The picker picks the first round of playoffs
It’s playoff time boys and girls and your favorite pigskin pickin’ prognosticator is taking an undefeated record to the postseason! Some doubted my pickin’ prowess, but I overcame the nay-sayers to miss a single game throughout the regular season. This is Ralph Cummins and Phil Robbins level stuff here and I didn’t need Johnny McFall or the Jones brothers to help get me to the top! I did it all with this noggin the man upstairs blessed me with. Now let’s get to these playoff games and let’s keep ‘pickin winners.
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 3 Tazewell at No. 2 Central – Here we go, the Bulldogs are looking for their first playoff win since 2008 while the Warriors are looking to get back to the Region D Championship for the second consecutive season. Both teams have had plenty of time to get ready for this one as neither played last week. J'me Harris’ Tazewell squad is led by quarterback Gavin Nunley and a talented group of offensive playmakers in Chancellor Harris, Cassius Harris and Josiah Jordan. We all know what Luke Owens’ team brings to the table and that’s a stable of running backs that can play smash mouth behind a bruising offensive line. CJ Crabtree showed his toughness and speed in Central’s win at Union as he gashed the Bears’ defense going 73 yards for a score on the third play of the game. It was part of a two-headed rushing attack that saw teammate Noah Bolling topple the 100-yard mark in the win as well. To beat the Bulldogs, the Warriors will need to lean heavily on their offensive line and running backs to play keep away from a team that can put points on the board fast. These are two programs who have turned the corner in recent years thanks to a pair of top-notch coaches. This one won’t be decided til late.
FENCE LINE PICKER SAYS: Tazewell 24 Central 21
No. 4 Union at No. 1 Graham – It’s been a rebuilding year for Travis Turner and the Bears, to their credit they kept the program’s playoff streak alive, having now made it every year the school has been open. That’ll provide little solace when the G-Men get ahold of the Bears. Graham is big, fast, experienced and a legit state title threat. Justin Fritz is a state champion wrestler and a handful to try and tackle on the football field. Central ran for day on Union and I don’t think much has changed in two weeks.
FENCE LINE PICKER SAYS: Graham 35 Union 7
No. 3 Burton at No. 2 Patrick Henry – These two meet a lot in the playoffs, in fact this will mark the fourth year in a row they have met in postseason competition with Patrick Henry winning two of the first three meetings. Connor Beeson has been a force for the Rebels while fellow backfield mate J-Kwon McFail can run away from the defense. Burton has won three consecutive games after dropping its season opener thanks in large part to the play of Esau Teasley, Jaymen Buchanan and Trevor Culbertson. Those three will have to be clicking on all cylinders if the City Slickers are going to play for a regional crown.
FENCE LINE PICKER SAYS: Patrick Henry 28 Burton 14
Season Record: 20-0 (1.00)
All-Time Record: 380-70 (.844)
VHSL Power Point Rankings
School Record Points
Graham 5-0 22.8
Central 4-1 19.8
Tazewell 3-2 18.2
Union 4-2 18.1667
Ridgeview 2-1 16
Richlands 3-3 16
John Battle 2-2 15.25
Lebanon 3-3 15.1667
Virginia High 2-3 15
Marion 1-5 11.333
Gate City 0-5 9.4
Lee 0-5 9.4
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