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The Birdie dresses up his opening-round picks for A-K Valley football teams

November 23, 2018

Last week: 10-1 (.909)

Season: 93-20 (.823)

Of all the holidays in the calendar, The Birdie most appreciates Jan. 5: “National Bird Day,” he explained.

Halloween comes in a close runner-up.

The Birdie dressed up as a different one of his idols each year: Donald Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Woody Woodpecker.

“Never the ugly ducking, though,” he said. “Didn’t want the bad publicity.”

Then there’s the candy: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twix -- the only candy bar with the cookie crunch.

He did look down on some of the other offerings: “Who the heck gives out an apple? You can keep your Good and Plenty, too. That’s false advertising on the first part. And Mallo Cups are worse versions of Reese’s.”

Finally, there was the trick-or-treat aspect of the holiday. Although The Birdie never egged a house or toilet-papered a tree, he may have left a present on a car or two in his younger days.

Speaking of which ...

“Freeport and Kiski Area can’t be feeling like they got much of a treat from the WPIAL playoff committee,” he said. “Aliquippa and Gateway? That’s gonna be a tough way to get the postseason started. The Quips have made the WPIAL championship game a second home over the last decade, and the Gators have taken a chomp out of every team they’ve played this year.”

It won’t be easy for the Yellowjackets and Cavaliers to advance, unless they consider dressing as Cinderella.

“That’s the thing about playoffs,” The Birdie said. “You never really know. ’Course, I’ve done a pretty good job over the years of figuring it out.”

The Birdie closed the regular season strong, picking 10 of 11 games correctly, and now turns his focus to the playoffs.

Freeport (5-4) at Aliquippa (9-1)

The Yellowjackets did a good job to turn their season around after an 0-3 start, but the competition kicks up a notch or 12 this week.

“It’s just hard to beat the Quips this time of year,” The Birdie said, referencing Aliquippa’s 10 consecutive trips to Heinz Field.

Freeport gave Aliquippa a fight in the 2015 semifinals, but those were two very different teams. Midnight comes for the Yellowjackets on Friday.

Aliquippa, 48-21

Kiski Area (3-7) at Gateway (10-0)

It’s been a difficult month and a half for the Cavaliers after they won three of their first four games, and it won’t get any easier this week.

“I can think of only one Gator more dangerous than Gateway, and that’s the one from ‘Peter Pan,’ ” The Birdie said. “That ticking you hear is the time running out on Kiski Area’s season.

It’s been almost three decades since Kiski Area won a playoff game, and that drought will continue.

Gateway, 56-17

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