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Tommy Keeler: New season ushers in hope

By Tommy Keeler Jr. -- tkeeler@nvdaily.com


It's a feeling that sweeps through football practices and fan bases at this time every year. The same can be said for The Daily's football forecasters, who all wipe the slate clean for the upcoming season.

The same can be said for all the forecasters. We all start out 0-0 and everyone is full of hope.

This year's edition of "We're the experts?" will be a little different over the first month of the season. The Daily has hired a new sports reporter -- Brian Eller -- who will be joining the staff full time on Monday. I'll have more on him in next week's column.

Jeremy Stafford gets a shot at a full year in the competition after performing admirably as a fill-in at the end of last football season. I think it was just beginner's luck, but we'll see. I believe the ups and downs of a long and grinding forecast season will wear Stafford down as will his love of the Redskins.

Daily sports editor Chuck McGill, who wrote the picks column last year, will be making his final four selections this week. After three years at The Daily, McGill is leaving for greener pastures (not a better newspaper, but literal pastures, as he will be covering the Marshall Thundering Herd).

As the new guys get acclimated, I feel it gives me an advantage in my quest to defend my title. As you may recall, McGill took over the column last year after I made the mistake of getting a little too cocky and wagering the rights to writing the column. McGill outlasted me in 2007 and took control.

I won't make that mistake again.

Last year I bounced back, but I kept the trash talk to a minimum. Hopefully that formula keeps working for me in 2009.

I'm optimistic it will.

Now for this week's picks:

Warren County at Strasburg

The Wildcats have a lot back this season, and I honestly think they will be a surprise team this year. The Rams are young and will improve as the season goes along, but in the opener ...

Warren County 27, Strasburg 13

Millbrook at Briar Woods

The Pioneers have to replace a lot of key players at key positions and this will take time. I know Reed Prosser will get the most out of his players, but the Falcons are a tough team to open with.

Briar Woods 28, Millbrook 21

Sherando at Park View

The post-Ross Metheny era begins tonight. Opening with a strong program like Park View is a big challenge, but the Warriors still have Roger Smith.

Sherando 24, Park View 21

Clarke County at Berkeley Springs (W.Va.)

The Eagles are coming off a great season in 2008. With the Shiley brothers and Grant Shaw returning I think the 2009 campaign will start off on the right foot.

Clarke County 34, Berkeley Springs 20

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