As a handful of teams in Northeast Tennessee roll into the second round of the state playoffs and Southwest Virginia action hits the postseason, our Kingsport picking panel is in near complete agreement over how this week’s high school football slate will shake out. Only two high school games — and two college games — divide them at all this week.
But before we break that down, let’s take a look at where everyone stands.
WHERE THEY STAND
Prep guru Douglas Fritz (161-54) suffered a bit of a setback last week with a league-worst 11-8 mark. That allowed sports director Joe Avento (13-6, 161-54) to close the gap and force a tie atop the standings. Tanner Cook (13-6, 156-59) held serve in third place, while Kevin Mays (13-6, 152-63) one-upped Jeff Birchfield (12-7, 152-63) to climb into a tie for fourth place.
In Johnson City, where Jamie Combs (13-6, 118-49) tags in to pick the all Tennessee slate of high school games in Mays’ place, Fritz (13-6, 118-49) and Combs are tied atop the standings. Avento (15-4, 117-50) is third with Birchfield (13-6, 115-52) and Cook (14-5, 114-53) bringing up the rear.
In Kingsport, where our crew tackles a slate of high school games in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia along with a few college games this week, our guys are on the same page with 10 games this week.
🏈 ALL IN: All six panelists (Kingsport and Johnson City) are picking Dobyns-Bennett over Bearden and Elizabethton over Sullivan South.
🏈 5-0 FAVORITES: Elsewhere in TSSAA playoff action, all five panelists in Johnson City predict Hampton beats Oneida and Oliver Springs beats Cloudland.
🏈 SWV REGULAR PLAYOFFS: All five panelists in Kingsport predict Union over Gate City, Ridgeview over Marion, Graham over Tazewell, Patrick Henry over Honaker, Eastside over Holston, Chilhowie over Thomas Walker and J.I. Burton over Castlewood.
🏈 COLLEGE RANKS: All five pickers also believe UNC-Pembroke beats UVa-Wise.
LONE WOLF PICKS
Four lone wolf picks bear mention.
🏈 BLAZER BELIEVER: In 5A action, Avento is the lone panelist — from either panel — putting his faith in Daniel Boone to defeat South-Doyle. Our panel: South-Doyle, 5-1.
🏈 BLUE TORNADO TIME: In Southwest Virginia, Wise Central welcomes Richlands to town and only Birchfield believes the Blue Tornado will wreck the Warriors’ evening. Our panel: Wise Central, 4-1.
🏈 RUNNING THE REVERSE: Last week, Mays was the only one to pick the Hokies over Wake Forest. This week, he’s the only one who excepts Georgia Tech to wreck their weekend. Our panel: Virginia Tech, 5-1.
THE 4-2 SPLIT
🏈 BETTING ON THE BUCS: Birchfield and Combs are betting the Bucs hit the win column this week. Our panel: Mercer, 4-2.
Check out this week’s football picks every week in the Thursday papers ~ both Kingsport Times News and Johnson City Press ~ and share your thoughts about them in social media where you can find us @tnsportslive. Be sure to give us a follow for all the latest sports coverage throughout the year, and join us every Sports Live Friday Night for scoring updates, game coverage, photo galleries and more.