Chick’s Picks has perfect emoji for picking high school football winners

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Thursday, October 14, 2021 | 11:09 AM


Welcome to Week 7.

After each software update that her phone completes, one of Chick’s Picks’ favorite things to do is to explore any new emojis that have been installed. This time, Chick’s Picks was pleasantly surprised to come across a crystal ball emoji. How fitting for a prognosticator, she thought.

Excited about her new discovery, she jumped at the opportunity to utilize her new-found emoji by sending a series of text messages to The Boss. The Boss responded in his usual cantankerous text undertone, informing Chick’s Picks that the crystal ball emoji had, in fact, been in existence for quite some time.

Chick’s Picks was taken aback by this information, especially considering its source. She, of course, considers herself to be hip on all things technology. The Boss, on the other hand, only recently upgraded from his Blackberry and pager combo to a modern-day smart phone, and was the last man standing without a social media account, despite his considerable popularity in the analog world. How could The Boss have possibly been more in the loop on current emojis than Chick’s Picks?

The prognosticator pondered the matter for some time, hoping she was not losing touch with her hip side, and that her real-life crystal ball was ready to make a top-notch set of predictions for this week’s matchups.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 45-14 (76%) record, bringing her season total to 308-117 (72%). Here are this week’s big games:

WPIAL Class 6A

No. 3 North Allegheny Tigers (4-3) at No. 5 Canon-McMillan Big Macs (4-3)

The Big Macs host the Tigers in a Class 6A battle between Top 5 teams Friday night. Canon-Mac looks to rebound this week after falling to Seneca Valley, 24-17. North Allegheny picked up its fourth win of the season last week, 42-24, over Norwin. Sophomore quarterback Mike Evans leads the Big Macs with 957 passing yards and nine touchdowns. Senior running back Ryan Angott completes the Canon-Mac balanced offensive attack with 668 rushing yards and nine scores. The Tigers also rely on the leadership of a youngster at the helm in sophomore quarterback Logan Kushner, who has thrown for 589 yards and eight touchdowns. When these two met last season, North Allegheny blanked Canon-Mac, 35-0. Chick’s Picks predicts that a tough nonconference schedule will help the Tigers to victory in this one…North Allegheny over Canon-McMillan.

WPIAL Class 5A

No. 5 Penn Hills Indians (3-3) at Fox Chapel Foxes (4-3)

Penn Hills takes on Fox Chapel in a Northeast Conference showdown Friday night. The Indians are coming off of a 35-29 victory over North Hills last week, while Fox Chapel beat Kiski Area, 35-21. Dual-threat quarterback Julian Dugger, a sophomore, heads the Indians’ offense with 453 passing yards, a team-high 345 rushing yards, and five touchdowns. The Foxes’ balanced offense is led by senior quarterback Collin Dietz, who has surpassed 1,000 passing yards and thrown for 10 scores. Senior running back Zidane Thomas has rushed for 720 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Penn Hills has been outscored by opponents, 104-166, this season. Fox Chapel has been outscored 148-187. When these two met last season, Penn Hills routed Fox Chapel, 27-7. Chick’s Picks predicts a closer contest from the much-improved Foxes, but a similar outcome…Penn Hills over Fox Chapel.

WPIAL Class 4A

No. 4 McKeesport Tigers (6-1) at Laurel Highlands Mustangs (5-2)

McKeesport takes on Laurel Highlands in Big Eight Conference action Friday night. The Tigers blanked West Mifflin last week, 41-0. The Mustangs look to get back on track after dropping two straight to No. 1 Belle Vernon in Week 5, 56-14, and No. 2 Thomas Jefferson last week, 42-3. That will be a tall task for Laurel Highlands, however, facing off against a McKeesport squad that is averaging 32 points per game and allowing fewer than 11. The Tigers rely on Bobbie Boyd to lead their storied running game, with the junior rushing for 784 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Dual-threat junior quarterback Rodney Gallagher, a Division I prospect, leads the Mustangs with 928 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, and 501 rushing yards and nine scores. Laurel Highlands is averaging more than 30 points per game, but the defense has struggled, allowing 24.1 points per game, including 98 points in its last two contests. When these two met last season, McKeesport came away with a 35-20 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts another win for the perennial power Tigers…McKeesport over Laurel Highlands.

WPIAL Class 3A

No. 4 Mt. Pleasant Vikings (4-2) at No. 5 Elizabeth Forward Warriors (5-2)

The Warriors host the Vikings in an Interstate Conference showdown between Top 5 teams. Elizabeth Forward is coming off of a 36-7 rout of South Allegheny last week. Mt. Pleasant had a week of rest after its matchup against Brownsville was postponed. Senior running back Kyle Flournoy leads the Warriors with 422 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Junior Robbie Labuda heads the Vikings’ ground attack with 494 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Elizabeth Forward boasts one of the WPIAL’s top defenses, allowing only 7.7 points per game. Mt. Pleasant is scoring 28.3 points per contest. When these two met last season, the Warriors narrowly escaped with a 16-14 win. Chick’s Picks predicts another close contest with the same outcome…Elizabeth Forward over Mt. Pleasant.

WPIAL Class 2A

Shady Side Academy Bulldogs (4-3) at No. 5 Steel Valley Ironmen (6-0)

The Bulldogs face off against the Ironmen in Century Conference action Friday night. Last week, Shady Side Academy rolled over Apollo-Ridge, 28-14, while Steel Valley cruised to a 40-6 victory over Summit Academy. Junior quarterback Max Wickland captains the Bulldogs’ offense, throwing for 669 yards and five touchdowns. The Ironmen feature the WPIAL’s top rusher in senior Nijhay Burt, who has rushed for 1,175 yards and 20 touchdowns. Steel Valley also boasts a stingy defense that has allowed only 37 points in six games. Shady Side Academy has been outscored by its seven opponents, 176-186. When these two met last year, the Bulldogs knocked off the Ironmen, 41-16, for one of only two wins on the season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Ironmen remain perfect in this one…Steel Valley over Shady Side Academy.

WPIAL Class A

No. 3 Cornell Raiders (5-1) at No. 5 Rochester Rams (5-1)

Rochester hosts Cornell in a Big Seven Conference showdown between Top 5 teams Friday night. The Rams picked up their fifth win of the season last week, blanking Fort Cherry, 35-0, while the Raiders rolled over Burgettstown, 35-0. Senior running back Sal Laure has rushed for 494 yards and 11 touchdowns for Rochester. The Rams boast the top defense in Class A, holding opponents to only 7.7 points per game. That Rochester defense will be tested, however, when it faces a high-powered Cornell offense that averages 33.8 points per game. The Raiders are led by senior quarterback Sincere Kimbrough, who has thrown for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. Raequan Troutman brings the ground game dimension for the Rams, rushing for 447 yards and seven scores. When these two met last season, Rochester rolled to a 35-7 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts revenge for the much-improved Raiders who finished last season with only one win…Cornell over Rochester.

Here’s a look at the other games on the Week 7 slate:

WPIAL CLASS 6A

Central Catholic over Hempfield

Mt. Lebanon over Norwin

Seneca Valley over Baldwin

WPIAL CLASS 5A

Allegheny Six Conference

Peters Township over Bethel Park

South Fayette over West Allegheny

Moon over Upper St. Clair

Big East Conference

Latrobe over Franklin Regional

Penn-Trafford over Connellsville

Gateway over Woodland Hills

Northeast Conference

Kiski Area over Shaler

Pine-Richland over North Hills

WPIAL CLASS 4A

Big Eight Conference

Thomas Jefferson over Ringgold

Belle Vernon over Trinity

Greater Allegheny Conference

Armstrong over Highlands

Hampton over Indiana

Plum over Knoch

Greensburg Salem over Mars

Parkway Conference

Beaver over Chartiers Valley

Aliquippa over Montour

New Castle over Blackhawk

Nonconference

Hollidaysburg over West Mifflin

WPIAL CLASS 3A

Allegheny Seven Conference

North Catholic over Deer Lakes

East Allegheny over Derry

Freeport over Burrell

Interstate Conference

South Allegheny over South Park

Southmoreland over Brownsville (forfeit)

Northwestern Six Conference

Central Valley over Ambridge

Avonworth over Hopewell

Keystone Oaks over Quaker Valley

Nonconference

Valley over Yough

WPIAL CLASS 2A

Allegheny Conference

Serra Catholic over Apollo-Ridge

Ligonier Valley over Summit Academy

Century Conference

Washington over Charleroi

McGuffey over Chartiers-Houston

Midwestern Conference

Riverside over Ellwood City

Beaver Falls over Freedom

Laurel over Mohawk

Neshannock over New Brighton

Three Rivers Conference

South Side over Brentwood

Seton LaSalle over Carlynton

Sto-Rox over Western Beaver

WPIAL CLASS A

Big Seven Conference

Burgettstown over Northgate

Union over Fort Cherry

OLSH over Shenango

Eastern Conference

Clairton over Greensburg Central Catholic

Springdale over Imani Christian

Bishop Canevin over Jeannette

Leechburg over Riverview

Tri-County South Conference

Bentworth over Avella

Carmichaels over California

Mapletown over Jefferson-Morgan

West Green over Monessen

CITY LEAGUE

Westinghouse over Perry

Allderdice over Brashear

Nonconference

Farrell over University Prep

Uniontown over Carrick

District 10

Cathedral Prep over Butler

Independent

Weir (W.Va.) over Albert Gallatin

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