No clowning around in Westmoreland County for The Birdie

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 | 6:13 PM

The Birdie

Last week: 9-2 (81.8 %)

Season: 27-7 (79.4 %)

“It: Chapter Two” is the story of a clown returning to Derry to scare up fears and torment kids.

“No, that new movie isn’t about me,” said the Birdie, who wore a throwback New Florence jersey when he saw the film last week because he felt “nostalgic.” “Neither was the first one. This is part two, and it’s a different clown and a different Derry. Yes, I am in a Loser’s Club but not that one.”

While Derry once was plagued by the Birdie’s clownishness and contrary picks, the football team has bounced back nicely the last few seasons — into contenders in Class 3A.

The Birdie said it’s all about overcoming fear — even if tomorrow is Friday the 13th.

“I’d like to think I had something to do with Derry’s resurgence,” Birdie said, peeking out from under his desk, which he pretends is a sewer grate. A smile curls up on his doughnut-crumb-covered face. “Speaking of things that scare me, or should I say, opposing teams, how about that Penn-Trafford defense? Yikes. Throw the ball up, they’re going to intercept it. They all float up here — like that big Viking at Mt. Pleasant the team runs out of — imagine him soaring over your house.”

Westmoreland’s prep gridiron expert also would be scared to go against the front lines of Ligonier Valley, Hempfield and Derry.

“That size gives me bad dreams,” he said. “As does the thought of Southmoreland getting to the playoffs. It’s been one long nightmare over there. Scary stuff indeed. You thought the Antonio Brown tale of disorder got a lot of attention? Wait until the Scotties make a run.”

Shedding fear is the first step for any WPIAL contender, Birdie said.

“But make sure you keep believing in me, though,” he said. “I’m the real deal.”

Now, here’s what he uncovered in the Barrens of Week 3.

Central Catholic (2-1, 1-1) at Hempfield (2-1, 1-1)

While Hempfield has shown improvements in the offense and holding on to the football, the Spartans won’t be able to contain the run for four quarters. Central Catholic, 24-14

Gateway (2-1, 1-1) at Latrobe (1-2, 1-1)

Slowing down the run and limiting game-breaking plays could allow Latrobe to stay close with the Gators but only for a half. Gateway, 31-14

McKeesport (2-1, 1-0) at Penn-Trafford (3-0, 2-0)

Penn-Trafford has attained the No. 1 ranking in 5A. The Warriors might have the top-rated defense in the WPIAL — even against the high-speed Tigers. Penn-Trafford, 27-7

Laurel Highlands (0-3, 0-0) at Belle Vernon (1-1, 0-1)

Belle Vernon will take care of business early and be able to lull the Mustangs with the run. Belle Vernon, 42-6

Deer Lakes (1-2, 1-1) at Yough (1-2, 1-1)

Look for a nice defensive struggle on Cougar Mountain. Fewer mistakes take this one. Yough, 19-14

Mt. Pleasant (2-1, 1-0) at Derry (2-1, 1-0)

Mt. Pleasant should give the Trojans a game, but the difference will be up front, where Derry will push the Vikings off the ball. Derry, 22-13

Southmoreland (3-0, 2-0) at Beth-Center (0-3, 0-2)

Southmoreland has impressed the Birdie more each week. A big win on the road will keep the Scotties locked on their playoff goal. Southmoreland, 35-14

Greensburg C.C. (2-1, 1-1) at Leechburg (1-2, 0-1)

With a number of offensive and defensive weapons, GCC has the look of a playoff team. Leechburg won’t match the Centurions’ depth. GCC, 26-13

Monessen (0-3, 0-1) at Jefferson-Morgan (1-2, 1-1)

Monessen is due for a breakout game offensively and this is the one. Monessen, 19-18

Norwin (0-3) at Chartiers Valley (2-1)

Stepping out of conference could be just what Norwin needs to get back on track. Norwin, 20-16

Franklin Regional (2-0) at West Mifflin (2-1)

West Mifflin has some speed on the perimeter, but Franklin Regional will stand tall defensively — and do just enough on offense — to get a tough road win. Franklin Regional, 23-20

South Fayette (2-1) at Greensburg Salem (1-2)

High-powered South Fayette will fling it around Offutt Field and hold the Golden Lions at bay. South Fayette, 35-13

Avella (1-2) at Jeannette (3-0)

Jeannette made a long trip last year to get a blowout win. Avella will come a long way for a blowout loss. Jeannette, 45-0

Ligonier Valley (3-0) at Saltsburg (2-1)

Still miffed after a forfeit win last week, Ligonier Valley returns to action, points a-blazin. Ligonier Valley, 34-6

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