Columbia County's high-school football teams are entering the second half of the 2003 season, and this week's matchups could set the tone for the stretch run.
All five county squads are in action, and though all five games are winnable, the county teams will be tested Friday night.
Baldwin (4-1) at Lakeside (3-2): The Panthers lost at Glenn Hills last week, and it seemed Lakeside wasn't over its 56-0 blowout against Thomson in the previous game. Coach Randy Hill's squad needs to snap out of it in this week's Region 3-AAAA contest with Baldwin.
The Braves enter with a 4-1 record, but two of those victories were against teams in a lower classification, and another win was over Cross Creek, the bottom-feeder in Region 3-AAAA.
The Friday game at Panther Stadium is huge for both teams. Baldwin does not play region opponents Greenbrier and Hephzibah, so Lakeside will have at least two region teams pulling for them this week.
Lakeside 24, Baldwin 23
Harlem (2-3) at Josey (0-5): The Eagles are still searching for a win in 2003, and while the Bulldogs have won twice, Harlem is coming off a 72-0 whipping at the hands of Washington County. This will be a tight match, but I have a gut feeling that Josey will have a good game.
Josey 26, Harlem 23
Cedar Grove (0-5) at Evans (1-4): The Knights picked up their first win last week under new head coach Marty Jackson, and Evans could extend the steak to two this Friday against Cedar Grove. The Saints have scored just seven points in their last two games combined, and are averaging only 8.8 points per game this year. The Knights can get ready to celebrate their first home win of 2003.
Evans 20, Cedar Grove 13
Southland Academy at Augusta Christian (5-1): After three straight losses, Southland hammered Windsor Academy 42-0 last week - but Augusta Christian is not Windsor Academy. The Lions were idle last week, so AC will be well-rested and ready to rout the Raiders.
Augusta Christian 38, Southland Academy 14
Greenbrier (4-1) at Cross Creek (0-5): The Wolfpack will be sky high after a crucial Region 3-AAAA win over Hephzibah last week. The task for Pack coach Mickey Derrick this Friday is to make sure his players don't look past the winless Razorbacks. Cross Creek will have a tough time with Greenbrier's high-powered offense, and the Pack defense is also coming on strong. That spells trouble for Cross Creek, which has been outscored 167-38 in five games this year.
Greenbrier 37, Cross Creek 7
Also, the Greenbrier-Cross Creek game will be broadcast live Friday night on radio station WRDW-AM (1630). The game will be televised on tape delay next Tuesday on Comcast cable television at 6 p.m.
Area fans who haven't caught a broadcast this season should tune in. The Comcast crew does an excellent job covering the local prep squads. The show runs smoothly thanks in part to Bill "Axel" Rose, who returned yesterday from his honeymoon. Rose works behind the scenes with graphics and production. Congratulations to Rose and his bride, and keep up the good work!
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