|Hutch’s Hit List — Age no factor for grid guru |
|Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 7:00 pm |
| Fine wine, good cheese and the best beef available apparently aren’t the only things that get better with age. |
The Hitman — the game’s greatest gridiron guru — has been coaxed back for his 28th season after another in a long list of spectacular sideline physic showings of telling a faithful following who’ll win and who won’t before the games are even played.
The practically-perfect prep pigskin prognosticator has truly earned that moniker with more than a quarter century’s worth of flawless Friday football forecasts — last year’s .863 final totals representing the 25th straight season he has eclipsed the once-coveted .800 mark.
That showing ranking among his Top 5 ever, the simply sensational soothsayer enters the upcoming season with an unprecedented .832 all-time percentage and on the doorstep of another milestone — just 37 correct calls from 6,000.
Admittedly with the clock ticking on his shelf life, the all-knowing augur hopes to squeeze out every last drop of his exquisite talents before the famed ficticious character’s expiration date.
See you at the game.
OBION CENTRAL @ UNION CITY — Jim Wiggins would be proud. The late Obion Central head coach and the Hitman’s very good friend used to say: “It’s not a rivalry when the same team wins all the time.” This series, thus, has turned into the ’rivalry’ that everyone has long wanted it to be with the Rebels having won seven of the last 10 meetings after UC dominated the results for the better part of four decades with winning streaks of 13 and 11 straight in the matchup. While it may or may not be the last time the two play for a while, one thing is for certain for maybe the first time ever heading into the 51st meeting in the long-running series: It’s really important to both sides. Central, which has won in four of its last five trips to War Memorial Stadium, must build on that streak and the momentum from last year’s record-tying nine-win season if it is going to evolve into a solid program year-in and year-out rather than simply fielding a high-quality team every several years. And while the Rebs lost essentially everybody who made a play on offense from last season, there’s great experience and size up front and some promise — if inexperienced — in the skill spots. Questions yet to be answered on this squad include open-field tackling and whether or not it can contain speed on the flanks. On the other side, the Tornadoes return essentially anybody and everybody from last year’s squad that overcame some injuries early and consistent sub-par play throughout the season before playing their best ball in the playoffs and reaching the 1A quarterfinals. The Twister offense could be both powerful and electric with proven strength and speed in the right spots, and a tested QB running the show. Before anyone starts talking championships and meaningful deep-November games, though, UC must show significant improvement on the defensive side, where teams have regularly ravaged a shaky-at-best secondary and poor-tackling unit. As usual, turnovers, penalties and perhaps even the weather will be critical to the outcome — but not any cooked-up schemes or words by anyone who often taints the good kids who represent both sides. And while history means absolutely nothing to the 2012 installment, the Hitman is 24-3 (.888) over the years in calling this one — a fact that must be considered if only for ‘who’ and not ‘why.’ The ‘who’ this year? — UNION CITY.
SOUTH FULTON @ BRUCETON — The Red Devils have been streaky throughout head coach Kelly Spivey’s four-year stint, but could be poised to be a consistent threat in District 14A this season. SF has the league’s most experienced quarterback in JaQuay Garmon, one of the district’s better all-around athletes in J.P. Fowler, and some different plans to get the ball in their hands in play-making scenarios with an altered offensive set. The Redmen are unproven up front, though, and must avoid the injury bug that regularly haunts many 1A teams without a lot of quality depth in key spots. Avoiding an 0-3 start similar to last season — not to mention the four-game losing streak that ended the year — will start by not allowing a young, unproven Tiger squad to hang around if the Big Red has a chance for an early knockout. Here’s predicting a good start for — SOUTH FULTON.
In other games, it’ll be — Milan over Trenton, Gibson County over Halls, Murray over Lake County, Humboldt over Crockett County, South Gibson over West Carroll, Covington over Bolton, Huntingdon over Riverside, Westview over Dresden, Dyersburg over Fayette-Ware, JCM over Haywood, Ripley over Memphis Northside, USJ over Jackson South Side, Henry County over Liberty and Scotts Hill over Fulton City.
Published in The Messenger 8.16.12