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Football analysis as season hits its midpoint

By Walter Geiger Those of us who love football wait impatiently for it all year long. Baseball, once the national pastime, has been reduced to a space filler between gridiron seasons. We watch it casually but do not obsess over it though having a winning team in Atlanta would help. Once it arrives, football season goes by much too fast. We have hit the midpoint for high school teams and most college squads will hit their midpoint this weekend. So, where are our local favorites at this juncture? LAMAR COUNTY TROJANS: The Trojans, who made it to the title game last season, lost three superstars to Georgia Tech and an all-world placekicker to South Carolina State. Their head coach moved on to Ware County and has that team ranked #1. LC promoted defensive coordinator Jamie Abrams to head coach and it has proven to be a shrewd move. Most speculated this would be a rebuilding year for the Trojans. Most were wrong. Lamar opened the week ranked #6 in Class AA by the AJC. They started the season 3-1-1 though Abrams scheduled three AAAA teams, one AAAAA team and one AAAAAA team to hone his team for the region schedule which begins Friday at Bleckley County. Mary Persons had to hide behind a bogus lightning strike to beat Lamar in its only loss. The Trojans should sail through the next four games. The region champ will be decided when they travel to Macon County Nov. 7 in the regular season finale. They will go into the playoffs as either a #1 or #2 seed. Once there, anything can happen. PIKE COUNTY PIRATES: The Pirates began the season with high hopes. They traveled to Lamar County for the season opener and many thought Pike was capable of winning the Battle of Potato Creek for the first time in several years. Lamar was coming off an unimpressive tie with Howard in its opener the week before. Instead, Lamar roared out to a 44-0 lead and won 44-16 in a game in which PC was not competitive. The loss ushered Pike into a five game death spiral. Then, this past Friday, the Pirates picked themselves up off the mat and beat Riverdale 21-19 in their homecoming game. Pike gets a much-needed week off this Friday before playing at winless Mt. Zion in two weeks. They should win that game. Griffin comes to Zebulon the following week and it would take a Herculean effort for the Pirates to win that one. Still, Pike closes the season at Jonesboro which has but one victory. Win that game and PC, which plays only nine games, could back into the playoffs with a 3-6 record. GEORGIA BULLDOGS: #13 Georgia has the best running back in the nation in Todd Gurley. It also has a revolving door in the secondary as one defensive back after another has left the team or been dismissed. That sort of attrition cannot be overcome and the Dogs are very vulnerable to the pass. They travel to Missouri this week. That game could go either way. They should win at Arkansas the following week and at the cocktail party in Jacksonville against the hapless Gators. Then they go to Kentucky and should prevail. Auburn comes to Athens and it is hard to imagine the Dogs stopping Nick Marshall whom they dismissed years back for stealing from his own teammates. Games against Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech to close the season should be wins though Tech is improving weekly. I see UGA going 9-3 but missing the SEC title game because they lose to Missouri this weekend. GEORGIA TECH: The Jackets are undefeated and moved into the AP poll for the first time this week at #22. Duke (4-1) is on The Flats this weekend. Win that game and Tech could go on a run as they play weak teams in North Carolina (2-3) and Pittsburgh (3-3) on the road before hosting Virginia (4-2) and going to N.C. State (4-2). Clemson (3-2) then comes to Tech and the Jackets close the season on the road at UGA. I think Tech wins the next three then splits the two games with the Cavaliers and the Wolfpack. Clemson at this point looks like an easy win. The Dogs in Athens looks like a loss but I expect Tech to play well. I see the Jackets going 10-2 and playing in the ACC title game. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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