David Mitchell commentary: Unfavorable odds or not, Harris County still has a chance

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerNovember 6, 2013 

When Harris County plays Thomas County Central on Friday, it has a chance to double its total number of region championships in program history after winning its first in 2012.

I sense a little skepticism, so I’ll go ahead and put it out there: The odds aren’t in the Tigers’ favor.

There are two scenarios in which they can jump from third to first in the region. The first is pretty simple: Defeat Thomas County Central and hope Lee County loses to Bainbridge. Then, it’s a two-way tie between Harris County and Thomas County Central, and the Tigers, of course, win the tiebreaker.

The second is a little more complicated. If Harris County and Lee County both win, there is a three-way tie that will be broken by the team that allowed the least number of points in games involving the tied teams.

Lee County allowed 52, Harris County has allowed 44 and Thomas County Central 14. That means the Tigers must win by more than 30 (the difference between them and Thomas County Central) and allow less than eight (the difference between them and Lee County).

Are you sufficiently confused yet?

Don’t worry. None of this matters unless Harris County can find a way to do what very few people expect it to do, which is defeat the Yellow Jackets.

Ranked No. 4 in the most recent Georgia Sportswriters Association football poll, Thomas County Central has been dominant all season. It lost once, 28-24 to Valdosta in the second game of the season, but, led by athletic quarterback Adam Choice, has made easy work of everyone else since.

Consider: Lee County, which defeated Harris County 44-7, lost to the Yellow Jackets 45-14. By the transitive property of athletics, the Tigers shouldn’t stand much of a chance in this game.

And yet, my gut says otherwise. While it may not be sure Harris County pulls out a victory, my gut is telling me this is a little closer than the majority thinks.

I can’t so quickly forget the way it managed to win at Thomas County Central a year ago, clinching a region title and springing it to a run to the state quarterfinals.

The Yellow Jackets were every bit as dominant going into the finale last year as they are this year. In fact, the only smudge on their resume in 2012 was a 35-33 loss to Colquitt County, one of the best in Class AAAAAA.

And yet, there was Harris County, escaping with a narrow and improbable 18-12 victory.

Many will put a lot of stock in the way the Tigers were blown out at Lee County two weeks ago. In a big game, they came up painfully short.

With that said, it was a game that only got out of hand with a handful of mistakes in the third quarter. At its best, Harris County turns that into a four-quarter game.

Which is what I expect on Friday.

If Lee County defeats Bainbridge, I don’t expect Harris County to win any tiebreakers. I don’t see the Tigers running away from Thomas County Central in a blowout.

All it can do is win its own game, though, and that’s something I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see.

Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports.

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