Crystal Ball: Week Twelve Predictions
Final week of the regular season! For many teams, this marks the end of the line. For some, a region title or home playoff game is on the line. And still for others, it means a final tune-up before the state playoffs. Here’s what’s on tap.
DISCLAIMER: We dissect the numbers, check against other projections, utilize the brain and not the heart. If we pick against any of our beloved 11 programs, take it as a diss if you want, or use it as motivation. We obviously would love to see all 11 programs win every single game, so we’ll celebrate even if we’re wrong if it means our locals walk off the field as winners.
THE LOCALS (Home Games Listed First)
Dawson County Tigers vs North Hall Trojans
This one means a lot for both sides. The Tigers and Trojans have both locked up playoff spots, but the winner is the region runner-up and gets a home playoff game in the first round. Both teams have only lost one region game, both to Cherokee Bluff (region champs). Dawson is at home, and has been looking very good offensively. If that trend continues, the Tigers should take this one, but it might be close.
VERDICT: Dawson County
#2 Jefferson Dragons vs Madison County Red Raiders
The Dragons know they must let go of what happened last week. Look out for the intensity to ratchet up against Madison County on senior night. Healthy or not, Jefferson will blow the doors off the Red Raiders and head into the playoffs with a vengeance. FYI, there have been some great teams in recent memory lose the region title but go on to make it to the state title game (Gainesville ’12 w/ Deshaun Watson; Flowery Branch ’08 w/ Connor Shaw). It happens, but it doesn’t mean the end of the line.
White County Warriors vs #6 Cherokee Bluff Bears
White County has a huge task in taking on Cherokee Bluff. The Bears have locked up the region title, so it remains to be seen if they rest some starters or go more vanilla in their play calls since this game doesn’t mean much for them. The Warriors truthfully don’t have to win this one either. They’re secured as the #4 seed out of the region, but playing a great game and earning a win would be good for morale and momentum going into the playoffs.
VERDICT: Cherokee Bluff (if starters play the full game)
Habersham Central Raiders vs Shiloh Generals
Habersham Central would love to end the season on a high note with back-to-back wins. Shiloh is a confusing team, as it has won 3 region games to squeak into the playoffs as the #3 seed currently out of 8-AAAAAA. The Generals are just 3-6 overall, and did what Habersham had hoped to do by beating the lower teams in the region (Lanier, Central Gwinnett, Winder). Habersham still would love the Winder game back they lost, but can still earn a win here over a beatable Shiloh group.
VERDICT: Habersham Central
Banks County Leopards vs Elbert County Blue Devils
Banks County plays host to Elbert County. Both teams have a playoff spot in the bag, so neither gains much with a win or loses much with a loss. Still, Elbert is clearly the second best in the region and have too much talent to drop this game.
VERDICT: Elbert County
Towns County Indians vs Washington-Wilkes Tigers
Towns County was 4-1 before region play, and have dropped all 4 within region. Washington-Wilkes might be one of the tougher region teams, so this is not an easy game for the Indians, who are held out of the playoffs regardless of what happens.
Commerce Tigers @ Lincoln County Red Devils
Commerce is coming off the electrifying win over #7 Washington-Wilkes. They’ll ride that momentum into a defacto region title game on the road at Lincoln County. This one is HUGE, and expect Commerce to come out swinging.
Union County Panthers @ Gilmer Bobcats
The Panthers travel to Gilmer in hopes of getting a momentum non-region win. Union has a good shot to come out of this with a victory, and get a win heading into the state playoffs.
VERDICT: Union County
Stephens County Indians @ East Jackson Eagles
Stephens County was without star QB Ben Stowe in the tough loss to #2 Oconee County. All 3 Indians losses were close ones to top-10 ranked programs. While on the surface this game looks meaningless, the winner gets the final playoff spot out of 8-AAA. With or without Stowe, we’re going Indians all the way.
VERDICT: Stephens County
Lumpkin County Indians @ West Hall Spartans
Lumpkin County takes on the Spartans in the season finale. It’s been a huge boost for the Indians to win back-to-back games, but they’re hungry for a win over West Hall (winless in region play).
VERDICT: Lumpkin County
#1 Rabun County
Predicted winners are in bold
Flowery Branch vs East Hall
Johnson vs #10 Clarke Central
Denmark vs West Forsyth
#1 Buford @ Dacula
Gainesville @ North Forsyth
Chestatee @ Cedar Shoals
#4 Hart County @ #1 Monroe Area
Franklin County @ #2 Oconee County
Jackson County @ Apalachee
Lakeview @ Providence Christian
BYE WEEKS: Riverside Military