Dublin Mayor David Leatherwood and Beans and Franks owner and operator Jodi Weyers made hard charges over the final two weeks of the season, but reigning champ Brad Keith, sports editor of the Empire-Tribune, held off all challengers to repeat his Guessing the Gridiron title.
The 17-week, 170-game campaign came down to the 3A Division I state championship last week, with Keith, Leatherwood and Weyers all tied. Keith picked Carthage, which defeated Kilgore 34-23. Weyers and Leatherwood picked Kilgore and finished a game back in a second-place tie.
"Congratulations, looks like your the champ," Leatherwood offered to Keith in an email sent Friday shortly after Carthage helped the sports editor claim his crown. "I really had fun. I hope you ask me to do it again next year."
Perhaps nobody was as competitive with the fun-spirited football picks as Weyers.
"Yipppeeee!" Weyers texted to Keith after Cameron Yoe defeated Wall in the 2A Division I championship to tie the standings before the Carthage-Kilgore game. "Who the heck is Yoe anyway? Lol!ůMy dad will be so proud if I tie for first! Go Kilgore, go!"
It wasn't meant to be for Weyers, but she was the highest-placing female competitor since football guru Yvonne Jenkins claimed the 2011 championship.
"Dang it!" Weyers texted Keith shortly after his victory became official, though she maintained her premium level of sportsmanship. "Congratulations are in order. Good job, Brad. It was a blast. Thanks so much for inviting me to play."
Tarleton State University Executive Vice President for Student Engagement Darrell Brown also made a charge, and finished alone in fourth place, followed by Dublin City Manager Nancy Wooldridge and TexasBank extraordinaire Kendra Burkhead in a tie for fifth. Burkhead did make history when she got married during the season. She is the only competitor in Guessing the Gridiron history to change last names during the course of a season.
Keith was pleased to see Wooldridge fare so well after being near the bottom of the standings early in the season.
"I will haunt you if I finish last," Wooldridge directed to Keith in an email midway through the year.
Keith retained his title, and Wooldridge backed off her haunting plans.
FMC General Manager Fernando Camuzzi and H-E-B Unit Director Kurt Glaspy held down the final two spots.
Brown and Keith had the most at stake because of a friendly lunch bet. Keith has yet to receive his free meal, and is still determining whether to call in some muscle - Tarleton's offensive line perhaps? - to help him collect.