By Zach Womble for The Gallatin News
2020 Record: 12-8
Last Week: 4-2
My Week 3 predictions went better than my first two weeks, but barely.
A 4-2 week bumps my yearly picks to 12-8 through 20 games — easily my worst start to my pick ‘em column since I started this six seasons ago.
Last week, Pope John Paul II and Montgomery Central proved me wrong as the Knights came back from Eads, TN, with a DII-AAA victory while the Indians bested Portland in their region battle.
A new week, highlighted by the Battle For Drakes Creek, will hopefully show that my game predictions are getting better.
Without further ado, my Week 4 Pick ‘Em.
Beech (2-1) vs. Hendersonville (2-1)
The Battle For Drakes Creek.
These two teams have battled every fall since 1982, with the Commandos holding a 22-16 advantage over the Buccaneers.
However, the Buccaneers have come out on top more often than not as they have won three of the last four.
There will be an added wrinkle for this year’s game, as the two teams will battle for a trophy – the Battle For Drakes Creek.
Created by First Place Trophy, this two-tier trophy is sure to be coveted by both teams.
As for the game pick, both teams have playmakers that are capable of taking over. My question for the Bucs is, who is accounting for Commando leader Brent Rowe? Number eight has shown the ability all season long to get stops on defense and punish teams while on offense. He isn’t the only playmaker the Bucs will need to worry about. That said, I’m not sure the Commandos have enough on the defensive side to stop the three running backs Beech can throw at you. Give me the Bucs but in a close one. I think Beech takes the victory on a game-winning field goal.
PICK: BEECH 24, HENDERSONVILLE 23
Gallatin (3-0) vs. Mt. Juliet (2-0)
The Green Wave welcome in a familiar foe to the Wave Yard this Friday night as rival Mt. Juliet comes to town.
These two teams battled last season in a defensive slugfest, seeing Gallatin come out on top 7-0.
As for this year’s game, it could be a different story.
Led by running back Conlin Baggot, Mt. Juliet has their eyes set on a perfect season, and they could get over one of the biggest hurdles Friday night.
While the Wave is off to a 3-0 start, I’m not sure those three games have been against the toughest competition.
That said, this game is at Gallatin, and that is a tough place to play. If this season were like the rest – full capacity – I’d lean toward the Wave.
With stadiums only half full, I think the crowd will be taken out of the equation.
Give me the Bears in a good one.
PICK: MT. JULIET 21, GALLATIN 17
Pope John Paul II (3-0) vs. Father Ryan (0-0)
The Knights are coming off one of the most significant victories in program history last Friday night at Briarcrest while the Irish are playing their first game.
JPII has won four straight in this rivalry, and while the Irish will be better than last season, I still think the Knights win this game with relative ease.
There is a level of confidence on this Knights’ team I haven’t seen before.
Confidence exudes, and swagger has trickled down from the coaching staff.
Give me the Knights early and often.
PICK: JPII 35, FATHER RYAN 14
Station Camp (0-3) at Springfield (3-0)
The Bison hit the road this week for the second consecutive week, but this time they make the trip out of county to Springfield, TN, to take on the Yellow Jackets.
Dustin Wilson’s crew is 3-0 and coming off a trip to the Class 4A state championship. They have victories over Wilson Central and WH Heritage, plus a COVID-19 win over Clarksville.
Kevontez Hudson and crew put up 57 points last week, and while I don’t expect another 50 burger from Wilson’s team, I think Springfield runs away with this game.
The Bison are taking their lumps this season but are getting better. Have faith, Bison fans. Your time is coming.
PICK: SPRINGFIELD 42, STATION CAMP 12
Portland (1-2) vs. Greenbrier (1-1)
The Portland Panthers look to earn their first region victory of the season after falling on the road at Montgomery Central last week.
Coming to Portland are the Greenbrier Bobcats (1-1), who lost last week to region foe Creek Wood 13-0.
Portland quarterback Braden Thornton has looked sharp under center while the defense continues to make strides.
The game against the Bobcats begins a three-game home-stand for the Panthers, with two of the three being Region 5-4A contests.
Despite the loss last week, confidence should be high for the Panthers, and I expect that to carry over to the field against Greenbrier.
Look for Portland to assert themselves as the better team and walk away with the one-score victory.
PICK: Portland 28, Greenbrier 24
White House (1-1) vs. Franklin Road Academy (0-0)
The Blue Devils are coming off their bye week while the Franklin Road Academy Panthers are playing in their first game this season.
This reason alone is why I’m picking the Blue Devils to come away victorious.
Yes, FRA has had time to prepare for their first game, but something is said for being battle-tested.
I think Ranen Blackburn and Montrel Black combine for 250 yards on the ground in a runaway victory. Blackburn accounts for four total touchdowns and the Blue Devils roll.
PICK: WHITE HOUSE 35, FRANKLIN ROAD ACADEMY 14