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This week's football picks leave staff divided

Staff • Updated Sep 20, 2018 at 5:40 PM

Each week, members of the sports staff at the Times News and Johnson City Press tests their powers of prognostication with "this week's football picks" - predictions for high school and college games as well as one pro pick when the Tennessee Titans are in action.

Four staff members, including leader Tanner Cook (55-16), went 12-4 a week ago, to keep the standings in check. Cook maintains a two-game lead over veterans Douglas Fritz (53-18) and Jeff Birchfield (53-18). Kevin Mays (51-20) sits four behind the leader, while Joe Avento (50-21) fell another game off the lead with an 11-5 record last week.

This week may divide the pack as the panel is split 3-2 on seven different games.

* 5A Daniel Boone gets a big vote of confidence from Cook and Mays who are picking the Blazers to take down 6A Science Hill, while Fritz, Birchfield and Avento are sticking with the Toppers.

* After getting burned by Volunteer a week ago, the panel is split 3-2 against the Falcons this week. Only Avento and Mays are picking Volunteer to top Grainger.

* Meanwhile, with the big win over Volunteer last week, Cherokee made believers of Cook and Avento who are wagering the Chiefs take down Morristown West.

* Cook, Birchfield and Mays are flying with the Rye Cove Eagles in their game against Castlewood

* Fritz, Cook and Mays are picking the Eastside Spartans to win their battle with Thomas Walker.

The panel is sold on Ridgeview, a unanimous pick to beat Lee High, and gives Union the nod to get back in the win column against Gate City. They’re also unanimous in their predictions that: Alcoa takes down Dobyns-Bennett; Sullivan North gets back on track against Unaka; J.I. Burton bests Twin Springs and Furman tops the Bucs.

Meanwhile, only Avento is betting against the Vols when they face the Gators on Saturday.

Be sure to watch the Thursday paper each week to see 'This week's football picks' to cheer (or jeer) your favorite sports writers (all in good fun, of course).

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