Chick’s Picks: After demoralizing awards snub, prognosticator forecasts big 5A, 6A battles

Thursday, September 24, 2020 | 4:43 PM

This week was one of utmost importance for Chick’s Picks. It was the week of the 72nd Prime Time Emmy Awards. It came as no surprise when Chick’s Picks received a nomination earlier this year for Best Prognosticating Performance.

Thanks to the pandemic, awards were presented virtually. Chick’s Picks made the most of this version of the ceremony by inviting her immediate family to spend the evening with her as she awaited her virtual award. Although this was not her first Emmy, Chick’s Picks worked long and hard on her acceptance speech, seeing this as an even bigger opportunity to deliver an impactful message than in normal, face-to-face ceremony years.

After what seemed like several long, agonizing hours, the moment had arrived – the moment when Chick’s Picks would deliver her much-deserved virtual acceptance speech live in front of her living room audience. The Boss had somehow earned the gig of presenting the award, which was somewhat unsettling for Chick’s Picks. He slowly opened the envelope containing the news Chick’s Picks had been waiting for all evening. Much to her dismay, though, The Boss declared The Birdie as the winner of this year’s best prognosticating performance.

Chick’s Picks was stunned, to say the least, by the news. Although The Birdie is the other resident TribLive HSSN prognosticator, Chick’s Picks has decades more experience than the new kid on the block. The announcement left the veteran Chick’s Picks reeling, wondering if she has crossed into the twilight of her legendary prognosticating career.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with an improved 44-12 (79%) record, upping her season total to 79-31 (72%). Here are this week’s big games:


No. 2 North Allegheny Tigers (1-0) at No. 1 Central Catholic Vikings (2-0)

Central Catholic welcomes North Allegheny to Graham Field in Wilkinsburg on Friday night for a battle of epic proportions. Class 6A’s top two teams look to add a new chapter to their storied rivalry which found the Tigers edging the Vikings, 11-10, last season. Last week, Central knocked off Norwin, 38-28. Highly touted running back Eddy Tillman has led the Vikings in their first two games with 407 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers are still looking to play their second game of the season after last week’s contest against Baldwin was postponed because of covid-19 concerns. North Allegheny’s only game so far this season came against Penn Hills on Sept. 11, when the Tigers rolled to a 27-6 victory. Khalil Dinkins, a D1 prospect, helped North Allegheny to the win with 87 receiving yards. The Vikings are averaging 41.5 points per game so far this season. Chick’s Picks predicts that will be enough to avenge last season’s one-point loss. … Central Catholic over North Allegheny


No. 2 Gateway Gators (2-0) at No. 1 Pine-Richland Rams (2-0)

Top-ranked Pine-Richland takes on No. 2 Gateway in a nonconference showdown Friday night. The Rams are coming off a 34-13 win over Upper St. Clair last week, while the Gators rolled over Bethel Park, 55-14. This week’s matchup features the WPIAL’s top two passers. Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer has thrown for 609 yards and eight touchdowns. Gateway QB Carsen Engelka is already making a name for himself with 512 passing yards and four scores. The Gators also boast D1 recruit Derrick Davis – a threat on both sides of the ball – who has rushed for nearly 300 yards and five touchdowns. Both teams are averaging more than 40 points per game, while allowing only 10. Chick’s Picks predicts that the defending WPIAL champ Gators will have what it takes to pull the upset on the road. … Gateway over Pine-Richland


Plum Mustangs (2-0) at No. 2 Mars Planets (2-0)

The Mustangs meet the Planets for a Greater Allegheny Conference battle of unbeatens Friday night. Last week, Plum routed Indiana, 48-10, while Mars held off Highlands, 12-7. Ryan Hubner has been impressive at the helm for the Mustangs, passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing for another 96 yards. Teddy Ruffner leads the rushing attack for the Planets, racking up 348 yards and six scores already this season. Plum is averaging 42 points per game – nearly twice that of Mars. The Mustangs have already won more conference games than they did all of last season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Mustangs will continue to make a name for themselves with a Week 3 upset. …Plum over Mars


No. 2 North Catholic Trojans (2-0) at East Allegheny Wildcats (2-0)

East Allegheny looks to stay undefeated when it plays host to North Catholic in Allegheny Seven Conference play Friday night. The Wildcats moved to (2-0) with a 35-14 win over Burrell last week, while the Trojans rolled over Valley, 51-6. East Allegheny is settling into Class 3A nicely after making the jump from Class 2A. Michael Smith leads the Wildcats with four touchdowns. North Catholic boasts dual threat quarterback Joey Prentice, who has thrown for 218 yards and rushed for a team-best 112 yards. Prentice’s high-powered offense is averaging 53 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Trojans will deliver the Wildcats their first loss of the season in this one. … North Catholic over East Allegheny


No. 5 New Brighton Lions (2-0) at Mohawk Warriors (1-1)

Mohawk meets New Brighton in Midwestern Conference action Friday night. The Warriors fell to Neshannock, 37-22, while the Lions edged Ellwood City last week, 6-0. Mohawk met that same Ellwood City squad in Week 1 and posted a 45-0 shutout. New Brighton running back Nya Greene has rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback John Voss has thrown for 370 yards and six scores for Mohawk. When these two met last season, the Lions rolled to a 28-7 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Warriors will pull the upset in this year’s edition. …Mohawk over New Brighton


No. 5 Rochester Rams (2-0) at Burgettstown Blue Devils (1-1)

The Blue Devils play host to the Rams in a Friday night battle between Big Seven Conference rivals. Burgettstown looks to rebound after being shut out by No. 5 Our Lady of Sacred Heart, 41-0, last week. Rochester remained perfect with a 54-24 rout of Union. Shane Kemper has been a bright spot for the Blue Devils offensively, with three touchdowns on the year. Denny Robinson and Sal Laure have combined for 10 scores for the Rams. Burgettstown has been outscored 63-27 in its first two games. Rochester has outscored its first two opponents 101-30. Chick’s Picks knows the Blue Devils need a win to get their season back on track, but predicts that they will not get it this week. …Rochester over Burgettstown

Here’s a look at the rest of the Week 2 slate:


Mt. Lebanon over Hempfield

Seneca Valley over Norwin


Allegheny Six Conference

Peters Township over South Fayette

Northeast Conference

Penn Hills over Kiski Area


Moon over Fox Chapel

Franklin Regional over Bethel Park

Penn-Trafford over Shaler

Upper St. Clair over Latrobe

Woodland Hills over North Hills

West Allegheny over Connellsville


Big Eight Conference

Thomas Jefferson over Belle Vernon

Laurel Highlands over West Mifflin

McKeesport over Trinity

Greater Allegheny Conference

Armstrong over Knoch

Greensburg Salem over Indiana

Highlands over Hampton


Blackhawk over Ambridge

Central Valley over New Castle

Ringgold over Uniontown


Allegheny Seven Conference

Deer Lakes over Valley

Freeport over Derry

Interstate Conference

Southmoreland over Mount Pleasant

Yough over South Allegheny

South Park over Brownsville


Chartiers Valley over Hopewell

Keystone Oaks over Montour


Century Conference

Charleroi over Waynesburg

McGuffey over Frazier

Washington over Chartiers-Houston

Midwestern Conference

Beaver Falls over Ellwood City

Freedom over Neshannock

Laurel over Riverside


Avonworth over South Side

Apollo-Ridge over Burrell

Serra Catholic over Carlynton

Elizabeth Forward over Beth-Center

Brentwood over Steel Valley

Beaver over Seton-LaSalle


Big Seven Conference

Union over Northgate

Our Lady of Sacred Heart over Fort Cherry

Shenango over Cornell

Eastern Conference

Greensburg Central Catholic over Bishop Canevin

Jeannette over Imani Christian

Springdale over Leechburg

Clairton over Riverview

Tri-County South Conference

California over Mapletown

Carmichaels over Bentworth

Monessen over Jefferson-Morgan

Avella over West Greene


Erie over Butler


Perry over Carrick

University Prep over Allderdice

Brashear over Westinghouse

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