Valdosta Daily Times

October 26, 2012

Column: Friday night fever

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — By the time tonight is over, we could have a region champion within our local area, which means the high school football season is going by too fast. So I guess we’d better make the most of the football we have left, which for some teams isn’t much.

Yes, teams like Brooks County (who is that team that can clinch a region championship tonight), Lowndes, Valwood and Cook are all going to the playoffs and will have several more games remaining this season. But teams like Valdosta and Clinch County aren’t guaranteed a postseason berth, while Berrien and Lanier County have already been eliminated from the playoff race.

As for this week, there are a few games that will be very interesting, while I expect there will be some lopsided games, too. Christian holds a one-game advantage in the weekly pick ’em standings; he sits with a 37-10 record and I am 36-11. Clinch County has cost me a few times this season.

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Cook Hornets at Brooks County Trojans

This is our Game of the Week, and deservedly so. It is always fun when these two Region 1-AA rivals get together, and tonight shouldn’t be any different.

Cook will be the final big test for the Trojans this regular season. A win for Brooks County would clinch the region championship, the first in Quitman since 2008. The Trojans have been a power all season long and are proving, on a weekly basis, that they are deserving of a top 2 ranking and are legitimate contenders to win the state championship.

The Hornets are pretty good, too. Their only loss came to a tough Fitzgerald team on the road, despite outgaining the Purple Hurricanes by nearly 200 yards. Judging by how tough Cook played Fitzgerald, who in return played Brooks County extremely tough, I think tonight’s game will be a dandy at Veterans Stadium in Quitman.

I’ve said since the beginning of the season that I thought Cook and Brooks were two of the best teams in the state, and that this game could be a better matchup than the state championship game. I stand by those comments.

When thinking about whom I was going to pick for this game, I had a tough time making a decision. I’ve been back and forth all week. In the end, Cook embarrassed Brooks County in Quitman in 2010 and there is a region championship on the line tonight for the Trojans. Then again, the Hornets lost to Brooks County last year in Adel, and a loss would eliminate them from the region championship race and possibly cost them a home playoff game.

On the other side, a Cook victory would shake things up and would put Fitzgerald, Cook and Brooks County in a three-way tie for the region. That sounds like a giant mess, but a lot of fun.

It sounds good to me.

Ed: Cook wins 24-21

Christian: Brooks wins 28-21


Colquitt County Packers at Valdosta Wildcats

OK, Valdosta. This is your time to prove that the Wildcats are indeed a playoff team and not a bust this season. The last thing you can afford to do is lose another region game, so it is time to win and make a run towards the playoffs.

It is go time.

Before I get into this game, I will point out that when I visited Colquitt County in September, the CCHS administration wouldn’t let me in their press box because “opposing media isn’t allowed in here.” I was forced to stand in a much-warmer press box for the duration of the game. When I was at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium for the Winnersville Classic, two Valdosta athletic supporters (you know who you are) verbally attacked me in the press box because I cover Lowndes. Frankly, it is kind of sad that grown men at Colquitt County and Valdosta couldn’t act with as much class as the high school football players did on the field those given nights. It is also sad that grown men have to feel the urge to verbally attack a sports writer that is simply doing his job.

Judging by what I saw earlier this season, this game should be extremely close. Both teams lost to Lowndes 17-14, and since I haven’t seen the Wildcats play another time, that game is all I have to judge them with.

Along with seeing the Packers in person, I also watched them on TV when they played North Gwinnett in the Georgia Dome. I wasn’t overly impressed either time.

Valdosta played well last week against a dismal Tift County team, but made mistakes in the game — like the fumble that led to the Tift touchdown. Colquitt County had a sloppy win over Brunswick, which someone described to me as being as “ugly as it gets.”

In the end, Valdosta is way better than its 4-3 record, and I don’t think Colquitt County is as good as its 5-3 record.

I do recommend that all Valdosta fans bring binoculars to the game tonight. How hilarious would that be? Yes? No? You decide.

Ed: Valdosta wins 28-21

Christian: Either team could win tonight. I’ll go with the Wildcats. Valdosta wins 24-21


Lowndes at Tift County

Ed: Lowndes wins 55-6

Christian: Lowndes wins 59-7


Valwood at Brookwood

Ed: Valwood wins 46-9

Christian: Valwood wins 42-14


Berrien at Pelham

Ed: Berrien wins 20-14

Christian: Berrien wins 14-7


Clinch County at Charlton County

Ed: Charlton County wins 31-17

Christian: Charlton County wins 24-14