Chicks Picks – Week Four
By: Don Rebel
Monday, September 25, 2017 | 7:17 PM
Welcome to Week 4 of the high school football season. While working on this week’s predictions and researching some of the top players in the WPIAL, Chick’s Picks started thinking back to her basketball playing days many moons ago. Recalling some of the most talented players from her day, Chick’s Picks wondered, where are they now?
One in particular came to mind – a teammate, also named Melissa, who happened to be one of the best. Chick’s Picks knew exactly what that Melissa was up to these days, though. She’s been busy passing along her incredible athletic abilities to her son, Jeannette’s star quarterback Robert Kennedy.
Chick’s Picks admittedly felt a bit old after realizing that her former star teammate now had a star of her own. However, she was also very proud to see that athletic tradition carrying on across the generations in her hometown.
Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 44-20 (69%) record, bringing her season total to 138-53 (72%). Here are this week’s big games:
#1 Pine-Richland (4-0) at #3 Bethel Park (3-0)
Bethel Park plays host to top-ranked Pine-Richland in non-conference action Friday night. The Black Hawks are coming off of a 27-7 victory over Norwin last week, while the Rams rolled over Penn Hills, 43-6. Bethel Park boasts the top defense in Class 6A, allowing less than 10 points per game. It will have its hands full, however, facing the top quarterback in the WPIAL in Pine-Richland’s Phil Jurkovec. The veteran passer has already thrown for 1,117 yards this season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Black Hawks defense will slow down the powerful Rams, but it won’t be enough to stop them.
Pine-Richland over Bethel Park.
#3 McKeesport (2-1) at #8 Plum (2-2)
McKeesport hits the road to take on Plum in a Big East Conference showdown Friday night. Last week, the Tigers routed Connellsville, 60-7. The Mustangs climbed into the Top 10 rankings after upsetting Franklin Regional, 33-7. That same Franklin Regional squad was responsible for McKeesport’s only loss of the season, 13-7, in Week 1. McKeesport is averaging nearly 30 points per game. Plum is averaging only 11, and has been outscored by opponents, (42-87), so far this season. The running game came alive for the Mustangs in last week’s win, with Dakota Sunday picking up 81 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Despite the surge, Chick’s Picks likes the experienced Tigers in this one.
McKeesport over Plum.
#9 Greensburg-Salem (2-2) at #3 Belle Vernon (3-0)
The Leopards host the Golden Lions in a Big Nine Conference battle Friday night. Belle Vernon edged Ringgold last week, 17-14. Greensburg Salem looks to rebound after being blanked by Thomas Jefferson, 48-0. The Leopards have allowed only 22 points in three games. The Golden Lions have been outscored (101-119) in their four games this season. Quarterback Jacob Hoyle leads a balanced Greensburg Salem attack with 372 passing yards and 316 rushing yards. Chick’s Picks likes the Leopards to remain perfect in this one.
Belle Vernon over Greensburg-Salem.
#4 Quaker Valley (4-0) at #2 Central Valley (3-1)
Central Valley welcomes Quaker Valley in a Beaver Valley Conference showdown Friday night. The Warriors are coming off of a big 52-28 non-conference win over Cardinal Weurl North Catholic. The Quakers maintained their unblemished record with a huge upset of #4 Beaver, 45-21. Central Valley quarterback Nico Battisti has racked up 642 passing yards and 218 rushing yards so far this season. Quaker Valley is led by quarterback Ricky Guss, who has thrown for 653 yards and nine touchdowns, and rushed for a team-best 437 yards and 11 touchdowns. Chick’s Picks likes the Quakers to continue their run.
Quaker Valley over Central Valley.
#10 Neshannock (2-2) at #3 East Allegheny (2-1)
The Lancers take on the Wildcats in non-conference action Friday night. Neshannock hung on to it’s #10 ranking with a win over New Brighton last week, 49-21, while East Allegheny had a bye week. Lancers’ quarterback Jared Staph has racked up 472 passing yards and five touchdowns, and is also one of his squad’s leading rushers with 170 yards on the year. Neshannock, though, has been outscored by opponents, (90-102), so far this season. East Allegheny is averaging 31 points per game, while allowing only 20.3. Chick’s Picks predicts a Wildcats victory in this one.
East Allegheny over Neshannock.
#2 Jeannette (4-0) at #4 Imani Christian (3-1)
Imani Christian plays host to Jeannette in an Eastern Conference showdown on Saturday. The Saints look to rebound after dropping their first game of the season last week, 41-26, to California. The Jayhawks posted their second shutout of the year, 43-0, over Riverview. This matchup features two of the top quarterbacks in the WPIAL. Imani Christian’s Tawan Wesley has already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark this season. Wesley’s favorite targets include Sam Fairley, Rahmon Hart, and Ray Jackson, who have combined for over 1,000 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Jeannette’s versatile quarterback Robert Kennedy has thrown for 516 yards and 12 touchdowns, and also leads the Jayhawks in rushing with 318 yards and six touchdowns. The Saints are averaging 53 points per game. The Jayhawks have allowed only 32 points in four games. Chick’s Picks sides with defense in this one.
Jeannette over Imani Christian.
Northern Seven Conference
North Allegheny over Butler
Central Catholic over Seneca Valley
Penn Hills over Shaler
Norwin over Canon-McMillan
Peters Township over Hempfield
Mt. Lebanon over Altoona
Allegheny Nine Conference
West Allegheny over Baldwin
North Hills over Moon
Upper St. Clair over Fox Chapel
Woodland Hills over Chartiers Valley
Big East Conference
Franklin Regional over Armstrong
Kiski Area over Connellsville
Penn-Trafford over Latrobe
Gateway over Hampton
Big Nine Conference
Ringgold over Laurel Highlands
Thomas Jefferson over Albert Gallatin
West Mifflin over Uniontown
Northwest Nine Conference
Mars over Highlands
New Castle over Indiana
Montour over Ambridge
South Fayette over Knoch
Trinity over Blackhawk
Apollo-Ridge over Burrell
Freeport over Shady Side Academy
Valley over Deer Lakes
Beaver Valley Conference
Aliquippa over Ellwood City
South Park over Derry Area
McGuffey over Elizabeth Forward
Waynesburg Central over Yough
Beaver Falls over Southmoreland
Beaver over Keystone Oaks
Beth-Center over Bentworth
Burgettstown over Chartiers-Houston
Washington over Frazier
Midwestern Athletic Conference
Cardinal Weurl North Catholic over New Brighton
Freedom over Laurel
Riverside over South Side Beaver
Three Rivers Conference
Brentwood over Avonworth
Steel Valley over South Allegheny
Mount Pleasant over Brownsville
Hopewell over Mohawk
Seton LaSalle over Serra Catholic
Big Seven Conference
Rochester over Cornell
Northgate over Sto-Rox
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart over Summit Academy
Union over Western Beaver
Springdale over Leechburg
Bishop Canevin over Riverview
Tri-County South Conference
Carmichaels over Avella
California over Mapletown
West Greene over Jefferson-Morgan
Charleroi over Greensburg Central Catholic
For Cherry over Shenango
Clairton over Monessen
Allderdice over Carrick
Brashear over Hollidaysburg
Westinghouse over Hickory
Brooke (WV) over Perry
Steubenville (OH) over University Prep
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.