I feel like the Genie in Aladdin after getting released from his lamp, “Oi! Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck.”
So, it has not quite been that long since my last picks article, but it has been 170 days since I last tried my luck at choosing the outcome of a high school sporting event. That’s a long time. But I’m back, which means fall sports are back, which means football is back…and that is just the greatest news that I’ve heard since Wendy’s announced its 50-cent Frosties.
Let’s get right into something I’ve been wanting to say since that last article: I’m sorry, Kosciusko. Last year’s picks were good at times, but mainly just inconsistent. I didn’t carve out the time and dedication that I had in the previous two years and, for that, I apologize. You have my full, undivided attention this year, all year.
There is so much I want to talk about, so many good things to say, so many bad things to put on blast, so little time! I can’t possibly talk about it all, so, in no particular order, let me highlight the things that stuck out most to me over the past 170 days:
There was the internet explosion following the killing of Harambe.
Riots were a common theme yet, somehow, nobody rioted after Suicide Squad was released? That movie was terrible.
Unprecedented history was made as Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for president.
Michael Phelps reminded me why I love sports so much. Ryan Lochte reminded me why not every athlete is a hero.
Prince passed on from this world. I’ll never look at a raspberry beret the same way again.
If you think I missed, arguably, the biggest headliner of the past 170 days, you didn’t pay attention.
I want to give a big shout out to my neighbor, Michelle, for making me the best banana cream pie in the history of pies yesterday. If anybody else wants to make me a banana cream pie, I will not turn it down.
Finally, go out and support your local sports team this weekend. There are football games, golf tournaments, tennis, soccer and volleyball matches. Put down your phones and go check out some high school sports. I don’t know who invented Pokemon Go, but I’m trying to figure out how they can get Pokemon…go…to…the…high school sports.
(Yeah, I just made fun of Hillary.)
Last Week: There was no football and it was sad.
Overall: I’m feeling great because now there’s football.
High School Football Week One 8/19:
Triton at Caston, 7 p.m.
The Scoop: The Trojans enter year two of the Ron Brown era. Offensive woes were the theme for a 2-8 campaign in 2015. Triton aired it out for a 65-yard touchdown pass on the first play of its scrimmage last week. That can only be a good omen for the season. The Trojans beat the Comets 26-20 to start last season and I think the Trojans have only improved this offseason. James Snyder will be the one to watch in this game as he takes over under center.
Nick’s Pick: Triton 23, Caston 12.
South Bend Washington at Wawasee, 7 p.m.
The Scoop: Wawasee will look to start the 2016 season off right following a 3-7 record last season, the first losing season for the Warriors since 2009. The Green and Gold have another year of experience under their belts in the flexbone offense and return all of their major offensive contributors from 2015’s team, but Washington is no team to sleep on despite graduating most of its talent. The Panthers were co-NIC champions last season and have traditionally run a pistol offense, something that can be very difficult to defend. This game should come down to which team dictates the pace of play. The Warriors have not dropped a season opener since 2010 and I look for that streak to stay in tact for at least one more season.
Nick’s Pick: Wawasee 27, Washington 20.
Warsaw at Columbia City, 7 p.m.
The Scoop: We’ll have to wait another week before the Tigers can debut their new field in the regular season, but I have feeling that Warsaw fans will find plenty to be happy about tonight. The Tigers return a lot of key playmakers, most importantly QB Michael Jensen, from a team that won four games last season. Warsaw scored 20 or more points in seven of its 10 games last season. That might not seem like an important stat, but it matters this week. Columbia City has gone through a rough patch the past few seasons and things don’t look great for the Eagles this year either. Better days are ahead, but today is not one of them. Warsaw should be able to open things up and take control early in this one.
Nick’s Pick: Warsaw 41, Columbia City 14.
Whitko at Cambridge City Lincoln, 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: If I had unlimited resources, I would’ve taken a day to go to Cambridge City just to figure out where it is and what it has to offer. But, the 112-mile trip just didn’t seem worth it. Jeff Sprunger debuts as the Wildcats head coach Friday night and I don’t think he’ll want to waste a trip down there either. Whitko smashed the Eagles 49-6 in last season’s opener. I don’t expect that kind of whooping again, just because a long bus ride can take a lot out of a team, but I do expect a win for the ‘Cats. Garrett Elder makes the switch from QB to halfback in this game, I don’t want to game plan for him at any spot on the field. Look for the senior to have a big night.
Nick’s Pick: Whitko 33, CC Lincoln 16.
Culver Military Academy at Tippecanoe Valley, 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: This is the place to be Friday night. At halftime of the game the new press box will be dedicated in memory of Scott Bibler. This is going to be such a great event, IFN will have full coverage of the game and dedication but this is something that should definitely be seen in person. Coach Bibler touched the lives of so many people. I won’t act like I knew the man well, but I didn’t need to in order to see the huge impact he had on the Valley community. If you have a connection to Valley or to the Bibler family, get down to Akron for this game.
As for the game, I don’t see this being as memorable for the Vikings. CMA returns several key players from its 2015 sectional title team. Valley also returns some key players but the Vikings still have a lot of question marks entering this year.
Nick’s Pick: CMA 22, Valley 10.