Chick’s Picks learns breaking down the WPIAL playoff picture no easy task

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Thursday, October 18, 2018 | 10:54 AM


Welcome to Week 8 of the high school football season.

At this point in the season, Chick’s Picks often seeks the help of experts. That is, experts in the field of the WPIAL football playoff picture. This can become quite a complicated matter in some conferences, so Chick’s Picks likes to make sure she has all of the facts.

So, she reached out to the playoff picture guru himself — The Boss. Always happy to hear from his highly-skilled prognosticator, The Boss thoroughly enjoyed times like this when Chick’s Picks’ was desperate enough to ask for his help. He promptly invited her to World Headquarters. The Boss promised to get Chick’s Picks up to speed on every possible playoff scenario.

After a long day of work, Chick’s Picks made the trek to World Headquarters to meet with The Boss. When several knocks at the door went unanswered, Chick’s Picks became concerned about the well-being of The Boss, and decided to take it upon herself to enter. What Chick’s Picks saw was nearly indescribable.

There he was, looking more like Doc Brown than The Boss. He sat at a massive conference table, hair and spectacles disheveled, with papers strewn about that Chick’s Picks was certain were some sort of architectural plans rather than the playoff picture.

The Boss invited Chick’s Picks to pull up a chair. A few hours later, and a few more grey hairs for The Boss, Chick’s Picks finally understood the inner workings of the WPIAL football playoff picture. Needless to say, Chick’s Picks had a new appreciation for The Boss — and it only took about 20 years.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with an impressive 56-7 (89 percent) record, upping her season total to 384-118 (76 percent). Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS 6A

No. 4 Seneca Valley (6-2) at No. 1 Pine-Richland (7-1)

Pine-Richland hosts to Class 6A rival Seneca Valley Friday night. The Rams are coming off of a 42-24 victory over Mt. Lebanon last week, while the Raiders rolled over Woodland Hills, 24-7. Pine-Richland’s balanced offensive attack is led by Cole Spencer, who has passed for 1,045 yards and eight touchdowns. Luke Meckler has 688 rushing yards and 15 scores. Seneca Valley quarterback Gabe Lawson has thrown for 905 yards and nine touchdowns, while rushing for another six. The Raiders’ only losses this season came to Central Catholic and North Allegheny. The Rams have already secured a playoff spot. The Raiders can clinch with a win. Chick’s Picks does not foresee that magic in the air for the Raiders in this one. … Pine-Richland over Seneca Valley.

CLASS 5A

Franklin Regional (6-1) at McKeesport (7-1)

The Panthers take on the Tigers in a Big East Conference battle Friday night. Last week, Franklin Regional routed Connellsville, 42-9, while McKeesport knocked off Kiski, 66-6. Adam Rudzinski leads the Panthers with 1,068 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. McKeesport’s two-dimensional quarterback Konota Gaskins has thrown for 561 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 477 yards and eight scores. The Tigers are averaging 47 points while allowing only 11. Both the Panthers and the Tigers have clinched playoff spots; however, this matchup will help sort out the top four in the Big East. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Tigers will continue to roll. … McKeesport over Franklin Regional.

CLASS 4A

Montour (3-5) at Beaver (6-2)

Beaver hosts Montour in Northwest Eight Conference action Friday night. The Bobcats rolled over Quaker Valley last week, 47-14, while Montour topped Ambridge, 37-7. The Spartans are on a roll, winning three straight after starting the season 0-5. Quarterback Luke Persinger leads Montour with 761 yards and seven touchdowns. Beaver’s balanced offensive attack is captained by Brodie List, who has passed for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns. Gino Mavero has 674 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The Bobcats are averaging 32 points per game — nearly double that of the Spartans. Neither team has clinched a playoff berth yet, but the winner of this one gets in. Chick’s Picks predicts the Bobcats will punch their ticket. … Beaver over Montour.

CLASS 3A

Central Valley (3-5) at South Park (2-5)

Central Valley hits the road to take on South Park in a Tri-County West Conference battle Friday night. The Warriors are coming off of a 52-7 rout of Hopewell last week, while the Eagles fell to Aliquippa, 55-7. Central Valley quarterback Ameer Dudley has thrown for 773 yards and five touchdowns, and leads the Warriors in rushing with 264 yards. South Park has been outscored 132-210 this season. Central Valley can clinch a playoff spot with a win. South Park can keep its playoff hopes alive with an upset. Chick’s Picks predicts the Warriors will punch their ticket to the postseason in this one. … Central Valley over South Park.

CLASS 2A

No. 3 Burgettstown (7-0) at Brentwood (4-4)

The Blue Devils look to remain perfect when they take on the Spartans in a Three Rivers Conference showdown Friday night. Last week, Burgettstown stopped Mohawk, 14-3, while Brentwood knocked off Carlynton, 34-21. Blue Devils’ quarterback Jake Lounder leads the team in rushing with 499 yards and six touchdowns. Spartans’ quarterback John Milcic has thrown for 864 yards and 12 touchdowns, and also leads his squad in rushing with 324 yards. The Blue Devils boast the top defense in Class 2A, allowing only 37 points in seven games. Burgettstown has already clinched a playoff spot, and can secure first place in the conference with a win. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Blue Devils put a lock on the top spot in this one. … Burgettstown over Brentwood.

CLASS A

Laurel (4-4) at Sto-Rox (5-3)

Sto-Rox hosts Laurel in a Big Seven Conference battle Friday night. The Vikings are coming off of a 54-0 rout of Bishop Canevin last week, while the Spartans edged Cornell, 35-34. Sto-Rox quarterback Eric Wilson, ranked second in the WPIAL, has thrown for 2,228 yards and 31 touchdowns on the year. Wilson’s top target, Ahmad Pack, is approaching 1,000 receiving yards and has 17 scores for the Vikings. Sto-Rox is averaging 40 points per game. Neither team has clinched a playoff spot. The winner of this matchup will finish third in the conference and be in the hunt for a wild-card spot. Chick’s Picks predicts a Vikings victory in this one. … Sto-Rox over Laurel.

Here are predictions for the rest of the Week 8 games:

CLASS 6A

Hempfield over Butler

Central Catholic over Canon-McMillan

Mt. Lebanon over Norwin

CLASS 5A

Allegheny Eight Conference

Peters Township over Bethel Park

Upper St. Clair over Chartiers Valley

Woodland Hills over Moon

Big East Conference

Latrobe over Albert Gallatin

Gateway over Connellsville

Northern Conference

Armstrong over Fox Chapel

Mars over Kiski Area

North Hills over Shaler

Nonconference

Penn-Trafford over Hampton

North Allegheny over West Allegheny

Penn Hills over Baldwin

CLASS 4A

Big Eight Conference

Thomas Jefferson over Greensburg Salem

Laurel Highlands over Indiana

West Mifflin over Ringgold

Northwest Eight Conference

Highlands over New Castle

South Fayette over Ambridge

Nonconference

Belle Vernon over Plum

Knoch over Trinity

CLASS 3A

Big East Conference

Derry over Deer Lakes

Elizabeth Forward over Uniontown

Freeport over Mt. Pleasant

North Catholic over Yough

Tri-County West Conference

Aliquippa over Keystone Oaks

Quaker Valley over Hopewell

Nonconference

Blackhawk over Beaver Falls

Burrell over Waynesburg

CLASS 2A

Allegheny Conference

Shady Side Academy over East Allegheny

Steel Valley over Summit Academy

Interstate Conference

Frazier over Carmichaels

Charleroi over Brownsville

Washington over Southmoreland

Midwestern Conference

Mohawk over Ellwood City

New Brighton over Shenango

Western Beaver over Neshannock

Three Rivers Conference

South Allegheny over Carlynton

Serra Catholic over Seton LaSalle

South Side Beaver over Fort Cherry

Nonconference

Freedom over Apollo-Ridge

McGuffey over Avonworth

Riverside over Valley

CLASS A

Big Seven Conference

Our Lady of Sacred Heart over Union

Bishop Canevin over Northgate

Eastern Conference

Clairton over Springdale

Jeannette over Riverview

Tri-County South Conference

Avella over Mapletown

California over Chartiers-Houston

West Greene over Jefferson-Morgan

Nonconference

Greensburg Central Catholic over Cornell

Bentworth over Leechburg

Rochester over Monessen

Imani Christian over Beth-Center

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