Chicks Picks – Championship Saturday – 11/25/2010

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Thursday, November 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Welcome to the Week 13 of the high school football season. Chick's Picks and other elite members of the local media were preparing for Championship Saturday with a photo shoot at Heinz Field. One particular photo was to feature all of the WPIAL prognosticators, and was scheduled to take place along the river walk outside the stadium.

The photographers advised the photo subjects to arrive at the shoot in their best game-day attire. Chick's Picks kept it simple in her lucky jeans and fleece–and her trusty crystal ball by her side, of course. The Fumbler, however, took it a bit too literally, showing up for the photo shoot in the uniform of Pitt QB Tino Sunseri.

The Fumbler was outraged when the shoot's style crew strongly encouraged him to change into his normal, everyday Fumbler attire. In his tantrum, The Fumbler took out his frustration on the first thing he saw, which just so happened to be the crystal ball belonging to Chick's Picks.

Chick's Picks saw the scene happening in slow motion, but could not react in time. The next thing she knew, her prized crystal ball was soaring through the air into the Allegheny River, right off of the Fumbler's foot. Chick's Picks could only watch through tear-filled eyes as her precious crystal ball bobbed with the current down the river.

How would she ever be a success on Championship Saturday now? Chick's Picks finished last week with a 6-2 (75%) record, bringing her season total to 408-119 (77%). Here are this week's championship predictions:

CLASS AAAA CHAMPIONSHIP:

#5 North Allegheny (11-1) vs. #7 Woodland Hills (9-3)

The Tigers will take on the defending WPIAL champ Wolverines for gold in the grand finale Saturday night. North Allegheny survived on the Highway to Heinz with wins over Peters Township, 38-7, Bethel Park, 23-13, and undefeated and top-ranked Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 17-7. Woodland Hills found its way with wins over Norwin, 45-7, Mount Lebanon, 29-22 in overtime, and North Hills, 24-14. The Wolverines were the preseason favorite of many, but started off the year (1-3). Since then, however, Woodland Hills has gone (8-0), and outscored opponents 282-64. North Allegheny's only loss this season came to neighboring North Hills, 21-16, in the final week of regular season play. The running game will be a key factor on both sides in this one, featuring the Wolverines' Lafayette Pitts and the Tigers' Alex Papson–both of whom ranked among the best in the WPIAL this season. Pitts comes into the title game with 1,705 yards on the year, including 676 in the postseason. Papson has 2,360 yards under his belt, and broke the 300-yard mark in the playoff win over Bethel Park. Woodland Hills will aim for its sixth WPIAL title, while North Allegheny's only previous championship came in 1990. These two haven't met since the first round of the 2008 playoffs, when North Allegheny shut out Woodland Hills, 14-0. Chick's Picks thinks the Tigers have been flying a bit under the radar this season, but they won't have enough to get by the new and improved Wolverines.

CP says Woodland Hills over North Allegheny

CLASS AAA CHAMPIONSHIP:

#1 Montour (12-0) vs. #14 Central Valley (9-3)

The undefeated Spartans will meet the dark horse Warriors for the Class AAA title. Montour is coming off of playoff wins over West Mifflin, 21-13, Indiana, 36-14, and Mars, 35-14. Central Valley's postseason includes upsets galore, 21-13 over Ringgold, 16-0 over Knoch, and 42-24 over Thomas Jefferson. RB Julian Durden has been an eyebrow-raiser for Montour, racking up 1,902 yards and 27 touchdowns so far in this, his first year in Class AAA after transferring from Class A North Catholic. The Warriors have been quite the Cinderella story of the season, rallying in Class AAA, after the merging of the Monaca and Center districts, and upsetting three dominant forces in the playoffs for a shot at gold in their first year. These two met earlier this season in Week 6, when Montour won by its closest margin of victory all year, 12-7. The Spartans already have four WPIAL titles under their belts, but the most recent came in 1964. Last season, the Montour finished with a .500 record, and fell to Franklin Regional in the first round of the playoffs. Chick's Picks is a sucker for a good Cinderella story, but thinks the Spartans could ruin the happily ever after for the Warriors.

CP says Montour over Central Valley

CLASS AA CHAMPIONSHIP:

#1 Aliquippa (12-0) vs. #3 South Fayette (12-0)

Perennial power Aliquippa makes yet another Class AA championship appearance to take on another undefeated in South Fayette. The Quips opened the postseason with back-to-back shutouts, 41-0 over Shady Side Academy, and 34-0 over Beaver; then knocked off Ford City, 26-7 to punch their ticket to Heinz Field. The Lions have posted big playoff wins over Ellwood City, 35-0, Freeport, 47-13, and Beaver Falls, 55-28. South Fayette QB Christian Brumbaugh has been dynamite, finishing the regular season as the top-ranked passer in the WPIAL with 2,034 yards. Brumbaugh hasn't let up in the postseason, racking up 700 more yards in the air. The Lions may have revenge on their minds as they take the field against the Quips. Last season, Aliquippa handed South Fayette its only loss of the season, 47-34, in the WPIAL quarterfinals. This marks the third consecutive title game appearance for the Quips. Overall, Aliquippa has 13 WPIAL titles to its name. The Lions have won two championships, with the most recent dating back to 1964. Aliquippa's defense has been dominant this season, allowing only 93 points. The Quips have not yet faced an offense as powerful as that of South Fayette, which averages nearly 42 points per game. Chick's Picks thinks Mr. Brumbaugh will cap off a stellar senior season with this win over the Quips.

CP says South Fayette over Aliquippa

CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP:

#1 Clairton (12-0) vs. #2 Rochester (12-0)

It is Groundhog Day in Class A as the Bears face the Rams for a second straight year in the WPIAL Class A championship. Clairton rolled through the postseason with shutouts over Carmichaels, 42-0, and Bishop Canevin, 47-0. Springdale gave the Bears their stiffest competition in a 26-7 semifinal contest. Rochester routed California, 42-7, Beth-Center, 35-0, and Avonworth, 20-7 to advance to the title game. Clairton has been dominant on both sides of the ball this season, outscoring opponents 598-26. The Bears have recorded eight shutouts, and allowed only seven points in the postseason. Rochester's defense has been solid, as well, giving up just seven points per game and posting six shutouts. You can be sure that the Rams haven't forgotten last year's championship, when they fell in heartbreaking fashion to Clairton, 14-13. The Bears then went on to win the PIAA title. Between these two, there are 15 WPIAL championships. Rochester will aim for its ninth gold. Clairton could win its eighth, and third straight. Chick's Picks knows this has been a highly anticipated meeting from the start of the season, but doesn't see anyone slowing down the well-oiled machine that the Bears are running.

CP says Clairton over Rochester

PIAA First Round:

Perry over State College

Brockway over Oliver

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