Chicks Picks for Week Eleven
Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 3:59 PM
Welcome to Week 11 of the high school football season. Despite being 11 weeks into the season, Chick’s Picks is still having difficult time adjusting to the six classification system. At this critical point in the season, Chick’s Picks knew she needed a meeting with the Boss.
After a hard day at work, Chick’s Picks stopped by MSA Sports World Headquarters to voice her concerns to the man in charge. “Boss, I hate to admit it, but I’m lost. Between the Highway to Heinz and the Road to RMU, I don’t know which way to go,” the prognosticator confessed.
“Do not fret, Chick’s Picks,” said The Boss. “It is perfectly natural to feel that way during this time of change. Just remember what that famous guy once said: Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.”
Chick’s Picks didn’t expect The Boss to quote Henry David Thoreau in the midst of the postseason rally, but nonetheless, she took his advice to heart. Maybe The Boss was right after all. Maybe it was ok to turn on the Road to RMU rather than the Highway to Heinz…just as long as she came out as the WPIAL’s top prognosticator in the end.
Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 24-9 (72%) record, bringing her season total to 485-128 (79%). Here are this week’s big games:
#2 North Allegheny (9-2) vs. #6 Seneca Valley (7-3)
The Tigers meet the Raiders at Martorelli Stadium in a semifinal matchup Friday night. In last week’s quarterfinals, North Allegheny routed Hempfield, 42-7, while Seneca Valley edged Mount Lebanon, 49-43. North Allegheny quarterback Ethan Maenza has been a dual threat all season, passing for more than 1,000 yards, and leading his team in rushing with over 1,100 yards. Seneca Valley quarterback Jack Cook has passed for 1,531 yards and 14 touchdowns. Running back Hank Royal has racked up 1,147 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. These two met once already this season in Week 8, when the Tigers rolled over the Raiders, 49-14. Chick’s Picks predicts a similar route this time around.
North Allegheny over Seneca Valley.
#7 Gateway (7-4) vs. #3 McKeesport (8-2)
Gateway takes on McKeesport in a semifinal showdown at Norwin Friday night. The Gators upset Armstrong in last week’s quarterfinals, 38-20, while the Tigers rolled over Upper St. Clair, 31-10. Gateway boasts a 2,000-yard passer in Brady Walker. McKeesport quarterback Jaynaun Shears also leads his team in rushing, and has combined for more than 1,200 yards of offense on the year. This meeting is a rematch of Week 9 Big East Conference battle when the Tigers walked away with a 34-19 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Gators’ Cinderalla postseason ends here.
McKeesport over Gateway.
#7 New Castle (7-4) vs. #6 Ringgold (8-2)
The Red Hurricane take on the Rams in a semifinal matchup at Mars Friday night. New Castle pulled off a huge upset last week, handing #2 South Fayette its first loss of the season, 51-43, while Ringgold topped Mars, 42-31. Quarterback Geno Stone has joined the 1,000-yard passer club for the Red Hurricane this season. Ringgold quarterback George Martin eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark, and thrown for 20 touchdowns. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Red Hurricane will pull off a second consecutive upset in this one.
New Castle over Ringgold.
#2 Beaver Falls (9-1) vs. #3 Keystone Oaks (9-1)
Beaver Falls faces off against Keystone Oaks Friday night at Ambridge in semifinal action. The Tigers are coming off of a 42-14 victory over Mount Pleasant in last week’s quarterfinals, while the Golden Eagles rolled over Apollo-Ridge, 56-20. Beaver Falls boasts a talented ground game in Malik Shepherd and Neshaud Akins. The backfield duo has combined for nearly 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns on the year. Keystone Oaks features one of the top quarterbacks in the WPIAL in Alex Smith, who has thrown for over 2,700 yards so far this season. Chick’s Picks likes the Beaver Valley Conference strength of schedule to pay off for the Tigers in this one.
Beaver Falls over Keystone Oaks.
#4 Riverside (8-2) vs. #12 Freedom (4-7)
The Panthers take on the Bulldogs in a quarterfinal matchup Friday night at Seneca Valley. Riverside knocked off Avonworth last week, 42-7. Freedom finds itself in the quarterfinals, despite only four wins on the year, after upsetting East Allegheny in the first round, 38-21. Panthers’ quarterback Ben Hughes has thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season. Zach Rosa has passed for over 1,400 yards on the year, though the Bulldogs have been outscored by opponents, 244-281. Riverside is allowing only 14 points per game. These two met earlier this season in Week 6, when the Panthers pulled away with an 18-10 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts a similar ending this time around.
Riverside over Freedom.
#4 Northgate (9-1) vs. #5 Bishop Canevin (8-2)
Hampton will be the site where the Flames take on the Crusaders in a quarterfinal battle Friday night. In last week’s first round, Northgate blanked Mapletown, 37-0, while Bishop Canevin rolled over California, 56-21. Both the Flames and the Crusaders boast solid running games. Surron Adams has rushed for 950 yards and 22 touchdowns for Northgate this season. Bishop Canevin’s Maleik Hemingway has surpassed the 1,100-yard mark. The Flames’ defense has allowed only 81 points in 10 games. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Crusaders’ season ends in the quarterfinals.
Northgate over Bishop Canevin.
CLASS 6-A Semifinals
Central Catholic over Pine-Richland
CLASS 5-A Semifinals
West Allegheny over Woodland Hills
CLASS 4-A Semifinals
Thomas Jefferson over West Mifflin
CLASS 3-A Semifinals
Aliquippa over Derry
CLASS 2-A Quarterfinals
Steel Valley over Laurel
Washington over Brentwood
Neshannock over Cardinal Weurl North Catholic
CLASS 1-A Quarterfinals
Clairton over Fort Cherry
Rochester over Imani Christian
Jeannette over Springdale
More Football• Trib 10: Friday’s schedule features 2 showdowns between ranked teams
• Rivals Southmoreland, Mt. Pleasant set for Interstate Conference showdown
• The Birdie is running wild while making Week 4 Westmoreland County picks
• Hampton-Highlands clash pits evenly matched, undefeated foes
• The Birdie might not be a spring chicken, but he still picks A-K Valley football winners