Muddled Big East playoff picture has The Birdie’s feathers ruffled

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 | 5:03 PM

Overall record: 54-21 (72%)

Last week: 6-5 (55%)

The WPIAL Class 3A Big East Conference playoff picture is getting confusing as several teams are vying for the fourth and final playoff spot.

The craziness isn’t just affecting the teams either. It’s carrying over into the Valley News Dispatch office. When a stringer walked into the office Monday, the Birdie was hard at work, but it looked like he hadn’t slept since Friday night.

His hair was going in every direction, multiple pencils were sticking out of a visor on his head, and the big guy was surrounded by multiple empty coffee cups.

“Freeport is on a roll and has won three straight,” the Birdie said frantically to himself. “Burrell beat Deer Lakes and then lost to Mt. Pleasant, but Deer Lakes beat Mt. Pleasant. In reality though, none of that really matters if Freeport wins out. But what if Freeport actually loses to Burrell?!? Oh my, these next few weeks are going to be interesting.”

While there’s craziness in the Big East, the Birdie is thankful for some of the clearer playoff pictures. Apollo-Ridge punched its ticket to the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs last week with a win at Valley. They are also on the verge of securing home-field advantage.

“Ha! How funny is that?” the Birdie said. “They get a home game taken away from them because a team forfeits, then they just go out and possibly add another one to the schedule. Skol Vikings! Oops, wrong team.”

Then you have the Knoch Knights. They have lost two straight, but the Birdie has no doubt that first-year coach Brandon Mowry can right the ship and lead his team to the promised land.

“Remember, they just missed out on the playoff last year,” the Birdie said. “Those kids are motivated. They are big, they are fast, and they are ready to rock and roll.”

Making his picks was harder than the Birdie realized. As the morning carried on, his head started to dip lower and lower. By mid-afternoon, it was flat on his desk.After a few moments of suspicious snoring, a stringer walked over to the Birdie and looked at his screen.

“Yup, he finished them!”

With that, here are the Birdie’s Week 7 picks:

Plum (3-4) at Latrobe (2-5)

Coming off a solid win, the Mustangs keep it going against Latrobe. Plum, 21-10

Fox Chapel (2-5) at Mars (5-2)

The Foxes are coming off a win, but the Fightin’ Planets are on a mission. Mars, 28-7

New Castle (4-3) at Knoch (5-2)

After two straight losses, the Knights will be motivated to secure a playoff spot. Knoch, 35-14

South Fayette (6-1) at Highlands (2-5)

As always, the Lions are playing at a high level and the Golden Rams are their next victim. South Fayette, 35-7

Freeport (3-3) at Burrell (4-3)

With a playoff spot on the line, the Yellowjackets will continue to duplicate their run from a year ago in a close-fought battle. Freeport, 35-28

Apollo-Ridge (6-1) at Steel Valley (2-4)

Apollo-Ridge escaped defeat on Friday. This one won’t be as close. Apollo-Ridge, 28-0

Leechburg (2-5) at Imani Christian (0-7)

After two straight losses, the Blue Devils will get back into the win column and deny the Saints their first win. Leechburg, 21-14

Springdale (5-2) at Riverview (2-4)

Under the lights in Riverview Park, the Dynamos will shine bright. Springdale, 28-7

Keystone Oaks (4-3) at Deer Lakes (3-4)

Keystone Oaks quarterback Logan Shrubb might be too much for the Lancers defense in a shootout. Keystone Oaks, 35-28

McKeesport (5-2) at Kiski Area (3-4)

The Tigers are on a roll with three straight wins. They’ll make it four on Friday. McKeesport, 21-10

Valley (1-6) at Summit Academy (0-7)

The Vikings were on the brink of upsetting Apollo-Ridge and they’ll carry that energy into their matchup with Summit Academy. Valley, 21-7

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