Mr. Pickem Grissom's Football Predictions
Week 7 - October 13 week 6 record: 11-4 featured games: 3-0 (14-4 overall) overall record: 75-25
October 12, 2017
Another successful week is in the books as I went an impressive 11-4 overall and 3-0 in featured games, but with district rivalries, long-distance road trips and daunting road games I wouldn't expect things to go this week as well. Richwood battles cross-town rival, Carroll at the Dog Pound, while Neville hits the road to south Louisiana to take on Franklinton and #2 Sterlington will have its hands full again as they visit Wossman and their intense homecoming crowd. Don't be afraid to go with a few upset picks this week, because I really think that regardless of record, there will be some thrilling finishes. With the LHSAA playoffs just 3 weeks away, winning becomes as important as ever and some teams on the outside don't have much time to book their tickets into the postseason.
** Game of the Week **
#7 OUACHITA LIONS (4-2) @ #6 RUSTON BEARCATS (3-2)
The Ouachita Lions opened the first 2 weeks of the season sitting atop Grissom's rankings and rightfully so. With several division 1 athletes on their roster, the Lions looked poised to finally take over as the king of district 2-5A and perhaps the entire 5A classification. In the time since, they've lost twice (Neville and Plaquemine) and won twice (Pineville and Carencro) even finding themselves falling completely out of the top 10 a week ago. A much-needed win to start district last week may be the spark the Lions needed to get the wheels spinning. A balanced offensive output by the Lions kept Pineville guessing all night. Backup RB Chaunzavia Lewis has filled in nicely in the absence of Dylan Parker and shredded apart the home team with 165 yards on 26 carries. QB Jabari Johnson has displayed his dual-threat abilities over the past 2 weeks and he threw for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns vs Pineville. Both of those TDs connected to WR Josh Newton who pulled down 3 catches for a whopping 146 yards. The Lions stout defense also pitched a shutout until the last 5 minutes of the game. With Roberts and C.J. Brown expected to be back at full strength this week, the Lions team that was once #1 is excelling right when it needs.
I'm sure Ruston isn't the team that hangs their hat on moral victories, but a tough road loss in week 6 to West Monroe shouldn't deter anyone's belief in the Bearcats. The 'Cats only two losses came to the top 2 teams in 5A (Acadiana & West Monroe). Last Friday, the Bearcats bottled up stud QB Slade Bolden for a majority of the contest but costly penalties and a costly turnover plagued the road team late. La Tech commit RB Deandre Marcus burst free for some big runs in the contest and rushed for a team high 119 yards and a score. Ruston's dual-quarterback system was at its best when junior QB Eric Outley was behind center as the offense struck the scoreboard first on its second drive of the game when Outley hit Grissom Top 10 athlete, Taj Samuel for a 9 yard score to give the 'Cats an early 7-0 lead. With the game knotted at 14-14, a botched snap on a Ruston punt gave the Rebs the ball inside the Bearcat 10-yard line and it proved to be a pivotal turning point in the game. Bolden would score the go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing drive. Grissom G.O.At., Damarion Malcolm wasn't tested too often but I would expect that to change this week vs the Lions.
For decades, District 2-5A has been one of the most heralded districts in the state, but it's usually a one-horse race when all the smoke settles. Both teams are itching to get over the hurdle known as West Monroe and Friday night's game will put one of these teams closer to that goal and another one looking from the caboose. Ruston must be kicking themselves for not finishing the job last week and now they'll have to sit back and play the waiting game, while Ouachita technically still controls their own destiny. A win over the Bearcats will keep Ouachita at the top of the district and with a matchup versus those dreaded Rebs 3 weeks away they can't afford a slip up. Both teams feature some very talented players that will be very productive on the next level in the years to come, and this one should be about a good a game as you've seen all year. Ouachita currently sits at #10 in the LHSAA power ratings, but Ruston is see-sawing on the outskirts at #28. Ruston coach Jarrad Baugh will have to convey to his guys that this is a must-win for Ruston if they want to solidify a post-season berth and any shot at a district championship and with West Monroe now in the rear-view, I expect the home team to pull out all the stops. Samuel and Marcus carry the 'Cats back into the win column! Ruston 23 Ouachita 20
#2 STERLINGTON PANTHERS (6-0) vs WOSSMAN WILDCATS (1-5)
Sterlington's house-warming gift into its new residence wasn't the most hospitable. In its inaugural game in district 2-3A the Panthers scratched and clawed its way to a 36-26 victory over the 2016 co-district champion, Carroll Bulldogs. The undefeated Panthers had to reach deep to fend off a pesky bunch of 'Dogs that weren't quite ready to get off the throne. After heading into the half ahead 22-6, a little complacency may have settled into the Panthers mindsets but a potent running game produced two late scores while also chewing up valuable seconds off the clock. RB Dallas Reagor put together consecutive weeks of outstanding rushing as he paced the Panthers with 116 yards and a score. Luke Denmon also eclipsed the century mark with 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. If that wasn't enough, QB Carson Clowers also tagged in with 73 yards on the ground with 2 scores of his own. This Friday they'll all need a repeat performance if they plan to leave with a victory at Wossman. Wossman finally got into the win column last Friday with a district road win over Madison Parish 50-26. In its previous 5 games the Wildcats scored a combined 44 points, but the trip to Tallulah may have been what coach Dean Smith needed to put his team in position to defend its district title. After starting the season 0-5 many Wildcat supporters were considering the "wait till next year" approach but Smith is thinking about shocking some folks in 2017 first. Wossman went into the game with a few revisions to the offense and employed a traditional under-the-center I-formation and pounded away at the Jags front. The Wildcats' rugged start to the year hasn't been enviable but the athletes are there to make late run. Jay West, Nick Traylor and KJ Dougan all reached paydirt and they'll look to do the same as the homecoming crowd is expected to be thick and loud Friday night.
Even at 6-0 the Panthers are going to have to play their way to earn the respect of such a competitive district and it'll only do so by winning. In case you didn't know, Wossman is currently district co-champs in 2-3A and at 1-0 this year, they're not ready to just hand it over to a newcomer. Sterlington's M.O. the past couple years has been "come one, come all" and they've knocked out every one that's stepped in the ring the past 15 games so I'm sure they won't be overly impressed by the 'Cats. The biggest question that I have about this game is "Why would anyone schedule a state champion for their homecoming?" Well Coach Dean Smith operates under a different set of rules and in his eyes, he's still the top dog in this district and the Panthers are just a stepping stone towards another crown. However, homecoming festivities are like a gift and a curse. There will be a ton of folks on Arizona St just waiting to send the Panthers packing up HWY 165N, but I think Coach Lee Doty keeps his bunch focused on the goal of overtaking this district and chasing another state title. "What will Sterlington do to the Dub?" They'll leave an L on the Dub!
Sterlington 24 Wossman 12
CARROLL BULLDOGS (2-4) VS #3 RICHWOOD RAMS (4-2)
The roller coaster that we've come to know as Richwood reached its peak last Friday with an incredible homecoming win over Union Parish 14-6. The Rams defense led by CJ Ceasar and twin brothers, Devione and Deionte Reed have lifted the Rams 5 spots up and into the 3rd spot of Grissom's Top 10. Holding the Farmers to 131 total yards offense the home team pleased the crowd of thousands. What's even more impressive is that the Rams held stud athletes Lawrence Glosson and Trent Ginn to 84 total yards (less than 150 yards away from their averages).Union Parish also realized very quickly that Ceasar can make a team pay wherever he lines up on any gridiron and now with his partner in crime, Joseph Smith, behind the center the duo have been lethal running the Rams attack to perfection. They connected for several big plays Friday night but none bigger than a 33-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone that gave the Rams the lead for good.
Carroll showed it's resilience Friday night in a tough road loss to Sterlington. Fantoryian Pendleton has been somewhat of the spark plug that Jackie Hamilton was hoping for prior to his jamboree injury. Combined with the insertion of Cedric Woods at quarterback and the 'Dogs have a recipe for some late success. Woods connected with former QB Sir Timothy Hollins for 76 yards and a score and Pendelton rushed for a season-high 85 yards on 11 carries. Woods, only a sophomore, has a very bright future on Renwick and he's built for the job. He even moonlighted again in the 'Dogs secondary and came away with beautiful interception. With an overall 142 passing yards, 3 TDS & 114 yards rushing, Woods made his claim for week 6' Grissom G.O.At. loud and clear. Carroll found a way to produce another defensive score on a Derrick Logwood 65-yard fumble recovery, but they'll need to limit the Rams rushing attack and minimize the penalties (13 for 110 yards) if they plan on upsetting a very good Rams squad.
Both teams have made quarterback changes at the initial stages of the season and by doing so they've both seen good results. The only difference is that Richwood's results have been in the win column while Carroll's have been in overall offensive effectiveness. This will be one of those rival games that records won't matter one bit when the clock starts to roll. In last year's contest Carroll's experienced bunch lost a squeaker 19-14 to a good but not great Richwood bunch. Turn the clock a year and now the Rams are the more experienced team and they've had a point to prove since an upsetting 1st round loss to North Webster in 2016. Coach Robert Arvie has Richwood winning games in all different fashions but a win is a win. Smith has made his job a lot easier by spraying balls around to his studs, Ceasar and Mississippi St commit, Geor'Quarius Spivey both of whom caught TDs last week, but I think that Arvie exploits a Carroll defensive front that struggled against the run and senior RB Anthony Watson will steal the show Friday with 200+. Richwood 28 Carroll 16
#1 WEST MONROE 50 ALEXANDRIA 23; #8 NEVILLE 32 FRANKLINTON 10;WEST OUACHITA 35 BUCKEYE 20; GREEN OAKS 25 FRANKLIN PARISH 17; #4 CALDWELL PARISH 50 BOLTON 21; UNION PARISH 53 MADISON 22; #5 FERRIDAY 55 VIDALIA 15; MANGHAM 36 GENERAL TRASS 12; RAYVILLE 38 DELHI CHARTER 28; #9 CEDAR CREEK 35 ST FRED 13; OAK GROVE 27 O.C.S. 21
GRISSOM'S G.O.AT OF THE WEEK
HUTCHINSON - DL
WEST MONROE HS
14 TACKLES,4 TACKLES-LOSS, 1.5 SACKS
VS WEST OUACHITA