In advance of Week 4, Chick’s Picks takes victory lap as Western Pa.’s top prognosticator

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Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 11:58 AM


Welcome to Week 4.

Chick’s Picks had the privilege of attending the Emmy Awards this past weekend. It was no surprise, of course, that she was nominated for the prestigious Top Prognosticator in the World award. Other nominees included ESPN’s well-known college football prognosticator Lee Corso, the most famous psychic of the 90s — Miss Cleo, and Western Pennsylvania’s own legendary weather predictor Punxsutawney Phil.

In preparation for the awards show, Chick’s Picks was informed by the event coordinator that she was to wear a ball gown in order to meet the dress code guidelines. Searching her closet frantically, Chick’s Picks realized the only ball gown that she owned, or had ever worn for that matter, was her prom dress circa 1998.

Despite feeling exceptionally underdressed upon her arrival, Chick’s Picks’ attire concerns were out the window the moment that host Cedric the Entertainer called out her name as the recipient of the Top Prognosticator in the World award. Chick’s Picks made her way to the stage, much to Punxsutawney Phil’s dismay, said her routine thank yous to her crystal ball and others that helped her along the way, then took a long moment to bask in her own glory.

Now that she is back in the WPIAL to make this week’s predictions, Chick’s Picks can’t help but wonder how this most recent accolade will bolster her stardom.

Chick’s Picks finished last week with a 48-16 (75%) record, bringing her season total to 178-69 (72%). Here are this week’s big games:

WPIAL Class 6A

No. 1 Central Catholic Vikings (3-1) at No. 3 North Allegheny Tigers (3-1)

North Allegheny hosts Central Catholic in a Class 6A Conference showdown of top teams. The Tigers rolled over Baldwin last week, 61-14, while the Vikings improved to 3-1 with a 50-0 rout of Norwin. When these two met during the regular season last year, North Allegheny came away with a 35-21 victory. Central Catholic got its revenge, though, on the biggest stage of all and claimed WPIAL gold with a 38-24 win in the title game. This season, the Tigers feature a balanced offensive attack with Logan Kushner at the helm and JR Burton leading the ground game. The Vikings feature quarterback Payton Wehner and Gannon Carothers, who each have more than 400 yards of offense this season. Central boasts the top offense in Class 6A, averaging 38.3 points per game. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Vikings will grind out a tough road win in this one…Central Catholic over North Allegheny.

WPIAL Class 5A

Latrobe Wildcats (2-2) at No. 4 South Fayette Lions (3-1)

The Wildcats hit the road to take on the Lions in nonconference action Friday night. Latrobe is coming off of a 35-0 blanking of Mt. Pleasant last week, while South Fayette knocked off Chartiers valley, 28-14. The Wildcats have been without starting quarterback Bobby Fetter, who was injured during the loss to Norwin in Week 1, and has missed two games since. Backup quarterbacks Corey Boerio and Brayden Reott have stepped up nicely, as has running back Drake Clayton, who has rushed for 474 yards and four touchdowns on the year. The Lions are led by senior quarterback Landon Lutz, who has thrown for 557 yards and six scores. Nate Deans, a sophomore, has been solid out of the backfield with 440 rushing yards on the year. Chick’s Picks predicts the experienced Lions will still be a bit too much for the much-improved Wildcats…South Fayette over Latrobe.

WPIAL Class 4A

No. 1 Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (3-0) at No. 2 Belle Vernon Leopards (3-0)

TJ takes on familiar Big Eight Conference foe Belle Vernon in a showdown between Class 4A’s top two teams Friday night. The Jaguars rolled over Trinity last week, 49-7, while the Leopards routed West Mifflin, 49-3. Versatile senior quarterback Joe Lekse captains the TJ offense, throwing for 304 yards and rushing for another 205 on the year. Belle Vernon’s own dual-threat quarterback, Devin Whitlock, has started his senior season with 400 passing yards and a team-high 369 rushing yards. The Jaguars and the Leopards boast a few of the top defenses in Class 4A — both allowing eight points or less per game. When these two met last season, TJ came out on top, 42-21. Chick’s Picks predicts a similar result for the defending WPIAL and PIAA champs this time around…Thomas Jefferson over Belle Vernon.

WPIAL Class 3A

East Allegheny Wildcats (2-2) at No. 2 North Catholic Trojans (4-0)

The Trojans welcome the Wildcats in Allegheny Conference action Friday night. Last week, North Catholic blanked Valley, 49-0, while East Allegheny held off Burrell, 30-21. Senior quarterback Joey Prentice, a three-year starter, leads the Trojans with 278 passing yards and six touchdowns. Fellow senior Kyle Tipinski has been Prentice’s favorite target, racking up 272 receiving yards and five scores. The Wildcats rely on dual-threat quarterback Michael Smith, who has thrown for 308 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for a team-high 142 yards. North Catholic’s potent offense is averaging 42.5 points per game. The Trojans’ defense ranks among the best in Class 3A, allowing only 17 points in four games. East Allegheny has been outscored by its first four opponents, 84-85. When these two met last season, the Trojans rolled to a 35-14 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts a repeat performance this time around…North Catholic over East Allegheny.

WPIAL Class 2A

Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers (3-0) at No. 2 Washington Little Prexies (4-0)

Chartiers-Houston faces off against Washington in a battle between Century Conference unbeatens Friday night. The Buccaneers are coming off of a 29-0 shutout of Beth-Center last week, while the Little Prexies steamrolled Waynesburg, 57-14. Chartiers-Houston’s backfield duo of Jordan Irson and Lane Camden have combined for 345 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. Washington has found success in both the passing and running game. Junior quarterback Davoun Fuse has racked up 200 passing yards and 88 rushing yards. Senior running back Tayshawn Levy leads the Little Prexies with 431 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Washington boasts the highest-scoring offense in the WPIAL, averaging 50.5 points per game. Chartiers-Houston’s stingy defense has allowed only 21 points in its first three games. When these two met last season, the Little Prexies rolled over the Buccaneers, 45-14. Chick’s Picks predicts a closer contest this time around, but a victory nonetheless for the home team…Washington over Chartiers-Houston.

WPIAL Class A

Fort Cherry Rangers (3-1) at No. 2 Our Lady of Sacred Heart Chargers (3-0)

The Chargers host the Rangers in a Big Seven Conference battle Friday night. Last week, Fort Cherry knocked off Shenango, 35-7, while OLSH cruised to a 33-13 victory over Burgettstown. Senior quarterback Maddox Truschel captains the Rangers offense, throwing for 320 yards and rushing for a team-high 482 yards so far this season. Truschel’s favorite targets, Dylan Rogers and Anthony D’Alessandro, have combined for 310 receiving yards and seven scores. The Chargers rely on the arm of quarterback Neimiah Azeem, who has thrown for 353 yards and three touchdowns in his junior season. Senior running back Stephen Green has rushed for 236 yards and found paydirt three times. When these two met last season, OLSH rolled over Fort Cherry, 35-13. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Chargers remain perfect despite a tough test from the Rangers…OLSH over Fort Cherry.

Here’s a look at the rest of the slate of Week 4 games:

WPIAL CLASS 6A

Canon-McMillan over Baldwin

Mt. Lebanon over Hempfield

WPIAL CLASS 5A

Nonconference

Franklin Regional over Bethel Park

Peters Township over Connellsville

Moon over Fox Chapel

Upper St. Clair over Penn Hills

Gateway over Pine-Richland

West Allegheny over Kiski Area

Penn-Trafford over Shaler

WPIAL CLASS 4A

Big Eight Conference

McKeesport over Trinity

Laurel Highlands over West Mifflin

Greater Allegheny Conference

Highlands over Hampton

Indiana over Greensburg Salem

Armstrong over Knoch

Plum over Mars

Nonconference

Chartiers Valley over Hopewell

Keystone Oaks over Montour

Beaver over Seton LaSalle

WPIAL CLASS 3A

Allegheny Seven Conference

Deer Lakes over Valley

Interstate Conference

South Park over Brownsville

Southmoreland over Mt. Pleasant

South Allegheny over Yough

Nonconference

Aliquippa over Quaker Valley

Burrell over Apollo-Ridge

Elizabeth Forward over Beth-Center

Blackhawk over Ambridge

Central Valley over New Castle

South Side over Avonworth

WPIAL CLASS 2A

Century Conference

McGuffey over Frazier

Waynesburg over Charleroi

Midwestern Athletic Conference

Beaver Falls over Ellwood City

Neshannock over Freedom

Laurel over Riverside

New Brighton over Mohawk

Nonconference

Steel Valley over Brentwood

Ligonier Valley over Carrick

Serra Catholic over Carlynton

Sto-Rox over Shady Side Academy

Western Beaver over Summit Academy

WPIAL CLASS A

Big Seven Conference

Rochester over Burgettstown

Cornell over Shenango

Union over Northgate

Eastern Conference

Jeannette over Imani Christian

Leechburg over Springdale

Clairton over Riverview

Bishop Canevin over Greensburg Central Catholic

Tri-County South Conference

Carmichaels over Bentworth

Monessen over Jefferson-Morgan

California over Mapletown

West Greene over Avella

CITY LEAGUE

Perry over Brashear

University Prep over Allderdice

Westinghouse over Union Local (Ohio)

INDEPENDENT

Albert Gallatin over Allegany (MD)

Butler over General McLane

Ringgold over Uniontown

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