Prep Picks: Picking with a little swagger
by Bran Strickland
Oct 17, 2012 | 5843 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Duran Zachery (3) and the Handley Tigers travel to Dadeville Friday.  (Photo by Bill Wilson)
Duran Zachery (3) and the Handley Tigers travel to Dadeville Friday. (Photo by Bill Wilson)
The closest I’ve ever come to having swagger was one time when I pretended to walk like George Jefferson.

The person had never watched “The Jeffersons,” and I don’t think I did much to help them tune in to the reruns.

While I’ve not seen either of them play this season, I’m sure Piedmont has swagger. Clay Central, too.

It’s got to be a pretty good feeling.

“Oh, you’re here because you think you can beat us. Isn’t that cute.”

And then they give them a “Bless their hearts,” send the state’s No. 2 or No. 5 — or just some unranked Joe — packing with only the unrealistic bus conversations of “if we’d only done (insert whatever).”

Then I got to be Piedmont and Clay Central.

Wearing the once-derogatory moniker “Red Star” like a badge of pride, a group mainly comprised of Star employees flexed our smarts at Mellow Mushroom trivia. In our past two appearances, we’ve taken home the $40 in gift certificates with a team with Hoover-esque prospects.

The degrees hailing from the Ivy League halls of Columbia and Princeton and other smart schools like Sarah Lawrence, Washington and Lee and masters degrees aplenty, we rolled through the first half scoring on every question.

I was wide open in the end zone in the second half when “Where does Vijay Singh call home?” was tossed into the air, and all eyes descended upon the far end of the table.

In my defense, Sri Lanka and Fiji are a lot alike. They’re both island countries and known for their apples.

(I’m being told those are Fuji apples.)

But I was able to redeem myself with the NFL’s first Left Coast franchise. I also knew Hank Williams Sr. sang the hits “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Jambalaya.”

That’s the Munford degree working it’s magic.

Handley at Dadeville: Dadeville has been beating the Little Jimmy Dickens out of people. (That’s for you Hank Williams Sr. fans.) But in reality, who are these people? (That’s for you Sienfield fans.) It’s tough for me to tell just how real Dadeville is because the two biggest challenges come in the next two weeks — Handley and Clay Central.

I think Clay Central is on an entirely different level. And Handley’s just one notch below that and not nearly as bad as it looked against Clay Central. I’ll get back to you on Dadeville … Handley 21, Dadeville 20.

Albertville at Oxford: Albertville … bless its heart. While I’m not privy to the game plan, this is probably close: Don’t get anybody hurt, win, get ready for Pell City … Oxford 45, Albertville 7.

Piedmont at Saks: So … (awkward moment, like when you see that person you never called back. Not that I ever did that, I don’t think.)

I left both of these teams out of the picks last week. My bad. But even though I’ve told Piedmont folks for weeks, “I’m picking y’all until you lose,” they want to see proof. Sorry, Saks. I can’t go against the formula … Piedmont 35, Saks 21.

Spring Garden at Donoho: Falcons, this too shall pass. Spring Garden, however, probably won’t pass a lot. The Panthers will just hand it to Forrest Livingston. The playoffs — for both teams — are just around the corner. … Spring Garden 35, Donoho 14.

Ranburne at Wellborn: After Ranburne upset Woodland two weeks ago, fans told me the Bulldogs “grew up” that night. Tough to tell if it held true, because it wouldn’t take grownups to beat Victory Christian.

Pulling one upset is driver’s-license grown up. Getting two, that’s like buying-a-house grown up. The Panthers will foreclose on those hopes. … Wellborn 24, Ranburne 12.

Woodland at Pleasant Valley: Woodland running back Mikey Howard is worth the price of admission, whatever that is.

He’s second to Oxford’s Racean Thomas for best running back in this area in my opinion, but what do I know. That’s why I asked recruiting experts. One said, he’s a Football Championship Subdivision-level player, but no higher. Another says his recruiting will begin to pick up soon and he’ll land in college football’s highest level.

So for what that’s worth, he and maybe a few more Woodland players will be the difference this week … Woodland 42, Pleasant Valley 14.

Lincoln at Alexandria: Mainly because of injuries, I’ve second guessed my gut with Alexandria this season. This week, I’m taking all that off the table even though both teams are less than 100 percent. Straight up … Lincoln 24, Alexandria 21.

Anniston at Hokes Bluff: It’s tough to go into Hokes Bluff and pull off a win. Well, it used to be … Anniston 28, Hokes Bluff 10.

Horseshoe Bend at Randolph County: I’ve been on the bandwagon for Randolph County to pull off a couple of upsets in the past — some big, some mild. Horseshoe Bend is rolling along pretty strong, but I think this could be the game that gets the talented Tigers over the hump … Randolph County 42, Horseshoe Bend 35.

Ashville at Weaver: I saw Ashville earlier this season. Then you’d never been able to convince me the Bulldogs would have just one region win. Even a banged-up Weaver shouldn’t have too much trouble … Weaver 21, Ashville 7.

Cleburne County at Jacksonville: Cleburne County has been close in every single loss. While that’s good news, it can be bad, too. Home field is worth a couple of points … Jacksonville 28, Cleburne County 27.

Cleveland at White Plains: One play will change this game. Cleveland is a gritty team, but White Plains very well could be playing off emotion after its big win last week. It’ll be close … Cleveland 21, White Plains 14.

And for the rest of them …

Vincent 42, Ohatchee 28; Jacksonville Christian 14, Coosa Christian 7; Loachapoka 25, Wadley 21; Sylacauga 35, Talladega 21; Ragland 47, Sumiton Christian 7; TC Central 21, Fayetteville 7; Clay Central 45, Beulah 0; Munford 28, Cherokee County 24.

Assistant Managing Editor Bran Strickland: 256-235-3590. On Twitter @Bran_Strickland.

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