by Bill Turner
Regional football playoffs begin with seven of our eleven area teams advancing to postseason play that begins this Friday night. Two teams, Northside and Cave Spring, earned first-round byes and can rest up before returning to action November 18th.
Last week, the great predictor checked in at 6-1, with the only miss coming in the double overtime victory by Hidden Valley over rival Cave Spring. That finished the regular season with a not-too-shabby 73-17 performance.
This year was a well-balanced effort, combining my trusty crystal ball with an occasional infusion of information by the ever-mystic Ouija board. Throw in the week-eight 11-0 record via a perfectly held seance, and you can easily see why I continue to point out that predictions should be left to the professionals.
Enough chatter and moaning from the other side – let’s take a look at this week’s five playoff matchups.
Bassett at Hidden Valley: A rematch of a week-five game won by the Titans, 28-21, played in Bassett. Bassett got in with a 3-7 record and Hidden Valley carries momentum from its win over Cave Spring. May be more of a struggle than first glance. Hidden Valley- 27 Bassett- 19
Pulaski County at Salem: Pulaski comes to Salem Stadium for the second time in as many weeks. At 1-9, Pulaski may be the first regional playoff team in memory to finish the season with double-digit losses. Salem- 30 Pulaski County- 16
Glenvar at Giles: The Highlanders make their second trek to Giles County hoping for better results than the first visit. At 9-1, Giles looks to be too strong when having the home field advantage again. Giles- 36 Glenvar- 27
North Cross at Fredericksburg Christian: The Raiders backed away from no one in their impressive 7-3 season. Undefeated Fredericksburg has lit up the scoreboard, going 9-0. This VIS Division III Saturday matchup should be a dandy. North Cross- 28 Fredericksburg Ch.- 27
Roanoke Catholic at Greenbrier Christian: This VIS Division IV game offers a Roanoke Catholic team that has played 11 games against a Greenbrier team that has only played 8; and, the Greenbrier Gators’ three losses were by a combined margin of 106 points. The more you play, the better you get. Catholic rolls. Roanoke Catholic- 34 Greenbrier- 15
Now, to the mailbag where playoff questions take center stage, and one reader questions my fashion statements.
Dear Wild Bill: Do you think the playoffs have become watered down in recent years? (George/Salem)
Answer: No doubt, George. In Group A alone, 23 teams making the playoffs this year did not have winning records.
Dear Mr. Prediction Man: What’s been your worst playoff prediction to date? (Ken/Rocky Mount)
Answer: No question about this one, Ken- last year’s regional semifinal between Grundy and Cave Spring. When the Golden Wave faithful got hold of the Star-Sentinel prior to the game and saw I picked Cave by 35, the moms were waiting for me outside the Grundy locker room. No matter Cave Spring actually won 50-14; they still wanted my scalp! The Cave Spring coaching staff, who are still laughing, provided me safe haven as I ducked into the shadows of Bogle Stadium.
Dear Mr. Volleyball analyst: The word on the street is that you’ve been offered bribes by the Cave Spring and Hidden Valley fans to promote their great volleyball teams. Any truth to those allegations? (Ralph/residence unclear)
Answer: Yes, Ralph, I do live in that district and I promise to fight AEP rate hikes. I’m bad, really bad. But I look good in Knight and Titan gear-so why fight it? For the record, I’m so relieved the mudslinging political quips are over. And, I approved this ad.
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