South Side football coach Lester Narcisse had a mix of emotions after his team lost by three points to North Side.
Considered by many outside the Hawks’ locker room as big underdogs before the game kicked off, South Side led by 14 points at halftime and had a chance in the fourth quarter to kick a field goal to force overtime or score a touchdown to get a dramatic win.
But the Hawks turned the ball over on downs with about two minutes left, giving North Side the opportunity to run down the clock and get home with a win.
Narcisse was sad for his team for falling short in the rivalry game.
He was proud of the way his team fought in a situation they weren’t expected to be very competitive.
But he was also frustrated that eight games into the season, they continued to make mistakes that he thinks should be corrected within the first few weeks of the season.
But his team came very close to making a lot of people who counted them out look foolish. You could make the argument that a lot of us looked foolish anyway. I won’t argue.
But like a game official said when we were talking during a timeout late in the game, “This is why they play the games. You never know what’s going to happen.”
And that’s what’s so fun about high school football. Everybody is enjoying college football because it seems very unpredictable this year, and it is more than usual.
But high school football is always like this, and it’s why a lot of us keep coming back each week and each year to keep watching it.
But that is what makes picking these games so difficult some weeks. As teams are barreling toward the end of the regular season and they’re vying for the playoffs and seeding in their region, some of these games are sure to get emotional and hard-hitting.
After a 4-0 week last week, my season record is 33-10.
Here’s the picks this week hoping for another good week:
Jackson Christian 34, Lake County 21: Lake County has one of the most productive rushing attacks in the state, and both teams are coming off a bye week. Keeping this team under 100 total yards of offense like they’ve done their previous two games will be a difficult task, but they’ve first got to concentrate on simply winning the game. They’re good enough to do it, but they may come out of this one with a bloody mouth.
Trinity Christian 29, First Assembly Christian School 21: FACS came to Jackson a couple weeks ago and gave Jackson Christian a more competitive game than the 35-7 final score would indicate. The Crusaders have more size and speed than most teams in this region have, but TCA plays a more physical brand of ball than most teams in this region too. The Lions will probably struggle early on as they figure out what will work better – their ground game or their air attack. As athletic as they are, it will probably be difficult for FACS to consistently stop the Lions’ ground game.
University School of Jackson 20, Evangelical Christian School 7: The Bruins have had a few bumps in the road in recent weeks, but they had a bye last week and a chance to get back to their basics – focusing on simply competing in everything they do and being fundamentally sound. ECS is struggling this season as former TCA coach Blake Butler is in his first year building his own program there, so this is a good time for USJ to get back to winning in region play.
Liberty 18, McNairy Central 13: If Liberty is going to get a win this season, this may be the Crusaders’ best shot. The problem is McNairy has scored at least twice in all but one game. But what’s in the Crusaders’ favor is the Bobcats’ defense isn’t very effective. They’re giving up nearly 37 points per game in their six losses. So I’m gambling here. JMCSS wants to hear that the community believes in them and their students. I believe in Liberty. I believe Liberty can score three or four times, and I believe their defense can stop McNairy Central enough to keep them from scoring more than twice.
Peabody 35, Jackson Central-Merry 7: If this game were earlier in the season, I’d be tempted to pick the Cougars to take this one. But JCM has struggled to move the ball consistently against tougher teams in recent weeks. Peabody had last week off but appeared to have turned a corner before the break. They had some early losses early on that can be blamed on the team’s youth and their inability to take care of the ball. That seems to be fixed.
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org