Birdie predicts state playoff ‘exet’ for last Westmoreland County team standing

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 | 1:51 PM

Last week: 1-1 (50%)

Season: 98-38 (72.1%)

After a wild weekend at Heinz Field that saw the Birdie get splashed with Gatorade, get buried under a Penn-Trafford dog pile and get escorted out by security for trying to make a snow angel on the lightly coated sod, the Westmoreland pigskin wizard is back for the state semifinals.

He batted .500 in the WPIAL finals.

“Belle Vernon didn’t execute like it could because of that huge Aliquippa defensive line that squished the Leopards’ big-play offense like a ketchup packet,” Birdie said. “But Penn-Trafford came through like I said it would. Shame about that field goal kicker for Moon. Championships shouldn’t end that way, but that’s football. I was a third-string holder in midgets and once saw my teammate miss wide right. It’s no fun. But winning that first title, now that is fun on top of fun.”

The Birdie is a little less confident about Penn-Trafford’s chances to bring home a state title, not because the Warriors aren’t good enough. He just thinks Exeter Township is the real deal.

He has been covering playoff games long enough to know that by this point in the year, every team is good and they only get better each week.

“The Eagles are loaded like the baked potato I had for lunch,” Birdie said. “Solid running game, dart-throwing pass game and a tidal wave on defense. Penn-Trafford will have to play perfectly and then some to have a chance.

“They do have a loss to Hempfield. … Not that one. The team from District 3. But they knocked off Governor Mifflin. Made my brows go up.

“P-T will battle for sure. Mike Tomlin referenced Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots this week. This game will be like that.”

The Birdie needs two wins for 100 on the season, but he thinks he will come up short of the milestone.

“The words I hate to hear will sound from Westmoreland fans,” he said. “It’s time for basketball season.

“Warriors, feel free to put this on your bulletin board. I call ‘em like I see ‘em.”

• Penn-Trafford (11-2) vs. Exeter Township (10-3): Exeter won’t completely shut down the Warriors’ offense and Big Ten-bound Cade Yacamelli, but it will slow the unit down. The Eagles will hit some big pass plays early and run some clock, keeping the Warriors off the field. Their defense will force a turnover or two and make the Warriors beat them with the pass. Exeter Township 24, Penn-Trafford 17


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