Anybody know who was before gridiron guru?
By: MIKE HUTCHENS – Messenger Sports Editor
With apologies to those standout teams and individuals who appear in the space under that regular Thursday Messenger heading, the current scribe charged with researching and editing that weekly entry recently came across the headline posting and following excerpt in a late August 1985 edition of the newspaper.
New kid on block.
“Replacing the previous prediction master will not be an easy task. His column dotted many a team dressing room throughout his 15 seasons, and his weekly barbs drew the ire of several county fans, though the picks are selected basically in fun.
“Someday in the probably not-to-distant future, the date will be looked back to as one that marked a new era in area football minds. For gone is that crusty old soothsayer, Fearless.”
Anybody remember him?
Neither does The Hitman.
Fast forward 22 years and to the present and it’s obvious that the game’s gloriously-gifted gridiron guru has rendered anyone before him both insignificant and forgettable.
Following last season’s 231-43 (.843) showing, the practically-perfect prep pigskin prognosticator can now count 20 consecutive seasons of eclipsing the .800 mark, a landmark figure in the land of forecasting Friday football finals. Further proof that the sensational sideline soothsayer has withstood the test of time can be found in his all-time mark of 4,669 right, 968 wrong, for a sparkling .828 percentage.
A viable answer to the questions — “Remember when?” and “Who’s now?” — the Hitman fires his first shots of the 2007 campaign.
See you at the game.
SOUTH SIDE AT OBION CENTRAL — There’ll be enough butterflies in Jason Driggers’ stomach to make up a prize collection as he’ll be a head coach for the first time and will match strategies against his mentor in the Hawks’ Jerry Hayes. Despite losing a good chunk from its 11-1 team a year ago, South Side is in a reloading mode, rather than a rebuilding one, and picked as the Region 6-3A preseason favorite. Being out-talented is nothing new to Rebel teams, but if Driggers can get his troops to put forth the trademark all-out effort that has been commonplace of recent OC squads, this one may be competitive. Unfortunately, the end-result won’t be among Driggers’ most fond memories when he looks back some day to his first game. — SOUTH SIDE.
SOUTH FULTON AT BALLARD MEM. — Under the heading of “honesty is the best policy,” this might be the Red Devils’ best chance at ending their long losing skid that dates back to the final game of 2005 — a forfeit win vs. Fulton City last year not included. SF almost certainly has to be better than last year when it gave up nearly 50 points on average every time out and would do well to get the ball in talented Corbin Hawks’ hands. The Bombers, though, return almost everybody from a team that beat the Redmen in a 48-41 shootout a year ago in which South Fulton faded badly in the second half. Call it a hunch, or more appropriately a soft spot for his alma mater, the Hitman gives the nod to — SOUTH FULTON.
WEST CARROLL AT FULTON CITY — If this were a foot race, the Bulldogs — led by speedy Daeron Williams and Aaron Wilson — would run away and hide. And though it’s not, Wayne Lohaus’ canines should cross the finish line far ahead of a relatively-inexperienced WC pack. — FULTON CITY.
TRENTON AT LAKE CO. — Peabody’s Kendal Harper and Co. will remind many area fans this season of the Falcons’ Brandon Springer and his stellar supporting cast of the last couple of years. — TRENTON.
In other games, it’ll be — Gibson Co. over Halls, Greenfield over Dresden, Gleason over Stewart Co., Giles Co. over Humboldt, Ripley over Liberty, Jackson Central-Merry over Haywood, White Station over Covington, Waverly over Wayne Co., FACS over Middleton and Mayfield over Heath.