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SHANNON FAGAN: Hoping to close out the regular season strong

High school football season seems to be the shortest of all the sports I cover. It seems like yesterday I was compiling information for our preview stories. Now I’m scratching my head and figuring out playoff scenarios and pairings.

The final week of the regular season is upon us. As it stands right now, four of our coverage area teams have secured playoff berths. Three of them are going to be at home next week. One more has the potential to join the postseason party.

Last week, I wrote in this very column about how it was the toughest week to date to pick because it had a playoff feel to it. I was fortunate to go 6-1 to improve to 46-12 overall this season. This week might not be as difficult to pick on paper, but you never know what tricks are in store in the days leading up to Halloween.

 

Valley Head (9-0) at Collinsville (7-2)

Talk about a great way to close out the regular season. Both of these teams are longtime county rivals. Both are heading to the playoffs, and both have some of the area’s top performers. It’s no wonder we chose this one as the Foothills Tractor Game of the Week.

It’s no secret what makes both these teams go. For Valley Head, it’s Eian Bain and Hunter Robinson. For Collinsville, it’s Keaton DeBoard and Mason McAteer.

I think this one should live up to the hype and give the fans a treat, but I’ll give Collinsville a slight edge since it’s playing at home.

The pick: Collinsville.

 

Piedmont (7-2) at Sylacauga (0-9)

The Bulldogs are no strangers to playing bigger schools outside of their region. They’ve played two of them earlier this season in Cherokee County and Anniston. Even though they didn’t win either game, they had a chance in the final minute of pulling off wins in both.

I don’t think this one comes down to the wire like those other two. I look for Piedmont to roll over the Aggies.

The pick: Piedmont.

 

Gaylesville (2-6) at Talladega County Central (0-9)

Technically Gaylesville is still alive for a playoff spot, but it needs a lot of help in order for that to happen. I look for the Trojans to do their part in this first meeting with the Tigers.

The pick: Gaylesville.

 

Cedar Bluff (3-6) at Donoho (4-4)

Like I said with Gaylesville, Cedar Bluff desperately needs this one to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Tigers are also looking to end a five-game skid.

The Falcons already know their postseason fate. They’re headed to Lynn to for the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs next week. They’ve won three of their last four games, and they’re playing at home, so I’ll give them the advantage.

The pick: Donoho.

 

Cherokee County (8-1) at Fort Payne (7-2)

The only two times I’ve picked against the Warriors this season have been against teams that are headed to the playoffs.

Fort Payne is too.

The Wildcats are also a bigger school and they’re playing at home. So, you’d think I’d be picking them here, right? Well, that hasn’t worked out too well for me. Cherokee County has proven me wrong a twice this season, but I’m putting confidence in Jack Amos, Jacob Cornejo and company to prove me right in this one.

The pick: Cherokee County.

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