Chicks Picks – Week One – 2017
By: Don Rebel
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
Norwin over Altoona
Hempfield over Canon-McMillan
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
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
Indiana over Laurel Highlands
Apollo-Ridge over Deer Lakes
Seton-LaSalle over Shady Side Academy
Keystone Oaks over Valley
Beaver Valley Conference
Central Valley over Ellwood City
Derry Area over Elizabeth Forward
Mount Pleasant over Waynesburg
South Park over Southmoreland
Hopewell over Burrell
Quaker Valley over McGuffey
Bentworth over Brownsville
Burgettstown over Frazier
Washington over Charleroi
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
Beaver Area over Freedom
Beth-Center over Yough
Big Seven Conference
Rochester over Shenango
Summit Academy over Western Beaver
Sto-Rox over Union
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
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.