0

Intrigue everywhere

Michael Keaton had it right. (How many times do you hear that?)

There are times in life when you only wish you could clone yourself to be in three or four places at once. For anybody that hasn't seen Keaton in the movie "Multiplicity," you are missing one of the great cinematic performances of our generation.

OK, maybe not. But the concept sure does have relevance. In the movie, Keaton clones four different versions of himself to take care of all the aspects of his life he doesn't have enough time for. If you are a high school football fan, this is the time of year having access to the Multiplicity secret sure would be nice.

Take a look at the great games around the area tonight: Sherwood Christian and Deerfield-Windsor each open their playoff runs at home. Terrell Academy hosts Randolph Southern in one of the most anticipated rivalry games in all of the GISA. Thomas County Central invades Bainbridge as Ed Pilcher takes on his former team for the second time. Early County travels to Cook in a game that will decide the fourth and final playoff spot. Monroe and Worth County will play with another playoff spot on the line. The Region 1-A title game takes place at Miller County as the Pirates host Clinch County. And Pelham and Seminole County both host region play-in games.

It's a cornucopia of important prep football games and will without a doubt be the most influential Friday of the season. The only problem is figuring which game to attend.

So log on albanyherald.com and tell us what game you are most interested in attending tonight.

Now, for the predictions:

GOTW -- RANDOLPH SOUTHERN (8-2) AT TERRELL ACADEMY (8-2):

The Patriots found ways to win games they appeared destined to lose all season. There was the one-point win against Dawson Street and the two fourth-quarter comebacks against Bethesda Day and Westwood. All year, I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop on this team. Could they really continue coming back? Well, last week, the jig was up and the final drive in a comeback attempt against Fullington came up short. Now they travel to play a Terrell Academy team on a six-game win streak and excited after its own wild 21-19 win against Westwood. This rivalry has blossomed in recent years, though RSS is yet to keep this game any closer than 21 points in the last four seasons. You have to believe that won't be the case tonight with both teams having spectacular 2009 campaigns. Terrell coach Bill Murdock mentioned to me this week he expected this game to come down to the final minutes. Unfortunately for Murdock, in my eyes that favors Randolph considering all the success quarterback Loy DeVane and Co., have had in those situations.

PREDICTION: Randolph Southern 28, Terrell Academy 27.

TCC (8-1) AT BAINBRIDGE (6-3):

Call it the Ed Pilcher Bowl II, but this isn't really about the former TCC coach anymore. This is about two football teams currently playing at different levels. The Jackets have evolved into one of the top teams in Class AAAA and after beating previously undefeated Westside last week will enter the playoffs as Region 1-AAAA champs and the top overall seed. Bainbridge continues to battle inconsistency as it was upset by Upson-Lee and won a close game against struggling Americus-Sumter last week. Still, in a rivalry game anything can happen. I think what happens tonight is for the second year in a row, Pilcher learns his program may still be a year or two away.

PREDICTION: TCC 20, Bainbridge 10.

EARLY COUNTY (5-4) AT COOK (4-5):

The winner of this game earns the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 1-AA. In a region with three teams ranked in the Top 10 in the state, that is saying something. Both teams have lost to the Big 3 -- Thomasville, Fitzgerald and Brooks County --while beating Berrien, Albany and Mitchell County on the bottom rung. The interesting element is how they have done it. Cook has had struggles with the three lesser teams (55 points margin of victory), but has been much more competitive with the big boys (57 point margin of defeat). Early has been blown out by the powers (105 points) but more dominant of the lesser squads (66 points margin of victory). With this being the playoffs one week early for these two, I like the team that played well in big games. A half-hearted nod goes to the home team.

PREDICTION: Cook 23, Early County 15.

MONROE (7-2) AT WORTH COUNTY (4-5):

Some critical rumblings were heard around The Herald sports lounge when Worth County slipped into the back end of the Fab 5 this week. How can a 4-5 team be one of the best five in the area? Well, one with two Division I recruits on its line (Sherrod Loud and Justin Tukes) and an offense that finally figured things out to match a defense blowing up the best offenses is why. Worth has won three of four, but it will be too little too late if it can't find a way to beat the Tornadoes. Monroe is still waiting for that game in which its offense breaks out. The Rams nearly lost to lowly Perry last week and really need a big win to gain momentum entering the playoffs.

I think watching Monroe's defense try to stop the Worth County running attack will be the most entertaining matchup of the night in Southwest Georgia. I also think a play by the Rams defense makes the difference and they pull the upset.

PREDICTION: Worth County 12, Monroe 6.

REGION 1-A TITLE GAME -- CLINCH COUNTY (6-3) AT MILLER COUNTY (8-1):

These two teams met earlier this year with Miller pulling off a 7-0 victory in Homerville. It seems in every instance the Pirates' defense (allowing 10 points a game with two shutouts) is needed to rise to the occasion this year, it has. None was bigger than the 19-6 win against Seminole County three weeks ago in which Miller held the high-scoring Indians to six points and returned an interception for a touchdown. They will be asked to step up again against Clinch, which is out for revenge and playing well under a 100-percent healthy Vintavious Cooper at quarterback. I think Miller's defense finds a way to win again and the Pirates repeat as region champs.

PREDICTION: Miller County 13, Clinch County 6.

RANDOLPH-CLAY (2-7) AT PELHAM (4-5):

This game will decide if Pelham makes its first playoff appearance since 2002 if the homestanding team can stop Randolph-Clay. It will again be a festive atmosphere at the new facility in Pelham as it was last week. I actually wrote a story about the incredible turnaround the Hornets have made this year that ran a week ago. In it, I mentioned the fact all the players I talked to said that during the down times, they had been offered bets by some of the members of the band that they would lose games. It was meant as glimpse into what life can be like on a struggling football team and to show why the redemption of this year's team has been so gratifying for the Hornets. Some members of the band and staff at Pelham, including band director Wes White, took exception that the article inferred the band is not supportive. That is certainly not the case. While there have been individual instances of such transgressions, the story was not meant to infer the entire band does not support the team. Through all of the down times, the Hornets' marching band has played well from before the opening kickoff until the scoreboard hits zero. Just as they will tonight as the Hornets celebrate their first playoff berth under coach Jim Morrell.

PREDICTION: Pelham 34, Randolph-Clay 29.

BACON COUNTY (3-6) AT SEMINOLE COUNTY (7-2):

Seminole has had little problem with teams from the opposite side of the region this year. That includes a 46-12 win against Bacon on Sept. 25. Look for more of the same tonight.

PREDICTION: Seminole County 42, Bacon County 6.

CLASS AA PLAYOFFS -- NATHANAEL GREENE (1-7) AT SHERWOOD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (7-2):

Nat Greene has not kept a game closer than 26 points since Sept. 11. Don't expect it to happen tonight against the Region 3-AA champs.

PREDICTION: Sherwood Christian 50, Nathanael Greene 0.

CLASS AA PLAYOFFS -- STRONG ROCK CHRISTIAN (4-6) AT SOUTHWEST GEORGIA ACADEMY (8-2):

Strong Rock has lost four of its last five and all of those by double-digit margins. Their only win in that stretch? Against Nat Greene. This is the same team that piled up 52-33 victory against Sherwood earlier in the year, so it is dangerous. But injuries have slowed them down. SGA should roll.

PREDICTION: SGA 45, Strong Rock 15.

CLASS AAA PLAYOFFS -- MT. VERNON PRESBYTERIAN (3-6) AT DWS (9-2):

Mt. Vernon has also lost four of its last five, all by double digits. Its only win in that span? You guessed it: Nat Greene. Deerfield's eight-game win streak moves to nine.

PREDICTION: Deerfield 52, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 7.

CLASS AAA PLAYOFFS -- SOUTHLAND (4-5) AT GEORGE WALTON (7-3):

At the beginning of the year, most considered GW to be a no-brainer for the Final 4. Yet, after losing two of its last four the second-seeded Bulldogs could be susceptible to an upset. Southland would be just the team to make it happen as it has played all the top teams tough in losing by only one score to Tattnall Square and Westfield. I think they break through tonight.

PREDICTION: Southland 17, George Walton 14.