Connection: Clinger picks White House to Edge FRA

By Joel Clinger for The Robertson County Connection

2020 Record: 11-2

It’s honestly hard to believe that we are already heading into Week 4. Let’s hope the fun keeps going, and let’s work together to safely allow these athletes to play out a full season.

I’m rocking an 11-2 record through three weeks. My score predictions were very off last week with a couple games turning into blowouts, but I predicted all of the wins and losses correctly.

There’s no slowing down this week as all six teams are in action on Friday night, with no area overlap. Let’s dive into all six games:

Greenbrier (1-1) at Portland (1-2)

Both the Bobcats and the Panthers suffered losses in their first region game last week. This week’s winners will jump back to even in Region 5-4A, but the losers will fall into an 0-2 hole.

Greenbrier lost 13-0 to Creek Wood last Friday night. The offense couldn’t get much going and failed to convert their yards into any points. 12 offensive points through two games cannot be what the Bobcats wanted out of the gate. With region games upon them, they simply have to score more.

The Panthers missed a two-point conversion to beat Montgomery Central and fell 20-19 in a heartbreaker. Their defense was stout but undersized. Portland may be able to lock Stoney Smith and Izik Rector up on Friday.

Last year’s matchup resulted in a 31-7 victory for Portland. While I still think the Panthers will get the win, Greenbrier’s defense is good enough to keep them from scoring that much again.

Pick: Portland 14, Greenbrier 6

Lewis County (3-0) at East Robertson (1-2)

The Indians finally did it last week. They found the end zone with their offense, scoring 28 points in their first win of the season over Cascade. The key will be to continue that success against a much tougher opponent.

Lewis County is undefeated through three games, coming off a 55-6 rout of Community. In last season’s matchup with the Indians, the Panthers came away with a 35-14 win.

Junior wide receiver and defensive back Taylor Groves will need to make a few plays for his team to stay with Lewis County Friday night.

I think the Panthers will come into East Robertson and get a victory Friday night. How close the score will be is up to East Robertson’s offense. I just don’t see a way for the Indians to keep up with the Panthers.

Pick: Lewis County 28, East Robertson 10

Franklin Road Academy at White House (1-1)

The Blue Devils were originally slated to face Hunters Lane this week, but thanks to Metro Nashville Public Schools, there was a change of plans. White House will now take on Franklin Road Academy.

The Division II-AA team made the state quarterfinals last season and has made the playoffs 11 consecutive years. This will be the first game for the Panthers this season. The Blue Devils are coming off a bye and will try to take down an opponent they have not seen since 1984.

White House will lean on Ranen Blackburn and Montrel Black once again in the backfield to carry the offense. As usual, the line of scrimmage is key. If the holes aren’t there, the backs can’t run through them.

That will be a tough battle with the Panthers. I’ve missed on both White House games thus far, and I honestly can’t get a feel for this game. But if I’m going to be wrong again, I want to do it on the good side.

Pick: White House 20, Franklin Road Academy 17

Houston County at Jo Byrns (1-2)

Let’s take a look at the two halves of the Red Devils’ season so far.

The first six quarters were as good as they could hope for. Jo Byrns went to Harpeth, a 3A school, and kicked off the season with a 21-6 win. The Red Devils then faced Huntland, a solid program. At halftime, Jo Byrns was on top 21-7. Things were looking up.

But it all fell apart. Huntland came back to dominate the second half by a score of 41-6, giving the Red Devils their first loss of the season. Jo Byrns then made the trek to Clay County where they were easily defeated 48-7. Over the last six quarters, Jo Byrns has been outscored by their opponents by a combined score of 89-13.

Many things have contributed to the massive point differential, but turnovers have decimated the Red Devils. It’s Week 4. They need a boost, and they need it quickly.

Houston County took care of Jo Byrns last season 35-14. Even if the Red Devils cannot come away with the win Friday night, perhaps they will limit their turnovers and compete. I don’t care what anyone says; there are moral victories to be won here.

Pick: Houston County 27, Jo Byrns 14

WH Heritage (2-1) at Sycamore (0-3)

The Patriots need a confidence boost after suffering a horrific 57-14 loss to Springfield last week. They may find what they are looking for against Sycamore.

The War Eagles are still winless after a 22-6 loss to Stewart County. They are only averaging five points per game and have allowed 31 points per game.

The Patriots started off 2-0, but their wins have not been as emphatic as last season’s. The quarterback duo of Will Wilson and Taye Francis should have time and space to make plays through the air. Senior running back Jackson Mapes has found room to run this season and should be able to effectively move the ball on Friday.

If Heritage can correct their mistakes and hold onto the football, this game should be won easily.

Pick: WH Heritage 34, Sycamore 6

Station Camp (0-3) at Springfield (2-0)

The Yellow Jackets are riding high off of a powerful performance against Heritage last week. The offense moved the ball at will. The defense stood strong and forced turnovers. Everything went according to plan.

The same cannot be said for Station Camp. Brent Alexander is in his first season as the Bison head coach, and there was a lot of buzz around the team in the preseason coming off of an 0-10 season a year ago. The Bison have lost to White House, Gallatin and Hendersonville, all by substantial margins.

This matchup features two very different teams with very different outlooks. Springfield should be able to put this game away early.

Pick: Springfield 45, Station Camp 7

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