Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hunter Norris remains atop local college football contest standings

Hillcrest's Keyshaw Roache (17) makes play Friday.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock last Friday night at Brooks Memorial Stadium, I heard several people in the crowd say that Hillcrest’s first ever victory over Thomasville in football was a “signature win” for Jaguar head coach Larry Boykin. There’s no doubt that this convincing – and historic – region win was a big one for the Jags, and I think you could also make the argument that Hillcrest has one of the better teams in Southwest Alabama.

To date, the Jags have won four straight games and when you take a close look at their losses you’ll see that the only teams they’ve fell to were three of the best teams in the state. Hillcrest opened the season with a loss to Washington County High School, which was ranked No. 1 in Class 2A this time last week before their three-point loss to Sweet Water Friday night. Those of you who were at that game will remember that Washington County had more back-up players on the sidelines than Hillcrest had fans in the stands. Depth was not a problem for WCHS.

Hillcrest’s next loss came against perennial powerhouse UMS-Wright, who Hillcrest had on the ropes all night before their mistakes and penalties caught up with them. By the way, UMS-Wright will likely be ranked No. 1 in Class 4A when the new poll comes out this week.

The only other game Hillcrest has lost this season was an eight-point road loss to region rival, Andalusia. Andalusia was ranked No. 6 in last week’s 4A poll and will likely rise in the rankings along with UMS due to No. 1-ranked Calera Friday night.

Hillcrest has improved all season long and if they take care of business against Escambia County and Monroe County, then they’ll be a lock for the playoffs. Once you get into the playoffs anything can happen, and with an experienced winner like Boykin at the helm, the sky really is the limit.

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The seventh week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em contest came to a close on Saturday and the standings in our local contest took another reshuffling this week.

Hunter Norris remained in first place. Jeremy Matheny and I were tied for second place. Mike Dailey went from fifth place to fourth place.

Joey Matheny dropped from fourth place to fifth place. Aaron Albritton, Ricky Taylor and Mark Peacock were all tied for sixth place. Sharon Peacock was in ninth place.

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In the SEC this weekend, there will be six head-to-head match ups between conference teams. Those games will include Florida at Missouri, Georgia at Vanderbilt, South Carolina at Tennessee, Arkansas at Alabama, Auburn at Texas A&M and LSU at Ole Miss. Kentucky and Mississippi State don’t play this week.

For what they’re worth, here are my picks for that slate of games. Rely on them at your own risk. I like Alabama over Arkansas, Texas A&M over Auburn, Florida over Missouri, Georgia over Vanderbilt, South Carolina over Tennessee and LSU over Ole Miss. Last week: 6-1. So far this season: 55-9.

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Week Seven of the NFL regular season kicks off tonight (Thursday) with a game between the 5-1 Seattle Seahawks and the 3-3 Arizona Cardinals. That game will kick off at 7:25 p.m. at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Thirteen games will follow on Sunday, and the Monday night game will feature the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants. New Orleans and Oakland do not play this week.

Tonight, I look for Seattle to beat the Cardinals. On Sunday, I like Atlanta over Tampa Bay, Baltimore over Pittsburgh, Carolina over St. Louis, Denver over Indianapolis, Detroit over Cincinnati, Green Bay over Cleveland, Kansas City over Houston, Miami over Buffalo, New England over the New York Jets, Philadelphia over Dallas, San Diego over Jacksonville, San Francisco over Tennessee and Washington over Chicago.

On Monday night, I look for the New York Giants to beat Minnesota. Last week: 9-6. So far this season: 65-27.

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