Chick’s Picks thankful for WPIAL championship football this holiday weekend

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Thursday, November 25, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Welcome to Week 13.

Chick’s Picks doesn’t think it’s by chance that our final stop on the Highway to Heinz coincides with Thanksgiving. After all, Chick’s Picks has plenty to be thankful for this season, such as:

The Birdie: Chick’s Picks is thankful for The Birdie for sharing the TribLive High School Sports Network prognosticator spotlight.

Her crystal ball: Chick’s Picks is thankful for her most prized prognosticating tool. How would she be so successful without it?

Friends: Chick’s Picks is thankful for her college buddies who played an integral role in developing her love for high school football many, many years ago — especially one pal who is currently coaching his squad in the Texas Class 6A state playoffs. (Go Cougars.)

The entire TribLive High School Sports Network crew: Chick’s Picks is thankful for the team delivering the best high school football coverage around.

Chick’s Picks is thankful for bleachers filled with fans, Friday night lights, and marching bands — all of those things that brought a sense of normalcy to this high school football season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Chick’s Picks finished last week with an 8-5 (62%) record, bringing her season total to 507-169 (75%). Here are this week’s championship games:

WPIAL Class 5A

No. 1 Moon Tigers (12-0) vs. No. 2 Penn-Trafford Warriors (10-2)

The Tigers take on the Warriors in the Class 5A championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday evening. Moon advanced to the title game with a 21-13 quarterfinal victory over No. 9 Woodland Hills and a 14-9 semifinal win over No. 5 Penn Hills. Penn-Trafford rolled over No. 10 Fox Chapel, 42-14, in the quarterfinals, then knocked off No. 3 Pine-Richland, 24-6, in last week’s semifinals. … Moon is led by quarterback Tyler McGowan, who has thrown for 1,212 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Dylan Sleva has rushed for 754 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Tigers. Penn-Trafford has also found success both through the air and on the ground. Carter Green has thrown for 1,023 yards and nine touchdowns. Cade Yacamelli has racked up 1,498 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. … Moon has been perfect this season after finishing last season with a 4-3 record, falling short of the playoffs. Both the Tigers and the Warriors are averaging around 30 points per game, while holding opponents to only 12 points per game. Moon’s lone WPIAL title came in 1998. Penn-Trafford is still seeking its first. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Warriors get their name in the record book this time around. … Penn-Trafford over Moon

WPIAL Class 4A

No. 1 Belle Vernon Leopards (10-0) vs. No. 2 Aliquippa Quips (10-1)

Class 4A’s top two seeds do battle for WPIAL gold at Heinz Field on Saturday afternoon. Belle Vernon’s playoff journey included a 45-20 rout of No. 9 New Castle in the quarterfinals, followed by a 21-7 semifinal victory over No. 5 TJ. Aliquippa advanced to the title game after blanking No. 10 Laurel Highlands in the quarterfinals, 36-0, then holding off No. 3 McKeesport, 27-21, in the semifinals. Belle Vernon will be seeking revenge for last year’s 33-25 semifinal loss to Aliquippa. … The Leopards boast dual-threat quarterback Devin Whitlock, who has 1,052 passing yards and nine touchdowns and 1,181 rushing yards and 22 scores. Quinton Martin shares running game duties with Whitlock and has racked up 898 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. Belle Vernon’s high-powered offense will be tested, though, against Aliquippa’s stingy defense that allows only 9.7 points per game. The Quips, on the other side of the ball, are led by quarterback Quentin Goode’s 1,529 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. Tiqwai Hayes has rushed for 1,378 yards and 15 scores for Aliquippa. … The Quips’ only loss this season came to Class 3A’s top team – Central Valley. Belle Vernon holds one WPIAL title from 1995. Aliquippa has won WPIAL gold 17 times in two classifications, with the most recent coming in 2018. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Quips add Class 4A gold to their collection in this one. … Aliquippa over Belle Vernon

WPIAL Class 3A

No. 1 Central Valley Warriors (12-0) vs. No. 2 North Catholic Trojans (12-0)

Central Valley takes on North Catholic in a battle between undefeateds for WPIAL Class 3A gold at Heinz Field on Saturday afternoon. The defending WPIAL and PIAA champ Warriors have not allowed a point in the postseason, routing No. 9 East Allegheny, 41-0, in the quarterfinals, and No. 4 Elizabeth Forward, 51-0, in the semifinals. The Trojans edged No. 7 Keystone Oaks, 48-41, in the quarterfinals, before blanking No. 3 Avonworth, 7-0, in last week’s semifinals. … Antwon Johnson captains the Central Valley offense, throwing for 956 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year. Landon Alexander leads the Warriors’ running attack with 1,709 rushing yards and 25 scores. North Catholic veteran quarterback Joey Prentice has thrown for 1,582 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. The versatile Kyle Tipinski has rushed for 514 yards and seven touchdowns and has been on the receiving end of 457 yards and nine scores. … The Central Valley offense is averaging 47.7 points per game — a touchdown more per game than North Catholic. Both the Warriors and the Trojans boast stingy defenses with Central Valley allowing 6.3 points per game and North Catholic allowing only 7.7. Central Valley holds four WPIAL titles, including each of the last two years. North Catholic is seeking its second championship. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Warriors take home No. 5 for the three-peat. … Central Valley over North Catholic

WPIAL Class 2A

No. 5 Beaver Falls Tigers (9-3) vs. No. 6 Serra Catholic Eagles (13-1)

The Tigers and the Eagles face off for WPIAL Class 2A gold at Heinz Field on Friday afternoon. Beaver Falls made its way down the Highway to Heinz with wins over No. 12 Western Beaver, 42-8, No. 13 New Brighton, 40-0, and No. 1 Steel Valley, 21-8. Serra Catholic advanced with a 61-21 win over No. 11 Neshannock, a 6-0 shutout of No. 3 Laurel, and a 13-12 edging of No. 2 Sto-Rox. … The Tigers are led by one of the WPIAL’s top passers in Jaren Brickner, who has thrown for 2,467 yards and 24 touchdowns. Isaiah Aeschbacher has been Brickner’s favorite target, racking up 783 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Defending WPIAL champ Beaver Falls started this season 0-3 with losses to Blackhawk, Aliquippa and Laurel before going on a nine-game winning streak. Serra Catholic quarterback Max Rocco has passed for 1,750 yards and 24 touchdowns. … The Eagles’ lone loss this season came to top-ranked Steel Valley in the final week of the regular season, 28-7. Last season, the Eagles advanced to the semifinals before falling to Sto-Rox, 49-38. Beaver Falls is averaging 35.4 points per game — one touchdown more per game than Serra Catholic. The Eagles’ solid defense is allowing only 8.8 points per game. Beaver Falls has won WPIAL gold five times. Serra Catholic is seeking its third WPIAL title and its first since 2007. Chick’s Picks predicts that big-game experience will pay off for the Tigers in this one. … Beaver Falls over Serra Catholic

WPIAL Class A

No. 9 Our Lady of Sacred Heart Chargers (9-3) vs. No. 3 Bishop Canevin Crusaders (12-1)

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart heads to Heinz Field as the lowest remaining seed to battle Bishop Canevin for WPIAL Class A gold Friday afternoon. The Chargers advanced to the title game with upsets of No. 8 Greensburg Central Catholic, 28-8, No. 1 Clairton, 29-15, and No. 5 Rochester, 14-13. The Crusaders’ postseason journey includes victories over No. 14 Burgettstown, 49-6, No. 11 Shenango, 42-14, and No. 2 Cornell, 24-7. … Quarterback Nehemiah Azeem captains the OLSH offense, passing for 1,730 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. Stephen Greer has rushed for 626 yards and four touchdowns. Bishop Canevin is led by quarterback Jason Cross, who has passed for 1,386 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for another 473 yards and nine scores. Marquis Carter heads the Crusaders running game with 518 yards and five scores. … The Crusaders’ only loss this season came to No. 1 Clairton, 28-18, in Week 5. The Chargers have narrowly outscored opponents by five points per game. The Crusaders are averaging 34.2 points per game and allowing only 6.9. Last season, OLSH advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals before falling to Clairton, 54-20. Bishop Canevin finished last season with a 5-3 record, missing out on the postseason. The Chargers claimed WPIAL gold once, in 2017. The Crusaders won their first and only title in 1990. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Crusaders will end their three-decade drought in this one. … Bishop Canevin over OLSH

PIAA Class 6A

Quarterfinals

Mt. Lebanon over McDowell

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