Fallout from Hurricane Harvey may play a pivotal role in the outcome of Friday night high school gridiron action. If the weather prognosticators are correct, wet, slippery fields and footballs or even heavy rainfall may become major factors as the night progresses.

Fallout from Hurricane Harvey may play a pivotal role in the outcome of Friday night high school gridiron action. If the weather prognosticators are correct, wet, slippery fields and footballs or even heavy rainfall may become major factors as the night progresses.

This is opening night for Phillips County public school's teams. Barton and Marvell renew their long-standing rivalry at Frank McClellan Field while the Central High Cougars travel to Earle to do battle with the Bulldogs.

Earle is the preseason favorite to win the 3-2A Conference title. The Bulldogs are a year removed from an 8-4 campaign and a tie for the conference championship. They won their first two playoff games over Dierks and Murfreesboro by the scores of 28-7 and 52-42 respectively. The Bulldogs eventually bowed out of the playoffs at the hands of England by a 55-22 margin.

Veteran Gary Bohanon is entering his fourth campaign as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. He garnered all-state honors last fall after topping 3,000 yards of total offense and being involved running or throwing the football for 40 touchdowns. O'Joshua Bunton returns as Bohanon's favorite target.

Trevon Reel powers the Earle ground game having rushed for 1,058 yards and eight touchdowns last fall.

On paper the matchup between the Cougars and the Bulldogs shapes up as another possible explosive offensive outing. Central won last year's meeting at Cad Polk Stadium by a score of 36-32. It could be another nail-biter tonight.

The Cougars are in somewhat of a rebuilding mode. Coach Russell Smith is hoping that his young charges will be able to return to the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. However, Central ended the 2016 campaign on a down note, losing their final four games including a 45-23 decision to Dardanelle in the opening round of the playoffs.

Entering the season, the Cougars are dealing with some inexperience, particularly in the offensive and defensive lines. Central does have some talented players at the skill positions.

Armonie Calhoun is expected to be at the offensive controls at quarterback. Terrance Calhoun should provide plenty of yardage on the ground. Last fall, he generated 1,300 yards rushing and scored 17 touchdowns.

Look for a wide open shootout.

Barton ended what turned to out to be an up-and-down 2016 campaign with an overwhelming defeat at the hands of the Rivercrest Colts in the opening round of the playoffs. The Bears played .500 ball the rest of the way thanks to a regular season ending forfeit victory over the Rose Bud Ramblers squad that was forced to cut its season short as the result of numerous injuries and shrinking numbers in the player ranks.

The Bears other victories were over Hazen, Marianna, Episcopal and Marvell. As in the past, Barton is expected to rely on a strong running game that grinds up the yardage and eats up the clock. Key players are Bradley Smith and Devon Olloway. The squad consists of 26 upper classmen but there is very little size on the offensive and defensive lines.

Marvell closed out the 2016 campaign with an impressive 42-20 win over Brinkley before a proud home crowd. Coach Chester Smith hopes that victory will make his players and fans believe that all things are possible.

The Mustangs averaged 36 points a game during the final three weeks of the season leaving the Marvell faithful believing the team has something to build on. All-conference quarterback Tristan Webber was lost to graduation. He will be supplanted behind center by sophomore Joshua Seals. Defenders will need to keep an eye on speedy running back Rhyheem Carruth.

Barton won last year's meeting, 62-20.

In other Friday night action, DeSoto hosts Delta Streets Academy and Marvell Academy travels to Belzoni, Mississippi to take on Humphries Academy.