Albany Herald High School beat writer Mike Phillips
Everything counts so much more now that everyone is playing region games, but there's not a bigger game this week -- or maybe this year -- in the regular season than Mitchell County at Seminole County tonight.
Everyone knows the saga of this matchup, and last year's Seminole forfeit to Mitchell, which decided the Region 1-A title. There's plenty of baggage and drama to spare, but once you get beyond all of that extra weight and hype that has everyone in both counties buzzing about this game, you're left with two incredibly talented teams.
So who to pick ...
Well, this isn't about revenge or waiting a year to prove a point. The Indians will win tonight because they may have the best Class A team in Georgia. If these kids stay healthy, I don't know who is going to stop them.
Their offense is just that good.
Mtchell can, however, win this game. The Eagles are fast and talented and play with a lot of heart, and head coach Dondrial Pinkins has done an incredible job coaching with this program. Win or lose, they will make a statement in the playoffs, and it's anyone's guess how far they might go.
These two are that good.
It's a shame someone will lose tonight, but everything points to a Seminole win.
PREDICTION: Seminole 35, Mitchell 28.
LOOK OUT ABOVE: There will be an air show in Americus tonight between Americus-Sumter QB Bryce Benton and Monroe quarterback Charles Stafford, so take the over.
Monroe, which lost to state-ranked Cairo last week in its Region 1-AAA opener, needs to win three region games to make the playoffs, and a win tonight sends the Tornadoes well on their way to postseason.
If this game was in Hugh Mills, I'd pick Monroe, but no one is as hot as the Panthers, who staged a breathtaking comeback last week to beat Worth County, 36-29, after trailing 22-0. They also moved into The Herald's Fab 5 Poll at No. 4 this week.
They're hot and at home, and they get the edge here.
PROPS TO DEERFIELD: You've gotta like what they're doing at Deerfield-Windsor tonight. Knights coach Allen Lowe wants his kids to get better, so he is bringing in the top Class A team in Florida to play his program.
North Florida Christian isn't just the top private school in Florida. This is the top Class A team -- public or private.
Everything says North Florida Christian out of Tallahassee comes in here and beats the defending GISA Class AAA state champs, but there's no way I'm picking against the Knights.
I've seen Lowe out-coach opponents before, and I've seen his kids beat bigger and faster teams.
I'll take DWS in a close one, and let's just call it another Puckett finish. You remember Trey Puckett, the kid who kicked the 40-yard field goal at the end of regulation to beat Mount de Sales and send DWS to the state final last year?
Well, I'm guessing it will be that close, and the Knights will win it.
OTHER PICKS: Albany High gets a big win tonight against Berrien in Region 1-AA (let's say 32-14), and Bainbridge and Lee County will get wins in Region 1-AAAA.
PREDICTIONS: Bainbridge 28, Hardaway 7, and Lee County 21, Houston County 10.
SINGING A CARROLL: There will be a classic when Pelham, which has emerged with new coach Frankie Carroll, heads to Miller County. The Hornets -- who whipped up on Randolph-Clay last week -- are one of the surprise teams of the season, and Miller has had some tough luck.
PREDICTION: Pelham 28, Miller 21.
INSTANT CLASSIC?: There's a classic showdown in the making in Valdosta tonight, where Southwest Georgia Academy faces Valwood in what will probably decide the winner of GISA Region 3-AA.
SGA quarterback Dillon Driver will be the difference here. This kid throws with heart and has a gun for an arm.
PREDICTION: SGA 35, Valwood 31
BEST OF THE REST:
Randolph-Clay 40, Stewart 6
Southland 24, Bulloch 20
Terrell Acad. 48, Fullington 10
Crisp Acad. 20, Rand. So. 17
Baconton 14, Hebron 7
Westwood 60, Dawson St. 0