It’s an exaggeration to say the first six weeks of the high school football season don’t really matter.
In truth, every practice and game matters because the best teams constantly improve while rounding into a finished product by late November and early December.
But in terms of a local team’s pursuit of a Cape Ann League title, the first six weeks of the season don’t really matter. A team can start 0-6 and still win a Super Bowl at the end of the season. The road to the postseason is paved strictly by a given team’s league record.
So this weekend’s games certainly matter in a sense that all teams will be looking to establish momentum prior to the start of league play, which begins next week. But for the final time this fall, this week’s games won’t have any relevance to a team’s pursuit of a Super Bowl.
In the spirit of this six-week grace period for constant improvement, I bring to you my record of predicting games thus far. I’m 15-10 for the season, which would probably be the equivalent of a 1-4 record for a local football team. It could be worse, but it certainly could be better considering there were plenty of lopsided games to predict over the past six weeks. Like many of the local coaches and players, I plan to hit my stride in the coming weeks when the games take on more relevance.
On to the picks.
Newburyport at Ipswich, 10
After Newburyport lost its third game in a row last week, coach Ed Gaudiano didn’t give any indication that senior quarterback Connor Wile would make his return from a shoulder injury tomorrow. So it appears that, at the very best, Wile will make his debut as the starting quarterback next week in the first meaningful game in Newburyport’s pursuit of a repeat CAL Division 3 title. Regardless, the Clippers need to establish some momentum before the league schedule begins, and they have to be considered the favorite in this game. Look for a healthy dose of tailback Tyler Cusack, who broke two touchdowns runs of 49 yards or more last week.
The pick: Newburyport 17, Ipswich 7
If Georgetown was completely healthy, it would be a difficult matchup for the Royals. But the Royals played without two of their top players last week in Niko Edwards and C.J. Ingraham due to injuries. Amesbury is clicking on all cylinders right now, which is a scary thought for CAL Division 3 foes.
The pick: Amesbury 35, Georgetown 6
Danvers at Triton, 10
Danvers has lost three straight after opening the season with wins at Winthrop and Peabody. Triton has also lost three straight after a win over Cathedral. This is the type of game I’ve been picking incorrectly all season. I’ll take Danvers in hopes that I’m wrong again.
The pick: Danvers 14, Triton 13
Lynnfield at Pentucket, 2
It’s another difficult game to predict, as Lynnfield has a victory over Amesbury and a loss against Newburyport. Pentucket likely would have been considered the favorite in CAL Division 3 had it held off North Reading last week and picked up this win against Lynnfield. Instead, the Sachems (3-2) will have to scratch and claw to take a winning record into league play. Lynnfield may be without its starting quarterback due to an injury.
The pick: Pentucket 19, Lynnfield 13
Last week’s record: 3-2
Overall record: 15-10