Thursday, November 22, 2018

Drew Skipper maintains lead in local College Football Pick 'Em Contest

The 12th weekend of the 2018 college football season closed out on Saturday, and we also closed out another weekend in our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest.

This week, after Saturday’s final game came to a close, Drew Skipper found himself in sole possession of first place in the local standings for the fourth week in a row. John Johnston was in second place, just two games behind Skipper.

We had a four-way tie for third place. Those tied for the No. 3 spot included Ricky Taylor, Jeremy Matheny, Brett Loftin and your friendly neighborhood sports reporter.

Travis Presley and Justin Mixon were tied for the No. 7 spot while Vanessa Sales and Darrell Burch were tied for ninth place. Clint Hyde was in 11th place.

With that said, if you didn’t do so great last week, don’t sweat it. We’ve got two more weeks to go, and the standings will no doubt change again during the next couple of weeks as we make the final push toward the end of the season.

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By my count, we’ve got nine games this weekend featuring SEC teams, and five of those are head-to-head conference games. For what it’s worth, here are my picks in those games. I like Alabama over Auburn, Mississippi State over Ole Miss, Missouri over Arkansas, Florida over Florida State, Georgia over Georgia Tech, Tennessee over Vanderbilt, Kentucky over Louisville, Clemson over South Carolina and LSU over Texas A&M.

Last week: 11-0, Overall: 86-16

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Tomorrow (Friday) night’s third-round playoff game is shaping up to be one of the biggest games in Hillcrest High School football history. Local sports fans who have followed Hillcrest closely this season will know that Hillcrest defeated Andalusia, 41-10, on Sept. 21 in Evergreen. That was then, this is now.

Eight weeks have passed since that Friday night in late September, and Hillcrest and Andalusia have both improved as the season has gone on. Since losing to Hillcrest, Andalusia has gone 6-1, recording wins over in-county rival Opp, region opponents Williamson, W.S. Neal and Clarke County and playoff opponents Montevallo and Headland. Inexplicably, Andalusia lost, 24-3, at home to an Escambia County team that didn’t even qualify for the playoffs.

Again, I look for tomorrow night’s game to be a good one, and I also look for Hillcrest to win. Since Oct. 5, Hillcrest has only been scored on twice and one of those touchdowns came at the end of the Monroe County game when the Tigers managed to score on Hillcrest’s fifth string. Since Oct. 5, Hillcrest has outscored its opponents, 159-13, so if Hillcrest takes care of business tomorrow night, I look for them to advance to the semi-finals for the second straight year.

With that said, it’ll be hard tomorrow night not to keep one eye on what’s happening in the UMS-Wright-American Christian game in Mobile. Both of those teams are undefeated, and it would be sweet if American Christian could upset UMS-Wright on their home turf. Presuming that Hillcrest beats Andalusia, the Jags will face the UMS-Wright-American Christian winner in the next round of the playoffs.

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