Chick’s Picks worked out the kinks during Week Zero ‘preseason’

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Thursday, August 29, 2019 | 1:43 PM


Welcome to Week 1 of the high school football season. Week Zero was a rough one for Chick’s Picks, to say the very least.

A less than stellar prognosticating performance left Chick’s Picks questioning her abilities. After a bit of soul searching with her trusty crystal ball, though, Chick’s Picks came to some conclusions.

Week Zero is much like the NFL preseason. It is a time to work out the kinks. It is a time to clean the offseason dust off the crystal ball with some real game action. It is a time to try different prognosticating packages and schemes to see what is working best.

Nonetheless, the standard is the standard. Chick’s Picks and the crystal ball must step up the performance this week.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a dismal 33-23 (59%) record. Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS 6A

No. 2 Central Catholic Vikings (1-0) at No. 4 Seneca Valley Raiders (0-1)

The Raiders welcome the Vikings in a Class 6A Conference showdown between Top 5 teams Friday night. Seneca Valley looks to rebound after falling to McDowell last week, 35-14. Despite the loss, quarterback Gabe Lawson had an impressive night for the Raiders, completing 15 of 24 and throwing for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Central Catholic opened its season with a 42-7 rout of York William Penn. Edward Tillman led the Vikings with 109 rushing yards and one score. When these two met last season, Central Catholic outlasted Seneca Valley, 20-14, but Seneca Valley got revenge in the playoffs. Chick’s Picks predicts win No. 2 for the Vikings … Central Catholic over Seneca Valley.

CLASS 5A

No. 1 Gateway Gators (1-0) at No. 3 Penn-Trafford Warriors (1-0)

Penn-Trafford hosts top-ranked Gateway in a Big East Conference battle Friday night. The Warriors claimed their first victory of the season last week 42-7 over Norwin. Quarterback Gabe Dunlap did it all for Penn-Trafford, throwing for 133 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for another 131 yards and one score. The Gators also picked up their first win in Week Zero, 46-20, over Mt. Lebanon. Bryson Venanzio led a high-powered Gateway offense, passing for 246 yards and three touchdowns. The highly-touted Derrick Davis picked up 173 yards on the ground, another 104 receiving yards, and four touchdowns on the night. When these two met last season, Gateway came away with a 27-7 win. Chick’s Picks predicts the Warriors will have a difficult time shutting down the Gators’ offensive machine … Gateway over Penn-Trafford.

CLASS 4A

Montour Spartans (0-1) at New Castle Red Hurricanes (1-0)

The Spartans travel to New Castle to take on Northwest Eight Conference rival Red Hurricanes Friday night. Montour is seeking its first win of the season after falling to Moon, 14-10, in Week Zero. Quarterback Luke Persinger was still impressive in the loss, throwing for 155 yards and rushing for another 155. New Castle held off Shaler last week, 34-27. The Red Hurricanes were strong in the air and on the ground. Michael Wells passed for 118 yards and one touchdown, while Demetrius McKnight picked up 156 rushing yards and three scores. When these two met last season, New Castle topped Montour, 17-11. Chick’s Picks predicts a different outcome this time around … Montour over New Castle.

CLASS 3A

Burrell Buccaneers (1-0) at No. 2 North Catholic Trojans (0-0)

The Trojans open their season by hosting the Buccaneers in Big East Conference action Friday night. Burrell picked up its first win in Week Zero, 20-0, over Valley. Quarterback Alex Arledge, a transfer from Central Catholic, led the Buccaneers’ balanced offensive attack with 206 passing yards and two touchdowns. Seth Fischbach was on the receiving end of 109 yards, and Mike Scherer picked up 124 rushing yards. North Catholic returns veteran quarterback Zack Rocco, who has passed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his last two seasons, leading the Trojans to the WPIAL semifinals both years. When these two met last season, North Catholic rolled over Burrell, 41-7. Chick’s Picks predicts a big opening week performance from the Trojans … North Catholic over Burrell.

CLASS 2A

No. 3 Steel Valley Ironmen (0-0) at East Allegheny Wildcats (0-1)

East Allegheny hosts Steel Valley in an Allegheny Conference showdown Friday night. The Wildcats are coming off a Week Zero loss to Jeannette, 34-12. Johnny Moritz and Kiyon Delts filled the quarterback void for East Allegheny, combining for 165 passing yards against the Jayhawks. Steel Valley is under new leadership this season in familiar face Ray Braszo. The Ironmen are the defending WPIAL Class 2A champs, but only return five starters from last year’s squad. When these two met last season, Steel Valley topped East Allegheny, 41-12. Chick’s Picks predicts another victory by the Braszo-led Ironmen … Steel Valley over East Allegheny.

CLASS A

No. 3 Laurel Spartans (1-0) at No. 4 Rochester Rams (0-1)

The Spartans take on the Rams in a Big Seven Conference battle between Top 5 teams. Laurel claimed victory in Week Zero, blanking Mohawk, 21-0. Luke McCoy led the Spartans with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns. McCoy and Daniel Blank make up a backfield duo that combined for more than 2,000 yards for Laurel last season. Rochester looks to rebound after being shut out by New Brighton last week, 21-0. The Rams are the defending WPIAL Class A runners-up, and will look to get things back on track this week with a young team. Chick’s Picks predicts win No. 2 for the Spartans in this one … Laurel over Rochester.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Week 1 games:

CLASS 6A

Mt. Lebanon over Canon-McMillan

North Allegheny over Norwin

Pine-Richland over Hempfield

Nonconference

Baldwin over Butler

CLASS 5A

Allegheny Eight Conference

Woodland Hills over Bethel Park

West Allegheny over Chartiers Valley

Peters Township over Upper St. Clair

Big East Conference

Franklin Regional over Plum

McKeesport over Connellsville

Northern Conference

North Hills over Fox Chapel

Armstrong over Hampton

Kiski over Shaler

Nonconference

Mars over Moon

Penn Hills over Latrobe

CLASS 4A

Big Eight Conference

Greensburg Salem over Trinity

West Mifflin over Indiana

Thomas Jefferson over Ringgold

Northwest Eight Conference

Blackhawk over Knoch

Montour over New Castle

South Fayette over Beaver

Blackhawk over Knoch

South Fayette over Beaver

Nonconference

Belle Vernon over Ambridge

Keystone Oaks over Highlands

University Prep over Laurel Highlands

CLASS 3A

Big East Conference

Elizabeth Forward over Deer Lakes

Derry over Freeport

Uniontown over Yough

Tri-County West Conference

Central Valley over Quaker Valley

Beaver Falls over South Park

Aliquippa over Waynesburg

Nonconference

Mt. Pleasant over Hopewell

CLASS 2A

Allegheny Conference

Apollo-Ridge over Summit Academy

Avonworth over Valley

Interstate Conference

Beth-Center over Carmichaels

Washington over Charleroi

Southmoreland over Frazier

Midwestern Conference

New Brighton over Mohawk

Riverside over Neshannock

Shenango over Freedom

Three Rivers Conference

Brentwood over South Allegheny

Carlynton over Fort Cherry

Burgettstown over Seton-LaSalle

Nonconference

McGuffey over Clairton

Serra Catholic over Ellwood City

Shady Side Academy over Brownsville

South Side over Western Beaver

CLASS A

Eastern Conference

Springdale over Imani Christian

Jeannette over Leechburg

Greensburg Central Catholic over Riverview

Tri-County South Conference

West Greene over Bentworth

California over Monessen

Chartiers-Houston over Jefferson-Morgan

Big Seven Conference

Sto-Rox over OLSH

Union over Cornell

Nonconference

Bishop Canevin over Avella

INDEPENDENT

Albert Gallatin over Carrick

CITY LEAGUE

Perry over Brashear

Nonconference

Steubenville (Ohio) over Allderdice

Westinghouse over Linsly School (W.Va.)

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