Sports Columns

October 25, 2013

Chris Whitfield: Are playoffs in the cards for Raiders?

Devin Golden, my buddy across the desk here in the newsroom at The Daily Citizen, likes to crunch numbers, ponder the possibilities and calculate percentages on all sorts of things related to high school sports. He is sort of his own sabermetrics guru of the high school football playoff possibilities.

He also claims that he is some sort of genius analytical Texas Hold ’Em percentage player who can tell you exactly when it is time to go “all-in.”

This is “all-in” week for the local high school football teams.

Devin informs me that all seven of the local high school football teams are still mathematically in contention for a playoff spot. For some, all they need to do is win out, for others a win here and there in the last three weeks will get them in and for others they must win out, have the sun fall into a total eclipse and get a dispensation from the Vatican. No matter what, the numbers tell him, they all have a chance.

The snowball had a chance, too, when it landed in Hades.

So, local football players, if you still have chips in front of you, it is time to shove and stand up from your chair.

Thankfully, if you are a betting man, the Guru of Gridiron Guessing is here to tell you where to lay your money down and let you know exactly who will (really) be playing in games that mean something in the final week of the regular season and beyond — and which teams are tightening up their hightops for the hardwood.

Last week, your humble Prep Pigskin Prognosticator was 6-0, which means I really need to start charging more just for this section of the paper. For the year, I have run my record to 38-9. That is an .808 batting average, and the numbers don’t lie.

• Game of the Week — Northwest Whitfield at Southeast Whitfield: My guess is that the Raiders’ fans would probably rather have a win over Dalton than any other team on the planet, but winning tonight’s game with Northwest is much more important.

Here is the chance for the signature win that coach Sean Gray has been looking for this season. Here is a chance to spoil a lot of the hopes and dreams of their county cousins. Here is a chance to beat the Bruins in a game that means a lot in terms of the playoff race on their own field. Are you up to the task, Raiders?

On the other end of the county, it is about making the best of the situation. Northwest already has a win over Ridgeland, and a win over Southeast guarantees the Bruins a meaningful game 10 — most likely at Pickens. But don’t think ahead too much, Northwest.

Flat out, I think that Southeast can't consistently stop the Northwest offense, and I think the Northwest defense can handle the Southeast offense. Everyone I talk to keeps assuring me this is going to be a close game, and I am sure Gray can take the “nobody believes in you” speech into the pregame tonight and get some mileage out of it. But I am not sure how much good it does at the end of the night.

Whit’s Pick: Northwest 42, Southeast 21

• Dalton at Heritage-Catoosa: Right now, Dalton is like Proud Mary, who left a good job down in the city and is just rolling, rolling, rolling on the river.

The big Kelvis wheel keeps on turning, Proud Eder keeps on burning. Start gassing up the bus for Cedartown in two weeks.

Whit’s Pick: Dalton 52, Heritage 0

• Providence Christian at Christian Heritage: Providence Christian has had a football team for three seasons. Christians Heritage’s starters won’t make it past two quarters.

Whit’s Pick: Christian Heritage 56, Providence Christian 6

• Ringgold at Coahulla Creek: The only way the host Colts make this one close is if Ringgold is looking too far ahead to the de facto region title game with Cartersville.

Whit’s Pick: Ringgold 48, Coahulla Creek 13

• North Murray at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe: I want to believe that North Murray can pull it all together for a push here at the end. I want to believe the Mountaineers win out and get a little help to play an 11th game. I also want that ace of spades to come on the river, but it ain’t happening.

Whit’s Pick: Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 44, North Murray 38

• Murray County at Dade County: Legend says that Dade County seceded from Georgia and the United States in 1860 and rejoined the Union on July 4, 1945. It took 85 years for anyone to figure out how to get there from the rest of the Peach State.

Whit’s Pick: Dade County 42, Murray County 8

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. He has not consumed any Big Red Kool-Aid, nor does he have “Cat Scratch Fever.” You can write to him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.

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