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FOOTBALL PICKS: Brandon tries to recover from tripping over himself in Week 1

It was 30 years ago this month in 1993 when old school professional wrestling fans might recall the infamous debut of the Shockmaster at WCW’s Clash of Champions.

WCW mainstay hero Sting was putting together a team for the upcoming War Games event in which he’d lead a team of four against the dastardly team of Sid Vicious, Big Van Vader and the tag team known as Harlem Heat. Sting had three members, and the fourth one was a mystery partner.

On a special “talk show” hosted by the legendary Ric Flair at the Clash of Champions event, there was a confrontation between Sting and one of his partners Davey Boy Smith and Vicious and Harlem Heat. Vicious kept asking who their fourth guy would be, and Sting gave their mystery partner a dramatic introduction.

The camera moved to a wall on the side of the talk show set, where a couple of small fireworks (probably closer to sparklers) went off, and the Shockmaster was set to bust through the wall similar to the Kool-Aid man in his commercials. He was wearing this elaborate (that’s the term I’m using) mask and cape and had a sinister voice coming over the loudspeakers in the building with someone speaking for him while he gestured along with the voice.

Except there was a problem. When they built the set, they needed a 2X4 framing the bottom of the wall that they didn’t tell the wrestler who was to be the Shockmaster (who was Fred Ottman, by the way, known for his work in World Wrestling Federation as Tugboat/Typhoon) about. So when he broke through the wall, he tripped over the 2X4, causing him to fall and his mask to fall off. If you watch the clip on YouTube, you can hear the other wrestlers off camera making loud remarks reacting to the fall.

To add to the unintentional comedy, when he gets his mask back on and gets back upright, he starts gesturing as it’s time for him to talk. But the guy who was supposed to be talking for him off set didn’t start talking when he was supposed to be because he was too busy laughing at the fall. So when Shockmaster started gesturing, he looked like he was just doing some awkward movements for no reason whatsoever.

One of the most unintentionally funny moments in professional wrestling history … possibly television history. You can watch a clip of the incident here.

Well I had a similar experience last week.

Most people know me for my sports coverage. Within that sports coverage, I’m known for my work in football. Within that football work, I’d like to think I was fairly decent at picking football games.

But being out of the football loop for the past six years, apparently my picking got rusty. And I came out this season ready to explode with a couple of daring predictions and make an immediate impact like in those Kool-Aid commercials, but the defenses at USJ, JCM and JCS and the in-game adjustments by TCA and Ripley were the 2X4 that tripped me up in my dramatic debut.

But this column is me getting my mask on and hopping back up hoping not to mess up as badly as I did last week.

So, hoping to do better this week (meaning get at least one correct), here are this week’s picks:

South Side 23, Jackson Central-Merry 19: JCM won big last week, but they caught their opening opponent at the right time and capitalized on a number of mistakes. I doubt they get the same chance against the Hawks, whose defense was stout for three quarters in their opener. I’m picking the Hawks’ offense to move better this week and stay ahead of the Cougars.

North Side 42, Liberty 0: Liberty’s issues last week in their loss to JCM are fixable. Will they all be fixed in one week? It’s possible, but North Side will want to make up for last week’s loss after having a top performance in the jamboree the week before. The clock will run in the second half in this one.

Jackson Christian 28, Peabody 21: Peabody is young this year, and they found out in a big way last week they’ve got issues blocking for the backs. The Eagles showed their experience in beating a tough opponent from a larger classification. Peabody is a proud program, and I think the young guys live up to that standard better this week, but they still fall short against an experienced and talented flock of Eagles.

University School of Jackson 27, Union City 21: This pick may be a case of me moving my picking pendulum too far the other way, but the way USJ’s defense performed last week was impressive. Can they do that again this week against an option team with an athletic quarterback, even by standards as high as a program’s like Union City? The Tornadoes could wind up blowing the Bruins away, but I’m picking them to play disciplined on defense and frustrate their opponents from the north all four quarters.

Trinity Christian 35, Franklin Grace 21: I picked against TCA last week because of a disparity of depth against a Class 4A opponent. This week, they’re hosting a similar sized private school who’s traveling more than two hours to play here (those long trips are the only time I think home-field advantage actually matters in high school football). They won big last week, but that opponent is a lesser opponent according to my scouting reports. I think TCA avoids the early deficit it faced last week and pulls away late.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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