No imposters here: Chick’s Picks has your Week 1 WPIAL football winners

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Thursday, September 2, 2021 | 5:14 PM


Amidst the controversy unraveling this week about the football program at the alleged “fake” high school, Bishop Sycamore, Chick’s Picks reflected on a time when she, herself, was duped by an imposter.

The year was 2003. Chick’s Picks was still relatively new to prognosticating, but her tremendous success early in her career had already solidified her name as a key player in the industry. One afternoon during the preseason, The Boss approached her about taking on a prognosticating intern for the upcoming year — a young man who called himself Beginner’s Winners. Chick’s Picks was reluctant, until The Boss reminded her that he felt the same way about her when she was an up and coming intern just a few short years ago — and had since made her a star.

Chick’s Picks knew she could not refuse after The Boss’s backhanded compliment, so a few short days later, introductions were made. A self-described great judge of character, Chick’s Picks could sense that something was off from the very beginning. It may have been his suspect appearance, including what seemed to be a fake mustache and toupee, or the fact that he showed up to work with no crystal ball, but Chick’s Picks knew that the vibe she was getting from Beginner’s Winners was not a good one.

After spending the morning going over some basic information on the upcoming season, Chick’s Picks was less than impressed with his knowledge. Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, Chick’s Picks offered to take the intern out to lunch and regroup. On their way to the car, however, along came a strong gust of wind and away went the intern’s disguise – toupee, moustache, and all. Chick’s Picks immediately realized this was not an intern at all, but instead a spy from a rival media outlet looking to steal trade secrets from the award-winning prognosticator.

Fortunately, Chick’s Picks made it out of the phony intern situation relatively unscathed. However, she can’t say the same about Week Zero. Chick’s Picks opened the season with a disappointing 37-20 (64%) record. Here are this week’s big games:

CLASS 6A NONCONFERENCE

Class 5A No. 5 Peters Township (1-0) at Class 6A No. 4 Canon-McMillan (1-0)

The Big Macs play host to Class 5A’s No. 5 Indians in nonconference action Friday night. Canon-McMillan opened its season with a 48-0 Week Zero rout of Trinity, while Peters Township blanked Fox Chapel, 37-0. Big Macs quarterback Michael Evans threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Ryan Angott led the ground attack with 163 yards and three scores. The Indians, the WPIAL Class 5A runners-up, were led by senior running back Ethan Kirsch’s three touchdowns in the victory over the Foxes. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Big Macs’ balanced offensive attack will outlast the Indians. … Canon-McMillan over Peters Township

CLASS 5A NONCONFERENCE

Class 4A No. 1 Thomas Jefferson (0-0) at Class 5A No. 1 Gateway (1-0)

Top-ranked Gateway faces off against Class 4A’s No. 1 team in Thomas Jefferson in a nonconference showdown of epic proportions Friday night. The Gators have a few new faces on their roster this season, including quarterback Brad Birch and his brother Brett — both Division I prospects who transferred from Jeannette in the offseason. The duo helped Gateway to a 26-10 win over Delaware Valley last week. Brad, as sophomore, racked up 273 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing score, while Brett was on the receiving end of 114 yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars finished last season with a 10-1 record after claiming their 10th WPIAL championship and fifth PIAA title in Class 4A. TJ returns running back Conner Murga, who rushed for 821 yards and 12 scores last season. The Jags also boast experienced lines on both sides of the ball. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Gators have just enough threats to hold off the Jaguars in this one. … Gateway over TJ

CLASS 4A NONCONFERENCE

Class 4A No. 2 Belle Vernon (0-0) at Class 4A No. 5 Chartiers Valley (1-0)

The Colts welcome the Leopards in a battle between top five teams Friday night. Chartiers Valley got things started last week with a 21-14 win over West Mifflin. Senior quarterback Anthony Mackey led the Colts with 17 passing yards, a team-best 117 rushing yards and two scores. Belle Vernon finished last season with a 6-2 record after falling to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals, 33-25. En route to that semifinal game, the Leopards knocked off Chartiers Valley, 49-21, in the quarterfinals. Belle Vernon returns senior quarterback Devin Whitlock, a Division I prospect, who finished last season with 528 passing yards, 1,028 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Leopards get another win over their familiar foe in this one. … Belle Vernon over Chartiers Valley

CLASS 3A NONCONFERENCE

Class 2A Ligonier Valley (1-0) at Class 3A No. 4 Elizabeth Forward (1-0)

Ligonier Valley travels to take on Elizabeth Forward in nonconference action Friday night. The Rams are coming off a 20-14 victory over Class 4A Indiana last week, while the Warriors’ notably stingy defense blanked Class 4A Ringgold, 12-0. Ligonier Valley, in its first season in the WPIAL last year, finished with a 4-3 record, falling just short of the playoffs. Elizabeth Forward advanced to the WPIAL title game before falling to eventual champ Central Valley, 35-0. Veteran quarterback Haden Sierocky led the Rams with 107 passing yards and one score in last week’s victory over Indiana. The Warriors’ experienced backfield duo of Kyle Flournoy and DaVontay Brownfield combined for 154 rushing yards in their Week Zero win. Chick’s Picks predicts that experience will win out for the Warriors in this one. … Elizabeth Forward over Ligonier Valley

CLASS 2A NONCONFERENCE

Class 4A No. 3 Aliquippa (0-0) at Class 2A No. 2 Beaver Falls (0-1)

Beaver Falls plays host to Aliquippa, Class 4A’s No. 3 team, in a nonconference rivalry game Friday night. The defending WPIAL champion Tigers opened their season with a loss after being handled by Class 4A Blackhawk, 31-20. Beaver Falls was led by junior quarterback Jaren Brickner’s 164 passing yards, team-best 66 rushing yards and one touchdown. Junior Trey Singleton racked up 60 receiving yards, 56 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Despite its Class A enrollment, Aliquippa is forced to play in Class 4A under a PIAA competitive balance rule. The Quips fared well last year, though, winning the Parkway Conference title and advancing to their 13th consecutive WPIAL title game before falling to TJ, 35-28, and finishing the season with a 9-1 record. Aliquippa has been plagued by graduation, transfers and offseason injuries. The Quips, though, return very experienced, sizeable linemen in juniors Neco Eberhardt, Jason McBride and Naquan Crowder and senior Tyrese Jones. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Quips won’t miss a beat in this one. … Aliquippa over Beaver Falls

CLASS A NONCONFERENCE

Class 2A New Brighton (1-0) at Class A No. 2 Rochester (0-0)

The Lions take on the cross-county rival Rams in a nonconference showdown Friday night. New Brighton picked up its first win of the season in Week Zero, 27-20 over Western Beaver. Quarterback Gabe Haddox led the Lions with 181 passing yards and one touchdown. Haddox’s favorite target was Eric Montanez, who finished with 98 receiving yards and a score. New Brighton finished last season with a 5-2 record, missing out on the Class 2A playoffs. Rochester’s 7-2 record included an appearance in the WPIAL Class A semifinal game, where it fell to Jeannette, 40-13. The Rams return junior quarterback Parker Lyons, a three-year starter, as well as linebacker Sal Laure, the Big Seven Conference defensive player of the year, who will also serve time as Rochester’s primary running back this season. Chick’s Picks predicts an opening week victory for the home team in this one. … Rochester over New Brighton

CLASS 6A NONCONFERENCE

Latrobe over Norwin

Pickerington Central (Ohio) over North Allegheny

Central Catholic over Penn Hills

Seneca Valley over Pine-Richland

Mt. Lebanon over Upper St. Clair

CLASS 5A NONCONFERENCE

Shaler over Mars

Moon over Montour

North Hills over Plum

South Fayette over West Mifflin

Baldwin over Bethel Park

Franklin Regional over Kiski Area

Fox Chapel over Hampton

Penn-Trafford over Hempfield

CLASS 4A NONCONFERENCE

Greensburg-Salem over Connellsville

Armstrong over Deer Lakes

New Castle over Quaker Valley

Ringgold over Yough

McKeesport over Woodland Hills

Freeport over Knoch

CLASS 3A NONCONFERENCE

Avonworth over Apollo-Ridge

Highlands over Valley

Indiana over Burrell

Keystone Oaks over South Park

Laurel Highlands over Southmoreland

Mt. Pleasant over Derry

North Catholic over Ambridge

South Allegheny over St. Clairsville (Ohio)

CLASS 2A NONCONFERENCE

Bishop Canevin over Carlynton

McGuffey over Brownsville

Carmichaels over Charleroi

Serra Catholic over East Allegheny

Brentwood over Frazier

Neshannock over South Side

Our Lady of Sacred Heart over Riverside

Western Beaver over Freedom

Leechburg over Summit Academy

CLASS A NONCONFERENCE

Fort Cherry over Avella

California over Beth-Center

Burgettstown over West Greene

Union over Ellwood City

Imani Christian over Monessen

Laurel over Shenango

Northgate over Mapletown

Cornell over Mohawk

Greensburg Central Catholic over Seton-LaSalle

Springdale over Shady Side Academy

Clairton over Steel Valley

Sto-Rox over Jeannette

Washington over Jefferson-Morgan

Bentworth over Waynesburg

CITY LEAGUE NON-CONFERENCE

Oak Glen (W.Va.) over Allderdice

McDowell over Brashear

Sharon over University Prep

Perry over Uniontown

Weirton Madonna (W.Va.) over Carrick

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