Monroe Dispatch - No Struggle, No Progress

Mr. Pickem Grissom's Football Predictions

Week 10 - November 2 & 3 week 9 record: 13-3 featured games: 1-2 (15-7 overall) overall record: 99-28

 

November 2, 2017 | View PDF

Wossman Golden Girls had a stellar half-time performance at the Carroll-Wossman Football game where Wossman downed Carroll 8-7.

It's do or die this final week of the LHSAA regular season and several teams still have work to do to improve their post-season positioning. Some teams are on the bubble, while some are at the top. However, the case, all of the area teams will embrace a much-needed win this week even teams that won't be dancing in the playoffs. Week 10 also features a couple of games that will decide district championships. In district 1-1A, Cedar Creek will attempt to stay undefeated while also capturing the title, but it won't be easy as the home-standing Oak Grove Tigers have other plans. Sterlington travels to Richwood for a chance to win district 2-3A in its first season in the 3A classification, but Richwood will set out to prove that the new kids on the block must wait their turn. In Bastrop, the Rams will try to overtake the Neville Tigers' 8-year reign on district 2-4A while also trying to beat the Tigers for the first time in that same time span.

***This week will feature several games that have been moved to Thursday night so be sure to check when your team will hit the field.

** Game of the Week **

#2 STERLINGTON PANTHERS (9-0) @ #3 RICHWOOD RAMS (7-2)

In my pre-season rankings, I placed 4 teams from district 2-3A in my Top 10. I felt that this was the area's strongest and most competitive district and on any given night any team could win or lose a game. However, one team in that district caught my eye more than the rest, Richwood. I knew the Rams had the personnel to not only win district, but I even predicted them to lose only 1 game. Well 9 games in and my prediction wasn't totally off base. The Rams are 7-2 overall and undefeated in 2-3A and sit at #7 in the most recent LHSAA power ratings. Last week vs Madison the Rams exhibited total domination on both sides of the ball while cruising to a 50-8 road win. Senior tailback Anthony Watson appears to be 100% and put together another stellar performance for coach Robert Arvie scoring 3 touchdowns while rushing for 143 yards. QB Jay Smith also picked apart the Jags secondary connecting on big plays to Hidari Ceasar and Geor'Quarius Spivey. All-Grissom defensive back Benny Davis also came away with a 95-yard fumble recovery for a score as the Rams nearly pitched their second consecutive shutout.

Meanwhile on Hwy 165 North, the Sterlington Panthers were improving to 9-0 vs a very pesky Union Parish Farmers team. A sluggish start found the Panthers down early to the Farmers and they even went into the half down 15-13. That quick chin-check must've gotten the attention of the Panthers because from that point on it was all systems go. The home team would score the next 27 points and cruise to a 40-13 victory. After suffering a mild groin injury in the first half, QB Carson Clowers bounced back for a career best 162 yards rushing with 2 TDs. Overall the Panthers eclipsed the 300-yard barrier as a team (Austin Dupree 163 yards, 4TDs) while also limiting a potent Farmers offense to 149 total yards offense. Dawson Snell and Chandler Moncrief combined for 25 tackles and a sack to pace coach Lee Doty's defense.

To my knowledge this will be the first matchup between two teams separated by only 10 miles of highway and now's just a good a time as any to do so. In my pre-season rankings I placed the Panthers as the 7th best team in the area and I was wrong. With a win Thursday night, they can make the claim to #1 overall and with the area's current longest win streak at 18 straight games they'd have a very good case, but beating this group of Rams hasn't proven to be easy for just any ole team. Richwood's only two losses came up in class to 4A Bastrop and 5A Ouachita. The sizes of the schools are nearly the same and attrition shouldn't be an issue. Both teams feature great defenses with playmakers on both sides of the ball but there is a slight contrast in styles. The Panthers want to run, run and then run some more while Richwood will run when they can but won't hesitate to hit you with the home run threats down the seams. Both coaches have enough skin in the game that they'll have their teams well prepared and they won't allow any letdowns on the field, but to me it's pretty simple: when you have 2 teams that are so similar the deciding factor will be experience. Richwood has the senior laden team with the Division 1 studs and if that sounds familiar then you'll probably remember hearing that same description for the team that Sterlington clipped for the 2A championship a year ago (Madison Prep). Sterlington's walked this walk already and this team has a point to prove. In an epic game, the Panthers extend their streak to 19.

Sterlington 20 Richwood 14

#5 NEVILLE TIGERS (5-3) @ #7 BASTROP RAMS (5-3)

In a twist from year's past district 2-4A features only 4 teams this year. After hosting teams from central Louisiana over the past 2 years, Neville finds itself sitting back in the driver's seat for another district championship on Thursday night. Last year, Tioga tried to take the role of David to Neville's Goliath but came away empty handed. Before then the only team to even take a swing at the Tigers were the Bastrop Rams. Last Friday this year's Rams held their end of another rivalry bargain by holding off West Ouachita 38-23. In front of the homecoming crowd, the Rams may have lost interest along the way and maybe even looked ahead a bit because after dismantling the Chiefs in the 1st half the Rams had to find their composure down the stretch to preserve the win. QB Quaterius Hawkins followed his 5 TD performance vs. Franklin Parish with another outstanding outing. Hawkins scattered 3 touchdowns to 3 different receivers while throwing for 202 yards and also tagged in 59 yards rushing with another score. Surprisingly, the Rams also rushed for over 200 yards as a unit which obviously kept the Chiefs off balance. All-Grissom defensive back Phillip Jackson even joined in on the fun as he picked up 2 fumbles while scoring on one. Coach Adrian Burnette has his team right where he needs them heading into the game vs his most heated rivalry.

Neville should be used to taking everyone's best shot. Since 2009 the Tigers not only ruled district 2-4A, but they arguably held the crown as the best team in the whole state over that span. Well, 2017 brought about a humbling experience as the Tigers have lost just as many games this year as they did from 2014-2016 combined. But even through tough times, Coach Mickey McCarty always finds a way to "circle the wagons". The Tigers haven't lost since a week 5 game to West Monroe and Franklin Parish was their most recent victim. The Tigers backfield of QB Jordan Thomas and RB Demaine Riley were on full display for the home crowd last Thursday. Of the 285 rushing yards the Tigers managed, Riley and Thomas combined for 200 of them. Riley was the leading man with 157 yards and 2 TDs while Thomas cruised for 57 and a score of his own. Thomas also tossed for 107 yards and 2 additional scores of which one to his right-hand man, Riley. Senior WRs Nick Guice and Christian Woods also added TD catches for the Tigers in the 51-14 rout.

I don't like to throw the word rivalry around "all willy-nilly", because sometimes just because two teams don't like each other it doesn't always mean they'll play each other close. In rivalries, the other team wins some. Bastrop and Neville started feuding back in the early part of the new millennium when Marshay Green, Rogers Loche and VeShawn Edmonds roamed the Rams sidelines and Robert Lane, Toby Zeigler, Tony White and Tim Abney donned the black and gold. Those were epic battles that traditionally came on Halloween week similar to this year's version. From 2005-2008 the Rams whipped the Tigers 5 times in a row which also included a 42-8 2nd round drubbing in 2007, and if you add in another 7-6 win in 1993 the Rams have beaten Neville 6 times in the past 25 years. Since that stint in the mid-2000s the Tigers have owned the Rams. In the current streak there have been some good games, but the Tigers hold the scoring edge over the Rams 42ppg to 22ppg. By my calculations this is really a rivalry in the eyes of the fans, the Bastrop fans. The bullseye will be on the backs of the Tigers again but Neville will play the role of big brother and the Tigers will make it 9 in a row vs their riv...(clears throat) little brother.

Neville 42 Bastrop 22

#2 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (8-0) -21.5 VS #19 LSU TIGERS (6-2)

BONUS PICK

As some of you may know I'll often give my college picks against the spread on my Facebook page (Mr. Pickem Grissom The Sports Guru), but this weekend I'll give you all a freebie newspaper edition. The LSU Tigers are the apple of Louisianans eyes when it comes to college football and rightfully so. Not many teams in the state can consider themselves a national contender in the FCS division. LA Tech, ULM, ULL and Tulane may all try but LSU is our bread and butter. Earlier this season I wasn't so sure they'd be able to sustain that title after losses to Mississippi St and Troy (homecoming game). The Tigers have bounced back quickly and still have their eyes on a possible conference championship with a win Saturday. RB Derrius Guice is the bell cow for the Bayou Bengals and last week, Ole Miss got a healthy dose of his beef. Guice outrushed the entire Ole Miss offense with 276 yards, 1 TD on just 22 carries in the game and looks fresh going into Saturday's road contest. QB Danny Etling has grasped new offensive coordinator's, Matt Canada's flashy offense and did an excellent job against the Rebs secondary with 200 yards and 2 TDs through the air. A very young defensive unit has jelled quite nicely over the past 4 weeks and the Tigers appear to be as healthy as ever. Sophomore DT Rashard Lawrence has shaken off two sore ankles and leads a defensive front line that stuffed Ole Miss rushers all game. Linebackers Arden Key and Devin White joined Lawrence up front holding the Rebs to only 152 total rushing yards. The surprise of the defense has been the youthful secondary that features 3 true freshmen and against Ole Miss they limited SEC leading receiver, AJ Brown to only 39 yards while also intercepting three Shea Patterson passes.

While LSU was dispersing Ole Miss, the Alabama Crimson Tide were busy covering a 33-point spread to Tennessee. Once again, a vaunted Tide rushing attack gashed away at the Vols front line to the tune of 272 yards. 8 Tide rushers produced positive yardage with leading rusher Damian Harris and Bo Scarborough combining for 3 scores. In the blowout, coach Nick Saban found time to get some freshmen in. QB Tua Tagovailoa also rushed for 36 yards and a score but exhibited some great arm strength as well going 9-12 134 yards, 1 TD & 1INT. The touchdown pass went to fellow freshman, Henry Ruggs for 60 yards. Tagovailoa's interception would also be the only score given up by the Tide in the game as Vols defender, Daniel Bituli scampered 97 yards for the score after the errant pass. Heisman hopeful, Jalen Hurts also tossed a 14-yard score to Louisiana native and former former Brother Martin tight end, Irv Smith Jr. Leading tacklers for the Tide were Hootie Jones (former Neville safety) 7 tackles and Ruston great, Isaiah Buggs (7 tackles) as they'd only allowed a mere 108 total yards to the visitors while making their case as the best defense in the NCAA. Most of the second half was recovery time for the Tide starters in lieu of Saturday's slugfest vs LSU.

As I mentioned in my Neville vs Bastrop preview, I don't like throwing the word rivalry out there too often unless of course it's warranted and this game has always had me trying to figure out if it is one. Well if you look at the history, I'd say it's not. In 81 total meetings, Alabama has won 51 while LSU has won 25 which also includes 5 ties. Alabama also owns a current 6 game win streak over the Tigers going into Saturday's affair. It seems every year this game is built up to be a thriller regardless of how good or bad the teams are and last year the game didn't disappoint with Alabama squeaking out of Tigers Stadium with a late 10-0 victory. Names have changed since that game. Guice replaces Fournette. Evans replaces Foster. Williams replaces Robinson. Delpit replaces Adams. Buggs replaces Allen. But with all it won't take away from the intensity that this game will bring. Bryant-Denny Stadium will be rocking at 7pm Saturday and I will be in attendance, but there's a couple things that I think will decide this game. With all the different names changing the most important name in last year's game will still be there and that name is Jalen Hurts. Of his 114 yards rushing in the game, Hurts' 21-yard 4th quarter score was the difference in last year's game. Also, LSU's offense was completely stymied by a tough Bama defense that held the Tigers to 125 total yards and limited Leonard Fournette to only 35 yards. I'm sure Canada's offense will have more than 125 yards at the end of the night, but he may be biting off more than he can chew thinking he can penetrate Saban's defense in Tuscaloosa. The Tide give Saban a late birthday gift and keep on rolllllllling towards another national championship.

Alabama 38 LSU 14

OTHER GAMES:

#1 West Monroe 50 -Natchitoches-Central 7

#4 Ruston 44 Pineville 13

Ouachita-50 Alexandria-27

Franklin Parish -24 West Ouachita- 20

#9 Caldwell-47 Marksville-33

Carroll-30 Madison-16

Union Parish-17 Wossman-8

#6 Ferriday-60 Beekman Charter- 6

Rayville-38 General Trass-18

Mangham-24 Varnado 14

#10 Oak Grove 33 #8 Cedar Creek 30

St Fred 24 Delhi 6

OCS 41 Delta Charter 21

GRISSOM'S TOP 10

week 10

1 WEST MONROE (9-0) def. Ouachita 14-13

2. STERLINGTON (9-0) def. Union Parish 40-15

3. RICHWOOD (7-2) def. Madison 50-8

4. RUSTON (6-2) def. Natchitoches-Central 41-7

5. NEVILLE (5-3) def. Franklin Parish 51-14

6. FERRIDAY (7-2) def. Delhi Charter 24-12

7. BASTROP (5-3) def. West Ouachita 38-23

8. CEDAR CREEK (9-0) def. Delta Charter 38-6

9. CALDWELL (8-1) lost to Jena 29-26

10. OAK GROVE (8-1) def. Sicily Island 29-0

Just missed it: Ouachita (5-4), Rayville (5-4), Mangham (7-2), Union Parish (5-4)

GRISSOM'S G.O.AT OF THE WEEK

week 9

AUSTIN DUPREE - RB

STERLINGTON HS

17 CARRIES, 163 YARDS, 4TDS

VS

UNION PARISH

 

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