SHANNON FAGAN: 2022 area high school football season not short on drama

Believe it or not, we’re already into the fifth week of the high school football season, and we’ve already had a few battles that have gone down to the wire.

Take last week for example. Cedar Bluff held off a determined Gaylesville squad behind some Bucky Leek magic in overtime, 29-28. We also saw some heartbreak as the Cherokee County Warriors saw their 14-3 halftime advantage evaporate in the fourth quarter of a 17-14 setback at Oneonta.

Are we in for more drama this Friday? Could be, but before I offer my picks for this week, I was oh-so-close to posting my first undefeated record of the season last week. That late Oneonta surge against Cherokee County prevented that from happening. I finished 5-1, bringing my overall record to 16-5 for the year.

Now on to this week’s picks.

Gaylesville (0-3) at Appalachian (2-2)

The Trojans showed me a lot last week against Cedar Bluff. They’re a team that’s right on the cusp of a breakthrough. I think they finally get that elusive first win of the season this week at Appalachian.

The pick: Gaylesville.

Winterboro (1-2) at No. 8 Spring Garden (3-1)

It’s homecoming in the Garden, and sometimes that can be a trap game with all the festivities going on. I’m sure Panther head coach Jason Howard has mentioned that to the Panthers a time or two this week at practice. Here’s thinking they’ve listened to what he’s said and they take care of business.

The pick: Spring Garden.

No. 1 Piedmont (2-1) at Ohatchee (0-4)

I know Ohatchee has won the last two meetings in this series, but the Bulldogs are beginning to find their swagger behind quarterback Jack Hayes, while the Indians are struggling to get anything going. They’re in a rebuilding mode, starting five freshmen and two sophomores.

I think that’s a recipe for Piedmont to win this one convincingly.

The pick: Piedmont.

Cherokee County (3-1) at Hanceville (2-2)

How will the Warriors respond following their first loss of the season? I think they’ll be fired up. I look for them to get back on the winning track in this first-ever football meeting with the Bulldogs.

The pick: Cherokee County.

Sand Rock (2-2) at Collinsville (2-1)

Carson Chesnut seems to have found his footing at the quarterback position for the Wildcats. He completed 11-of-14 pass attempts for 127 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for 100 yards on just six carries with four scores in Sand Rock’s 35-6 thumping of Section last Thursday.

Meanwhile, Collinsville gave Pisgah all it could handle, but ultimately fell in a 40-28 decision. Keaton DeBoard led the Panthers with 175 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while Mason McAteer connected on 14-of-30 pass attempts for 121 yards and two scores.

To me, this matchup is pretty much a toss-up. When that’s the case, go with the home team.

The pick: Collinsville.

Decatur Heritage (2-2) at Cedar Bluff (3-1)

All eyes will be on Leek’s ankle injury he suffered in the second half of last week’s overtime win at Gaylesville. Coach Alan Beckett said his status has been day-to-day, as has been several other banged-up Tigers.

Here’s thinking Cedar Bluff has been able to get over its bumps and bruises well enough to win another close contest in the Foothills Tractor Game of the Week.

The pick: Cedar Bluff.

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