Chicks Pick – Week Five
By: Don Rebel
Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 9:50 PM
Welcome to Week 5 of the high school football season. This week brought several straight days of unseasonably warm temperatures. Wondering where these temperatures were during the summer, Chick’s Picks did her best to keep cool. A few days into the heatwave, however, was concerned that delirium was setting in. So, she tried her best to find an activity that was sure to cool her off.
Chick’s Picks sought out every person and neighborhood she knew with a swimming pool, but to no avail, as they had all closed for the season. She finally resorted to a Google search: How to keep cool on a hot fall day. The search turned up a plethora of results for the overheated prognosticator.
After a fair amount of research, Chick’s Picks went with her favorite activity suggested in an article: walk through random sprinklers in your neighborhood. So, Chick’s Picks put on her flip flops, stowed her crystal ball, and went on her way. She figured this would be fine since she was friendly with most of her neighbors. As it turns out, though, her activity was not that well received. When the third neighbor threatened to report her if she and her crystal ball didn’t get out of his yard, Chick’s Picks thought it would be best to just head home to suffer through the remainder of the heatwave.
Although Chick’s Picks was not pleased with the temperatures rising, she was thrilled when her predictions heated up last week. Chick’s Picks finished last week with an impressive 57-8 (88%) record, upping her season total to 195-61 (76%). Here are this week’s big games:
#2 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (4-1) at #1 Pine-Richland (5-0)
Northern Seven Conference action heats up when Pine-Richland plays host to Central Catholic Friday night. The Rams maintained their perfect record last week with a 54-20 win over Bethel Park, while the Vikings edged Seneca Valley, 28-20. Pine-Richland’s Phil Jurkovec continues to lead the WPIAL in passing with 1,470 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. The Rams boast both the top offense and defense in Class 6A, averaging 46.6 point per game and allowing only 12.4. The Vikings are averaging only 26.6 per game this season. These two met twice last season, with Central Catholic winning both meetings – including the WPIAL Championship game. Chick’s Picks knows the Rams are hungry for revenge, and predicts that they will get it.
Pine-Richland over Central Catholic.
#2 Gateway (5-0) at #4 Penn-Trafford (5-0)
Gateway hits the road to face off against Penn-Trafford in a Big East Conference showdown Friday night. The Gators are coming off of a 40-14 win over Hampton last week, as the Warriors routed Latrobe, 42-16. This week’s matchup features the top offense in Class 5A in Gateway against the top defense in Penn-Trafford. The Gators have posted 220 points in their first five games, while the Warriors have allowed only 31. Gateway quarterback Brady Wilson ranks among the best in the WPIAL, throwing for 1,328 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year. Penn-Trafford’s solid backfield duo of John Gay and Caleb Lisbon have combined for nearly 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Chick’s Picks predicts the Warriors defense will pull the upset in this one.
Penn-Trafford over Gateway.
#6 New Castle (3-2) at #4 Mars (4-1)
The Planets host the Red Hurricane in a Northwest Nine Conference matchup Friday night. Last week, Mars knocked off Highlands, 21-10. New Castle routed Indiana, 42-7. The victory marked the third straight for the Red Hurricane, after starting off the season (0-2). The Mars offense is averaging 22 points per game, while New Castle is approaching the 30-point mark. On the other side of the ball, the Red Hurricane has allowed 127 points on the year, while the Planets have held opponents to only 69 points in five games. Chick’s Picks predicts the Planets defense to win out in this one.
Mars over New Castle.
#3 Seton-LaSalle (4-0) at #10 Apollo-Ridge (4-1)
Allegheny Conference action heats up Friday night when the Rebels take on the Vikings. Seton-LaSalle maintained its perfect record Friday night with a 37-7 win over Serra Catholic last week, while Apollo-Ridge knocked off Burrell, 28-19. The Vikings cracked the Top 10 rankings with the win. Rebels’ running back Lionel Deanes has racked up 816 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns already this season, ranking him third in the WPIAL. Apollo-Ridge is averaging more than 27 points per game, but will have its hands full with Seton-LaSalle’s stingy defense that has allowed only 60 points all season. Chick’s Picks likes the Rebels to remain undefeated in this one.
Seton-LaSalle over Apollo-Ridge.
#6 Freedom (4-1) at #5 Riverside (3-1)
Freedom takes on Riverside in a Midwestern Conference matchup Friday night. The Bulldogs are coming off of a 42-20 victory over Laurel last week, while the Panthers rolled over South Side Beaver, 50-12. Both Freedom and Riverside come into this week’s game with perfect records in conference play. Bulldogs’ quarterback Zach Rosa is a threat in the air and on the ground, passing for 419 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for another 288 yards and four touchdowns. Riverside receiver Austin Dambach has found paydirt six times so far this season. Chick’s Picks predicts a victory for the home team in this one.
Riverside over Freedom.
#7 West Greene (4-1) at #8 Fort Cherry (3-1)
The Rangers host the Pioneers in a Tri-County South Conference showdown Friday night. Last week, Fort Cherry topped Shenango, 42-35. West Greene blanked Jefferson-Morgan, 18-0. This matchup features two of the top rushers in the WPIAL. Rangers’ quarterback Ryan Culberson has only passed for 190 yards so far this season, but his 654 rushing yards are good enough to rank him #8 in the WPIAL. Pioneers’ running back Benjamin Jackson has picked up 676 yards, putting him at #6 in the WPIAL. Fort Cherry has been outscored by its opponents this season, 108-120. Chick’s Picks likes the Pioneers in this one.
West Greene over Fort Cherry.
Northern Seven Conference
Penn Hills over Seneca Valley
Butler over Shaler
Canon-McMillan over Altoona
Bethel Park over Hempfield
Norwin over Peters Township
North Allegheny over Mount Lebanon
Allegheny Nine Conference
Upper St. Clair over Chartiers Valley
Moon over Fox Chapel
North Hills over Baldwin
Woodland Hills over Hampton
Big East Conference
Franklin Regional over Connellsville
Plum over Armstrong
McKeesport over Latrobe
West Allegheny over Kiski Area
Big Nine Conference
Belle Vernon over Laurel Highlands
Thomas Jefferson over Ringgold
Trinity over Uniontown
West Mifflin over Greensburg Salem
Northwest Nine Conference
Indiana over Ambridge
South Fayette over Blackhawk
Montour over Knoch
Highlands over Albert Gallatin
Freeport over Burrell
Keystone Oaks over Shady Side Academy
Beaver Valley Conference
Beaver over Central Valley
Quaker Valley over Hopewell
Elizabeth Forward over Mount Pleasant
Waynesburg over Southmoreland
McGuffey over Yough
Aliquippa over South Park
Ellwood City over Valley
Derry over Frazier
Beaver Falls over New Brighton
Charleroi over Bentworth
Beth-Center over Chartiers-Houston
Burgettstown over Brownsville
Midwestern Athletic Conference
Neshannock over Laurel
Mohawk over South Side Beaver
Three Rivers Conference
East Allegheny over Carlynton
South Allegheny over Serra Catholic
Avonworth over Cardinal Weurl North Catholic
Brentwood over Deer Lakes
Washington over Sto-Rox
Big Seven Conference
Rochester over Northgate
Union over Summit Academy
Western Beaver over Shenango
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart over Cornell
Jeannette over Bishop Canevin
Greensburg Central Catholic over Leechburg
Clairton over Imani Christian
Springdale over Riverview
Tri-County South Conference
California over Monessen
Carmichaels over Mapletown
Jefferson-Morgan over Avella
University Prep over Carrick
Brashear over Perry
Allderdice over DuBois
Fort Hill (MD) over Westinghouse
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.