What’s more amazing is Davis, a former standout at Griffin High, never played there as a player. In its 100-year history, Griffin has met no team more (62 times) than Upson-Lee in a series that dates back to 1926. That, of course, is a story for another day.
Tonight — with the fair opening in town — both Spalding and Griffin will be on the road. While Spalding will be at the aforementioned Upson-Lee, No. 9-state ranked Griffin (4-1 overall, 1-0 Region 4-AAAA Div. B) travels to Tara Stadium in Jonesboro to take on Riverdale (4-1, 1-0).
Both local teams face emotional games tonight that will psychologically dictate how the rest of the season unfolds.
Coming off a 17-14 upset loss on a field goal with no time left on the clock last week against Stockbridge, Griffin is looking for redemption. The loss tumbled the Bears from No. 2 in the state’s two largest polls to No. 9 in one and No. 10 in the other.
If Griffin gets back to form and wins tonight, a run at the subregion championship nicely falls into place. However, if Griffin loses it’s likely looking at playing for third or fourth in the subregion at best.
Spalding is under a lot of pressure, too.
If they break a two-game losing streak tonight, they have renewed life facing the rest of a subregion that is otherwise built around parity this year. However, if the Jags lose it’ll be tough the rest of the way psychologically for the team to climb out of the emotional hole a three-game losing streak leaves.
With that, this week’s picks:
Spalding at Upson-Lee:
The key here is who the Jags go with at quarterback. The main weapon they planned to unleash on the subregion, Monquez Sullivan, will likely come back for the first time after breaking his ankle in practice the week of the season opener. Sullivan, however, has never taken a varsity snap under the Friday night lights and the Jags have a perfectly good quarterback in Powell Krepps.
Krepps enjoyed his best outing of the season last week tossing two touchdowns and running for another in a 24-21 loss to Dutchtown. Krepps has also started all of last season and two games the year before not to mention all of this season’s games. That’s a lot of game-time experience under pressure.
Regardless of how that plays out — and offensive coordinator Ahmand Tinker may end up platooning both — the Jags will score against Upson-Lee which is allowing a subregion worst 25 ppg. The question is: Can the Jags defense, which is yielding a subregion-best 13 ppg, hold the Knights 28 ppg offense is check?
The answer is... Jags 21-17.
Griffin vs. Riverdale (at Tara Stadium):
Bears were flat last week on both sides of the ball. A good portion of that also had to do with Kevin Whitley-coach Stockbridge. It should be noted here Whitley is assisted by two former Griffin High coaches in Kenny Barrow and former GHS defensive coordinator Mo Starr.
But that game might as well be 1,000 miles away this week. Griffin needs to focus on the task at hand: Beating Riverdale.
Griffin’s region-leading offense (33.6 ppg) faces another challenge in a Riverdale defense yielding 20 ppg. Of course, Griffin’s defense (18 ppg) will try to stop a Raiders club averaging 24 ppg — a great deal of which comes from special teams where Riverdale has scored a touchdown in four of five games this season.
There are two questions surrounding this game. The first, can Griffin’s special teams — which struggled against Jonesboro three weeks ago — keep Riverdale in check? The bigger question is can Griffin’s offense get rolling back to the form that saw it averaging 37 ppg through the first four games?
The answer is... Bears 28-21.
(Sullivan is the sports editor for the Griffin Daily News.)