Chick’s Picks: Like everything else, making predictions isn’t easy in 2020

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Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 3:51 PM


As we know by now, 2020 looks a little different. This year’s version of different includes the WPIAL football playoffs, as not all classifications are on the same postseason schedule.

Chick’s Picks was attempting to set her crystal ball’s parameters for this week’s predictions, which included one championship game and 12 semifinal games. That’s when the problems began. Just as she submitted her final game for predicting, her crystal ball started shaking and smoke began to pour out. Chick’s Picks, in her two decades of prognosticating, had never seen anything like this before, but she knew it was bad.

Chick’s Picks rushed her crystal ball to her most trusted repairman. After a quick evaluation, the repairman explained that this type of issue is par for the course in 2020. The crystal ball was unable to make predictions for different rounds of the playoffs all in the same week, causing the malfunction.

He went on to deliver more bad news to Chick’s Picks, saying that since so many other prognosticating tools had been brought to him in disrepair this week, there would be no way that her crystal ball would be up and running in time for this week’s predictions. This, also, was par for the course in 2020.

Dejected, Chick’s Picks went on her way, hoping she could still channel her inner prognosticator and make this week’s predictions on her own.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with an 18-4 (82%) record, bringing her season total to 319-97 (77%). Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS 6A

Championship

No. 3 Central Catholic (5-2) vs. No. 1 North Allegheny (6-0)

The top-ranked Tigers take on the Vikings for WPIAL Class 6A bragging rights Friday night. North Allegheny advanced to the title game with a 21-7 victory over Seneca Valley last week, while Central Catholic upset No. 2 Mt. Lebanon, 35-0 — avenging a 37-30 loss to the Blue Devils earlier this season. … JR Burton leads the Tigers’ ground game with 296 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Penn State recruit Khalil Dinkins has eight touchdowns for North Allegheny. … The Vikings look to claim their second straight WPIAL championship behind Adam Obrin, who has thrown for 705 yards and five touchdowns. Eddy Tillman has rushed for 850 yards and seven scores for Central. The Vikings boast the highest-scoring offense in WPIAL Class 6A, averaging 35.9 points per game. They will be tested, however, facing the top defense in the Tigers, who are allowing only 9.7 points per game. … North Allegheny has won the last three meetings between these two, including a 35-21 victory earlier this season. Chick’s Picks heard a rumor that it is difficult to beat the same team twice in one season, so she predicts another WPIAL title for the Vikings. …Central Catholic over North Allegheny

CLASS 5A

Semifinals

No. 3 Peters Township Indians (7-0) at No. 2 Gateway Gators (5-0)

Peters Township faces off against Gateway in a Class 5A semifinal Friday night. In last week’s quarterfinals, the Indians rolled over Woodland Hills, 39-6, while the Gators blanked Penn Hills, 14-0. … Peters Township’s passing attack is led by Logan Pfeuffer, who has 827 passing yards and six touchdowns on the year. Braylon Carrington has been Pfeuffer’s favorite target with 306 receiving yards and three touchdowns. … Gateway junior quarterback Carsen Engelka has been impressive, throwing for 913 yards and 11 touchdowns in only five games. Division I prospect Derrick Davis leads the Gators’ backfield with 624 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. … This matchup is a rematch of last year’s WPIAL championship, where Gateway edged Peters Township, 21-20. Chick’s Picks predicts a similar outcome for the perennial power Gators this time around. … Gateway over Peters Township

CLASS 4A

Semifinals

No. 4 Belle Vernon Leopards (6-1) at No. 1 Aliquippa Quips (8-0)

The Leopards head to The Pit to take on the Quips in WPIAL Class 4A semifinal action Friday night. Belle Vernon knocked off quarterfinal opponent Chartiers Valley last week, 49-21, while Aliquippa blanked Hampton, 31-0. These two are familiar with the deep postseason, as both advanced to title games last season. Belle Vernon finished as the Class 4A runner-up after falling to TJ, 41-7. Aliquippa fell in heartbreaking fashion to Central Valley, 13-12, in the Class 3A title game. The Quips have since moved up one classification, and have been unphased, rolling into the semifinals with a perfect record. … The Leopards are led by dual-threat quarterback Devin Whitlock. A junior, Whitlock has passed for 503 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for a team-best 931 yards and 18 scores. … Aliquippa’s offense is captained by veteran quarterback Vaughn Morris, who has passed for 971 yards and 16 touchdowns. Senior Vernon Redd heads the ground attack with 1,134 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. … The Quips boast the top offense in WPIAL Class 4A, averaging 46.5 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts yet another title game appearance for the Quips. … Aliquippa over Belle Vernon

CLASS 3A

Semifinals

No. 4 Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles (5-2) at No. 1 Central Valley Warriors (8-0)

Central Valley plays host to Keystone Oaks in a WPIAL Class 3A semifinal showdown Friday night. The Warriors are coming off of a 56-7 quarterfinal rout of East Allegheny last week, while the Golden Eagles held off South Park, 28-24. … The defending WPIAL Class 3A champ Warriors are led by quarterback Ameer Dudley’s 758 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. Landon Alexander adds depth in the backfield with 878 rushing yards and 10 scores. … The Golden Eagles feature dual-threat quarterback Logan Shrubb, who has thrown for 889 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 871 yards and 12 touchdowns. … Central Valley’s high-powered offense ranks atop the WPIAL, scoring 412 points in eight games. The Warriors have allowed only 56 points — one fourth of the total given up by the Golden Eagles. When these two met earlier this season, Central Valley rolled to a 65-14 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Warriors punch another ticket to the title game in this one. … Central Valley over Keystone Oaks

CLASS 2A

Semifinals

No. 4 Apollo-Ridge Vikings (6-0) at No. 1 Beaver Falls Tigers (8-0)

The top-ranked Tigers welcome the Vikings in a semifinal battle between undefeateds Friday night. In last week’s semifinals, Beaver Falls rolled over Western Beaver, 42-14, while Apollo-Ridge routed Washington, 42-6. … The Tigers boast one of the top rushers in the WPIAL in Josh Hough, who has racked up 1,448 yards and 23 touchdowns on the year. It does not stop there for the Tigers, though. Shileak Livingston compliments Hough nicely, rushing for 862 yards and 15 touchdowns. … Senior quarterback Jake Fello leads Apollo-Ridge with 991 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. Logan Harmon heads the running game with 884 yards and 15 touchdowns. … The Vikings’ defense ranks atop Class 2A, allowing only 56 points in six games. Both sides feature high-scoring offenses averaging more than 45 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts that the perfect run comes to an end for the Vikings. … Beaver Falls over Apollo-Ridge

CLASS A

Semifinals

No. 5 Shenango Wildcats (7-1) at No. 1 Clairton Bears (7-0)

Shenango hits the road to take on undefeated Clairton in Class A semifinal action Friday night. The Wildcats are coming off of a 28-21 quarterfinal upset of No. 4 California last week, while the Bears routed Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 54-20. … This week’s matchup features two of the top running backs in the WPIAL. Shenango’s Reis Watkins has rushed for 1,249 yards and 21 touchdowns. Clairton’s Dontae Sanders, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior, ranks atop the WPIAL with 1,624 yards and 26 touchdowns. Both sides boast solid defenses that allow less than 13 points per game. … The Bears have not missed a beat since claiming the WPIAL Class A championship last season, 41-19 over Sto-Rox. Since then, Clairton has gone 7-0 and outscored opponents, 379-90. Chick’s Picks predicts another shot at WPIAL gold for the Bears after this one. … Clairton over Shenango

Here are the rest of the games on the Week 9 slate:

CLASS 5A

Semifinals

Pine-Richland over Penn-Trafford

CLASS 4A

Semifinals

Thomas Jefferson over Plum

CLASS 3A

Semifinals

North Catholic over Elizabeth Forward

CLASS 2A

Semifinals

Sto-Rox over Serra Catholic

CLASS A

Semifinals

Jeannette over Rochester

CITY LEAGUE

Semifinals

Allderdice over University Prep

Westinghouse over Brashear

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