SHANNON FAGAN: Moving past the midway point of the season

Believe it or not, we’ve moved past the midway point of the high school football season. Some teams have established themselves as playoff contenders while others have their work cut out for them to get in the hunt.

Before we head down the stretch run of the regular season, teams are taking a break from region play. But that doesn’t mean there’s a drop off in excitement.

And we get this weekend’s party started a day early with two Thursday night battles.

Speaking of battling, I’ve battled my way back from a bit of a shaky start picking games this season. For the second straight week I went 6-0 to improve to 22-5 overall, but there’s still room for improvement.

Let’s see if I can make it three perfect weeks in a row.

Thursday night
Cherokee County (5-0) at Munford (1-3): The first of two Thursday night games features the red-hot Warriors traveling to struggling Munford.

The Warriors tamed the Lions 56-26 last season, and I expect much the same result in this one.

The pick: Cherokee County.

Anniston (3-2) at Piedmont (1-3): Speaking of struggling, Piedmont has also seen its share of that so far. Welcoming Anniston to the Field of Champions isn’t exactly a cure all either.

Anniston’s two losses have been at defending 4A state champion Andalusia and at Jacksonville. Piedmont has never beaten the visiting Bulldogs either. They’re 0-5 against them, including a classic 30-28 battle last season.

I’m afraid Piedmont’s struggles continue in this one.

The pick: Anniston.

Friday night
Victory Christian (3-2) at Gaylesville (0-5): Here’s the first of two area homecoming games this week. The Trojans have improved the past couple of weeks behind the Bradley brothers, Kyler and Kuper, but they’ve still struggled to score more than two touchdowns.

While I think they may have their most productive outing to date against Victory Christian, I still think the Lions roar a little louder.

The pick: Victory Christian.

Gaston (1-3) at Collinsville (3-1): It’s homecoming week at Collinsville, which was one of the first things Panther head coach Ernie Willingham reminded the Panthers of following their 59-14 win at Sand Rock last week.

Willingham doesn’t want the festivities to be a distraction to the Panthers. I don’t think they will be against former coach Alan Beckett and the Bulldogs.

The pick: Collinsville.

Sand Rock (1-4) at West End (2-3): The first of three straight road games for the Wildcats begins in Walnut Grove. In order to have a chance in this one, Sand Rock has to cut down on the penalties and limit the turnovers. Here’s thinking they do that, but I still think the Patriots pull off the win.

The pick: West End.

Cedar Bluff (2-3) at Spring Garden (3-2): The Foothills Tractor Game of the Week features a battle between two first-year head coaches in Cedar Bluff’s Garrett Crane and Spring Garden’s Barrett Ragsdale. Up to this point of the season, the Panthers have been a little more consistent. They’ve also won the last three meetings in the series and are playing at home. I’ll give Spring Garden the edge here.

The pick: Spring Garden.

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