Yes it’s true that “The Matt” spent last week soaking up the sun in lovely Tampa Bay.

It is also true that he did not once think about high school football, but not because I betrayed my home.

What actually happened is that as soon as myself and the lovely Mrs. Cress got off the plane, we were stranded at the airport after our rental car reservation went down in flames.

One $50 shuttle ride later, we were at our destination without a car. This meant riding public transportation the rest of the week.

The first ride was marred by a fight between two drunken men, who apparently brawled over who had gone longer without bathing. The next ride was taken with a pair of people so drunk that each took a face plant on the pavement before the bus had even come to a stop.

The final lift was in the company of a 40-year-old bus boy, who told us that his house had everything he needed. A fridge. A recliner. Oh, if only he had a toilet, everything would be perfect.

Sick of it all, The Matt and the Mrs. walked approximately 27 miles through the hottest part of a Tampa day to rent a car from a place that sold clothes in the back room and had a Greek guy who, in broken English, kept telling us they do not, in fact, sell frog legs at KFC.

It’s safe to say I would prefer to think about high school football.

Clarksville at Charlestown

Right about now, Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins is the man.

They are toasting him with Miller High Life at the local VFW. They are knitting his image on pillows at the Ben Franklin. They are inserting him into songs on karaoke night at The Pirates’ Cove.

And with good reason, after last week’s win over Brownstown changed the entire pecking order of the Mid-Southern Conference.

This is a familiar situation for Charlestown. They won the first two a year ago, with the second win coming in a surprise at Lawrenceburg.

They did not win again.

That probably won’t be the case this season. What is the case is that this shapes up to be a de facto conference title game. With Charlestown getting a chance to beat down Pekin, and North Harrison (the next best squad in the MSC) coming to Clarksville, the winner is in perfect position.

We don’t know quite as much about Clarksville at this point, although they are strong enough to go into Charlestown and win.

But there’s no way Hawkins wants to give up his meal privileges at the Copper Kettle. Who would?

The pick: Charlestown 21, Clarksville 16

Mitchell at Providence

The Pioneers are good this year.

I didn’t see their victory over Floyd Central because I was too busy buying $23 drinks at the cabana bar. But to open the season by beating two Class 5A opponents probably gives a team some swagger.

They certainly shouldn’t be intimidated by a 2A Mitchell team that comes in at 1-1 and hasn’t yet seen a team with the offensive capabilities of Providence.

Not to mention that the home team gets anywhere from three to seven points for playing on familiar turf. And that this will be a bit of a homecoming for Providence after winning an emotional opener over New Albany that would test the resolve of any team, and a matchup with another big-time foe in Floyd Central.

The pick: Providence 26, Mitchell 12

Jennings County at New Albany

It’s been true in the past that nothing helps a team’s sagging spirits more than playing Jennings County.

The one-time laughingstock could be a dangerous game for the Bulldogs, who looked downright disheartened after losing to Providence and proved it with a 38-3 defeat at the hands of Castle.

New Albany is always an enigma. The Bulldogs always have a huge line, spectacular athletes and an offense that should be able to put plenty of points on the board.

For the Bulldogs, it all comes down to their mental state. If they are ready to turn things around, they are capable. If not, the Panthers, who actually enter the game with a better record, could send things on a downward spiral with road games at Bedford North Lawrence and Columbus East coming up.

New Albany’s time has to be now.

The pick: New Albany 21, Jennings County 16

Jeffersonville at Bedford North Lawrence

The jury’s out on the Red Devils as well.

Jeff also has the talent to beat anyone on its schedule, but an uncanny talent to beat itself.

Last week at Seymour, Jeff nearly did just that, getting into the hole against an inferior team before coming back for a convincing win.

So which one is real? The team that got behind or the one that won big?

It’s far too early in the season to tell, but Jeff has a capable quarterback in Edward Wright-Baker, a good back in Jamie Goldsmith and the talent across the board to take down the likes of Bedford.

And they aren’t as demoralized as New Albany. Not yet. They’ll prove that with a second straight Hoosier Hills Conference win.

The pick: Jeffersonville 31, Bedford North Lawrence 19

Floyd Central at Madison

Madison is really bad.

Like Nick Hogan in the Indy 500 bad. Like Britney Spears in charge of a day care bad.

And depressing. Like Owen Wilson depressing. Like A.J. Ratliff getting booted off Indiana’s team when it was Mike Davis who should have been academically ineligible depressing.

The Highlanders have already made good strides, playing more established powers like Clarksville and Providence close enough and showing great improvement under new coach Brian Glesing.

This is the week he gets his first victory as Floyd boss. And it won’t be close.

The losing streak is over. Like The Matt’s vacation over.

The pick: Floyd Central 31, Madison 6

Contact Matthew Cress at

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