2019 record: 14-7
Last week: 6-0
We’re nearly halfway through the season, and that means all six area teams play region games this week.
Region 5-4A appears to be wide open for the moment. Creek Wood, Montgomery Central, Portland, Springfield, White House and White House Heritage are all legitimate contenders for the region title.
The postseason is still six weeks away, but Friday’s games could go a long way in determining the playoff picture. East Robertson and Jo Byrns are in must-win situations after slow starts to the season, and every Region 5-4A game will provide some clarity in that muddled division.
These picks are 10-0 over the last two weeks. I can’t sustain that pace forever, but it’s certainly better than my 4-7 start. Here are my predictions for Week 5:
Springfield at White House (Friday at 7 p.m.)
White House (3-0) is off to a great start in Coach Ryan Hamilton’s first season. But the Blue Devils’ three wins came against teams with a combined 1-11 record.
Springfield (3-1) will pose a tougher challenge than White House has seen all season. The Yellow Jackets beat Station Camp 31-10 Friday despite missing five starters. It was Springfield’s third straight victory.
The Blue Devils have a 16-15 lead in the all-time series, but the Yellow Jackets should even it up this week.
PICK: Springfield 24, White House 17
Greenbrier at White House Heritage (Friday at 7 p.m.)
The Patriots (3-1) have completely flipped the script from last season, when they went 1-9.
White House Heritage handily beat MTCS, East Robertson and Sycamore. The lone blemish was a 42-41 loss to Springfield in Week 3.
Meanwhile, Greenbrier has struggled. Senior QB Tristan Leopold has missed time with a concussion, an illness and a suspension, but that has allowed sophomore Brogan Harden – Greenbrier’s presumed QB of the future – to get playing time earlier than expected.
All that said, the Patriots probably won’t have much trouble picking up their first Region 5-4A win here.
PICK: White House Heritage 40, Greenbrier 10
Jo Byrns vs. Red Boiling Springs (Friday at 7 p.m.)
There’s no way around it: Friday’s game is a must-win for Jo Byrns.
The Red Devils (0-4) need to win Region 4-1A games to make the playoffs for a third straight season.
Jo Byrns has lacked any semblance of a run game in its two contests without star tailback Jake Chennault. Whether Chennault can play or not, coach Tom Adkins said the Red Devils must get better at the line of scrimmage.
But Red Boiling Springs, a program that has historically struggled, is 0-3 and has been outscored 109-24. This could be the week that Jo Byrns gets in the win column.
PICK: Jo Byrns 30, Red Boiling Springs 12
East Robertson at Jackson County (Friday at 7 p.m.)
After making the two-hour trip to Hohenwald for a 35-14 loss to Lewis County last Friday, the Indians face another long trip – this time to Jackson County.
East Robertson finally has stability at quarterback. Drake Alsup threw for 300 yards against Lewis County and appears to have locked down the starting job. That allows Taylor Groves to make plays at receiver and on the defensive side of the ball.
This one could go either way. But the comfort of home (and avoiding a 2-hour bus ride) might be enough to make the difference for Jackson County.
PICK: Jackson County 20, East Robertson 18