Sports Columns

November 1, 2013

Chris Whitfield: Guru plays favorites in cousin wars

I’d say I told you so, but gloating over my phenomenal success this high school football season is getting kind of boring.

Awww, who am I kidding? But quite frankly, the adoring fans and dedicated followers of the Guru of Gridiron Guessing have come to expect nothing less from the Peerless Prep Pigskin Prognosticator.

So, you know what? I told you so, and I will keep on telling you so as I guide the masses toward the ultimate goal of the state playoffs. So keep sending those emails. Keep calling the Forum to tell me I need to write about how hard a team plays rather than telling you who wins or loses the games. You can’t argue with my success.

Since a slow start in the first three weeks of the season (I had to replace a lot of starters and those young linemen just needed to mature) the Guru has certainly been in the mindset of perfection.

And even with a little 63-point hiccup courtesy of my biggest fanbase over at North Murray, your Fearless Football Forecaster was 5-1 last week and has a 43-10 record this year. That translates to about a 9-1 record, which will earn Northwest Whitfield a trip to Carrollton in the first round of the playoffs.

• Game of the Week — Southeast Whitfield at Dalton: If the Catamounts are leading the Raiders late and the public address announcer tells the crowd that Heritage-Catoosa has somehow beaten Ridgeland, I hope the Dalton Fire Department truck cranks up and shifts into reverse.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

That would be the Raiders backing into a meaningful 10th game of the season.

Because of Ridgeland’s loss to LaFayette last week, Southeast still can win its way into a crossover game with a playoff spot on the line. They can also lose their way into the same scenario if Heritage-Catoosa can beat Ridgeland.

Crazier things have happened. But no coach wants to be at the mercy of another team, and surely the Raiders have plenty to play for.

To Southeast, Dalton is the handsome cousin who gets all the girls, always gets the best presents from Grandma and always has better grades.

“Why can’t you be more like your cousin Dalton?”

We all have that cousin. We don’t like that cousin.

Southeast doesn’t like Dalton, and this game certainly means more to the Raiders than it does the Cats, who will play for the Region 7-4A title next week no matter what happens tonight. But 31-1 — Dalton’s record in the series between the two schools — is the biggest reason why this Southeast group doesn’t like its cousins.

Whit’s Pick: Dalton 31, Southeast 13

• Christian Heritage at Trion: If the Lions win out, they’re almost certain to host in the opening round of the Class A private school state playoffs. That is a pretty amazing accomplishment for a team that two years ago was playing in a glorified league that many people looked down their noses at. Part of me wants Christian Heritage to be on the road in the playoffs for the mileage check, but that won’t happen.

Whit’s Pick: Christian Heritage 38, Trion 20

• North Murray at Coahulla Creek: North Murray fans and I had a great time picking at each other last year. Even though no packets of non-sweetened flavoring (i.e., Kool-Aid) — and unfortunately, no cakes — have been delivered to the paper this year, the Mountaineers are still right in the mix of the hunt for the state playoffs. The Mountaineers need help to get in, but they shouldn’t need any help in winning their final two games of the regular season. After that, let the chips fall where they may.

Whit’s Pick: North Murray 48, Coahulla Creek 19

• LaFayette at Northwest Whitfield: If the Bruins take a LaFayette win for granted they could end up with the same egg on their face that Ridgeland is suffering from this week. Northwest prefers omelets.

Whit’s Pick: Northwest Whitfield 52, LaFayette 13

• Pepperell at Murray County: I am certainly anxious to see what the Indians look like next season with a full offseason with coach Chad Brewer and his staff. While a 1-7 record may not be a reason to celebrate for many teams, Brewer and the Indians have my vote for most improved among local programs this season.

Whit’s Pick: Pepperell 40, Murray County 8

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. He likes his omelets with ham, cheese and onions. You can write to him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.

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