Herald High School Writer Mike Phillips
OK, let me get this straight: Monroe, Westover, Albany High, Dougherty High, Crisp County, Worth County, Americus-Sumter, Deerfield-Windsor and even Pelham have byes this week.
Well, I’m taking the week off, too.
I like the fact Region 1-AAAA is giving all its teams the same bye week. It makes the league much more fair. In the old format, the bye weeks are scattered. Let’s say you have your biggest game of the year coming up in two weeks against Team X, but you have to play this Friday and Team X has a bye week.
So Team X gets two weeks to get ready for the biggest game of the year, and your team gets one week. Get it? That’s why giving everyone the same bye week makes sense. Nobody has an advantage down the road, and trust me, that Region 1-AAAA road is going to get crowded before it’s over.
Next week Monroe has to travel to blistering-hot Americus-Sumter in what could be the tell-tale game of the season in the region. Later, Westover has to travel to Americus-Sumter, and even defending champ Cairo has to travel to Americus-Sumter this season.
Get the idea? Americus-Sumter could win the region. Stay tuned.
Let’s look at the games we do have this week.
The biggest game of the week is in Lee County, where Dean Fabrizio’s Trojans can go 6-0 for the first time in history with a win against Hardaway (2-3) to open the Region 1-AAAAA.
Fabrizio’s Fast Lane offense (just move over to the right lane and let Lee go by you) has everyone in Leesburg buzzing again — just like two years ago when the Fast Lane Kids made it to the playoffs. But this Lee County team is better than that one.
QB Justin Walker was incomparable and won The Herald’s Player of the Year award, and receiver Sanford Seay won The Herald’s People’s Choice award for Player of the Year. But this Lee team is deeper and has more weapons, including Kenneth Hurley, who might just go over 1,000 yards tonight. He needs 218 yards tonight to reach 1,000 yards in six games. Don’t laugh, he might just do it. He’s already had two 200-yard games this season.
This is an easy pick: Get the Harleys ready to bring ’em out in Lee tonight. It‘s going to be packed and they will be on their feet when the motorcycles come roaring onto the field to lead the team out (if you’ve never seen it, put it on your bucket list). I love those Harleys and love the idea that it’s a unique tradition at Lee.
They will be roaring early and late tonight in Leesburg.
PREDICTION: Lee County 45, Hardaway 32
BIG ONE IN T-VILLE: They will be peeking over their shoulder tonight in Leesburg to see what’s going on in Thomasville, where a classic Region 1-AAAAA showdown between Bainbridge and Thomas County Central — a couple of rivals — is being played for bragging rights and a share of first place in the region after the opener. The Bearcats haven’t lost in Georgia, but TCC looks like a team headed for the Final Four.
PREDICTION: TCC 21, Bainbridge 20
SHOWDOWN IN DONALSONVILLE: Seminole County lost more players than anyone in Southwest Georgia to graduation, and everyone kept saying what are they going to do in Donalsonville now that the best team in the school’s history has left?
They’ll find out tonight in the best Class A game in this part of Georgia when Terrell County shows up to play the Indians, who have found plenty of speed — and young speed at that — to make a run at the Region 1-A title. Tonight’s game may be the ultimate deciding factor in this region because Terrell County looks unbeatable right now. The Greenwave is rolling and have all the momentum in this one.
This one is a coin toss, and the coaches are best friends at that. So how do you pick this one?
Let’s go with the home team (and its not because they’ve got great boiled peanuts at the concession stands at Seminole). I just think being at home makes a big difference, especially in high school showdowns.
PREDICTION: Seminole County 28, Terrell County 26
STIFF TEST FOR SHERWOOD: I will make another long-range prediction. Sherwood Christian is going to the playoffs this year, and by the time the postseason gets here the Eagles are really going to be dangerous. They are so young, but growing up every week. It’s a shame they play their GISA Region 3-AA opener at Valwood, the No. 1-ranked GISA Class AA team in the state. SCA just played Deerfield, the No. 1-ranked GISA Class AAA team in the state. Valwood will survive tonight at home, but Sherwood is on the move, and I can’t wait until these kids get to the playoffs and shock everybody with a run in the postseason.
Prediction: Valwood 28, Sherwood 27
BEST OF THE REST:
Miller County 27, Calhoun County 14
Mitchell County 28, Randolph-Clay 20
Baconton Charter 21, North Cobb Christian 14
Westwood 45, Brookwood 21
Early County 35, Berrien 7
Terrell Academy 21, SGA 14
Crisp Academy 35, Tiftarea 20
Frederica 20, Randolph Southern 15