By Dave Tomczak

It’s been five weeks since my last LSJ Editors Gridiron Picks victory, but I have finally returned.

It took a late Muskegon touchdown to do it, but I finished with a 14-1 record. So did Dave Hart, but I beat him in the tie-breaker, which was the overall total points scored in the Big Reds-Mona Shores game.

Although this is only my second weekly victory, and first since Week 2, I have been quietly racking up solid weeks, and have been on top of the overall standings all year long.

While Andrew Johnson and Nate Thompson have compiled wins along the way, they haven’t been consistent enough to hang with “the Swami of LSJ” (no one really calls me that).

Unfortunately, I have left the door open the title to be stolen from me. My “Fremont vs. Everybody” picks in several different weeks have allowed Dave Hart to keep pace with me, and I go into the final week with only a one game lead on him.

Of course, this being the final week, it is also possible that two guys who have not won in any week – Jason Goorman or Steve Gunn – could claim their  first win of the year. Goorman has had good weeks in the past, and I guess it’s possible that last-place Gunn could find a way to win, although it’s not very likely (just look at his overall record below).

It will not be an easy week of picks. There are two games featuring 0-8 vs. 0-8 teams, and four teams needing wins to make the playoffs.

Two teams that don’t need wins to make the postseason are Montague and Muskegon Catholic Central. They come in at a combined 15-0.

Both teams have conference titles under their belts, so the only issue remaining is the undefeated season and playoff positioning. This one is a tough call, because there is no way of knowing how long the coaches will keep the starters in, but I’m leaning toward MCC taking advantage of its home field.

North Muskegon at Orchard View is a final push  for a playoff spot for the Norse. At 5-3, NM had an opportunity to wrap up playoff berth with a win last week, but didn’t capitalize. The Norse have trouble stopping the ground game, and that’s what the Cardinals are very good at, so this one is up for grabs.

Who am I picking? Look below.

Reeths-Puffer needs a win over Kenowa Hills to make the playoffs, and I think the host Rockets will survive. Jenison, on the other hand, needs to beat Muskegon to reach six wins. Good luck with that.

In games with no playoff implications, I expect battle-tested Hesperia to get its first win of the year, while keeping Shelby’s victory total at zero, and Grand Haven to beat GR Union for the Bucs’ first win of the season.

Week 8 results: Dave Tomczak 14-1; Dave Hart 14-1; Nate Thompson 12-3; Jason Goorman 11-4; Steve Gunn 10-5; Andrew Johnson 10-5.

Overall standings: Tomczak 102-18; Hart 101-19; Johnson 95-25; Thompson 94-26; Goorman 92-28; Gunn 81-39.