In the middle of a weird season, Birdie makes Westmoreland County picks

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | 6:44 PM


Last week: 12-1 (92.3%)

Season: 71-27 (72.4%)

It’s time to get weird. Then again, what else is new in this column?

The PIAA’s playoff footballs, soccer balls and volleyballs were stuck on a boat somewhere, and there was a chance they wouldn’t get here in time for the postseason.

The Birdie tried to lighten the mood.

When he heard the WPIAL was organizing a food drive, he called the league’s Green Tree office and tried to place an order through DoorDash.

“I told them I was just kidding, but I had them going there for a minute,” Birdie said, pulling out his ear buds as he listens to the Franklin Regional band’s greatest hits album. “Relax, I dropped off a can of green beans, so we’re square. Things are just goofy lately. It’s like one of those misdirection plays by Latrobe or Mt. Pleasant.”

This fall sports season has the Westmoreland football fowl all crossed up. He asked a trainer recently to give him a baseline test to make sure he didn’t bump his head.

His predictions this year are “not his best work.” Despite a season-best week (12-1), he thinks the roller-coaster year might just be part of the zaniness of 2021.

“We have 90-year-old guy from Star Trek going to the moon, girls scoring touchdowns, Derry beating Sewickley in golf, Jeannette struggling in football but rising in soccer, Hempfield naming a new softball coach, and new Halloween and Scream movies coming out,” he said. “Next, you’re going to tell me Aaron Rodgers wants to play for the Steelers, or Franklin Regional can overcome a 27-point deficit in less than three quarters to win. Wait.”

The Birdie envies Belle Vernon, which is off this week.

“Maybe that’s what I need,” he said. “A week off. But that would just be weird. You’d miss me too much.”

Canon-McMillan (4-4, 2-3) at Norwin (2-6, 0-5): It’s been a winding road of a season for Norwin, which still is seeking its first conference win. The Knights will be sharper but will come up short against the Big Macs. Canon-McMillan, 24-14

Hempfield (2-6, 0-5) at North Allegheny (5-3, 3-2): The dreaded trip to Wexford never sits well with teams and that will be the case for Hempfield, which can’t seem to find balance to its offense and can’t slow teams down. North Allegheny, 38-6

Franklin Regional (3-5, 2-1) at Penn-Trafford (6-2, 3-0): The Birdie likes skilled players and this game features a few. He expects Penn-Trafford to establish the run and hit the dinged-up Panthers with a few surprises. Penn-Trafford, 30-13

Latrobe (3-5, 1-2) at Woodland Hills (2-6, 1-2): Like North Allegheny, visiting Woodland Hills’ Wolvarena is not a walk in the park. Latrobe is improved, but the Wildcats will need an air-tight defense that certainly was absent last week. Woodland Hills, 28-14

Highlands (5-3, 2-3) at Greensburg Salem (5-3, 3-2): Big plays are on the platter here. Both defenses have allowed their share. Greensburg Salem, 28-21

Burrell (1-7, 1-3) at Derry (0-7, 0-3): Burrell built a little momentum two weeks ago with a win over Deer Lakes. Derry hasn’t been able to sustain momentum, but the Trojans will compete. Burrell, 22-9

Brownsville (0-5, 0-3) at Yough (0-8, 0-4): This is the game Yough has been waiting for. Brownsville has canceled its last two games. Undermanned Yough won’t cancel the Falcons’ return to the field. Brownsville, 6-5

Elizabeth Forward (6-2, 4-0) at Southmoreland (6-2, 2-1): Southmoreland’s offense will get a true test against a strong Warriors defense, but the Scotties defense will have to make more stops than it’s used to. Elizabeth Forward, 29-20

South Park (2-5, 2-2) at Mt. Pleasant (4-3, 2-1): With a sound rushing attack, Mt. Pleasant should be able to keep the Eagles’ playmakers off the field and play old-school football. Mt. Pleasant, 26-14

Ligonier Valley (6-2, 1-2) at Shady Side Academy (4-4, 1-2): Ligonier Valley has five wins but the Rams have work to do to get into the playoff mix. A big challenge awaits on the road. Shady Side Academy, 27-17

Greensburg C.C. (5-3, 3-2) at Jeannette (1-7, 1-4): While this rivalry matchup has lost some luster, it is intriguing with some transfers coming back. GCC won’t relent. GCC, 36-6

California (5-2, 3-2) at Monessen (3-5, 2-3): All the momentum Monessen built early is fading as the schedule toughens. California, 30-15

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