By CHIP SAYE
For the AJC
Football fans of a certain age might remember “Leonard’s Losers.” The long-running syndicated radio show, which featured the late Leonard Postero of Athens predicting which teams would lose college and pro football games, aired on more than 1,400 stations during its heyday. The show was popular because of Postero’s humor and down-home style, but he also was quite accurate with his predictions.
Last week, I was successful in picking the loser in 12 of the 20 quarterfinal games. Unlike what Postero did on his show, however, I was trying to pick the winners. Not good. Considering my inability to spot the winners last week, I figured I’d stick with what worked and pick the losers for the semifinals.
I didn’t see Colquitt County being able to stop Lassiter last week. I might be just as wrong this week, but I don’t see the Packers beating Camden County tonight, either. … Northside-Warner Robins avoided a quarterfinal loss to Peachtree Ridge last week by the narrowest of margins, winning 20-17 in three overtimes. The Eagles won’t be so fortunate this week, losing at Newnan. … Speaking of Newnan, Alec Ogletree made perhaps the catch of the year last week when his leaping, one-handed grab for a touchdown provided the winning points against Grayson. … Semifinal losers: Colquitt County, Northside.
Clarke Central and Griffin used to be the North Georgia powers in the highest classification, two of the few teams that could stand in the way of Valdosta and another state championship. Neither has been as successful since dropping to Class AAAA, although Griffin has had some very good teams, and Clarke Central has almost always been competitive. They haven’t faced each other since 1993, and they haven’t met in the postseason since 1982, so the prospect of them battling for the state championship next weekend is an intriguing one. It will happen after Rockdale County, which beat Clarke Central in the regular season, loses the rematch tonight and Sandy Creek loses to Griffin. … Semifinal losers: Rockdale County, Sandy Creek.
Gainesville is the closest thing to a clear-cut favorite as there is in any classification. The No. 1-ranked Red Elephants already have proved that they can win big against tonight’s opponent, beating Flowery Branch 49-17 in the regular-season finale. And while Flowery Branch was impressive in its come-from-behind victory against No. 2 Carver-Columbus last week, I don’t see the Falcons being able to make up the 32-point gap against Gainesville. … I didn’t pick Eastside to win either of its previous two games, and the Eagles proved me wrong. I’m identifying the losers this week, so I’ll take Eastside to lose again, this time to Peach County. … Semifinal losers: Flowery Branch, Eastside.
T his classification has had the fewest surprises of any, as the No. 1 (Calhoun), No. 2 (Fitzgerald), No. 3 (Buford) and No. 6 (Lovett) teams reached the semifinals, and all four have legitimate shots at winning the championship. But I have to pick two of them to lose tonight. I’ll say it’s going to be a disappointing night for Region 6-AA. … Semifinal losers: Lovett, Buford.
My worst performance last week came in Class A, where I picked Wesleyan, Twiggs County, Holy Innocents’ and Lincoln County, only to see all four eliminated. That means the Wesleyan-Twiggs County matchup I was anticipating in the final is out the window, too. Darlington has more losses than any team remaining in any classification, and I look for it to add one more to that total at the hands of undefeated Savannah Christian. … Can the only No. 2 seed remaining in Class A make it to the final? When Clinch County loses to Wilcox County, the answer will be yes. … Semifinal losers: Darlington, Clinch County.
Last week: 8-12 (.400); Overall: 1,603-411 (.796)
Camden Co.–Colquitt Co.
Clarke Central–Rockdale Co.
Wilcox Co.–Clinch Co.
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