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Mid-season look at football prospects

By Walter Geiger With the first weekend of October football in the books and the Atlanta Braves well on their way to another early dismissal from the playoffs, it is a good time to take a look at local football programs, their performance thus far and the potential for the rest of the season. Lamar County Trojans: The Trojans went to Macon last week and trounced the previously unbeaten Northeast Raiders 50-19. Lamar is averaging 40.6 points a game while giving up only 13.6 – most of those to the second and third teams. Lamar is a quick strike squad. They score early and often, taking all hope from their opponents before the bands tune up for halftime. The combined records of Lamar’s victims is 13-14, identical to that of those left on the schedule. Lamar is tied atop the Region 4-AA standings with Macon Co. and Bleckley Co. Lamar is the only team undefeated overall. Macon County is ranked 10th. The Dogs have lost only to Peach County. Macon and Bleckley play this week while Lamar hosts Monticello. Barring epic injuries or total collapse, the Trojans are in the playoffs. They have the speed and talent to make a deep run in the postseason. Quite simply, this is the best team in school history. Hopefully, they can bring home the big prize. Pike County Pirates: The Pirates are but 2-4 overall but the meat of their schedule is behind them. Pike’s opponents thus far are a combined 19-12. Those remaining on the schedule are 5-17. Pike, averaging only 21.33 points per game, must score more. It must also tighten up a defensive unit that is yielding 28.8 points per game. Still, the Pirates should make the playoffs. They are 1-1 in Region 2-AAA play; tied with Central Macon, Jackson and Henry County. Pike already owns a win over Jackson. Pike has two road games upcoming at Southwest Macon and Peach County. It should earn at least a split there. Henry County and Central Macon come here. Neither is a very good squad. Pike could easily go 4-2 in region play and host a first round playoff game. Georgia Bulldogs: The Cardiac Dogs definitely keep things interesting. Three of their four wins have been tight. Two required end of regulation drives. Saturday’s overtime thriller at Tennessee cost fans a lot of fingernails and the team two, maybe three, torn ACLs. Georgia has lost premiere players to injury. Hopefully one of those, star tailback Todd Gurley, will be back this week when the Dogs host Missouri which is suddenly in the top 25. Georgia should eke out a win in that one. It will also prevail over Vanderbilt, Appalachian State, Kentucky and Georgia Tech. That leaves two old rivals, Florida and Auburn, standing in the way of another SEC title game. The Gators are tough on defense, awful on offense. Auburn is young and has played but one game on the road where it lost to LSU. Georgia must replace a lot of productivity after losing Keith Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley, all future NFL talents, on offense. Todd Grantham must also start to earn his paycheck and shore up his defense. By no metric has it been successful. Still, the Dawgs are in good shape to win out – if those things happen. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: It was supposed to be a season of promise. Vad Lee would be unstoppable running the option. Ted Roof would mold a stout defense, though he hasn’t anywhere else he’s been. Tech, it was said, would win the Coastal Division and play in the ACC title game. Not so fast, my friend. The Jackets have lost two in a row to Virginia Tech and Miami. Tech will be underdogs at Clemson and at home against Georgia in the regular season finale. Virginia and Syracuse are pathetic. Tech will beat them and patsy Alabama State. Tech must go to BYU this week. That will be a challenge as will its Nov. 2 home game with Pittsburgh. Say the Jackets split those two? You are looking at a final mark of 6-6. Will that be acceptable to Tech fans and, more importantly, to recruits? Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of the Herald Gazette.

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