November 8, 2013

Chris Whitfield: Take Dalton in Region 7’s big Cat fight


— Is it really almost over? Didn’t the high school football season start two weeks ago? How did we get to this point where all that is left to do is to say goodbye?

We will be losing some of you fans tonight. Your season will be over. Your hopes and dreams put on hold until next year. Or the year after that. Or maybe the next year.

Christian Heritage and Dalton are assured of being here for at least one more game. Northwest Whitfield has a chance to join them, and if the cosmic high school football stars align in just the right way, North Murray, too, has a chance to visit the promised land, which is game No. 11.

For some teams — Coahulla Creek, Murray County and Southeast Whitfield — this will definitely be the last night on the gridiron with pads due to be turned in on Monday. For Northwest, it is win-and-advance or lose-and-go-home. For North Murray, it is win and possibly wait and see what happens somewhere else.

It is crunch time. Time to separate the men from the boys. The champs from the chumps. The Whitfield from the Golden. Who are you going to be boys?

So before we go, let’s try to get as many of the sayings our local coaches fall back upon into the paper as we can.

The Guru of Gridiron Guessing is definitely the champ because “quitters never win and winners never quit.” Last week was another lesson in perfection with a 5-0 record. Since the third week of the season, your prep pigskin prognosticator has been like the Dalton defense — rarely letting anything get through. For the season, the record “is what it is” at 48-10.

Other teams may be rounding into playoff shape, but I have been there for a while, so bring it on.

Game of the Week — Dalton at Gilmer (don’t call us county): Catamounts vs. Bobcats. Carpet makers vs. Apple pickers.

Welcome to the Appalachian Mountains during the colorful wonderland which is autumn. I’m even going the long way to get to Ellijay just to be able to take it all in.

And the football game should be pretty good too.

I like Dalton in this game for “three reasons.”

One, the Cats defense has been outstanding, and I realize that the level of competition hasn’t been at a tremendous level in the last three weeks, but Dalton’s D has been about as perfect as you could desire.

Secondly, the Cats offense has become much more diversified than anyone could have imagined. Coming into the season, it was all about Kelvis Rhodes and when Kelvis Rhodes returned against Gilmer in the first meeting between the two teams, it was all about Kelvis Rhodes. Since then, Kelvis is still a big part of the offense, but he isn’t a make-or-break player. Others have shown they are capable.

(Rarely do we make it to three.)

Gilmer is much better than the team that lost 31-0 earlier this season, but Dalton is as well. This is going to be a throwback game for fans who are used to seeing so much of the spread offense as these two teams are anything but. It should be a great game, but Dalton’s defense and special teams are at another level right now and those two things will hurt Gilmer more than the Dalton offense.

Whit’s Pick: Dalton 24, Gilmer 6

Northwest Whitfield at Pickens (don’t call us county): Northwest fans keep pointing to their 25-13 win over Pickens earlier this season as a badge of honor. Granted, a win over Pickens is nice, but the Dragons basically gave the game away with six turnovers. If my team gets six turnovers and I score just 25 points, I think I would be a little disappointed.

Things have changed for both teams, and I think that Northwest’s offense is a lot better than it was at the beginning of the year. Pickens still has a habit of hurting itself early in the game. If that happens this week, then it will have to be Northwest turning the ball over in order for the Dragons to have a chance.

Who’s up for a trip to Carrollton?

Whit’s Pick: Northwest Whitfield 31, Pickens 25

Christian Heritage at Fellowship Christian: This is the game that haunts the Guru from earlier this year. I’m not going to say this too loudly for fear of getting hit upside the head with a seat cushion, but Fellowship Christian let me down earlier this year. And in the process, I take full credit for giving Christian Heritage the season they have. Had it not been for my motivational energy, my constant badgering of coach Preston Poag and my uncanny ability to wearing clothing to Christian Heritage practices which matches their opponents each week, the Lions are 5-5 again.

So, in other words, Christian Heritage fans ... you’re welcome.

Whit’s Pick: Christian Heritage 52, Fellowship Christian 27

n North Murray (don’t call us county) at Gordon (don’t call us county) Central: The Mountaineers roll to the win, and then have to wait it out.

Whit’s Pick: North Murray 55, Gordon Central 10

Southeast Whitfield at Cass: “If” Southeast had been able to take care of business when they had the chance earlier this season against a Ridgeland team they should have played better against, the Raiders would be playing for a playoff shot. Instead they are playing for a .500 record. It isn’t great, boys, but it is a long way from 2-8. That’s improvement.

Whit’s Pick: Southeast Whitfield 31, Cass 27

Murray (do call us) County at Coosa: It should be really interesting to see what kind of crop has been planted this year in Murray County.

Whit’s Pick: Coosa 42, Murray County 8



Chris Whitfield (don’t call me county) is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. The difference between a chAmp and a chUmp, is you. Get it? Contact him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.