HomeTeam Pick-Em: Mary Krause, Tom Ketchum dominant in moving on to the Great 8.
Mary Krause, a pick-em novice who entered the field this year just looking to try her luck, showed once again she is a force to be reckoned with by destroying Thom Watson 15-12 and moving on to the final eight in the inaugural HomeTeam Pick-Em National Championships of the Whole Wide World and Universe.
After a slow start with the bigger schools, hitting on just one of her seven Class 7A and 8A choices, Krause made a dramatic comeback by nailing 14 of her final 16 choices.
"Some have called SPCJessica the Queen of Small School Football, but I think I proved that this week, that crown has been passed on,'' Krause may or may not have said during a real, or possibly fake, interview with the Times. "She moved to California, and I moved onto her throne. The seat was still warm. But the way I'm going, it's getting hot. I'm not sure who wants a piece of this, but if I were the competition, I know it wouldn't be me.''
Krause needs only get by HomeTeamer Matt Baker and the winner of the Jarrod Smith-Ron Mitchell match-up to set up a potential championship showdown with Tom Ketchum, the top seed and a 15-10 winner himself this week.
Krause has already opened as a +3 favorite over Baker.
* Jarrod Smith knocked off The Laker's Jeff Odom 12-10, a week after knocking off esteemed HomeTeam columnist John C. Cotey. The self-professed Sportswriter Slayer now takes on Mitchell, who as far as we know does not work for any newspaper. If he does, he isn't admitting it.
"Jarrod Smith? Does he even shave? I'm not afraid of any little kid who plays football at Countryside Day Tech Elementary Day School of Academy, or whereever he plays,'' said Mitchell, who wasn't really interviewed but is probably thinking exactly that. Smith declined to comment, until after he finishes his science project, and then some chores around the house, and then a level of Pokemon that's been giving him a bear of a time on his Nintendo DS.
* Mitchell won his match-up with 2Chainzzz 14-13. It was actually tied at 13, but Mitchell smartly picked Pasco in his tiebreaker (What team will score the most points this week?) and the Pirates scored 52.
* Baker, a No. 20-seed, knocked off No. 4 Neutral Observer 11-10, a longtime local football guru and former star player at Dunedin. Neutral's observations were, clearly, off base.
"I actually coached Baker in youth league pick-em, so it's good to see one of my proteges move on,'' Mr. Observer said.
* @RonCanMultiTask, who needed a tiebreaker to win last week, was in control this week defeating Nick Adams 13-11, and his reward is a match-up with the vaunted Ketchum next week.
* And in arguably the week's most stunning upset, No. 19 seed Derek LaRiviere, the HomeTeam Cinderella -- which ironically is what we've called him for years -- moved in with a stirring 13-11 win over No. 2-seed GATA-SON!
GATA-SON! picked against Pasco, a 52-0 winner, did not think the Pirates David Emmanuel would rush for 100 yards and a TD, and took Carrollwood Day. LaRiverie's victory may seem close, but he also had Pasco in the tiebreaker (What team will score the most points this week?) while GATA-SON! picked Robinson.
"I just want to say, this is one of the biggest...'' LaRiviere said, before being cut off because his quote wasn't funny enough.
LaRiviere will take on No. 6 seed LarryT, who won 11-10 on arguably the greatest night in his family's history, as his son Ethan Thompson was outstanding for CCC in a victory over Tampa Catholic.
* Some of the folks not in the playoffs or those that have been eliminated had tremendous weeks. SEAN, Youngone328 and Catman (who scored 30 points in his first round match-up, which would have beaten EVERYONE else but the guy he played) picked 15 of the 23 questions correctly.
Not to rub it in, but that total would have beaten 14 of the 16 teams that competed in the playoffs this week.
In fact, Catman now has picked 45 right the last two weeks, which is the best postseason total, bettering Mary Krause, who has 44.
And what does he have to show for it?
(Okay, now I'm just rubbing it in.)
* The best Picker of the Week -- POW! -- overall?
Bill "The Man of" Steele. Dude was knocked out last week despite a very good 25-point effort, but bounced back this week to show everyone that the wrong guy went home, nailing 16 picks this week.
* Here's the updated bracket, and the week's top totals are below that: