 10.
A look at more games involving RivalsHigh Top 100 teams on Saturday:
No. 3 Warren Central 64, Merrillville 13
The score on the first offensive play of the game - an 86-yard shovel pass and run - was impressive. As were the touchdowns on six of their first eight possessions. And the 43-13 halftime lead.
But that will be expected of Warren Central all season as it goes up against a less-than-overwhelming schedule.
It is why head coach John Hart was happy with the start of the season but not completely satisfied - especially with a defense that gave up two first-quarter scores.
"I was real happy, especially with the offense," Hart told the NW Times. "They may have played over our expectations for this ball game. Defensively, I'd like for us to be a little more stingy. The score didn't bother me. I just would've liked us to be more physical than we were."
Deionte Buckley was just one of three stat stars; he ran for 184 yards and three scores. Receiver Kevin Davis - he of the opening-play heroics - finished with 188 yards receiving and three TDs on just four receptions.
Quarterback Kyle France, a transfer making his first start, was an impressive 10-of-14 for 277 yards and three TDs.
RivalsHigh take: Warren Central made a pretty good Merrillville team look pretty darn bad. The Warriors would benefit from an out-of-state game or two with this group as beating down Indiana competition has its limitations. Merrillville, looking at its schedule, could go undefeated the rest of the way and make noise in the playoffs - which would show just how much of a beating this was.
You know how you spot a good high school football team? It's never satisfied.
Let's see, there was a score on the opening possession of the season ... a quarterback who completes 12 of his 14 passes ... a runner who goes over 100 yards ... a three-touchdown victory over an opponent who came into the game with a 17-game winning streak.
But there's still plenty to work on.
Quarterback Patton Robinette threw two TD passes, but his team's inability to hold onto the football (it had four fumbles, recovering them all) has him concerned.
There were, however, the good signs for the defending Class 6A champion. It did get 153 yards from sophomore running back Shawn Pervo and a touchdown from freshman Dylan Shinsky, on his first varsity carry no less.
RivalsHigh take: This was a performance right on par with the expectations of the team. In the Weekend Watch report entering action, Maryville was expected to win 30-13 and bettered that. The competition for the top team in the state may come down to a perception debate between Maryville and Nashville Ensworth.