E.A. Sports Today

Setting the Pace

One man’s insights on the week’s Calhoun County football games – without the pomposity, provincialism and pithy platitudes of other pick-em pieces in town

By Jay Pace
For East Alabama Sports Today

Last week started off well enough for the fearless Pigskin Prognosticator before it all came crashing down following a flurry of Mayweather-style blows. Just as I prepared to bask in the glow of a dominating Week One performance with correct picks in the Wellborn and Piedmont games, reality set in as several teams dropping close ones late Friday night to bring me back to earth.

The record: 6-4. Really? It could’ve been worse, I guess. Time to get back on track. Let’s get at it.

Gadsden City (0-1) at OXFORD (1-0)
It’s a titanic Week One (Game 2) match-up pitting a pair of area powerhouses in an early-season litmus test. Gadsden City is well-coached, has lots of depth and is talented – very talented. The same things can be said for No. 4 Oxford, which simply overwhelmed then-No. 2 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa last week.


Jacksonville (0-1) at ALEXANDRIA (1-0)
Another titanic local matchup match-up, this game pits two longtime Calhoun County rivals and two of the top running backs in the county in Keenan Woodruff (Alexandria) and Macey Carr (Jacksonville). Collectively, they rushed for 323 yards and six touchdowns on 33 carries last week. This one looks to be a classic and should provide plenty of excitement. The Valley Cubs keep their strong start going while sending the usually fast-starting Golden Eagles to their first 0-2 start since 2008 in a tight one.

Cherokee County (0-1) at PIEDMONT (0-1)
Despite losses in Game 1, both teams can still accomplish every one of their preseason goals, and both are still among the favorites in their respective classifications to win state championships. This one should be yet another dandy in a week full of them. It has been almost three years to the day Piedmont has lost two in a row. The Warriors will give them a scare, but the Bulldogs will extend their winning streak in the series to eight games and 25 over teams from Alabama.

ANNISTON (0-0) at Sylacauga (1-0)
Sylacauga won a tight one last year, picking up a 36-35 win over a Savion Bethune-less Anniston squad. With Bethune healthy this is a much different team. The Bulldogs open their season with three straight road games and take a bite out of the Aggies.

Horseshoe Bend (0-0) at DONOHO (0-0)
Both teams debut a pair of new head coaches. Mark Sanders comes over to Donoho after spending three seasons at Victory Christian. At Horseshoe Bend, Josh Averett, who spent three years as Gaston’s head coach (2010-2012), replaces Jason Franklin who left for Holtville. I like what Sanders is doing and firmly believe the guy will get it done at Donoho.

OHATCHEE (1-0) at White Plains (0-0)
The Indians got off to a slow start in their opener against Ragland, but spread the wealth in their powerful rushing attack and went on to win. White Plains has put in work and played with confidence and picked up an impressive win over Woodland in its jamboree game. Things get real for the Wildcats this week. They project to be a much-improved team but not to the point of defeating Ohatchee.

Pleasant Valley (0-1) at GASTON (0-1)
Both teams enter coming off opening night losses week one losses. The Raiders lost a close one on the road to Vincent, while Gaston dropped a lopsided shutout to Darlington, a private school powerhouse in Georgia.

Saks (0-0) at WELLBORN (0-1)
The Battle of Anniston moves to The Hill as Saks looks to avenge a pair of close losses at the hands of Wellborn each of the past two seasons. Jeff Smith’s Panthers played a hard-fought game in their opener at JSU and lost when a fourth-quarter two-point conversion didn’t make, but they’ll make it three in a row over their fierce rivals picking up a narrow win.

B.B. Comer (0-0) at WEAVER (1-0)
With a bevy of returning talent and a chip on its shoulder, Weaver knocked off Class 5A Hayden 32-24 to start things off right in 2017. At some point you figure the Yellow Jackets are going to have a coming out party under the legendary Mike Battles Sr., now in his third season at B.B. Comer. That party is put off at least one more week though as Weaver moves to 2-0.


Cleburne County (0-0) at LEEDS (1-0)
The Green Wave took a step back last season in their first season under Lee Gibson. That said, they still finished 7-3 and advanced to round two of the Class 4A playoffs. Cleburne County, meanwhile, has struggled to find its footing since being assigned to Class 5A after being realigned last year. And while the Tigers are much better than their record will probably reflect, it won’t matter against No. 4 Leeds.

Last Week: 6-4, .600
Overall: 6-4, .600

Bonus picks: 2-0, 1.000

Cover photo by B.J. Franklin

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