We’re heading into the stretch run in our annual Pigskin Picks.
Ironically, that’s a word — run — you’d not deem applicable to fearless forecasters Dave Hanneman and Jamie Baker.
Oh, these guys do their share of running in a typical week, whether it’s running kids to school, errands before and after work, or across northwest Ohio to cover a game or photograph an event.
Sometimes they’re just running their mouths. Does that count?
Face it, these guys are not meant for speed. Fortunately for them, making their weekly prep football predictions entails more mental than physical exertion.
Surprisingly, Hanneman, the grizzled veteran of the staff, got out of the gate faster. Thanks to a 45-9 record in Weeks 3, 4 and 5, Hanneman took a four-game lead over Baker in the overall standings. But Baker, who pulled away to win the 2016 Pigskin Picks title with a blistering late-season burst, may be starting his “stretch run” once again. Last week he posted a 15-3 record and picked up a game when Hanneman, who went just 3-3 predicting Blanchard Valley Conference games, went 14-4.
Hanneman still leads the overall competition. He’s posted a 91-21 record through six weeks of pigskin prognostication; Baker’s at 88-24.
Baker will be looking to trim that deficit even more this week. He predicting Toledo St. John’s to beat Findlay and Seneca East to knock off Mohawk, while Hanneman is going with the Trojans and Warriors, respectively.
If Baker has another showing like he did last week, don’t be surprised if this stretch run becomes a — huff, puff, gasp, wheeze — sprint to the finish.
LAST WEEK: 14-4; OVERALL: 91-21
Findlay over TOLEDO ST. JOHN’S — Findlay started the season with a young, inexperienced, susceptible defense. Six games into the season, young, inexperienced and susceptible should no longer apply.
VAN BUREN over Cory-Rawson — Factoring common opponents into the equation gives Knights the edge.
Hopewell-Loudon over ARCADIA — I never would have predicted that Arcadia (2-4) would have a better record than Hopewell-Loudon (1-5) heading into this game. I doubt the Chieftains would have thought that, either.
Leipsic over VANLUE — After back-to-back losses, the Vikings might be doing some pillaging and plundering the rest of the season.
Liberty-Benton over PANDORA-GILBOA — I heard an interesting theory recently that no team would go undefeated in the BVC this season. I tend to agree.
McComb over RIVERDALE — Panthers cannot afford a misstep, not with Week 9 and Week 10 showdowns with P-G and L-B looming on the horizon.
North Baltimore over ARLINGTON — I didn’t give the Tigers enough credit in last week’s picks. Hopefully they won’t get overconfident if I pick them this week.
CAREY over Buckeye Central — Blue Devils should roll against winless Bucks.
Mohawk over SENECA EAST — Warriors will be looking to make some N10 noise against a Seneca East team that has sort of quietly rolled up a 5-0 record.
Upper Sandusky over BUCYRUS — Rams have been outscored 145-24 since their last win. But they should get the offense going against a 1-5 Bucyrus team that is giving up 45 points a game.
ROSSFORD over Elmwood — Royals play three of their last four games on the road, and there’s not a gimme in the bunch.
FOSTORIA over Lake — Redmen can score points. But it was their defensive effort against No. 1-ranked Eastwood that leads me to believe they may be able to ground the Flyers.
Ada over CONVOY CRESTVIEW — More of a must-win situation for Ada, not just in the NWC but in the regional playoff rankings as well.
Delphos Jefferson over BLUFFTON — Almost identical results against same two common opponents the past two weeks. This one could be a barn-burner.
Spencerville over COLUMBUS GROVE — Bearcats have been really impressive in back-to-back wins over Ada and Crestview.
Patrick Henry over EVERGREEN — Patriots have suffered two one-point losses this season. Karma tells me the Patriots are due to win one of those nail-biters.
OTTAWA-GLANDORF over Defiance — Opponents are finding themselves in a whole “Heebsh” of trouble battling O-G’s defense.
MARION ELGIN over Hardin Northern — Both teams are 0-2 against common opponents. Elgin’s a bigger school, has more numbers and kept the final margins closer.
TIFFIN CALVERT over Lakota –Raiders are in a 4-0 groove, but a Saturday road game can throw a team’s preparation out of whack.
LAST WEEK: 15-3; OVERALL: 88-24
TOLEDO ST. JOHN’S over Findlay — Trojans are in playoff position, but wins will be more difficult to come by from here on out.
VAN BUREN over Cory-Rawson — Got to believe the Black Knights rebound from last week’s stunner of a loss against NB.
Hopewell-Loudon over ARCADIA — After a difficult stretch of games, it’s time for the Chieftains to have a little fun.
Leipsic over VANLUE –This game comes at the perfect time for the Vikes, who are a little banged up.
Liberty-Benton over PANDORA-GILBOA — Have to pick a couple of upsets each week to catch Hanneman; this is one of them.
McComb over RIVERDALE — Panthers seem to be clicking on all cylinders right now.
North Baltimore over ARLINGTON — Tigers keep winning; they’ll be right in the thick of the BVC race and in playoff position come Week 10.
CAREY over Buckeye Central — Some tough games remain for the Blue Devils. This won’t be one of them.
SENECA EAST over Mohawk — May be the best matchup in the area this week.
Upper Sandusky over BUCYRUS — It’s no wonder the Rams have struggled the last month. Their last four opponents are a combined 20-3. Bucyrus is 1-5.
ROSSFORD over Elmwood — Elmwood may not win it, but they’ll certainly be in it.
FOSTORIA over Lake — Want to show everyone how far you’ve come Redmen? Win this one in front of the home folks.
Ada over CONVOY CRESTVIEW — Upset? Maybe? Bulldogs need a win to stay in the NWC race. I think they get it this week.
Delphos Jefferson over BLUFFTON — Pretty sure I’ve only picked one or two Bluffton games right all season. Probably wrong here too.
Spencerville over COLUMBUS GROVE — Bearcats are picking up steam.
Patrick Henry over EVERGREEN — A young PH team is getting better each week.
OTTAWA-GLANDORF over Defiance — Richie Knowlton had a pair of interceptions last week. I think he and the O-G defense might have another big week.
MARION ELGIN over Hardin Northern — A change of scenery has certainly helped Elgin’s program get back on its feet.
TIFFIN CALVERT over Lakota — The Raiders aren’t playing Ridgemont or Ridgedale this week.
HOME TEAM IN CAPS