Sports Columns

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

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