It's about time we talked about the toughest thing to defend in Region 1-AAAA. It's not the veer, and it's not the Power-I. It's not the spread.
The toughest thing to defend in Region 1-AAAA is the Warner Robins Shift. Haven't heard of it? You will. It happened while you were sleeping (well, last winter during the height of basketball season).
Here's the simple version: They built a new school in Houston County, which affected three big Class AAAAA schools: Northside, Warner Robins, Houston County and Warner Robins. The first projections came in for the new enrollments last autumn and all three of those schools were dropped from Class AAAAA to Class AAAA.
But in January, new projections came in and guess what? Those three schools were probably going to have to stay in AAAAA. One problem: The GHSA said it was too late to change the reclassifications. People were upset, and a meeting was held to discuss what to do. Lee County football coach Dean Fabrizio and Bainbridge coach Ed Pilcher made the meeting to find out the future of their football programs.
The ride back home was a long one.
The GHSA decided to leave the three schools in Class AAAA. They landed here in Region 1-AAAA. So the other teams in that region have to beat AAAAA teams in order to get to the playoffs. Oh, there's more. Northside, Warner Robins just happens to be one of the top AAAAA programs in the state. The Eagles played for the state AAAAA title last year and are now the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAA.
As Pilcher said in August: "On paper, we're all playing for the fourth spot in the region.''
Pilcher knows all too well. His Bainbridge team played Northside, Warner Robins even until just before halftime last week, before losing the region opener, 35-14.
Now it's Lee County's turn to enter the first of three games in the Warner Robins Triangle.
The Trojans play at unbeaten Houston County on Saturday. Can they knock off an undefeated AAAAA school?
Of course, I'm picking Lee County in an upset -- a big upset. The Trojans are having an unforgettable season, and it's a shame they have to face these big schools. Just like it's a shame Bainbridge had to play Northside last week.
Come on, even if they had lost enrollment, do you think any of the juniors and seniors on the football team would have left? Of course, not. This is a AAAAA football team, and a good one.
What a way to end a perfect start -- in the midst of a controversy. So let's just hope Lee County's wide-open, no-huddle can work. It will make every small school feel better. It will make all the AAAA schools in this region feel better. Heck, it should even make the GHSA feel better.
Go ahead Lee, knock down the Warner Robins Shift.
PREDICTION: Lee County 28, Houston County 21.
WESTOVER AT WORTH:
OK, lets go to the impossible game of the week: Go ahead and try to pick the Westover-Worth game? Seems like they are going in different directions. Worth's three-game losing streak has been hard to watch.
The Rams could have won all three. And now Westover comes into the game with not just momentum, but Dougherty-momentum after beating a team that had a 35-5 series edge until last week.
This is just like a playoff game for both teams, and to make it even wilder, it's homecoming at Worth tonight.
Put both names in a hat and draw one. Better yet, I had Chinese food at the Hong Kong Cafe, and took home the fortune cookie to open it while I was writing this. What is this? Worth by a safety?
That's what it said. And it came from a restaurant located at Dawson and Westover.
PREDICTION: Worth 16, Westover 14.
AMERICUS-SUMTER AT MONROE:
For the first time this season when Monroe's huge offensive line looks up, the guys in front of them are going to be bigger. Americus brings a big, physical team to Hugh Mills on Saturday to play a Monroe team that is trying to get off the floor and being hammered by Cairo.
This is going to be a monster test for the Tornadoes, who have dropped two in a row on the road. But the guess here is that Charles Truitt will have them ready. Well, not just ready, but ready to topple a mountain.
Timber! OK, that's a tree not a mountain, but you get the idea.
PREDICTION: Monroe 21, Americus-Sumter 20
MILLER COUNTY AT PELHAM:
Miller keeps looking like a team that deserves to be ranked in the Top 10 in the state, but the Pirates won't have an easy time in Pelham, where Jim Morrell has not only led his team with class, but inspired them. It will be another dogfight, but Miller County just has too many weapons.
PREDICTION: Miller County 35, Pelham 28
CRISP AT DOUGHERY:
OK, Dougherty, I'm coming over the river to pick you to win again. I still believe this team can turn it around this season, and if Jesse Hicks gets a chance to have a cycle of kids (that's four years) the Trojans will be a powerhouse.
They have a must-win deal tonight against Crisp. So it's a must-pick for me.
PREDICTION: Dougherty 21, Crisp 10.