And, it’s getting late in the game to do so.
I came close last week (thanks in large part to an abbreviated schedule). I went 7-1, with my only blemish being Collinsville’s 30-27 victory over Cedar Bluff (which came down to the last minute, but I digress).
While 7-1 is a great mark, and a 43-10 overall record not too shabby either, I would still like to have at least one week of perfection.
And it is Week 7. Hmmm ... Could 7 be my lucky number? Let’s see.
Piedmont at Gulf Shores (Thursday): It’s fall break in Piedmont, and the Dawgs are taking a road trip down south ... way south.
I can’t think of better way to begin a break from school than a trip to the beach, but there’s some business to be taken care of first. The Class 3A defending state champions put their unbeaten streak on the line against the Class 5A Dolphins (1-5).
In doing a little research, Gulf Shores’ only win of the season has come against Class 4A Saraland, which is fielding its first-ever football team. The Dolphins are a fairly-young program themselves (2000 was their first football team).
They’re in a tough region, too, with the likes of LeFlore, St. Paul’s, Spanish Fort and Vigor.
Conventional wisdom may say the 6-hour, 360-plus mile trek against a 5A opponent may be too much for Piedmont to handle. But the Bulldogs (6-0) aren’t just a regular team. They know how to win the close ones, and I think another close one just might go in their favor ... Piedmont 26, Gulf Shores 21.
Sand Rock at Section (Thursday): A crucial region game for both teams here. Both the Wildcats (2-4) and the Lions (2-4) are clinging to playoff hopes. Both teams have a 2-3 region record, but a loss in this one pretty much takes the loser out of the chase.
Sand Rock went with Cody Beck at quarterback last week, and he performed well by passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-13 win over Victory Christian.
As a team, the Wildcats accumulated 510 yards of total offense and made a few dents in the scoreboard. That was the kind of breakout performance head coach Russell Jacoway was looking for, and I think it may carry over on Thursday ... Sand Rock 28, Section 14.
DAR at Cherokee County: Things started out well enough for the Warriors last week against third-ranked North Jackson. They scored on their first possession of the game, but it went downhill from there thanks to an uncharacteristic six turnovers.
I know head coach Tripp Curry is going to make sure that won’t happen again against DAR (1-5). I look for the offense to have a big night, and for the defense to come up with some turnovers of their own to help the Warriors (3-3) get back in the win column ... Cherokee County 32, DAR 16.
Cedar Bluff at Spring Garden: The Tigers have had the Panthers’ number in this longstanding series. Cedar Bluff (4-2) has lost only twice all time to Spring Garden (1-5), and owns a 33-2 advantage in the rivalry. However, the past few years their battles have been close, including last year’s 12-8 Cedar Bluff victory that went down to the final play.
But that was last year.
This year Cedar Bluff is once in the hunt for the Region 7 title, while Spring Garden is struggling. A win here by Spring Garden could keep the Panthers’ fading postseason hopes alive, but I just don’t see it happening. Especially with the Tigers coming off a close loss to Collinsville ... Cedar Bluff 35, Spring Garden 7.
Gaylesville at Collinsville: Two of the more remarkable stories this season have been turned in by the Trojans and the Panthers.
Despite a rash of injuries to key players, Gaylesville (5-1) tied atop the Region 7 standings with Collinsville (6-0).
Speaking of injuries, Collinsville quarterback Nathan Coker continues to impress after missing all of last season due to injuries suffered in a car accident. He threw the winning touchdown pass to Josh Gogus with just one minute remaining at Cedar Bluff last week.
However, it was a costly throw, as Coker took a shot to the ribs and had to be helped off the field.
This one has all the makings of being a great game, but I think the Panthers may have just a little bit more depth that could play factor down the stretch ... Collinsville 28, Gaylesville 21.
Jacksonville State at UT-Martin: Another week, another win in the waning moments of the game for the Gamecocks. This time, it was the defense that came up big down the stretch of fourth-ranked JSU’s 40-34 victory against Murray State.
Speaking of close games, the Skyhawks (2-3) won a close one of their own last week in a 27-24 victory at Tennessee Tech.
I look for Jacksonville State (6-0) to keep a couple of streaks in tact (and no, one’s not winning another close game). I expect JSU to extend the nation’s longest FCS winning streak and the fifth-longest in school history to 10 games ... JSU 34, UT-Martin 20.
Auburn at Kentucky: The Tigers are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself this week. They were 5-0 at this point last season before the wheels came off, and Auburn went on to lose five of their last seven regular-season games.
I don’t think that will be the case in Lexington. Although I think the Wildcats (3-2) will be game for a half, I think Cam Newton will once again put up some big numbers and help No. 10 Auburn improve to 6-0 ... Auburn 38, Kentucky 14.
Alabama at South Carolina: The Tide begins its stretch of playing teams with a bye during the previous week when they travel to Columbia to face No. 20 South Carolina (3-1). The Gamecocks are going to need it, especially after the 31-6 beating top-ranked Alabama put on Florida on Saturday.
Alabama passed its first SEC road test two weeks against Arkansas, and I think it will do so again behind the running of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and an improving defense ... Alabama 33, South Carolina 17.