November 16, 2012

Chris Whitfield: Will the real Cats please stand up?


TUNNEL HILL — In the psychic world, I have to be up there with any seer on the pages of the National Enquirer. I’m better than Zoltar from the movie “Big.” When it comes to seeing the future, I am on par with Nostradamus, and I don’t even hide my predictions in cryptic little quatrains which could have multiple meanings.

No, dear reader, I tell you exactly what is going to happen and it happens.

Now, I am not one to brag, but ...

Who told you last week’s Northwest Whitfield-Gilmer game was going to go into overtime — and that the Bobcats would win? Who gave you almost the exact score (minus an extra point for the Indians) of the Coosa-Murray County game?

If these high school football games were on the big board in Vegas, I would own the city by now.

The Guru of Gridiron Guessing was 10-2 last week, with those Lions from Christian Heritage getting slayed by the Christians from King’s Ridge and Heritage-Catoosa dropping a meaningless game to Johnson-Gainesville my only stumbles in a week where it was win-or-go-home for a lot of teams. I told you who was going to win, and I told you who was going to go home. For the year, your Prep Pigskin Prognosticator is 83-22, which means I would probably be hosting a playoff game this week rather than having to go through a metal detector on my way to the press box tonight.

Get ready to hold your arms out and empty your pockets of any loose change, Catamounts fans.

It’s time for the playoffs, dear ones, so come with me as we make another leap into the postseason.

n Game of the Week — Dalton vs. Carver-Atlanta at Lakewood Stadium: The last time I was at Lakewood, I got down on one knee to propose to my wife when Dave Matthews started playing “Crash.”

Oh, wait a minute, that was Lakewood Amphitheater. Well, doesn’t matter — they’re right beside each other.

Anyway, the Cats and Panthers renew their rivalry after nearly a half century. The last game between the two ended with Dalton coming home with its only football state championship, the 1967 Class 2A title, after a 14-12 victory at Gray Stadium.

I am here to tell you straight up that tonight could end with another happy ride home for the boys in Red and White.

But only on one condition.

All season long, Dalton has been the most manic depressive football team I have ever seen. In fact, that’s so true that the Cats might want to consider change their theme song from something by Ted Nugent to a certain Jimi Hendrix tune.

One week, they are stride for stride with one of the best teams in the state, Calhoun. The next week, they’re getting blown out by a Cass team that has never beaten them before.

Which team shows up this week? Is it the team that totally dominated Pickens in last week’s Region 7-4A crossover game, or is it the team that needed a late rally to beat Southeast Whitfield?

Who are you, Dalton?

The Cats have won five straight games since starting the season 2-3, while Carver is coming off of its first loss of the season, and it was a doozie as Marist piled up the points for a 42-14 humiliation of the Panthers. Carver is 9-1, but if you look a little deeper, those numbers become less impressive.

The Panthers only had two wins this season — Washington and Grady — against teams with a winning record. Everyone else on their schedule was mediocre at best. This is not a powerful team. They are quick and have a great running attack, but what does Dalton’s defense do better than anything else? Stop the run.

The Cats will be “out-athleted” tonight, but that is usually the case nowadays. Schemes and defensive play will win this. If Dalton gets a couple of early breaks with turnovers and quick scores, it wins. If Carver gets the early lead, its confidence level shoots through the roof and the athletes win going away.

So, which team are you, Cats?

Prove me wrong.

Whit’s Pick: Carver 35, Dalton 14

Other picks: Ridgeland 28, Washington 7; Grady 21, River Ridge 20; Marist 41, Gilmer 21; Calhoun 38, Wesleyan 14; Carters-ville 42, Jackson County 8; North Oconee 21, Ringgold 19.



Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.

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