Here are my picks for this week's prep football games:
Evans (0-7, 0-4) at Lakeside (3-4, 2-2)
Evans gave a valiant effort in a heartbreaking loss to Effingham County, but again the Knights came up short. Their season has obviously been a disappointment, but they could take a major step in the right direction with a win over archrival Lakeside on Friday night.
Unfortunately, I can't see the Knights having much success offensively vs. the Panthers. Also, Lakeside's offense has been better of late. Lakeside should get the win here.
Lakeside 20 Evans 10
Greenbrier (3-4, 2-2) vs. Effingham County (3-4, 2-2)
The Pack are still in good position for the playoffs despite two straight losses. However, they must forget last week's heartbreaking loss to Baldwin and be ready this Friday when Effingham County visits the Brierpatch. I think they will be prepared.
Last week's loss to Baldwin showed me something about this Greenbrier team. They were facing a bigger, more athletic, and more talented team in Baldwin, but they gave the Braves all they wanted in the 14-13 loss.
Greenbrier 27 Effingham County 16
Harlem (5-3, 3-1) at Cross Creek (3-4, 2-1)
The Bulldogs have staked their claim to being king of the mountain in Columbia County football. They have won four of five and appear to be in line for a playoff spot. A win this week over the Razorbacks would wrap it up.
Cross Creek has been hot as well. The team has outscored its opponents 65-9 in its past two games. Also, they had last week off to prepare for Harlem.
This one is a toss-up. If Harlem can pressure Cross Creek quarterback Donald Hudson, the Bulldogs can win the game.
Harlem 21 Cross Creek 20
ACS (6-1) vs. Ben Lippen (3-4)
The Lions' defense was stifling last week vs. Cardinal Newman, and as usual Lee Banks was a model of efficiency as the Lions moved to 6-1. They should make it 7-1 this week.
ACS 34 Ben Lippen 16
Top performers Harlem special teams
Special teams often get overlooked, but the Bulldogs' unit was sensational Friday in a big region victory over Butler. Essau Hatchett and Stephen Hinds blocked two Butler punts, both of which set up Harlem touchdowns in the 26-6 victory.
Bo Inglett (Harlem)
Inglett had three sacks in the Dogs' win over Butler.
Evans' entire team
The Knights have had a frustrating season, so on Friday when they fell behind by 14 points early at Effingham County it would have been easy for them to throw in the towel, but they didn't. They fought back and narrowly lost a 31-28 decision. That showed a lot of character.
Augusta Christian defense
The Lions held Cardinal Newman to only 69 yards of total offense in their victory. Clayton Adams led the way for ACS with 10 tackles, including four tackles for a loss.
Mickey Derrick (head coach at Greenbrier)
I've heard plenty of opinions on coach Derrick's decision to go for a two-point conversion, and a win, in the closing minutes of Greenbrier's heartbreaking 14-13 loss to Baldwin. I applaud the call. He was in a tough situation. If he kicked the point-after and lost in overtime, he would have been second-guessed for not going for two. Also, if the pass play worked on the conversion attempt, the same people who are complaining now would be praising his gutsy call.
The fact is (whether Wolfpack fans want to admit it or not), Baldwin is probably the superior team. Going by the book, you don't want overtime vs. a better team, because eventually the talent will likely win out.
Greenbrier had the momentum and Derrick made the incredibly tough decision to try for the win, all along knowing that if it failed he would have to face some teary-eyed young men in the locker room.
Rather than second-guessing what could have been, let's applaud coach Derrick and his team and hope they can still battle their way into the playoffs.
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