Sports Columns

November 4, 2013

A Look Ahead: Football push takes center stage in preps

A tip of the hat to the Northwest Whitfield High School softball team for winning its second straight Class 4A state championship.

Next on the agenda in Tunnel Hill — a trip to the football state playoffs.

Every football team is on the road this Friday in what should be an interesting set of games, at least for the four teams either with a region title or playoff spot on the line. Northwest joins Christian Heritage, Dalton and North Murray as those with a postseason berth already clinched or still plausible with one game left in the season. Then the brackets will be finalized and only 32 teams remain in each classification. Those same four teams will play their biggest games of the season — as coaching clichés go, each next game is the “biggest game” — this week. All games begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Bruins travel to Pickens County to take on the Dragons in a game that will determine one of Region 7-4A’s four playoff berths. The first two are set in stone for Dalton and Gilmer, who also play for a region title Friday and the top seed from the region. The other undetermined spot will be settled by Ridgeland and Cedartown.

If Northwest wins against Pickens, it will be the first state playoff trip for the Bruins since 2009. Northwest reached this same level last season but lost in the “play-in” game to Gilmer’s Bobcats. The Bruins won the first meeting with Pickens earlier this season, 25-13.

Dalton is eyeing its first region title since 2007 and will play in Ellijay against a Bobcats team that the Catamounts beat 31-0 in the third game of the season.

North Murray needs help but travels to Gordon Central for the final Region 5-3A contest. If Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe upsets Sonoraville, the Mountaineers would be tied for fourth place with the three teams and would play mini-games.

Christian Heritage’s fate is a bit more unknown — because of Class A’s power rating system — but Friday night’s 24-20 win against Sub-region 6A-A foe Trion tremendously helped the Lions’ playoff hopes and keeps them in the running for a first-round home game. Christian Heritage, which clinched second in the sub-region last week, will play at 6B’s third-place finisher, Fellowship Christian. In a meeting between the two teams earlier this season, Christian Heritage won 41-0.

• On Saturday, North Murray’s football team either will be celebrating the season continuing or sulking in its conclusion. That same day, the Mountaineers will host their boys and girls basketball clinic for first-graders through eighth-graders from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and costs $25. For more information, contact varsity boys coach Tim Ellis at (706) 483-1962 or varsity girls coach Keith Robinette at (706) 618-2735.

• Continuing with basketball, winter sports are about to begin for area high schools, and The Daily Citizen is compiling a master schedule so fans can follow their favorite teams and know who, where and when they will play. This includes boys and girls basketball, boys and girls swimming and boys wrestling. The Daily Citizen asks all coaches to send schedules as soo as possible to sports editor Marty Kirkland at martykirkland@daltoncitizen.com or sports@daltoncitizen.com.

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