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October 11, 2012

H.S. FOOTBALL PICKS: Rivalry games should be interesting

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned rivalry game.

Even when teams are average (an argument  can be made for each of Clarksville, Providence, Floyd Central, and New Albany all being better than average, but they are a combined 13-19 so it’s not an easy argument to make), rivalries are still special.

When it comes to the Floyd County Fight and the Crosstown Clash (I just made up those monikers, feel free to use them at your discretion), there will be no love lost, you can throw out the records and of all the other rivalry metaphors.

What’s interesting about Friday’s rivalry games, is that at several different points in the season, it looks like one team or the other might win in a blowout. But now, after eight weeks of been played, it appears that fans in Clarksville and Floyd County should be treated to two ultracompetitive games.

On to the picks:

NEW ALBANY AT FLOYD CENTRAL

Before the season, Floyd Central would have been considered the heavy favorite in this game. The Highlanders were coming off three consecutive nine-win seasons, and while the loss of Kyle Bramble and several other key starters was a concern, most fans in southern Indiana thought Floyd would be solid again in 2012.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, won just once last year. No doubt New Albany fans expected vast improvements in 2012. However, few believed the Bulldogs would be after six weeks.

After Week 6, when New Albany was flying high and the Highlanders were a lowly 1-5, most fans in Floyd County probably expected New Albany to end its four-game losing streak to its rivals rather easily in the regular-season finale.

In the past few weeks, Floyd Central has started to show signs of life, particularly on defense. Meanwhile, the Bulldog offense was struggling to produce points, until its fourth-quarter explosion in last week’s 22-20 loss to Seymour.

Now it’s anybody’s guess. Honestly, this game could go either way.

One thing appears certain: A 61-60 outburst like that of two years ago, is highly unlikely. In fact, would it really surprise anyone if the two teams fail to gain 121 yards apiece, much less combined to score 121 points.

THE PICK: New Albany 13, Floyd Central 7.

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