2017 Record: 10-5
Another solid week for me on game picks has confidence sky high, but Week 4 brings many challenging games. In all seriousness, I do believe every game on the schedule could go one way or the other. It goes without saying you still want to win, but if you do lose this week it's not the worst thing that will happen to your football team since these are non-region games (minus JPII at Father Ryan).
However, the middle of the season is fast approaching, and you do not want to be that team that is still trying to figure things out as we enter Week 5.
Old rivalries are renewed when Gallatin travels to Mt. Juliet, while the battle of deices will take place in Nashville. Beech will travel to Hendersonville (Game of the Week) for the Battle of Hendersonville and Station Camp will see where they stack up with one of 4's elite in Springfield.
Gallatin at Mt. Juliet
Let me first start by saying I see you Gallatin; that was a big win Saturday in Nashville. Not only did the win keep your season unbeaten, but it will also give you a leg up come the end of the season. I eat a little crow this week because, as you know, your defense rose to the challenge and surrendered just 14 points, not 42 like I predicted last week. To the coach's credit, they used my 'bold' prediction to motivate their guys to go out and prove me wrong. So, in a sense, you're welcome Green Wave Nation.
All jokes aside, this week welcomes a tough test in the Mt. Juliet Golden Bears. The Bears were picked to finish first in Region 4-6A and they've shown no reason to think otherwise these first three games. Not only do the bears enter this Week 4 showdown unbeaten, they enter unscored upon. They have outscored their first three opponents (Glencliff, John Overton and Lebanon) 128-0.
Now, one thing is for certain; Gallatin is much better than the three teams I just listed, so I don't expect the Bears to pitch another shut out, but I do expect this game to be low scoring and very physical.
The Green Wave have answered the call defensively every game, so I'm not worried about that side of the football. If there is one thing this unit has shown over the last three games is that it will hit you in the mouth and not think twice about it. Head hunters exist at all three levels of the defense and the Green Wave will need them heavily Friday night.
The offense is still up in the air in my opinion. Sure, you know what you have out of your running game in Jalen Porter and Ladarius Stewart, but this week I'm challenging the passing game to step it up and make big plays when called upon. They've done that so far, but this is a "what have you done for me lately?" sport. This offense will need you to stretch the field and keep the defense honest. So far, the Green Wave have gone with the two-quarterback system approach and it has worked the first three games but now comes the real test. Can the Green Wave move to 4-0 and keep the naysayers quiet? I don't think so.
Mt. Juliet 19, Gallatin 16
JPII at Father Ryan
This should be a good game. In a battle for the Bishop's Cup, JPII will travel to Nashville Friday night to try and keep the trophy in Hendersonville. The Irish come in with the same record as the Knights (2-1 0-1), but this game is the type of game you throw the record books out the window. This is for the Bishop's Cup and is probably the biggest game on each team's schedule every year.
The Knights come in licking their wounds after a battle with the top-ranked team in the state, Brentwood Academy, but I'm certain the Knights will enter this contest plenty amped for battle.
This is the type of game that makes your season, and I expect the Knights to treat it as such. Yes, they are on the road, and that is an advantage for the Irish. Father Ryan played several young players last season and many of those same players will play meaningful snaps Friday night.
This game may end up being the game that decides who gets one win in region play and who goes winless, so the will to win is of the utmost importance. The keys to the game remain the same: take care of the football, don't get behind the sticks and stop the run. If the Knights can do those three things, they have a chance to win the football game.
A man once told me, "You've got to have a little faith." So, I'm putting my faith into you, JPII.
JPII 21, Father Ryan 20
Station Camp vs. Springfield
The Bison enter Week 4 desperate for a win, but that doesn't mean they will earn one. Springfield comes to Gallatin Friday night for a non-district game that should benefit both teams. I've seen both teams play and the early advantage goes to the Jackets.
Station Camp's defense has yielded 35-points per game, and if the maroon and white have any hope of salvaging their 2017 season, they need to pick it up on that side of the football. I'm challenging the big boys this week for Station Camp. The last two games have not been pretty for you and this is the perfect opportunity to show what you're made of. The Jacket defensive and offensive lines are nasty and will hit you in the mouth. I'm expecting you to meet their physicality and cause havoc.
Springfield likes to get you in open space on offense, so this game will require all 11 to work in unison to accomplish the task at hand. Don't get lost in the jet sweep, because Springfield has two-quarterbacks they like to play, and both can air the ball down the field. Putting the black and gold behind the sticks will ensure this game goes late into the second half and should give the offense a short field to work with after the defense forces a punt.
Special teams you will be counted on this week, so be ready to play Friday night because the Jackets will fake you out and before you know it - it's six for the Jackets.
I want to go with the hometown Bison in this one, but I feel like this team is trendy down. Then again, you can always go out and prove me wrong. That'd be fine too.
Springfield 28, Station Camp 16