Welcome to Week 1 of the high school football season. It has been a busy summer for Chick’s Picks. As she finally settled in to focus on the season upon us, she realized that quite a few things had changed – MSA Sports World Headquarters relocated, AND the WPIAL changed to six classifications.
When Chick’s Picks informed her trusty crystal ball that it needed to be up and running in the new world headquarters for Week Zero, her key prognosticating tool went into overload mode. Chick’s Picks rushed the crystal ball to the shop for maintenance, but, as it turned out, a major overhaul was required. The prognosticator, along with her crystal ball, had to watch Week Zero from the sidelines.
Unfortunately for the other prognosticators around the WPIAL, everything is back in order for Week 1. Here are this week’s big games:
#2 Pine-Richland (0-1) at #4 Mt. Lebanon (1-0)
The Blue Devils play host to the Rams in a Class AAAAAA non-conference showdown Friday night. Mt. Lebanon opened its season last week with a 44-13 victory over Fox Chapel, while Pine-Richland fell to St. Edward (OH), 28-27. This season, the Blue Devils return 15 starters from last year’s (9-2) squad that advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals, before falling to Pine-Richland. The Rams return standout QB Phil Jurkovec, a Notre Dame recruit, who passed for more than 2,000 yards last season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Rams will get things back on track this week.
Pine-Richland over Mt. Lebanon.
#8 North Hills (1-0) at #2 Upper St. Clair (0-0)
The Indians and the Panthers get things started in the Allegheny Nine Conference Friday night. Last week, North Hills rolled over Shaler, while Upper St. Clair used Week Zero for a scrimmage. The Indians return veteran RB Nick Santucci, who rushed for 650 yards last season. The Panthers will once again be led by one of the top backs in the WPIAL in Thomas Vissman, who racked up 1,364 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Chick’s Picks predicts that Vissman will lead his Panthers to victory number one on the year.
Upper St. Clair over North Hills.
#5 Mars (1-0) at #1 South Fayette (1-0)
Mars visits South Fayette to kick things off in the Northwest Nine Conference Friday night. Last week, the Planets blanked Hampton, 28-0, while South Fayette topped Central Valley, 28-17. Mars boasts one of the top RBs in the WPIAL in Isaiah Johnson, who tallied 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. South Fayette returns quarterback Drew Sexton, a member of last season’s 2,000-yard club. The Planets advanced to last year’s WPIAL Class AAA semifinals, before falling to Central Valley. The Lions finished as the WPIAL Class AA runners-up. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Lions will make it two in a row with this one.
South Fayette over Mars.
#2 Aliquippa (1-0) at #1 Beaver Falls (0-0)
Familiar foes meet early this season in a Beaver Valley Conference showdown Friday night. Aliquippa is coming off of a big win over New Castle last week, 44-28, while Beaver Falls scrimmaged. The Quips will rely on the running game once again this year, with big things expected from Kiyon Fonks and Jelani Solomon, who combined for over 700 yards last season. The Tigers return dual threat quarterback Malik Shepherd, who picked up 500 yards through the air and 1,000 yards on the ground last season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Tigers will hand the Quips a rare regular season loss in this one.
Beaver Falls over Aliquippa.
#4 Cardinal Weurl North Catholic (0-0) at #3 Neshannock (1-0)
The Lancers play host to the Trojans in a Midwestern Conference battle Friday night. Neshannock opened its season last week with a 42-14 victory over Farrell, while Cardinal Weurl North Catholic locked in one final scrimmage. The Lancers return senior quarterback Frank Antuono, who has passed for more than 3,500 career yards. The Trojans will be led once again by RB Mario Latronica, who rushed for 918 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Trojans will take home their first victory in this one.
Cardinal Weurl North Catholic over Neshannock.
#4 Bishop Canevin (0-0) at #1 Clairton (0-0)
The Crusaders hit the road to open Eastern Conference play at Clairton Friday night. Bishop Canevin finished last season with a (7-4) record, falling to Cardinal Weurl North Catholic in the WPIAL quarterfinals. Clairton knocked off Jeannette for the WPIAL Class A Championship, before falling to Berlin-Brothersvalley in the PIAA quarterfinals. The Crusaders return quarterback Austin Scott, a 1,000-yard passer last season. The Bears return Lamont Wade for his senior season, after already racking up more than 4,000 career yards. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Bears will send the Crusaders home with their first loss of the season.
Clairton over Bishop Canevin.
Northern Seven Conference
Central Catholic over Shaler
Penn Hills over Butler
Hempfield over Canon-McMillan
Norwin over Altoona
Seneca Valley over Peters Township
North Allegheny over Bethel Park
Allegheny Nine Conference
Woodland Hills over Baldwin
Hampton over Chartiers Valley
West Allegheny over Fox Chapel
Big East Conference
Penn-Trafford over Connellsville
McKeesport over Franklin Regional
Gateway over Latrobe
Plum over Kiski Area
Armstrong over Moon
Big Nine Conference
Belle Vernon over Albert Gallatin
Ringgold over Greensburg Salem
Thomas Jefferson over Uniontown
West Mifflin over Trinity
Northwest Nine Conference
Highlands over Ambridge
Knock over Blackhawk
New Castle over Montour
Indiana over Laurel Highlands
Deer Lakes over Apollo-Ridge
Keystone Oaks over Valley
Seton-LaSalle over Shady Side Academy
Beaver Valley Conference
Central Valley over Ellwood City
Elizabeth Forward over Derry
South Park over Southmoreland
Mount Pleasant over Waynesburg
3-A vs 2-A Non-Conference
Beth-Center over Yough
Beaver over Freedom
Freeport over Vincentian Academy
Hopewell over Burrell
McGuffey over Quaker Valley
Brownsville over Bentworth
Frazier over Burgettstown
Washington over Charleroi
Laurel over Mohawk
South Side Beaver over New Brighton
Three Rivers Conference
Avonworth over Carlynton
Brentwood over Serra Catholic
South Allegheny over East Allegheny
Jeannette over Chartiers-Houston
Steel Valley over Riverside
Big Seven Conference
Northgate over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Shenango over Rochester
Sto-Rox over Union
Western Beaver over Summit Academy
Clairton over Bishop Canevin
Greensburg Central Catholic over Imani Christian
Riverview over Leechburg
Tri-County South Conference
Fort Cherry over California
Monessen over Carmichaels
West Greene over Avella
Mapletown over Cornell
Jefferson-Morgan over Springdale
PITTSBURGH CITY LEAGUE
Brashear over Allderdice
Perry over Carrick