Chicks Picks – Week Twelve – 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 3:10 PM
Welcome to Week 12 of the high school football season. It has been a long journey down the Highway to Heinz this season. Approaching the last exit on the distinguished roadway, Chick’s Picks thought it would be an appropriate time for the entire MSA Sports crew to stop for a bite to eat.
Leading the way, Chick’s Picks chose her favorite downtown restaurant. As the crew gathered in the lobby, the host approached—and was astonished when he saw who was in the party.
“Why, Ms. Picks, it is an honor to host you and your friends in our establishment,” he said as he led the crew to their table. As the host distributed menus to each person, he noted, “Please take a close look at our weekly specials.”
Chick’s Picks did as the kind host requested, and was taken aback by what she saw: her very own item on the menu—The Chick’s Picksburger. Without hesitation, Chick’s Picks ordered a round of her namesake Picksburgers. It became a celebration, not only for the famed MSA Sports prognosticator, but also for the end of another successful journey on the Highway to Heinz.
As they dined, Chick’s Picks leaned over to The Boss and said, “Let it be known – the only other celebrity in this town with a burger named after them is our beloved Steelers quarterback. I think this calls for a contract renegotiation next season.”
The Boss needed no words as he gave the prognosticator his finest sarcastic smile, and went on about his Chick’s Picksburger.
Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 15-1 (94%) record, bringing her season total to 445-128 (78%). Here are this week’s big games:
#3 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (10-1) vs. #2 Penn-Trafford (11-0)
The defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion Vikings travel to Norwin to battle the Warriors Friday night. In last week’s quarterfinals, Central Catholic blanked Woodland Hills, 28-0, while Penn-Trafford edged North Allegheny, 35-31. The Vikings come into this week’s semifinals with the top defense in Class AAAA, allowing only 8.5 points per game. Central Catholic’s only loss this season came to top-ranked Pine-Richland in Week 8. The Warriors boast a powerful offense, averaging over 40 points per game behind a thousand-yard passer and rusher. Brett Laffoon has thrown for 1,779 yards and 24 touchdowns for Penn-Trafford, to go along with Devin Austin’s 1,335 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Chick’s Picks predicts that the stingy defense of the Vikings will take them back to Heinz Field this season.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Penn-Trafford.
#5 McKeesport (10-1) vs. #1 Pine-Richland (11-0)
McKeesport and Pine-Richland will meet at North Allegheny Friday night with a spot in the WPIAL Class AAAA title game on the line. The Tigers topped Plum in last week’s quarterfinals, 20-5, while the Rams rolled over Altoona, 49-7. This semifinal matchup will feature some of the top performers in the WPIAL. RB Khaleke Hudson leads McKeesport with 1,616 yards and 26 touchdowns. Ben DiNucci, the WPIAL’s top passer, leads Pine-Richland with 3,023 yards and 33 touchdowns on the year. The Rams are far from one dimensional though, with Connor Slomka in the backfield. Slomka has racked up over 1,000 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns this season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the many offensive weapons of the Rams will be too much for the Tigers.
Pine-Richland over McKeesport.
#3 West Allegheny (10-1) vs. #2 Thomas Jefferson (11-0)
Perennial powers will meet Friday night at Bethel Park as the Indians take on the undefeated Jaguars in a Class AAA semifinal. West Allegheny is coming off of a 37-14 quarterfinal win over Franklin Regional last week, as Thomas Jefferson topped Mars, 28-13. The Indians’ only loss this season came to top-ranked Central Valley, 28-17, in Week 9. West Allegheny has found success in the air and on the ground this season. Andrew Koester has passed for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Chayse Dillon and Terence Stephens have combined for over 1,500 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. The Jaguars boast one of the top rushers in the WPIAL in Austin Kemp, who is approaching the 2,000-yard mark on the year, and has found paydirt 39 times. TJ has also been impressive defensively, allowing less than 10 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts that the multi-faceted Indians’ offense will have what it takes to punch yet another ticket to Heinz Field.
West Allegheny over Thomas Jefferson.
#5 Ringgold (10-1) vs. #1 Central Valley (11-0)
Ringgold takes on top-ranked Central Valley in Class AAA semifinal action at Chartiers Valley Friday night. In last week’s quarterfinals, the Rams edged Hampton, 21-20, while the Warriors rolled over Indiana, 41-14. Both squads have found success in the passing and running games this season. Ringgold QB Nico Law has thrown for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, and rushed for another 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. Law pairs well with RB Chacar Berry, who has 1,341 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on the year. Central Valley is led by a 1,200-yard passer and rusher in QB Chris Callaghan and RB Jordan Whitehead. The high-powered Warriors offense averages 47.2 points per game—the best of the Class AAA semifinalists, and 11 points per game better than the Rams. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Warriors will punch their ticket to Heinz Field.
Central Valley over Ringgold.
#5 Seton-LaSalle (10-1) vs. #1 South Fayette (11-0)
Century Conference foes Seton-LaSalle and South Fayette meet once again at Peters Township Friday night. The Rebels are coming off of a 28-21 quarterfinal victory over Highlands last week. The Lions knocked off South Park, 39-21. Both sides feature 2,000-yard quarterbacks, ranking among the best in the WPIAL. Tyler Perrone leads Seton-LaSalle with 2,044 yards and 24 touchdowns on the year. Brett Brumbaugh has passed for 2,690 yards and 33 touchdowns for South Fayette. Despite similar stats, the Lions average 20 points more per game than the Rebels. When these two met earlier this season, South Fayette came away with a 41-14 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts much of the same this time around.
South Fayette over Seton-LaSalle.
#3 Washington (11-0) vs. #2 Aliquippa (11-0)
West Allegheny will be the site for this semifinal battle of undefeateds Friday night. In last week’s quarterfinals, Washington routed Apollo-Ridge, 58-30, while Aliquippa shut out Mount Pleasant, 40-0. The Little Prexies split time between their passing and running games. Jonathan Spina has thrown for 1,233 yards and 19 touchdowns. Malik Wells has racked up 1,388 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. The Quips are led by standout QB Darrien Fields, but also boast a backfield duo of DiMantae Bronaugh and Kaezon Pugh, who have combined for 2,440 yards and 45 touchdowns. Aliquippa has been solid defensively, as well, allowing only 112 points all season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Quips will earn yet another trip to the WPIAL championship game.
Aliquippa over Washington.
#5 Avonworth (10-1) vs. #1 Cardinal Weurl North Catholic (11-0)
The Antelopes and Trojans meet again Friday night in a Class A semifinal at Mars. When these two met earlier this season in Black Hills Conference play, Cardinal Weurl North Catholic handed Avonworth its only loss of the season, 28-0. Last week, the Antelopes knocked off Riverside, 31-14, while the Trojans topped South Side Beaver, 20-6. Avonworth will look to the running game of Jamal Hughley. Cardinal Weurl North Catholic will counter with its one-two punch of PJ Fulmore and Jerome Turner. The duo have combined for over 2,200 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns this season. Chick’s Picks predicts that the defending champs will make a return visit to Heinz Field.
Cardinal Weurl North Catholic over Avonworth.
#3 Neshannock (11-0) vs. #2 Clairton (11-0)
The Lancers and the Bears take their perfect records to Canon-McMillan Friday night in a Class A semifinal. Neshannock is coming off of a 46-32 quarterfinal victory over Jeannette, while Clairton rolled over Shenango, 68-7. The Lancers will look to the arm of Frank Antuono, who has passed for 1,617 yards and 18 touchdowns so far this season. The Bears boast QB Ryan Williams, who surpassed the 2,000-yard mark, and has tossed 26 touchdowns passes on the year. RB Lamont Wade is approaching the 2,000-yard mark, and found paydirt 33 times. Clairton is averaging an astonishing 67 points per game—nearly 20 points per game better than Neshannock. The Bears have held opponents to only 43 points all season, compared to 135 by the Lancers. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Bears will roll on to the WPIAL Class A title game.
Clairton over Neshannock.