By CHRIS BROOKS for Sumner Home Page
Last week was tormented by weather and schedule changes. This week, it’s stiff competition.
The field won once again last week, going 6-0-1 after deadlocking on the Portland-Montgomery Central outcome.
Gallatin handed me my third loss of the season, playing like a team that apparently felt disrespected for some reason. Instead, the Wave sent notice that they’re not to be taken lightly.
Through three weeks:
Chris Brooks’ picks: 17-3, .850 (last week: 5-1)
Twitter polls to date: 18-1-2, .900 (last week: 5-0-1)
On to Week 4, and some tough calls to make:
Beech at Hendersonville
When I see the full schedule, this game is the first one I circle. It’s far from the oldest rivalry, but it’s the best one going in Sumner County right now. Both teams have proven to be powerful, and Beech enters as the Associated Press’ top-ranked team in Class 5A. They’re stern rivals playing for bragging rights and nobody wants to lose this game. But someone has to, and this game has been decided by seven points or fewer 14 times in 35 meetings. Because it’s on TV, it’ll take three hours to get there, but it should be worth it.
Pick: Hendersonville 31, Beech 30
Gallatin at Mt. Juliet
Green Wave fans, take comfort: People know about you now. So does every opponent on the rest of the schedule. This week presents a big problem – Mt. Juliet hasn’t allowed a point in 2017, outscoring opponents 128-0 in three games so far. However, those opponents are a combined 0-9 this year and two of them – Glencliff and Lebanon – have combined to win one game since the beginning of last year. It’s a winnable game for the Green Wave, but it will be the toughest yet. Two words: defensive struggle. I really went back-and-forth on it, but I’m giving Gallatin a chance this week.
Pick: Gallatin 17, Mt. Juliet 14
Pope John Paul II at Father Ryan
These two rivals have a few things in common – they both want the Bishop’s Cup (which the Knights currently have), they both have pitched a shutout this year and have two non-region wins. They also both have been throttled by Brentwood Academy in their respective region openers. Being as the Irish want the Bishop’s Cup back pretty badly, and they fared a little better against BA, I’ll give Father Ryan the nod at home.
Pick: Father Ryan 31, Pope John Paul II 20
Springfield at Station Camp
The Bison had trouble offensively all night against Hendersonville, scoring only on what appeared to be a busted play. It’s been a rough start for Station Camp so far, but this week does provide a chance to put one in the win column. Springfield won’t make it easy, but it’s a good opportunity for the younger Bison to gain valuable experience and perhaps a little confidence, too.
Pick: Station Camp 28, Springfield 21
Portland at Greenbrier
The Panthers must have liked playing on a Saturday. Last week turned out pretty well for them. It won’t be such an easy task Friday, though, as a visit to region foe Greenbrier will be a difficult challenge for Portland.
Pick: Greenbrier 28, Portland 13
White House at Hunters Lane
The Blue Devils were the first Sumner County team to take a week off, and they’ll return to action still undefeated and perhaps a little healthier. Hunters Lane has gotten closer to breaking a six-game losing streak, but the Warriors still have just two victories since the beginning of the 2015 season. It’s a road trip, but one they should come back from still unbeaten.
Pick: White House 45, Hunters Lane 6
Westmoreland is off this week.