An educational course might help Chick’s Picks improve high school football prognosticating

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Thursday, November 11, 2021 | 2:11 PM


Welcome to Week 11.

Much like Chick’s Picks’ 9-5 job, prognosticating also requires her to keep up on the latest industry trends through a number of continuing education courses each year. With the end of the year quickly approaching, Chick’s Picks has been frantically seeking a few more courses in order to fulfill her requirements — without much luck. So, she decided to reach out to The Boss for some direction.

The Boss promptly responded to Chick’s Picks’ request with a comprehensive list of available courses he felt would be a good fit for her, including titles such as Dragon Energy, Natural Magic, Numerology and Psychic Medium Masters. After reviewing the list, Chick’s Picks voiced her concerns to The Boss that none of these courses were a good fit.

“Boss, I’m not really sure what dragons have to do with high school football prognosticating, unless we’re talking about the Allderdice Dragons, of course. And Natural Magic? My prognosticating craft is pure skill, not magic. Numerology seems irrelevant unless we are discussing passing, rushing and receiving stats. And Psychic Medium Masters? Boss, I’m clearly already a master, making this class a waste of time and crystal ball energy,” Chick’s Picks explained.

Perhaps it was the “master” reference, but at that point, The Boss had had enough of Chick’s Picks’ dissatisfaction with his recommendations. “If by master you are referring to the lousiest season record of your career, then yes Chick’s Picks, you are a master,” The Boss exclaimed. “Otherwise, I suggest you pack up your crystal ball and get to one of those classes quick, and hope they can help you improve your performance before this week’s games.”

Chick’s Picks took the hint and scattered, in hopes of predicting more winners in Week 11.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 22-10 (69%) record, bringing her season total to 480-158 (75%). Here are this week’s big games:

WPIAL CLASS 6A

No. 3 Seneca Valley Raiders (7-3) vs. No. 2 Central Catholic Vikings (8-2) at Baldwin

The Raiders take on the Vikings in a WPIAL Class 6A semifinal showdown at Baldwin Friday night. Both Seneca Valley and Central Catholic enjoyed a bye week last week, ensuring that each will come into this week’s matchup well-rested. The Raiders rely on the arm of quarterback Graham Hancox, who has thrown for 1,353 yards and eight touchdowns. Vikings’ quarterback Payton Wehner has passed for 1,232 yards and 14 scores. Gannon Carothers leads the Central Catholic running game with 873 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The Vikings are averaging 36.4 points per game — nearly three touchdowns per game more than the Raiders. When these two met in the regular season, Central Catholic blanked Seneca Valley, 35-0. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Vikings punch their ticket to the finals with another victory this time around…Central Catholic over Seneca Valley.

WPIAL CLASS 5A

No. 10 Fox Chapel Foxes (5-6) at No. 2 Penn-Trafford Warriors (8-2)

Penn-Trafford hosts Fox Chapel in a WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals matchup Friday night. The Warriors earned a bye for last week’s first round, while the Foxes upset No. 7 Upper St. Clair, 13-10. Penn-Trafford’s balanced offense is led by quarterback Carter Green, who has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. Cade Yacamelli, a Wisconsin recruit, has racked up 1,150 rushing yards for the Warriors, and found paydirt 14 times. Collin Dietz captains the Fox Chapel offense, passing for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Foxes rely on Zidane Thomas on the ground, behind his 950 rushing yards and nine scores. Penn-Trafford averages 33.3 points per game — nearly twice that of Fox Chapel. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Foxes’ Cinderella postseason run will come to an end in this one…Penn-Trafford over Fox Chapel.

WPIAL CLASS 4A

No. 6 Armstrong River Hawks (8-3) at No. 3 McKeesport Tigers (8-2)

The River Hawks hit the road to take on the Tigers in a WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinal battle Friday night. Armstrong opened the postseason with a 27-16 victory over Montour last week, while McKeesport enjoyed a first-round bye. The River Hawks boast one of the WPIAL’s top passers in Cadin Olsen, who has thrown for 2,206 yards and 26 touchdowns, in addition to rushing for a team-high 803 yards and 14 scores. The Tigers continue to find success with the running game, this year featuring Bobbie Boyd and his 1,290 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. When these two met earlier this season in Week 2, McKeesport held off Armstrong, 24-14. Chick’s Picks predicts that the postseason-seasoned Tigers will advance to the semifinals with a victory in this one…McKeesport over Armstrong.

WPIAL CLASS 3A

No. 5 Freeport Yellowjackets (6-4) at No. 4 Elizabeth Forward Warriors (8-2)

Elizabeth Forward hosts Freeport in a WPIAL CLASS 3A quarterfinal showdown Friday night. The Warriors earned a first-round bye last week, while the Yellowjackets topped Ambridge, 34-6. Zion White captains the Elizabeth Forward offense, throwing for 970 yards and 19 touchdowns. Kyle Flournoy has racked up 561 rushing yards and eight touchdowns for the Warriors. Freeport dual-threat quarterback Ben Lane has thrown for 436 yards and rushed for a team-best 511 yards and eight touchdowns. The Warriors boast a stingy defense that is allowing only 7.5 points per game this season. Chick’s Picks predicts that defense wins championships, or at least quarterfinals…Elizabeth Forward over Freeport.

WPIAL CLASS 2A

No. 13 New Brighton Lions (5-6) at No. 5 Beaver Falls Tigers (7-3)

New Brighton takes on Midwestern Conference rival Beaver Falls in WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinal action Friday night. The Lions are coming off of a 21-20 overtime thriller, upsetting No. 4 Washington, 21-20. The Tigers rolled over Western Beaver, 42-8, in their first-round matchup. The New Brighton receiver duo of Keandre Williams and Blake McKay have combined for more than 800 yards and 15 touchdowns. Beaver Falls features one of the top quarterbacks in the WPIAL in Jaren Brickner, who has thrown for 2,045 yards and 21 touchdowns. Brickner’s high-powered offense is averaging 36.4 points per game — two touchdowns more per game than the Lions. When these two met in Week 5, Beaver Falls knocked off New Brighton, 39-18. Chick’s Picks predicts a similar outcome for the Tigers in this postseason edition…Beaver Falls over New Brighton.

WPIAL CLASS A

No. 7 Leechburg Blue Devils (9-2) at No. 2 Cornell Raiders (8-2)

The Raiders take on the Blue Devils in this WPIAL Class A quarterfinal battle Friday night. In last week’s first round, Cornell blanked Monessen, 33-0, while Leechburg rolled over California, 28-7. Quarterback Sincere Kimbrough heads the Raiders offense, passing for 801 yards and nine touchdowns. Raquon Troutman has rushed for 497 yards and eight scores for Cornell. The Blue Devils boast a few of the district’s best on offense, including quarterback Thomas Burke and running back Braylan Lovelace, who both rank in the top 5 in the WPIAL. Burke has thrown for 1,960 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Lovelace has racked up 1,446 rushing yards and 27 scores. The high-powered Leechburg offense averages nearly 44 points per game to Cornell’s 26.3. That offense will be tested, though, facing off against the Raiders, who have held opponents to only 11.2 points per game this season. Still, Chick’s Picks predicts that the Blue Devils pull the upset and advance to the semifinals…Leechburg over Cornell.

Here’s a look at the rest of this week’s games:

WPIAL CLASS 6A

Semifinals

Mt. Lebanon over North Allegheny

WPIAL CLASS 5A

Quarterfinals

Moon over Woodland Hills

Gateway over Penn Hills

Pine-Richland over Peters Township

WPIAL CLASS 4A

Quarterfinals

Belle Vernon over New Castle

Thomas Jefferson over Hampton

Aliquippa over Laurel Highlands

WPIAL CLASS 3A

Quarterfinals

North Catholic over Keystone Oaks

Central Valley over East Allegheny

Avonworth over Mt. Pleasant

WPIAL CLASS 2A

Quarterfinals

Steel Valley over South Side

Serra Catholic over Laurel

Sto-Rox over Mohawk

WPIAL CLASS A

Quarterfinals

Springdale over Rochester

Clairton over OLSH

Bishop Canevin over Shenango

PIAA CLASS 2A Districts 5-8

Regional championship

Windber over Westinghouse

PIAA CLASS 4A Districts 6-8-9

Regional championship

University Prep over Juniata

DISTRICT 10

Championship

McDowell over Butler

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