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The Birdie makes a muddy mess before this week’s Westmoreland County games

November 23, 2018

Last week: 12-1 (92.3%)

Season: 107-24 (81.7%)

Dripping wet and covered in slop, the Birdie returned home from a recent game but neglected to take his dad sneakers off when he entered his front door.

Mrs. Birdie blew the whistle before he took a second step.

“She had a bonafide fit,” he said. “Mud cakes across the kitchen floor. Thought she was going to hit me with an unsportsmanlike and make we walk 15 yards back outside. She said she’d rather clean up rubber pellets than dirt because ‘Nobody likes a dirty Birdie.’ ”

The card-carrying member of the Witness Protection Program walked it back.

A rainy night made some fields a muddied mess, squishy and barely unplayable. The crater-filled fields at Jeannette and Ligonier Valley weren’t suitable for this week’s playoff games so those teams moved their openers to Hempfield and Greensburg Salem, respectively.

“No what that means?” Birdie said. “It’s time for everyone to cave and get artificial turf. Here that, Jeannette and LV?

“I have seen schools spend money frivolously on other things. Tradition never graduates, they say. But tradition likes playing on carpet. You get turf, I divvy out the helmet stickers.”

The Birdie has many pet peeves, including open windows in heated press boxes, $1.35 convenience fees for playoff tickets, cold pizza, long halftimes and 7:30 kickoffs. But mud-caked shoes are the worst.

“You play all season to get a great seed and a home game,” Birdie said. “What’s the point if you can’t play at home? I can’t predict the weather like I can football games, but turf would solve the problem. Derry, this goes for you too.”

Franklin Regional (6-3) at Bethel Park (6-3)

An interesting matchup with two raspy-voiced, veteran coaches trading schemes. Bethel Park will churn up the running game and force the Panthers to make mistakes. Bethel Park, 17-10

Latrobe (4-6) at Penn Hills (10-0)

Latrobe is the playoff darling in 5A. But the Wildcats will run into a playoff contender in the high-flying Indians. Penn Hills, 40-14

North Hills (6-4) at Penn-Trafford (8-2)

With a healthy defense that has been dominant against the run, the Warriors will contain the Indians and hit some big plays downfield -- maybe even with some new play calls -- to return to the 5A quarterfinals. Penn-Trafford, 28-12

Beaver (7-3) at Belle Vernon (8-1)

Beaver. Belle Vernon. Beach. Birdie. “They call that alliteration,” Birdie said. “I’ll add a few more: blitz, block and bounce. That’s what the Leopards will do in their playoff opener.” Belle Vernon, 23-13

Greensburg Salem (4-6) at South Fayette (9-1)

Greensburg Salem has waited seven seasons to get back to the WPIAL playoffs. During that time, South Fayette has made its benchmark as a postseason power. South Fayette, 44-21

Central Valley (5-5) at Derry (9-1)

Derry has been virtually unbeatable at home for three-plus seasons. That won’t change as the Trojans make a playoff push, but they’ll earn this one before the fire trucks sing. Derry, 20-13

Monessen (7-2) vs. Jeannette (10-0) at Hempfield

The Birdie was disappointed to see the Greyhounds’ chance at a home playoff game come down to a coin flip. “Month of preparation and hard work, and it comes down to a heads or tails on a carpeted floor in Green Tree?” Birdie said. Jeannette will roll after the opening coin flip in this one. Jeannette, 38-8

Marion Center (5-5) vs. Ligonier Valley (10-0) at Greensburg Salem

Ligonier Valley dominated the regular season, dominated the Appalachian Bowl and will dominate its District 6 playoff opener. Tee it high and let it fly. Ligonier Valley, 49-14

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