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Embarrassing encounter doesn’t shake Chick’s Picks’ Week 9 high school football predictions

November 14, 2018

Welcome to Week 9 of the high school football season.

Chick’s Picks headed back to her hometown for a special event this week. Throughout the course of the day, Chick’s Picks ran into many former acquaintances that she had not seen in quite some time.

During one conversation in particular, Chick’s Picks was speaking with an old friend and her first high school basketball coach. The friend asked Chick’s Picks for her best prognosticating opinion about an upcoming matchup between a mediocre local team and a WPIAL perennial power. Chick’s Picks chuckled and replied in a most sarcastic tone, “That should be a close one.”

Her amusement with her reply was short-lived, however, as it quickly dawned on Chick’s Picks that there had to be a reason for her friend’s off-the-wall question. The former hoops coach then said, “Chick’s Picks -- have you heard that I’ve been calling the defense over at (mediocre local team in question)?”

It is not often that someone of Chick’s Picks’ stature gets embarrassed. This was a rare exception. Sometimes being a world-class prognosticator is a curse.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 51-9 (85 percent) record, upping her season total to 435-127 (77 percent). Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS 6A

No. 1 Pine-Richland (8-1) at No. 2 North Allegheny (9-0)

North Allegheny looks to remain perfect when it hosts top-ranked Pine-Richland in a Class 6A showdown Friday night. The Tigers are coming off of a 26-20 nonconference win over West Allegheny last week, while the Rams topped Seneca Valley, 21-7. North Allegheny’s Ben Maenza has rushed for nearly 900 yards and 16 touchdowns. Pine-Richland’s passing attack is led by Cole Spencer, who has thrown for 1,068 yards and eight touchdowns. Luke Meckler leads the ground game with 897 yards and 16 touchdowns. Both the Tigers and the Rams have secured playoff spots, along with quarterfinal byes and home field in the semifinals. First place in the conference is on the line in this one. Chick’s Picks predicts a road win for the Rams. ... Pine-Richland over North Allegheny.

CLASS 5A

McKeesport (8-1) at No. 1 Gateway (9-0)

McKeesport hits the road to take on top-ranked Gateway in a Big East Conference battle Friday night. The Tigers knocked off Franklin Regional last week, 36-16, while the Gators routed Connellsville, 76-0, for their fifth shutout of the season. McKeesport quarterback Konota Gaskins has thrown for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns, and leads his team in rushing with 550 yards and 10 scores. High-powered Gateway, averaging 51.2 points per game, is led by Brendan Majocha, who has passed for 1,776 yards and 28 touchdowns -- ranking him in the Top 10 in the WPIAL. The Gators also boast a 1,000-yard rusher in Derrick Davis. The Tigers’ only loss this season came to Penn-Trafford, 20-9. Both McKeesport and Gateway have already clinched playoff spots, but the order of the top four is still to be determined in the Big East. The Gators’ defense is the best in Class 5A, allowing only 37 points in nine games. Chick’s Picks predicts a perfect regular season for the Gators. ... Gateway over McKeesport.

CLASS 4A

No. 5 Beaver (7-2) at No. 4 Blackhawk (8-1)

Blackhawk hosts Beaver in a Northwest Eight Conference showdown between ranked teams Friday night. Last week, the Cougars topped Beaver Falls, 35-15, in a nonconference matchup, while Beaver knocked off Montour, 33-20. Blackhawk’s running game has been key this season, with Marques Watson-Trent, Kenny Gawley and Josh Butcher combining for nearly 2,000 rushing yards. Beaver quarterback Brodie List has thrown for 983 yards and 14 scores. Blackhawk’s defense has allowed only 99 points all season. Both the Cougars and the Bobcats have punched their tickets to the postseason. The outcome of this one determines second and third place in the conference. Chick’s predicts a second-place finish for the Cougars. ... Blackhawk over Beaver.

CLASS 3A

South Park (2-6) at Quaker Valley (4-4)

South Park wraps up the season on the road at Quaker Valley in Tri-County West Conference action Friday night. The Eagles are coming off of a 31-7 loss to Central Valley last week, while the Quakers blanked Hopewell, 49-0. Quaker Valley is headed to the postseason, and can secure third place in the conference with a win in this one. South Park quarterback Stephen Kmonk has passed for 702 yards and eight touchdowns. Ethan Moore has 1,311 passing yards and nine touchdowns for Quaker Valley, and also leads his team in rushing with 492 yards and nine scores. Chick’s Picks predicts a win for the home team to close out the regular season. ... Quaker Valley over South Park.

CLASS 2A

McGuffey (8-1) at No. 5 Washington (8-1)

McGuffey and Washington face off in a Century Conference showdown Friday night. Last week, the Highlanders knocked off Avonworth, 57-42, while the Little Prexies rolled over Southmoreland, 58-35. The only losses this season for both McGuffey and Washington came at the hands of Charleroi. Christian Clutter, the WPIAL’s leading scorer with 32 touchdowns, leads the Highlanders with 1,162 rushing yards. Little Prexies’ quarterback Zack Swartz ranks among the best passers in the WPIAL with 1,683 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Little Prexies are averaging 53.4 points per game - nearly 10 points more than the Highlanders. Both McGuffey and Washington have clinched postseason berths. The winner of this matchup shares a conference title with Charleroi. Chick’s Picks predicts win No. 9 for the Little Prexies. ... Washington over McGuffey.

CLASS A

No. 2 Clairton (8-0) at No. 1 Jeannette (9-0)

Jeannette hosts Clairton in an Eastern Conference clash of undefeateds Friday night. The Jayhawks are coming off of a 43-0 rout of Riverview last week, while the Bears rolled over Springdale, 43-7. Both Jeannette and Clairton are headed to the postseason, but not before battling it out for first place in the conference. Jayhawks quarterback Seth Howard has thrown for 1,170 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Bears are led by Brendan Parsons, who has 897 passing yards and 13 scores. Both defenses are allowing fewer than seven points per game. Jeannette is 1-6-1 all-time against Clairton. The Jayhawks’ lone victory over the Bears came in last year’s WPIAL semifinal, 18-7. Chick’s Picks predicts another win for the home team. ... Jeannette over Clairton.

Here’s a look at the other predictions:

CLASS 6A

Canon-McMillan over Butler

Central Catholic over Mt. Lebanon

Seneca Valley over Norwin

CLASS 5A

Allegheny Eight Conference

Peters Township over Baldwin

Woodland Hills over Chartiers Valley

Upper St. Clair over Bethel Park

West Allegheny over Moon

Big East Conference

Connellsville over Albert Gallatin

Penn-Trafford over Franklin Regional

Northern Conference

Shaler over Fox Chapel

Mars over Hampton

Armstrong over Kiski Area

Penn Hills over North Hills

Nonconference

Hempfield over Plum

CLASS 4A

Big Eight Conference

Belle Vernon over Ringgold

Greensburg Salem over Indiana

Laurel Highlands over Trinity

Thomas Jefferson over West Mifflin

Northwest Eight Conference

New Castle over Ambridge

South Fayette over Montour

Nonconference

Charleroi over Apollo-Ridge

Knoch over Freeport

Latrobe over Highlands

CLASS 3A

Big East Conference

Derry over Burrell

North Catholic over Deer Lakes

Mt. Pleasant over Uniontown

Elizabeth Forward over Yough

Tri-County West Conference

Aliquippa over Central Valley

Beaver Falls over Hopewell

Keystone Oaks over Waynesburg

CLASS 2A

Allegheny Conference

Shady Side Academy over Avonworth

East Allegheny over Valley

Century Conference

Carmichaels over Brownsville

Frazier over Beth-Center

Midwestern Conference

Riverside over New Brighton

Neshannock over Shenango

Freedom over Western Beaver

Three Rivers Conference

Serra Catholic over Fort Cherry

Seton LaSalle over Carlynton

Burgettstown over South Allegheny

Nonconference

Brentwood over Ellwood City

Greensburg Central Catholic over Southmoreland

Steel Valley over South Side Beaver

CLASS A

Big Seven Conference

Our Lady of Sacred Heart over Cornell

Rochester over Bishop Canevin

Laurel over Northgate

Eastern Conference

Leechburg over Springdale

Tri-County South Conference

Bentworth over Jefferson-Morgan

California over Mapletown

Monessen over Avella

Nonconference

Sto-Rox over Riverview

West Greene over Union

Imani Christian over Chartiers-Houston

Mohawk over Summit Academy

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