Chicks Picks – Week One – 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017 | 8:31 PM

Welcome to Week 1 of the high school football season. As many of you know, the MSA Sports Network had a rough off-season. Earlier this summer, we lost our beloved friend and long-time broadcaster, Mark Schaas.  Then, just as we began to regroup from the loss, we caught word that the future of the Network was in jeopardy.

We did not throw in the towel, though. And you, the fans, believed in us.  We came together once again to fight to keep the MSA Sports Network alive.  So, here we are – a few weeks into the battle, still with a lot of uncertainties and question marks.  As we wait for what we hope will be good news, we will keep doing what we do best – bringing you the best WPIAL high school football coverage in town.

When Chick’s Picks pulled out her trusty crystal ball this week, it was a bittersweet moment, as she hoped it would not be for the last time. She thought about her dear friend Schaasy and the article he used to author, “Under the Northern Lights.”  Those Northern Lights will certainly never be the same without him.  Here’s to hoping that these Friday night lights will still be shining bright for the MSA Sports Network in Week 2.

Here are this week’s big games:

#1 Pine-Richland (1-0) vs. #4 Mount Lebanon (1-0)

The Rams host the Blue Devils in Class 6A non-conference action Friday night. Pine-Richland opened its season last week with a 41-0 shutout over Wayne (OH), while Mt. Lebanon edged Fox Chapel, 32-27.  Veteran Rams quarterback Phil Jurkovec put on quite a show, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, despite resting the majority of the second half.  Blue Devils quarterback Seth Morgan turned some heads last week, as well, passing for 283 yards and four touchdowns.  When these two met last season, the Rams came away with a 42-31 victory.  Chick’s Picks predicts a similar result this time around.
Pine-Richland over Mount Lebanon.

#5 Upper St. Clair (0-1) at #8 North Hills (1-0)

The Panthers head north to take on the Indians in an Allegheny Nine Conference matchup Friday night. Upper St. Clair opened its season with a loss to Steubenville (OH) last week, 37-7, while North Hills rolled over Shaler, 45-17.  Indians’ running back Melvin Blanks racked up 195 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.  The Panthers finished last season with a (6-4) record after falling to McKeesport in the WPIAL quarterfinals.  The Indians were also bounced in the quarterfinals, by West Allegheny.  These two squared off in Week 2 last season, and saw Upper St. Clair come away with a 28-7 victory.  Chick’s Picks predicts that the Panthers will get one for the win column this week.
Upper St. Clair over North Hills.

#6 Montour (0-0) at #5 New Castle (0-1)

The Spartans kick off their season on the road when they take on the Red Hurricane in a Northwest Nine Conference battle Friday night. New Castle opened its season with a 24-0 loss to Class 3A powerhouse Aliquippa last week.  Montour finished last season with a (4-6) record after being blanked by Thomas Jefferson, 35-0, in the WPIAL quarterfinals.  New Castle advanced to the WPIAL championship before falling to that same TJ squad, 42-0.  When these two met last season, the Red Hurricane pulled off a 26-13 victory.  Chick’s Picks predicts the same outcome this time around, in the name of the late, great Mark Schaas.
New Castle over Montour.

#3 Beaver Falls (0-0) at #1 Aliquippa (1-0)

The Tigers jump into the deep end with their season opener as they take on the top-ranked Quips Saturday night. Aliquippa picked up one for the win column last week with a 24-0 shutout of Class 4A New Castle.  This week’s Beaver Valley Conference showdown will be a rematch of last year’s WPIAL championship game, where the Tigers topped the Quips, 35-22.  Aliquippa finished last season with a (10-3) record.  Beaver falls claimed both WPIAL and PIAA gold, and finished the year with a (13-1) record – its only loss coming to the Quips in Week 1, 44-13.  Chick’s picks dusts off the old crystal ball for battles between perennial powers such as these, and this time, it’s predicting the Quips.
Aliquippa over Beaver Falls.

#6 Riverside (0-0) at #1 Steel Valley (0-0)

The defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Ironmen kick off their season in non-conference action against the Panthers Friday night. Steel Valley and Riverside started off last season in the same fashion, resulting in a 41-7 route by the Ironmen.  It did not end there, though.  These two met once again in the WPIAL semifinals, where the Panthers were sent packing after a 42-0 blanking.  Steel Valley finished last season with a perfect (15-0) record.  Chick’s Picks predicts that the Ironmen will pick up where they left off.
Steel Valley over Riverside.

#8 Northgate (0-0) at #5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (0-1)

Northgate looks to kick off its season at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Big Seven Conference play Friday night. The Chargers picked up a loss in Week Zero, 28-21, to South Side Beaver.  Despite the loss, OLSH quarterback Tyler Bradley passed for an impressive 263 yards and three touchdowns.  Last season, the Flames advanced to the WPIAL semifinals, before falling to Clairton.  The Chargers finished their season with a (7-3) record after a loss in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs to Imani Christian.  When these two met last season, Northgate came away with a 40-6 victory.  Chick’s Picks predicts the same winner this time around.
Northgate over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.


Northern Seven Conference

Penn Hills over Butler

Central Catholic over Shaler

Southeastern Conference

Norwin over Altoona

Hempfield over Canon-McMillan

6-A Non-Conference

North Allegheny over Bethel Park

Seneca Valley over Peters Township


Allegheny Nine Conference

Hampton over Chartiers Valley

West Allegheny over Fox Chapel

Woodland Hills over Baldwin

Big East Conference

Plum over Kiski Area

Gateway over Latrobe

McKeesport over Franklin Regional

Penn-Trafford over Connellsville

5-A Non-Conference

Armstrong over Moon


Big Nine Conference

Belle Vernon over Albert Gallatin

Ringgold over Greensburg Salem

West Mifflin over Trinity

Thomas Jefferson over Uniontown

Northwest Nine Conference

Highlands over Ambridge

Blackhawk over Knoch

South Fayette over Mars

4-A Non-Conference

Indiana over Laurel Highlands


Allegheny Conference

Apollo-Ridge over Deer Lakes

Seton-LaSalle over Shady Side Academy

Keystone Oaks over Valley

Beaver Valley Conference

Central Valley over Ellwood City

Interstate Conference

Derry Area over Elizabeth Forward

Mount Pleasant over Waynesburg

South Park over Southmoreland

3-A Non-Conference

Hopewell over Burrell

Quaker Valley over McGuffey


Century Conference

Bentworth over Brownsville

Burgettstown over Frazier

Washington over Charleroi

Midwestern Conference

Laurel over Mohawk

Neshannock over Cardinal Weurl North Catholic

New Brighton over South Side Beaver

Three Rivers Conference

Brentwood over Serra Catholic

Avonworth over Carlynton

East Allegheny over South Allegheny

2-A Non-Conference

Beaver Area over Freedom

Beth-Center over Yough


Big Seven Conference

Rochester over Shenango

Summit Academy over Western Beaver

Sto-Rox over Union

Eastern Conference

Imani Christian over Greensburg Central Catholic

Riverview over Leechburg

Clairton over Bishop Canevin

Tri-County South Conference

West Greene over Avella

Fort Cherry over California

Monessen over Carmichaels

1-A Non-Conference

Jeannette over Chartiers-Houston

Cornell over Mapletown

Jefferson-Morgan over Springdale


Brashear over Allderdice

Perry over Carrick


Fort Hill (MD) over University Prep

Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.

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