Quarterback injuries trouble Tigers
Looking back on the past season, I can’t believe we’ve had 10 weeks of football already. Frankly, I also have a tough time wrapping my head around the quality of football we’ve seen this year.
All four teams are in the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
Best of all, everyone except BCMS is hosting a game (and they’re only playing in Brantley), so if you want to see some good high school football, it’s not far away.
Greenville vs Moody
Greenville’s first round game against Moody has a number of different story lines, but the biggest is the uncertainty surrounding the Tigers’ quarterback position.
Ryan Smith, GHS’s main man under center, didn’t play last Friday against Hillcrest because of an enlarged spleen.
The final blood work won’t be in until Wednesday, but the early indications are that it’s mono.
Another ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday to check and see if Smith’s spleen is still enlarged, but it’s probably a pretty safe bet that he won’t be playing Friday night.
Second-string quarterback Kent Riley started last Friday night, but he went down with a knee injury on the last play of the first half.
The early word on Riley is that he has a torn lateral meniscus.
That brings us to third-string quarterback Michael Watts, who saw his first action of the year last Friday night.
“He’s a kid with a lot of self-confidence, and I feel like he’ll do alright,” said head coach Ben Blackmon.
Watts took nearly all of the second-half snaps with only one fumbled exchange.
There is some good news for Greenville on the injury front — Patrick Bedgood and Fernandez Grey are both recovering well and may see playing time as early as next week.
That would help deepen a backfield that has been ravaged by injuries.
The Tigers get Moody this week, who come in at 6-4.
“They’re a very disciplined team, and they do some good things,” Blackmon said. “Their offense will spread you out, and they run well. They’ve also got good technique on defense. It’s not going to be an easy game.”
The Tigers’ defense and special teams played an outstanding game against Hillcrest, and Greenville will need another big game from them to help lessen the stress on the offense.
It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet, Tiger fans.
I think Greenville wins this one and moves into round two.
Greenville 28, Moody 13
Fort Dale vs Prattville Christian
Fort Dale has been matched up with PCA in the first round of the playoffs, and the two teams have already met once this season.
In that first meeting, Fort Dale blew the Panthers out 52-6, but this is a much-improved PCA team from then.
They’re 7-4 heading into this game, and the two late-season losses were by seven and four points, respectively.
“They’ve made some offensive changes from the first time we saw them,” said head coach Speed Sampley.
The Eagles had a week off in Week 9, and used that time to help get healthy.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been in a long time,” Sampley said.
Sampley also admitted that although it can be tough to beat a team twice in a season, there are some tougher issues.
“It’s even harder to be concentrated after blowing someone out,” he said. “I’m not worried about our skill level, I’m worried about us focusing on the game.”
With a week off and a return to the state championship game only two wins away, you can bet that the Eagles have their eyes on the prize.
FDA 38, PCA 17
BCMS at Brantley
The BCMS Panthers are trying to rebound from the loss to rival McKenzie this Friday night in Brantley.
That’s going to be a tough order.
“They’re 9-1 for a reason,” said head coach Shane Smothers. “They play hard any time they put on the green and white, and that’s something we’re trying to build here.”
Smothers said BCMS’s schedule and past game will help them against Brantley.
“Geneva County is the only four-quarter game they’ve had, and we’ve had a lot of those,” he said. “Records don’t matter now. 5-5, 10-0 – we’re one of 32 teams left. It didn’t matter two years ago when we were 5-5 and beat 9-1 Loachapoka. Our goal is to win on the scoreboard and be the toughest team they’ve seen.”
The early part of the game will be key.
“We’ve got to weather the storm early, and keep the emotion down,” Smothers said.
I think the Panthers will give the Bulldogs a fight, but Brantley will be too much.
Brantley 48, BCMS 20
McKenzie vs Fruitdale
The Tigers host a first-round playoff game for the second year in a row this Friday night.
Last year, McKenzie was upset by McIntosh, but you can bet that head coach Miles Brown and Co. have their sights set on beating Fruitdale and setting up a second-round matchup with Sweet Water.
“We’re definitely trying to avoid the first-round jinx,” Brown said.
Fruitdale started the season slowly, but an 8-0 loss to Sweet Water in Week 4 was a turning point.
“Any team that holds Sweet Water to one touchdown is a good team,” Brown said.
After that loss, the Pirates won four straight until a very good Washington County team beat them last week.
I expect Fruitdale to put up a fight, but McKenzie to move on into the second round for the first time since 2002.
McKenzie 36, Fruitdale 24
Overall record: 31-7