Chicks Picks for Week Twelve

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Thursday, November 17, 2016 | 7:56 PM


Welcome to Week 12 of the high school football season. After an incredible performance predicting last week’s winners, Chick’s Picks decided that she could take the rest of the season off and leave it in the hands of her trusty crystal ball.  So, she packed up her golf clubs and boarded a plane headed for her favorite southern destination.

The sun was shining beautifully on a warm fall morning.  Chick’s Picks took a moment to enjoy the view on the first hole.  Just as she was about to tee off, she heard a man yell, “Hey!”

Chick’s Picks was appalled at the lack of courtesy displayed by the man who shouted in the middle of her backswing.  As the man got closer, she realized that it was none other than The Boss.  “What are you doing here?”  Chick’s Picks questioned.

“What are you doing here is the better question,” The Boss said.  “You can’t just pick up and leave during the championship weeks.”

“But Boss, I picked 15 out of 16 games correctly last week.  My crystal ball can handle the rest of the season on its own,” Chick’s Picks pleaded her case.

“Chick’s Picks, you are the best prognosticator in the WPIAL for a reason.  You and the crystal ball are a team – just like the 16 teams that are still left fighting for WPIAL championships.  Now get your golf clubs and get on that plane,” The Boss said.

The Boss was right – as much as Chick’s Picks hated to admit it.  She took one last look at the lovely southern sky, then boarded the first plane back to the ‘Burgh.  Sometimes it wasn’t easy being the best prognosticator in the business.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a near-perfect 15-1 (94%) record, bringing her season total to 500-129 (79%).  Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS 6-A CHAMPIONSHIP
#1 Central Catholic (11-1) vs. #6 Seneca Valley (8-3)

Familiar foes face off for the Class 6-A championship in the finale of Friday’s title game lineup at Heinz Field.  Central Catholic made its way through the playoffs with wins over Norwin, 48-0, and Pine-Richland, 63-34.  Seneca Valley knocked off Mount Lebanon, 49-43, in the quarterfinals before edging North Allegheny, 28-27, in the semifinal round.  Vikings’ quarterback Troy Fisher has passed for 1,338 yards and 18 touchdowns on the year.  Running back JJ Younger has racked up 1,220 yards on the ground, and found paydirt 24 times.  The Raiders are led by quarterback Jack Cook, who is nearing 1,700 passing yards this season.  Hank Royal has rushed for 1,226 yards and 23 touchdowns.  Central Catholic’s only loss this season came in Week 1 to St. John’s College (DC), 35-14.  Seneca Valley’s three losses have come at the hands of Pine-Richland, North Allegheny, and Central Catholic.  At that previous meeting in Week 5, the Vikings rolled over the Raiders, 42-14.  Chick’s Picks predicts a similar outcome this time around, this time with WPIAL championship number six for the Vikings.
Central Catholic over Seneca Valley.

CLASS 5-A CHAMPIONSHIP
#1 West Allegheny (11-0) vs. #3 McKeesport (9-2)

The Indians take on the Tigers for Class 5-A bragging rights at Heinz Field on Friday.  West Allegheny rolled over North Hills, 41-21, in the quarterfinals, before knocking off Woodland Hills, 35-7, in last week’s semifinals.  McKeesport defeated Upper St. Clair, 31-10, in the quarterfinals, then edged Gateway, 41-38, in the semifinals.  The Tigers’ only losses this season came to Armstrong and Penn-Trafford.  Versatile McKeesport quarterback Jayvaun Shears leads his team in rushing with 1,113 yards and 23 touchdowns.  West Allegheny is led by quarterback Nick Ross, who has passed for 1,870 yards on the year.  Running back Kenny White is approaching the 1,000-yard mark, and has found the end zone 18 times.  The Indians boast a solid defense that has allowed only 88 points all season.  Chick’s Picks has learned over the years that defense wins championships – make that eight for the Indians.
West Allegheny over McKeesport.

CLASS 4-A CHAMPIONSHIP
#1 Thomas Jefferson (11-0) vs. #7 New Castle (8-4)

The Jaguars face the Cinderella Red Hurricane for the Class 4-A title in the third game of Friday’s championship quadruple header at Heinz Field.  Thomas Jefferson looks to repeat as WPIAL champion – its seventh in school history.  New Castle is seeking its first WPIAL title since 1998.  The Red Hurricane come into this week’s championship with the most losses of any remaining team, falling to Aliquippa, Mars, South Fayette, and Ringgold during the regular season.  They have since avenged two of those losses, upsetting South Fayette and Ringgold in the playoffs.  The Jaguars have remained perfect this season, blanking Montour in the quarterfinals, 35-0, and routing West Mifflin in the semifinals, 35-7.  New Castle quarterback Geno Stone gets it done through the air and on the ground, combining for over 2,000 yards on the year.  Thomas Jefferson has also found success with both the passing game and the ground game.  Quarterback Bobby Kelley has thrown for 1,527 yards and 31 touchdowns.  Running back Quinton Hill has 1,573 rushing yards on the year, along with 26 touchdowns.  The Jaguars have held opponents to only 59 points all season.  Chick’s Picks knows it has been a good run for the Red Hurricane, but predicts that the glass slipper no longer fits this week.
Thomas Jefferson over New Castle.

CLASS 3-A CHAMPIONSHIP
#1 Aliquippa (10-2) vs. #2 Beaver Falls (10-1)

Aliquippa and Beaver Falls kick off Championship Friday at Heinz Field when they face off for Class 3-A bragging rights.  The Highway to Heinz has been paved with postseason wins over South Park and Derry for the Quips, while Beaver Falls knocked off Apollo-Ride and Keystone Oaks.  Aliquippa’s two losses this season have come at the hands of Clairton and Beaver.  Beaver Falls’ only loss on the year came to Aliquippa in Week 2, 44-13.  The Quips boast a backfield duo of Davion Jones and Avante McKenzie who have combined for over 2,300 yards and 29 touchdowns this season.  The Tigers look to a host of running backs, including Malik Shepherd, Torian Leak, Neshaud Akins, and Derrell Carter, who – together – are approaching 3,000 yards on the year.  The Quips are looking to repeat as WPIAL champs and add to their collection of 16 titles already in the history books.  The Tigers last brought home WPIAL gold in 1984.  Aliquippa has been without running back DiMantae Bronaugh, who is battling cancer for the second time in his young life.  Chick’s Picks predicts – all stats aside – that the Quips win it for him.
Aliquippa over Beaver Falls.

CLASS 2-A
#2 Washington (11-0) vs. #3 Neshannock (11-1)

The Little Prexies meet the Lancers at Moon on Saturday in a Class 2-A semifinal matchup.  Washington remained perfect last week with a 61-27 win over Brentwood.  Neshannock rolled over Cardinal Weurl North Catholic, 71-28.  The Lancers are averaging 66 points per game in their two playoff games.  The only loss this season for Neshannock came to Quaker Valley in Week 3, 25-20.  The Little Prexies are led by quarterback Connor Bedillion, who has thrown for 1,050 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year.  Lancers’ quarterback Frank Antuono has surpassed 1,700 passing yards this season.  Both sides feature high-powered offenses averaging more than 41 points per game.  Washington has allowed only 107 points all season.  Chick’s Picks needed an extensive consultation with the crystal ball on this one, and predicts a narrow upset by the Lancers.
Neshannock over Washington.

CLASS 1-A
#2 Rochester (11-0) vs. #3 Jeannette (11-1)

Two storied programs meet for the first time when Rochester takes on Jeannette Saturday in semifinal action at Fox Chapel.  The Rams are coming off of a 39-6 quarterfinal victory over Imani Christian last week, while the Jayhawks rolled over Springdale, 69-21.  Jeannette’s only loss this season came to top-ranked Clairton, 32-13, in the regular season finale.  Rams’ do-it-all quarterback Ian Kouba has thrown for 1,275 yards and 15 touchdowns, and also leads his squad in rushing with 1,028 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Jayhawk quarterback Gio Vonne Sanders has 1,361 passing yards and 20 touchdowns on the year.  Running back Kareem Hall surpassed the 1,000-yard mark, and has found the end zone 20 times.  The Rams are looking for a shot at their ninth WPIAL title – the first since 2004.  Jeannette boasts a solid defense that has allowed only 77 points and recorded seven shutouts this season.  Chick’s Picks predicts that the Jayhawks pull off a semifinal upset in this one.
Jeannette over Rochester.

CLASS 2-A

Steel Valley over Riverside

CLASS 1-A

Clairton over Northgate

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