I took my new prepmobile out for a spin the other day, and wound up going through Spring Garden. Boy, is that community sure excited with the season the Panthers are having. Almost every yard had a “Go, Garden, Go!” sign leading up to and past the school.
Seeing those signs got football back on my mind (come to think of it, it never left). Going by the Panthers’ empty stadium reminded me of how close we are to winding yet another football regular season down.
I bring this up to make a point. We should savor every moment we have left this season, whether you’re a fan, a coach, a player, a student, or in my case, a sportswriter.
I’ve said it before and I think it’s worth repeating. The reason I love high school sports so much is the sense of community pride they bring. It’s a great escape valve from the world’s problems (and there sure are plenty of those these days), even though it seems they only last as long as the blink of an eye.
I think the folks in Spring Garden know what I’m saying. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just take a drive there – or to any of our area schools, for that matter – and you’ll see for yourself what I mean.
Now on to this week’s picks …
Gaylesville (2-4) at Woodville (0-6): Gaylesville has won two in a row behind the running of senior tailback John David Jennings. He should have another big performance against winless Woodville … Gaylesville 42, Woodville 7.
Cherokee County (0-6) at Anniston (3-3): I’d really like to see the Warriors get a win, but their schedule has just been so darn brutal. I’m afraid it doesn’t get any easier this week at Anniston.
The Bulldogs have had their share of heartbreak too, losing their last two games, including last week’s 20-13 setback in overtime against Jacksonville.
You know the Warriors would love to give them some payback to them after last year’s playoff loss, but I just don’t see it happening … Anniston 38, Cherokee County 20.
Piedmont (6-0) at Susan Moore (3-3): Speaking of overtime games, Susan Moore is coming off a 26-20 overtime victory against Ashville. You know they’ll be pumped for Piedmont, but the visiting Bulldogs are No. 1 in Class 3A for a reason … Piedmont 35, Susan Moore 6.
Donoho (4-2) at Cedar Bluff (6-0): Among my musings last weekend, and if the math is correct, I found out Cedar Bluff has already clinched a playoff berth by virtue of its 26-14 win over Collinsville on Friday.
But the Tigers still have plenty left to play for, particularly a Class 1A, Region 7 championship (something they haven’t tasted since 2006). That should serve as plenty of motivation against the Falcons, who have lost their last two games … Cedar Bluff 35, Donoho 14.
Westbrook Christian (4-2) at Sand Rock (3-3): After starting the season at 2-0, the Wildcats have hit a slump, losing three of their last four.
Meanwhile, the Warriors have turned things around after their 1-2 start. They’ve won three in a row.
A win is crucial for both teams’ playoff chances, and since the game is being played at Russell Jacoway Stadium, I say the home team will come out with the victory … Sand Rock 28, Westbrook Christian 21.
Spring Garden (6-0) at Collinsville (5-1): Collinsville lost its first game of the season last week, and you know it would love to do the same to the Garden this week.
One thing that struck me covering the Collinsville-Cedar Bluff game on Friday was the difficulty the Panthers had stopping the run. Now, they’ve got to deal with Spring Garden’s bread-and-butter of Forrest Livingston and Tyler Morgan.
Combined, those two have run for 1,623 yards and 20 touchdowns. Livingston is averaging over 152 yards per game, while Morgan is near 126 yards per contest.
It’s going to be another battle in the trenches for Collinsville, which has beaten Spring Garden the past two seasons. I think it’ll be close, but I just don’t see Collinsville losing two weeks in a row … Collinsville 31, Spring Garden 28.