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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: Can Eagles ground Thunder and Lightning?

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

Is there a bigger game in Region 1-A? Is there a bigger question mark than the one at Randolph-Clay, where both Thunder and Lightning had to sit out last week with injuries?

We won't know until Saturday night just what kind of shape Thunder (Johnny Foster) and Lightning (Cardaryle Curry) are in, but let's hope both are healthy and ready to go in what should be one of the best games of the year.

Mitchell County looks good enough to make a run at the state title. The Eagles are 3-0 in the Region 1-A race and if they beat Randolph-Clay there's no doubt they will run the table and finish 7-0 in the region and 9-1 for the season with the only loss coming to AA state power Thomasville.

But if the Red Devils can come out of Camilla with a win, it could create havoc in the race because if Miller and Seminole win this week as expected, that would mean Mitchell, Randolph-Clay, Miller and Seminole would all be 3-1 in the region with three games left.

I have to go with Mitchell at home in this one, but if I'm wrong, stay tuned for a wild finish what has to be the best Class A region in Georgia.

PREDICTION: Mitchell 30, Randolph-Clay 28

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WESTOVER AT CRISP:

Biggest tossup of the week? It's got to be Westover at Crisp County tonight. Both teams are desperate for a win. I'm taking Westover and I'll tell you why. The Patriots had a bye week to get ready, and the feeling here is that Octavia Jones will have his kids primed and pumped to pull this off on the road.

If Westover wants to reach the playoffs, the Pats have to win at least two of their final four Region 1-AAA games, and it starts with Crisp tonight. They get Americus-Sumter's unbeaten (3-0) Panthers next week, and then play Cairo --- the team I personally vote No. 1 in the Class AAA state poll every week --- before ending the season against Monroe in what could be the biggest game of the year at Hugh Mills on the final night of the season.

PREDICTION: Westover 21, Crisp County 14.

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WINDSOR AT WESTWOOD:

OK, the Game of the Week is Westwood at home against Windsor, so let's get that one out of the way. You know I'm going to pick the Westwood Wonders in this one. Not much drama here. Westwood will win big.

The real drama came in picking the Game of the Week. Westwood fans flooded the Internet and voted this game as No. 1. That's why we leave the Game of the Week up to our readers to decide (and I don't know of another newspaper that does that). But honestly, is there a team in SW Georgia more deserving than these kids?

Westwood has scored 48 in each of the last three games, so let's stay with the trend.

PREDICTION: Westwood 48, Windsor 24

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HARDAWAY AT LEE COUNTY:

Lee County will have to find a way to bounce back after falling to top-ranked Northside, Warner Robins last week. Hardaway has already beaten Bainbridge, so that's all you really have to know about this game. It won't be easy for the Trojans, but this is a must-have game in Leesburg and the feeling here is that Justin Walker, Sanford Seay, James Terrell, Denzel Eckles and the rest of the Trojans bounce back just fine.

PREDICTION: Lee County 35, Hardaway 28

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BAINBRIDGE AT HOUSTON COUNTY:

Bainbridge has a huge game tonight at home against Houston County in a crucial Region 1-AAAA showdown. The Bearcats are better than their record and still look like a playoff team from here, but they will have to start proving it, and it starts tonight. Here's the proof (at least in my prediction).

PREDICTION: Bainbridge 21, Houston County 10

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DEERFIELD AT TRINITY:

There are a couple of easy picks in GISA, starting with Deerfield-Windsor, which has to go on the road tonight and face a Trinity Christian team that has been up and down all year. The Crusaders will be down after Deerfield gets through with them. DWS looks better every week, and that's all about good coaching and good kids. The Knights will stay unbeaten and atop the state GISA Class AAA Coaches Poll.

PREDICTION: DWS 42, Trinity 7.

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SHERWOOD AT PINEWOOD:

The Sherwood Christian pick is almost as easy. The Eagles have been bouncing around all season and are coming off a tough 2-0 loss to Bulloch that has left them in the middle of the region race at 2-2 and 3-3 for the season. Not exactly what everyone (including me) expected from this group of athletes.

But there's plenty of time to turn things around for the Eagles, who get a layup tonight against a winless Pinewood team that just lost to Deerfield, 52-6. Sherwood has scored only seven points in the last two weeks, so Pinewood is just what the doctor ordered. They can run it up tonight and hopefully the big win will give SCA some momentum for the stretch run into the playoffs.

PREDICTION: SCA 42, Pinewood 7