Wild week for the sports guy with lots of great news and awesome open doors of opportunity, which explains my absence for the majority of it.
The cool news is thecrescentbuzz.com is getting ready to add some pieces that won’t make it so much of a one man show, which means tons more content most days of the week.
But more on that later. We’ve got football to talk about tonight. As you’re heading to your games, getting settled into the stands with your hot chocolate and concession stand burger, you may want to steal a quick glance at a miniature version of my Pick Six tonight:
STARR’S MILL (8-0, 3-0) at NORTHGATE (8-0, 3-0): We’ve been pointing to this one ever since we realized about midway through the season that these two teams would likely be on a collision course to decide the regular season region crown. These two rivals will play perhaps their biggest game against each other in all of their 10 meetings. It’s tough to call this one. Haven’t seen much of Northgate this year, but I’ve gotten plenty of looks at what Starr’s Mill can do. This game looks like it could be strength on strength. Starr’s Mill, led by sophomore Rico Frye, has shown it can run and score on anyone. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ defense has pitched four shutouts and held three other opponents to seven points or less. Only Drew was able to crack the end zone more than once in last week’s 35-25 loss to Northgate.
I’m going out on a limb and giving the Panthers the edge here, even on the road. STARR’S MILL 28, NORTHGATE 24.
CARROLLTON (5-3, 3-0) at No. 9 SANDY CREEK (6-2, 2-1): What happens when a Sandy Creek team with state championship aspirations gets throttled by a top-ranked Woodward Academy team the week before and gets to come home to try and rebound against a decent Carrollton squad? My guess is a sharp, focused and dominant performance. Sandy Creek will be angry. But the Trojans won’t just fold away. After starting the season 0-3, Carrollton has averaged 42 points per game in reeling off five straight Ws. It won’t matter tonight in the Battlefield, though. SANDY CREEK 35, CARROLLTON 14.
GRIFFIN (4-4, 2-2) at RIVERDALE (4-4, 2-2): Quick. When’s the last time you’ve seen a Griffin Bears football team playing .500 ball this late in the season? It’s been a while. A long while. And Griffin coach Jarrett Laws has been hearing about it from Griffin Bears fans (more on that this weekend). But believe it or not, the Bears still have a chance to find postseason success. They’ve gotten some mojo back, albeit against lesser teams in Mount Zion and Pike County. This Riverdale squad took top 10 Jonesboro to the wire, so some may think that conventional wisdom gives this game to the Raiders. I don’t think so. I’ll stretch out and give the Bears a big win tonight: GRIFFIN 24, RIVERDALE 21.
EAGLE’S LANDING (5-3, 2-2) at HENRY COUNTY (4-4, 2-2): Both of these squads have experienced ebbs and flows to the season and are trying to end on a high note. Both squads are playing for region play-in positioning. And both teams have decent playmaking talent. Eagle’s Landing is trying to gain momentum for an unprecedented third straight playoff appearance. Henry County is looking for its first winning season since 2011. So there’s plenty to play for. The edge in this one, I believe, will go to the team whose top playmaker rises above the rest. Score one for the Golden Eagles and senior phenom Antonio Gibson. EAGLE’S LANDING 35, HENRY COUNTY 31.
LOVEJOY (4-4, 3-0) at TUCKER (5-3, 2-1): After a 1-4 start, the Wildcats are streaking at just the right time. Lovejoy’s been dominant in its last three contests — all wins — outscoring the trio of opponents 110-30. Lovejoy wants to continue its Region 2-AAAAAA dominance, and Tucker is trying stretch its current two game winning streak on senior night. Expect Lovejoy momentum to continue tonight. LOVEJOY 28, TUCKER 21.
MORROW (0-8, 0-5) at FOREST PARK (0-8, 0-5): Why am I “Pick Sixing” this battle of Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A cellar dwellers? Because, regardless of the records, it’s still one of the Southern Crescent’s longest in-county rivalries. And I honestly believe that Forest Park will not only get the win tonight, but will also use it to build some momentum toward next season. Crazy right? Just watch and see. FOREST PARK 17, MORROW 14.
Here are the rest of my picks in CAPS:
DREW at McIntosh
JONESBORO at Pike County
NORTH CLAYTON at Towers
DUTCHTOWN at Ola
Our Lady of Mercy at ELCA
Hampton at LOCUST GROVE
STOCKBRIDGE at Union Grove
Strong Rock at LANDMARK
WOODLAND at Luella
Mount Zion at SPALDING
Troup at FAYETTE COUNTY
And for the college game:
GEORGIA TECH 31, VIRGINIA 14: What possibly could the Jackets do for an encore after last week’s Miracle on the Flats? No conference championship to play for anymore. Any Tech wins now come from pride for the season.
FLORIDA 28, GEORGIA 17: If there was a healthy Nick Chubb here, I may go the other way. It’ll be close for a while. Dawgs may even tease the upset. Florida has too much talent and speed.
GEORGIA STATE 37, ARKANSAS STATE 34: Silly me, right? Panthers pull off the upset in Jonesboro, Ark.