Chicks Picks – Week 11

Welcome to Week 11 of the high school football season. 

The atmosphere at MSA Sports World Headquarters was full of excitement last Friday night as we began our exclusive coverage of the WPIAL playoffs.  Things seemed to be running smoothly; that is, until Chick’s Picks overheard an unsettling statement during one of the broadcasts.

The color commentator said, “This team should utilize that standout running back some more.  He’s really getting it done out there tonight.”

The play-by-play announcer called the next play, “That running back just went 80 yards for a touchdown!  Way to go, color commentator guy.  You called it.  It was almost as though you used that trusty crystal ball of Chick’s Picks’, and you saw that play coming.”

The color commentator was quiet for a moment before laughter broke out on the air.  The play-by-play announcer said, “Wow, you really DO have Chick’s Picks’ crystal ball!  How did you manage that?”

Panic set in at that moment for the house prognosticator.  Chick’s Picks realized that somehow, this broadcast team had lifted her prized crystal ball from MSA Sports World Headquarters, and used it for their own personal gain.

A devastated Chick’s Picks wondered how she would rebound from the loss of her most critical prognosticating tool, especially in the opening round of the playoffs.  Somehow, some way, though, Chick’s Picks managed to turn in her best performance all season, sans crystal ball.  Maybe she was just plain gifted, after all.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 31-3 (91%) record, upping her season total to 512-104 (83%).  Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINALS:
#7 McKeesport (9-1) vs. #2 Penn-Trafford (10-0)

The Tigers take on the Warriors in a quarterfinal matchup at Gateway Friday night.  This marks the second meeting between the two this season.  McKeesport fell to Penn-Trafford, 21-7, in Week 3 – the only loss on the year for the Tigers.  In last week’s opening round, the Tigers shutout Seneca Valley, 48-0, while the Warriors crushed North Hills, 56-7.  McKeesport is led by one of the WPIAL’s top backs in Khaleke Hudson, who has rushed for 1,118 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.  Penn-Trafford boasts both a 1,000-yard passer and rusher in Brett Laffoon and Jonah Lisbon.  The Tigers and Warriors both possess solid defenses that allow fewer than eight points per game.  Chick’s Picks knows the difficulty in beating a team twice in one season, but she predicts that the Warriors will find a way.
Penn-Trafford over McKeesport.

CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:
#5 Ringgold (9-1) vs. #4 Mars (9-1)

Ringgold meets Mars at Chartiers Valley in a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal showdown Friday night.  The Rams are coming off of a 35-0 shutout of Ambridge, while the Planets edged New Castle, 17-14.  Ringgold’s only loss this season came at the hands of top-ranked Belle Vernon, 13-12, in Week 6.  Mars notched the loss column only once this season, as well, falling to Franklin Regional, 35-24, in Week 3.  The Rams and the Planets have both had success this season though the air and on the ground.  Ringgold quarterback George Martin has passed for 1,118 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Running back Chacar Berry has gained 1,033 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.  Mars QB Sam Morrissey broke the 1,000-yard mark last week, and has also thrown for 12 touchdowns.  Isaiah Johnson has racked up 1,611 rushing yards and found the end zone 17 times for the Planets.  Ringgold’s stingy defense is allowing less than 11 points per game – nearly one touchdown less per game than Mars.  Chick’s Picks predicts the Rams defense will outlast and advance.
Ringgold over Mars.

CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:
#5 Steel Valley (9-1) vs. #4 Beaver Falls (9-1)

The Ironmen look to upset the Tigers in this Class AA quarterfinal Friday night at Montour.  Last week, Steel Valley routed New Brighton, 49-7, while Beaver Falls snuck by Apollo-Ridge, 33-29.  The Ironmen are led by Dewayne Murray, who has rushed for 1,354 yards and 23 touchdowns so far this season.  The Tigers feature do-it-all Malik Shephard, who has been dominant passing, receiving, and rushing the ball this season.  Steel Valley’s only loss this season came at the hands of defending champ South Fayette, 37-0 in Week 6.  Beaver Falls dropped its final regular season game to rival Aliquippa, 44-21.  Chick’s Picks predicts that the Ironmen will be (2-0) against Midwestern Conference postseason opponents after this one.
Steel Valley over Beaver Falls.

CLASS A QUARTERFINALS:
#6 Neshannock (9-1) vs. #3 Jeannette (9-1)

Neshannock and Jeannette will meet at Canon-McMillan’s Big Mac Stadium in a Class A quarterfinal showdown Friday night.  In last week’s opening round, the Lancers rolled over Bentworth, 49-13, while the Jayhawks put away Chartiers-Houston, 27-7.  Neshannock is led by quarterback Frank Antuono, who has passed for 1,608 yards and 18 touchdowns.  Antuono also leads the Lancers in rushing with 910 yards and 12 touchdowns.  Jeannette will be without the services of its leading rusher, Kareem Hall, who suffered an ankle injury in the Jayhawks Week 9 win over Greensburg Central Catholic.  Quarterback Giovonne Sanders, who has passed for more than 1,200 yards, will captain the Jeannette offense.  Chick’s Picks knows the Jayhawks will have their hands full without Hall, but predicts that they will rally in their leader’s absence.
Jeannette over Neshannock.

CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINALS:

Central Catholic over North Allegheny

Pine-Richland over Mount Lebanon

Woodland Hills over Bethel Park

CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:

Belle Vernon over Franklin Regional

Central Valley over Hampton

Thomas Jefferson over West Allegheny

CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:

South Fayette over Beaver

Washington over Freeport

Aliquippa over Seton-LaSalle

CLASS A QUARTERFINALS:

Cardinal Weurl North Catholic

Clairton over Avonworth

Shenango over Frazier