Chicks Picks – 10/27/2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011 | 2:56 PM

Welcome to Week 9 of the high school football season. Friends of Chick’s Picks held the first annual Pumpkin Carve-nival this week to get in the Halloween spirit.  The Pumpkin Carve-nival, as it had been dubbed, was not your average pumpkin-carving party.  Prizes and pride were on the line, and Chick’s Picks was determined to take home gold in every category.

Spending quite a bit of time this week brainstorming, Chick’s Picks knew her design had to be creative, while incorporating a cryptic message that would hint at her WPIAL finalist favorites.  She began her carving with the largest species of cat, always on the hunt for prey to survive–Tigers.  The next depiction that Chick’s Picks created was a person ready for battle, showing great courage and vigor–Warrior.  Her third concept was a Rebel–not as in Network guru Don Rebel, but as in one independent in thoughts and actions, unafraid of fighting for the cause.  The fourth and final carving represented a massive animal with large paws and sharp claws, which typically poses a threat to humans–Bears.

The Pumpkin Carve-nival judges unanimously voted Chick’s Picks the grand prize winner for her creativity.  Now, she can only hope that her bold predictions from the pumpkin crystal ball will pan out in the postseason.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 58-10 (85%) record, bumping her season total to 436-105 (81%).  Share your picks and follow Chick’s Picks on Twitter @ChicksPicksMSA.  Here are this week’s big games:


#8 Mount Lebanon (6-2) at #3 Upper St. Clair (7-1)

The Great Southern Conference title comes down to this meeting for Mount Lebanon and Upper St. Clair.  The Blue Devils rallied to a 42-21 win over Peters Township last week, while the Panthers routed Bethel Park, 55-0, for its fifth shutout of the year.  Upper St. Clair has outscored its previous two opponents, 110-0.  The only loss for the Panthers this season came at the hands of North Allegheny in Week 3, 28-21.  The Blue Devils have fallen twice so far–to Penn-Trafford and to Hopewell.  Both Mount Lebanon and Upper St. Clair are undefeated in conference play, and have clinched postseason berths.  The ground game will be key for both sides.  Blue Devils RB Luke Nagy, who recently committed to Cornell, has surpassed the 1,500-yard mark on the season.  Panther QB Dakota Conwell, a Pitt recruit, has tallied nearly 800 passing yards and more than 600 rushing yards, making him his team’s leading rusher, as well.  Upper St. Clair ranks second in Class AAAA both offensively and defensively, outscoring opponents 347-69.  Mount Lebanon won last year’s meeting, 14-10, but prior to, Upper St. Clair held the Blue Devils’ number for many years.  Chick’s Picks likes the Panthers to turn in win number 351 for Coach Render.
Upper St. Clair over Mount Lebanon.


#5 Thomas Jefferson (6-2) at #4 West Mifflin (7-1)

The Titans host the Jaguars in a Big Eight Conference showdown Friday night.  West Mifflin made a statement last week, thumping Chartiers Valley, 47-8.  Thomas Jefferson also rolled, 40-7 over Belle Vernon.  The two losses suffered by the Jaguars this season both came to Class AAAA opponents, Woodland Hills and Baldwin.  They remain unbeaten in their last 37 conference games.  Thomas Jefferson’s last conference loss dates back to 2005, when it fell to West Mifflin in the final week of regular season play, 28-15.  Since then, the Jaguars have gone (5-0) against the Titans, outscoring them 208-33.  The postseason is a lock for both teams.  Thomas Jefferson can claim the conference title outright with a win over West Mifflin.  Should the Jaguars fall to the Titans, however, they would be forced to share the title.  The Titans defense has been solid, ranking second in Class AAA, allowing only 71 points to date.  They will face a tough test in the prolific TJ offense, which features QB Dom Presto (1,244 yards) and RB Ryan Ruffing (1,155 yards).  West Mifflin’s backfield boasts a powerful runner of its own in Shamar Greene, who has amassed 1,071 yards so far this season.  Chick’s Picks knows this will be more of a contest than we’ve seen in years, but thinks the streak will continue for the Jags.
Thomas Jefferson over West Mifflin.


#3 Greensburg Central Catholic (8-0) at #4 Jeannette (8-0)

McKee Stadium plays host to this bitter rivalry Friday night when the Interstate Conference title will be handed to either the Centurions or the Jayhawks.  Last week, Greensburg Central Catholic stopped East Allegheny, 21-6, while Jeannette upended Brownsville, 35-13.  The Centurions and the Jayhawks both come into this week’s game with perfect records and playoff berths secured.  Jordan McCrae heads up a solid running game for Greensburg Central Catholic, with 943 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year.  Jeannette will try to counter McCrae with do-it-all QB Demetrious Cox, who is the team’s leading rusher with 751 yards.  The Jayhawk offense has scored more than any other in Class AA with its 337 points.    Neither of these teams is a one-man show, however.  Each has ten players that have found the end zone this season.  This matchup always holds plenty of significance; since, more often than not, the winner goes home with the conference title.  Greensburg Central Catholic has had Jeannette’s number the past three meetings, however, going (3-0) and outscoring the Jayhawks 98-41.  The last win for Jeannette came in 2007, 42-6.  The Jayhawks have finished the regular season with a perfect record 15 times–more than any other team in WPIAL history.  Chick’s Picks thinks they will make it 16 this Friday night.
Jeannette over Greensburg Central Catholic.


North Catholic (5-3) at #3 Bishop Canevin (8-0)

The Trojans take on the Crusaders at Dormont Stadium Friday night in the final Eastern Conference matchup of the season.  North Catholic edged Northgate last week, 27-26, but still finds itself competing with the Flames for the final playoff spot in the conference.  Bishop Canevin, on the other hand, maintained its perfect record, rolling over Riverview, 54-8.  The Crusaders have locked in a playoff spot and at least a share of the conference title.  The Trojans were on a momentum high in Week 5, after upsetting Monessen, 18-0.  It proved to be short-lived, however, as North Catholic went on to drop two straight to Avonworth and OLSH.  Bishop Canevin has made it look easy this season, boasting one of the top defenses in Class A, allowing just 52 points.  The closest margin of victory for the Crusaders was a 26-20 decision over Springdale–a team that defeated North Catholic, 14-6.  The Trojan offense has struggled, averaging less than half of the points per game that the Crusaders post.  These two met last season for the first time since Bishop Canevin joined Class A.  The result was a 40-15 win for the Crusaders.  Chick’s Picks thinks that the Trojans will have to rely on those tiebreaker points for a postseason bid, after all.
Bishop Canevin over North Catholic.


Big East Conference

Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Fox Chapel

Woodland Hills over Penn Hills

Kiski Area over Plum

Foothills Conference

Gateway over McKeesport

Latrobe over Hempfield

Penn-Trafford over Norwin

Great Southern Conference

Bethel Park over Baldwin

Peters Township over Canon-McMillan

Northern Seven Conference

Seneca Valley over Butler

North Allegheny over North Hills

Shaler over Pine-Richland



Big Eight Conference

Chartiers Valley over South Park

Belle Vernon over Elizabeth Forward

Trinity over McGuffey

Greater Allegheny Conference

Highlands over Hampton

Indiana over Kittanning

Knoch over Mars

Keystone Conference

Laurel Highlands over Albert Gallatin

Franklin Regional over Greensburg-Salem

Hollidaysburg over Derry

Ringgold over Uniontown

Parkway Conference

Central Valley over Ambridge

Blackhawk over New Castle

Montour over Moon

West Allegheny over Hopewell



Allegheny Conference

Apollo-Ridge over West Shamokin

Burrell over Ford City

Shady Side Academy over Deer Lakes

Freeport over Summit Academy

Century Conference

Seton-LaSalle over Keystone Oaks

South Fayette over Quaker Valley

Steel Valley over South Allegheny

Washington over Burgettstown

Interstate Conference

Waynesburg over Brownsville

Mount Pleasant over Southmoreland

Charleroi over Yough

Midwestern Conference

Beaver over Beaver Falls

Ellwood City over Riverside

Laurel over Mohawk

New Brighton over Freedom



Big Seven Conference

Sto-Rox over Cornell

Neshannock over Shenango

Western Beaver over Union

Rochester over South Side

Black Hills Conference

Avella over Bentworth

Brentwood over Carlynton

Chartiers-Houston over Fort Cherry

Clairton over Serra Catholic

Eastern Conference

Avonworth over Northgate

Bishop Canevin over North Catholic

Springdale over Riverview

Wilkinsburg over Leechburg

Tri-County South Conference

Beth-Center over Jefferson-Morgan

Carmichaels over Mapletown

Monessen over Frazier

California over Geibel


Perry over Westinghouse

Allderdice over Langley

Oliver over Carrick


Aliquippa over East Allegheny

Connellsville over Valley

Erie McDowell over Altoona

OLSH over West Greene

Linsly (WV) over Brashear

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