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Ring the victory bell for the Birdie after another week of successful picks in Westmoreland County

December 3, 2018

Last week: 7-1 (87.5 percent)

Season: 114-25 (82 percent)

The Birdie is channeling his inner Penn-Trafford this week as he makes his pecks, err, picks.

“I just want to get better each week,” he said. “That’s what the Warriors do. Ring the bell; another score for yours truly.”

He was late for work because he forgot to set back his clocks and had to run the hill at Warrior Stadium.

“Rules are rules, I guess,” he said. “At least I wasn’t late for wing night.”

Like the Warriors, the county’s high school football maestro is in postseason form. He went 7-1 last Friday and has just three losses over the past four weeks.

Fast fact: Since Oct. 19, he is a sizzling, 45-4.

“That’s a 91.8 percent, a hard A in Miss Pennyfeather’s AP English class,” he said. “Big players show up in big games.”

The Birdie didn’t anticipate Franklin Regional beating Bethel Park, or scoring 56 points. It was his only blemish last week.

“Panthers win a soccer title, now they’re getting all feisty with the futbol,” Birdie said. “Onside kicks, long bombs and trick plays. I like it.”

While he needs help keeping the quarterfinals and semifinals straight in each classification, Mr. Birdie enjoys a good rematch. He usually picks the team that lost the first meeting to win the second.

“Tough to do that this week with Gateway-Franklin Regional and Derry-North Catholic,” he said. “But let me tell you, Jeannette is going to have a tough time with Rochester.”

Friday

Penn-Trafford (9-2) vs. Peters Township (9-2) at West Mifflin

It will take a few key defensive stops, but the physical Warriors will return to the semifinals. Penn-Trafford, 21-14

Franklin Regional (7-3) vs. Gateway (11-0) at Norwin

Gateway owned the Panthers earlier this season with big plays. The rematch will be closer, but the Gators chomp down again with quick scores. Gateway, 32-12

Belle Vernon (9-1) vs. South Fayette (10-1) at Ringgold

The Birdie thinks this one will come down to the play of the linemen. Deep-round playoff experience will pay off for South Fayette. South Fayette, 35-21

Derry (10-1) vs. North Catholic (10-1) at Hempfield

Derry shut out North Catholic when the teams met in Big East play. Pressure on the quarterback will be key for both Trojans. North Catholic needs to limit Derry’s rush and force more passes. Derry revs up the Harleys. Derry, 20-12

Jeannette (11-0) vs. Rochester (10-1) at Canon-McMillan

The Birdie thinks Jeannette took Monessen lightly in the quarterfinals, and if that happens this week, the Jayhawks will fall. Rochester has the playmakers to pull the upset. Jeannette, 22-20

Saturday

Bellwood-Antis (10-1) vs. Ligonier Valley (11-0) at Greater Johnstown

Ligonier Valley has proven to be virtually unbeatable all season. The Rams have found nice balance in the run and pass lately. Ligonier Valley, 30-7

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