Carpenter’s Crunch Time Column: A special guest picker this week

BUCKHANNON – With a special guest coming into the Crunch Time Zone this week, I had to tidy up the place a bit. All those foam bricks I threw at my television set watching the Steelers-Bengals game last Sunday take time to clean up. What a disaster that game was. It truly is time for Tomlin and Roethlisberger to step aside.

Before I reveal our guest this week, I made some predictions on who would be in the championship games this week at Wheeling back on Oct. 28, so let’s revisit those.

I said it would be Martinsburg over Cabell Midland in Class AAA, Herbert Hoover over Poca in Class AA and Cameron over Doddridge County in Class A. Man, were those off. Those selections were so bad I only managed to get one team picked correctly.

That is why we needed a guest to come in here this week and tell us what is really going to happen in Wheeling.

Mr. Zach Davis, first-year head coach of the Buckhannon-Upshur mighty Buccaneers, take it away Sir!

Class AAA

Huntington 35, Martinsburg 28

“Huntington is primed to win a state this year under the leadership of head coach Billy Seals.”

Class AA

Fairmont Senior 42, Independence 14

“Fairmont Senior has too much skill and experience. They will repeat as Class AA state champions.”

Class A

Williamstown 28, Ritchie County 21

“I saw Williamstown play last week. Their quarterback is the real deal and their defense is suffocating.”

There you go folks, the state title picks from the man himself: Zach Davis.

I disagree with him on one of his selections, but we will get to that in a minute. First, let’s recap last week as we head into our final week of picking games.

RECORDS

Duane Carpenter 41-19 (3-2 last week)

Brian Bergstrom 36-24 (2-3 last week)

In the initial year of the Crunch Time Column, I am claiming victory over my rival, Brian Bergstrom. No recount is necessary. Now onto our games.

GAMES

Huntington (13-0) vs. Martinsburg (12-1) — This is the one game that I disagree with coach Davis on. I am not sure at the start of the season anyone would have had Huntington unbeaten and in the championship game, so kudos to them for a great season. That said, I just can’t pick against Martinsburg simply because they are Martinsburg. The Bulldogs will win their fourth title in the last six years. My pick, Martinsburg 35-28; Brian’s pick: Huntington, 35-33.

Fairmont Senior (8-4) vs. Independence (11-0) — Fairmont Senior is poised to become the first No. 16 team to win a state title since the WVSSAC went to 16 teams in 1991. One of the flaws of the WVSSAC rankings is that they don’t take into consideration strength of schedule. The Polar Bears probably played the toughest schedule in the history of Class AA and it has paid off as they are now just one win away from the title. My pick, Fairmont Senior 31, Independence 21; Brian’s pick: Independence, 28-24.

Williamstown (11-2) vs. Ritchie County (12-1) — Williamstown is looking for their third state title after claiming championships in 2008 and 2014. They were last in the title game in 2018. Ritchie County may have had the upset of the semifinals when they downed Wheeling Central, but I think their luck runs out this week. My pick: Williamstown, 21-18; Brian’s pick: Williamstown, 21-14.

Baylor (10-2) vs. Oklahoma State (11-1) — The Big 12 title game. Oklahoma State has their sights set on a spot in the playoffs. They have one of the best defenses I have seen in a while at the college level. That will be the difference in this game. My pick: Oklahoma State 24-10; Brian’s pick: Oklahoma State, 42-24.

Georgia (12-0) vs. Alabama (11-1) — The SEC championship game. Alabama held on for dear life last week against Auburn in overtime. Oklahoma State will certainly have an eye on this game as will Notre Dame. A Georgia win will knock Alabama out of the top four and will open a spot for either the Cowboys or Irish. An Alabama win puts two SEC teams into the playoffs. My pick: Georgia, 24-21. Brian’s pick: Alabama, 14-10.

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