Welcome to Week 7 of the high school football season. Among other things, Chick’s Picks has been described as superstitious. Needless to say, she has been on edge this week with Friday the 13th looming. Chick’s Picks tried everything in an attempt to squash her concerns over this unfortunate day. After all, 13 is just a number, and Friday is her favorite day of the week.
So, Chick’s Picks resorted to her solution for most of life’s problems – Google. She thought, surely a quick search for fun Friday the 13th facts would ease her mind. No such luck. As it turns out, nothing fun has ever happened on Friday the 13th.
Chick’s Picks began to wonder – how could she possibly perform her prognosticating skills on Friday the 13th? She decided to take a walk to clear her head. Chick’s Picks stepped outside, unaware that the gutter cleaning service had arrived, and inevitably walked underneath a ladder. She powered through, though, convincing herself that this was just a coincidence. Moments later, the neighbor’s black cat crossed the road in front of her. And, that’s all she wrote. Chick’s Picks can only hope that her trusty crystal ball will come through with the winning predictions this week.
Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 32-5 (86%) record, upping her season total to 281-76 (79%). Here are this week’s big games:
#5 Mount Lebanon (5-2) at #7 Peters Township (5-2)
Peters Township plays host to Mount Lebanon in a Southeastern Conference showdown Friday night. The Indians are looking to rebound after last week’s 56-7 loss to Pine-Richland. The Blue Devils knocked off Norwin, 35-20. The Peters Township defense has held its conference opponents to only 57 points in four games. It will have its hands full, however, with Mount Lebanon’s fully loaded offense. The Blue Devils have found success with a two-quarterback rotation between James Stocker and Seth Morgan. The two have combined for nearly 2,000 passing yards already this season. Their favorite target, Aidan Cain, is back in full force after missing his sophomore and junior years with back-to-back torn ACLs. Cain has already racked up 1,195 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Chick’s Picks likes the Blue Devils with the road victory in this one.
Mount Lebanon over Peters Township.
#3 Upper St. Clair (6-1) at #2 McKeesport (5-1)
The Panthers take on the Tigers in a non-conference battle between Class 5A top teams. Last week, Upper St. Clair upset West Allegheny, 21-20, while McKeesport rolled over Kiski Area 48-13. Panthers’ quarterback Jack Hansberry is approaching 1,000 passing yards this season. The Tigers boast a backfield trio of Layton Jordan, John Harper, and Carlinos Acie, who have combined for 1,813 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on the year. McKeesport has been strong on the other side of the ball, as well, allowing only 54 points in six games. Chick’s Picks likes the Tigers in the home field victory.
McKeesport over Upper St. Clair.
#1 Thomas Jefferson (6-0) at #3 Belle Vernon (6-0)
Top-ranked Thomas Jefferson hits the road to take on Belle Vernon in a battle for first place in the Big Nine Conference. The Jaguars are coming off of a 34-6 win over Mars, while the Leopards rolled over Trinity, 28-21. Both TJ and Belle Vernon come into this week’s matchup with perfect records. The Jaguars have found success both in the air and on the ground. Quarterback Shane Stump has passed for 713 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year. Running back Justin Vigna has racked up 917 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. The Leopards are led by quarterback Jared Hartman, who has thrown for 10 touchdowns and rushed for another seven. TJ boasts both the top offense and defense in Class 4A, averaging 49.5 points per game while allowing only 3.3. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Jaguars will deliver the Leopards their first loss of the season in this one.
Thomas Jefferson over Belle Vernon.
#1 Aliquippa (7-0) at #2 Quaker Valley (7-0)
The Beaver Valley Conference heats things up when Quaker Valley hosts Aliquippa in a battle of the unbeaten Friday night. Last week, the Quakers rolled over Beaver Falls, 42-14. The Quips recorded their sixth shutout of the season with a 28-0 rout of Clairton. Aliquippa running back Avante McKenzie has rushed for 897 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. Quaker Valley’s dual threat quarterback Ricky Guss has thrown for 1,098 yards and 14 touchdowns, and rushed for another 604 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Quips’ defense ranks first in the WPIAL, having allowed only 10 points in seven games. The Quakers lead Class 3A in offense, averaging more than 45 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts that the big game experience of the Quips will pay off in this one.
Aliquippa over Quaker Valley.
#3 East Allegheny (5-1) at #1 Steel Valley (6-0)
East Allegheny travels to Munhall to take on top-ranked Steel Valley in a Three Rivers Conference showdown Friday night. The Wildcats edged Avonworth last week, 14-13, while the Ironmen blanked Carlynton, 51-0. East Allegheny quarterback Tamaine Underwood ranks among the best in the WPIAL with 1,385 passing yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season. Kameron Williams, Trevon Adams, and Amont Strothers have each found paydirt six times for a Steel Valley offense that is averaging 41 points per game. Chick’s Picks likes the Ironmen to remain perfect in this one.
Steel Valley over East Allegheny.
#5 Rochester (5-1) at #2 California (7-0)
The Trojans look to remain perfect when they host the Rams in a non-conference matchup between Class A Top 10 teams Friday night. California routed Carmichaels last week, 42-7, while Rochester topped Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 16-13. Jelani Stafford, one of the WPIAL’s best backs, has racked up 1,055 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns for the Trojans. Rams’ running back Mahlik Strozier has rushed for 763 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season. California leads the WPIAL in scoring, averaging 57.3 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Trojans will keep their record unblemished in this one.
California over Rochester.
Northern Seven Conference
North Allegheny over Seneca Valley
Pine-Richland over Shaler
Bethel Park over Canon-McMillan
Central Catholic over Altoona
Norwin over Butler
Penn Hills over Hempfield
Allegheny Nine Conference
Fox Chapel over Baldwin
North Hills over Chartiers Valley
Woodland Hills over Moon
West Allegheny over Hampton
Big East Conference
Penn-Trafford over Armstrong
Gateway over Kiski Area
Franklin Regional over Latrobe
Plum over Connellsville
Big Nine Conference
Trinity over Albert Gallatin
Laurel Highlands over Uniontown
West Mifflin over Ringgold
Northwest Nine Conference
Mars over Ambridge
Highlands over Blackhawk
South Fayette over Indiana
New Castle over Knoch
Montour over Greensburg Salem
Keystone Oaks over Apollo-Ridge
Burrell over Valley
Seton-LaSalle over Freeport
Beaver Valley Conference
Central Valley over Beaver Falls
Beaver over Hopewell
Elizabeth Forward over Southmoreland
McGuffey over South Park
Mount Pleasant over Yough
Derry Area over Ellwood City
Beth-Center over Brownsville
Burgettstown over Charleroi
Washington over Chartiers-Houston
Midwestern Athletic Conference
Freedom over Mohawk
Riverside over Cardinal Weurl North Catholic
Neshannock over South Side Beaver
Three Rivers Conference
Serra Catholic over Carlynton
Laurel over Deer Lakes
Imani Christian over Frazier
Shady Side Academy over Avonworth
South Allegheny over New Brighton
Waynesburg over Bentworth
Big Seven Conference
Shenango over Cornell
Union over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Western Beaver over Northgate
Summit Academy over Sto-Rox
Clairton over Leechburg
Jeannette over Greensburg Central Catholic
Springdale over Bishop Canevin
Tri-County South Conference
Fort Cherry over Mapletown
Carmichaels over Jefferson-Morgan
West Greene over Monessen
Riverview over Avella
Westinghouse over Allderdice
Perry over University Prep
Erie Strong Vincent over Brashear
Bridgeport (OH) over Carrick