Mr. Football's Top Picks

Each week our very own pigskin prognosticator looks at games near and far and tells us which are "must see". Here's Mr. Football's picks for Week 9...

The Prime Time Pick

Carter (8-0) at Fulton (7-1)

This one's as big as any late-season non-region game gets.

Sure, there's no playoff berth hanging in the balance and it's not for seeding. There is, however, plenty of pride at stake and there's plenty of athletic prowess on display.

Fulton has the speedsters like Dennis Rogan and Dennis Freeney while the Hornets have the likes of Zach Gorman, Mark Allen Bounds and sophomore receiver Landry Stanton to go with running back Eugene (E.J.) Brown.

Carter's defense has been one of the stingiest in the KFL this season. The Hornets are coming off a 27-0 win over Gibbs at home in a game where Stanton and Tyler Clifton each had a pair of interceptions.

Carter has taken several key penalties in recent games and those mistakes have to be cleaned up if the Hornets are to avenge last season's embarrassing 42-0 home loss against the Falcons on regional television.

Meanwhile, the Falcons aren't going to be gracious hosts. They were upset 27-14 by Catholic at home last week and played poorly. They'll look to straighten out their problems and get back to their winning ways. This one will be a test for Fulton because the Hornets are looking to prove that they belong with the big boys.

The Falcons are playing at home and their speed should give them an edge. Carter has some great athletes but what's missing this year is a true superstar like Harrison Smith, who made life miserable for the Falcons last week.

My Pick: Fulton

Other key match-ups

Powell (4-4) at West (4-4)

This one usually has big postseason implications and the 2006 showdown between the Panthers and Rebels will be no different. In past years, the Panthers have owned this rivalry and they've gone on to the playoffs while the Rebels have stayed home in four of the last five seasons.

West has a one-game lead in the standings this time (at 4-1 in Region 3-4A competition.) The Rebels are tied with Central for second West needs this one before its Week 10 showdown with the Bobcats on Sutherland Avenue.

Powell has won the last six in the series and four of those were blowouts. This is a classic speed vs. power match-up. West has, without a doubt, the best skill players in Knox County. The Panthers have their talent at those spots as well.

But they will, without question, look to exploit their big advantage up front. This one will probably go down to the wire. West will need one of its last two games to make the playoffs and they would like nothing more to return a favor and bash Powell's playoff hopes. A loss here for either team could be devastating.

My Pick: Powell

Bearden (6-2) at Sevier County (6-2)

This one should be a dandy. These squads are both tied for second in Region 1-5A behind Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett. Both the Bulldogs and Smoky Bears played the top-ranked Indians tough before falling in close games.

Both teams have top quarterbacks, good running backs and physical players up front. Turnovers could decide this one. The winner takes sole possession of second place in the standings.

My Pick: Bearden

William Blount (4-4) at Bradley Central (4-4)

These two teams are fighting for their playoff lives. Both have .500 records and they mare mired in a fourth-place tie at 2-3 in the region.

Enough said.

My Pick: William Blount

Austin-East (5-3) at Webb (5-3)

Another interesting non-region tilt. These teams have a lot in common. They experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows.

The Roadrunners are a little more athletic and that gives them the edge here. The Spartans also have some talent and it all adds up to a potential big one that might be under the radar.

My Pick: Webb

A look back at Week 8

A day of rest: Bearden, Maryville and South-Doyle all had open dates last week. The Bulldogs and Rebels will be on the road as Bearden will play at Sevier County. Maryville heads to Halls. South-Doyle will host Lenoir City.

Smith puts on a show at Fulton: Catholic running back/defensive back Harrison Smith remains the most coveted high school player in East Tennessee.

He hasn't officially chosen a college but his performance against the top-ranked Falcons surely drove his stock upward. He caught seven passes, including two touchdowns as the Irish picked up a big Region 2-3A win, 27-14.

Week 8 Scores

Central 20, Powell 7
Halls 27, Lenoir City 7
Catholic 27, Fulton 14
Alcoa 63, Sweetwater 20
Anderson County 27, Livingston Academy 12
Bradley Central 27, Heritage 20
CAK 26, Wartburg Central 7
Carter 27, Gibbs 0
Claiborne 21, Rutledge 6
Coalfield 67, Greenback 33
Gatlinburg-Pittman 62, West Greene 14
Harriman 42, Midway 41
Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett 45, Karns 7
Loudon 60, Oliver Springs 0
McMinn County 46, William Blount 38 (3 OT)
Oak Ridge 21, Soddy-Daisy 0
Ooltewah 30, Farragut 28
West 32, Clinton 7
Sevier County 28, Jefferson County 14
Rockwood 62, Pigeon Forge 14
Webb 31, St. Benedict 14
Grace Christian 28, Jellico 26
Seymour 37, Union County 8

Week 9 Schedule

William Blount at Bradley Central
Kingston at Catholic
Clinton at Central
Seymour at Claiborne
Harriman at Coalfield
Gatlinburg-Pittman at Cumberland Gap
Carter at Fulton
Pigeon Forge at Gibbs
Cloudland at Grace Christian
Maryville at Halls
Science Hill at Karns
Cosby at King's Academy
Heritage at McMinn County
Ooltewah at Oak Ridge
Alcoa at Oliver Springs
Anderson County at Scott
Bearden at Sevier County
CAK at Rockwood
Farragut at Soddy-Daisy
Lenoir City at South-Doyle
Rutledge at Union County
Loudon at Wartburg Central
Austin-East at Webb
Powell at West

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