This is my 10th football season with The Times, and there's something still to this day that catches me off guard.
The Week 5 slate marks the official halfway point of the 2021 campaign. But no matter how long in the tooth I get, the fact that we arrive so quickly at this point every year will never cease to amaze me.
Before we know it, the season — like a Goldberg squash match in WCW — will be over in the blink of an eye.
But enough of me waxing poetic, we've got some good, non-region contests scheduled for this Friday night.
There are only five in total, but the potential for fireworks is high.
Before we begin, though, remember to cast your vote in "The People's Pick," a series of Twitter polls posted on my timeline (@winfreyjake) each and every Monday afternoon.
% Addison (3-2) at Good Hope (3-2): The Raiders and Bulldogs are headed in two different directions.
Good Hope has won three straight games, scoring at least 40 points in each of those contests. Addison, meanwhile, has lost two in a row by a combined eight points following a 3-0 start to the season.
The Raiders secured a 49-15 win last season in the first meeting between the proud programs since 1995.
The Bulldogs lead the series 15-10, but I think Good Hope will draw closer on Friday night.
% My Pick: Good Hope
% People's Pick: Good Hope (73 percent — 95 votes)
% Cold Springs (0-4) at Falkville (3-1): The Eagles will head up the road to face the Class 2A No. 6 Blue Devils.
Cold Springs is still in search of its first win this season, while Falkville enters Friday night's contest off a bye week.
The Blue Devils hold a 26-5 lead in this series and notched a 49-13 victory in 2020.
% My Pick: Falkville
% People's Pick: Falkville (92 percent — 92 votes)
% Mars Hill Bible (3-1) at Cullman (3-2): The Bearcats are set to play host to the top-ranked team in Class 2A.
Cullman has won two straight following a 1-2 start, while the defending champion Panthers have collected three consecutive wins after a Week 0 loss to Jasper.
Mars Hill took down the Bearcats (21-6) last season in the only meeting between the programs.
This could be the best game on the local schedule Friday night.
As for who wins ... I'll say the home team gets its revenge at Oliver Woodard Stadium.
% My Pick: Cullman
% People's Pick: Mars Hill Bible (51 percent — 98 votes)
% Hanceville (1-3) at Locust Fork (1-3): These teams have had quite a bit in common so far this season.
Both won their respective openers, both have lost three straight since, and both have had some inconsistencies on the defensive side of the ball.
The Bulldogs lead the series 14-8, but the Hornets have won eight in a row — including a 38-7 triumph in 2020.
In fact, Hanceville's last win over Locust Fork came in 2000 — the same year "Dude, Where's My Car?" came out.
Having said that, I think the Bulldogs snap their skid on Friday night.
% My Pick: Hanceville
% People's Pick: Hanceville (73 percent — 97 votes)
% West Point (2-2) at Hayden (0-5): It's been consecutive tough weeks for the Warriors.
But West Point has a chance to get back on the winning track with a road game against the Wildcats.
Hayden has had recent success in the series — the Wildcats lead it 11-8 — winning eight of the past 10 games.
Whichever team can come up with a few more plays on the defensive end should come out on top.
% My Pick: West Point
% People's Pick: West Point (87 percent — 90 votes)
% My Record: 28-7
% People's Record: 24-11