High School Football Predictions
Will our picks jinx your team or bring it luck?
I’ll never forget the exchange of conversations I had with a Gwinnett County football coach several years ago when I wrote a high school football predictions column for a pictures-and-words outfit out of Atlanta (I think they’re in Dunwoody now).
“Scott,” the coach said. “Don’t pick us this week. You jinxed us last time.”
Sure enough, that happened, although I wouldn’t call it a jinx. I picked his team to win the week before against an inferior team, and the coach’s team played spectacularly awful and lost. His team’s inability to hold onto the ball had more to do with it than what I wrote.
OK, I said to the coach. Why not? It was an important game and I could be the bad guy and pick against his team. Result? His team won. He called to say thanks.
I then picked his team to win the next several games.
Later in the season, before another important game that could determine the region championship, I picked against his team again — this time, I meant it.
I talked to him the day the column ran.
“Scott, you picked against us? C’mon,” he joked, adding that his team was on a roll and could’ve used the extra boost of confidence for the big game. The conversation was light-hearted, but I could tell he would have preferred a pick for his team.
“Hey, just tell them to prove me wrong,” I joked back.
Result? A resounding victory.
So, here we go again for another week of football predictions. Last week, I was 21-3 in picking games for 12 Patch sites in four counties.
Will I jinx your team, or bring it good luck? You pick.
(Games are Friday, unless noted)
South Gwinnett at M.L. King (Thursday, Hallford Stadium): This week’s Thursday night TV game from WSB matches playoff teams that played one of the more entertaining early season games last year. South Gwinnett beat M.L. King 44-41 en route to a 9-3 record. King finished 8-4. Both teams reached the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.
This will be the second straight state-ranked opponent for South (0-1), which lost by four touchowns to No. 1 Lowndes two weeks ago. It’s the season-opener for M.L. King, which is led by one of the state’s top QBs in Jonquel Dawson.
The Comets will challenge again for a playoff spot in ultra-rugged Region 8-AAAAA, and will show they can play with one of the state’s top teams this week. But M.L. King may have a little too much firepower. M.L. King 35, South Gwinnett 28.
Collins Hill at Brookwood: The home opener for the Brookwood Broncos looks to be a big-time matchup of teams with something to prove. Brookwood, the defending Class AAAAA state champ, will look to avoid an 0-2 start after it saw a fourth-quarter lead evaporate in a 14-6 loss to Lassiter two weeks ago in the Georgia Dome. Collins Hill (1-0), a come-from-behind 24-21 winner at Roswell last week, gets a chance to make up for two losses last year to the Broncos — 45-38 in the regular season and 26-7 in the state semifinals. It’s hard to pick against the Broncos at home, but the Eagles have shown it can win a big game on the road. Still, Brookwood 0-2? Not so sure about that. Brookwood 24, Collins Hill 20.
Shiloh at Tift County: Despite last week’s 21-0 loss to Newton, we still think Shiloh will be an improved team this year. It’s just hard to do with the schedule the Generals have. Travelling to Tifton doesn’t help. Tift County 34, Shiloh 12.
Scott Bernarde is an associate regional editor for 12 Patch sites in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Fulton and Forsyth counties.