Scheduling conflict has The Birdie miffed for Friday in Westmoreland County

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018 | 6:06 PM


Last week: 12-1 (.923)

Season: 81-22 (.786)

The Birdie has been anticipating the new “Halloween” movie reboot for months. He has his Michael Myers mask ready for opening night and has even talked about tailgating at a local theater before the film, like he does at local games — the ones that allow meat smokers and gas grills on the premises.

But Westmoreland County’s high school football expert has been so enamored with the season that he didn’t realize the movie opens Friday night.

“Huh? Can’t be,” Birdie said. “This is a scheduling gaffe, a conspiracy, a disaster on my calendar. I can’t go to the movies and miss Friday night football. Who made this schedule, the WPIAL?”

The Birdie’s Halloween ring tone interrupts his miffed conversation with a stringer. It’s a text from a local coach.

The stringer tosses the flip-phone to Mr. Birdie, who goes over a passing news writer and snags it like JuJu Smith- Schuster. “None of these nonconference matchups make any sense,” the text says. “We don’t even know where this school is.”

With the irony not lost on the moment, the Birdie chirps out a chuckle and shakes his head — same reaction he had last week when he saw Southmoreland put up 72 points.

“Agreed, coach,” said the Birdie, who went 12-1 last week. “Just like it’s time to cut down on movie premieres on Friday nights in the fall, it’s time to let teams pick their nonconference opponents. Would you rather see Penn-Trafford play Hempfield or have to travel to Trinity? What about Norwin vs. Franklin Regional? Or Derry-Greensburg Salem? Or how about a Jeannette-Ligonier Valley showdown for shoots and googles?

“Nope, Jeannette has to go to Avella instead. May as well play at Haddonfield High. Cross-scheduling is for the birds. It has drained the school spirit from local football.”

He referenced West Allegheny-North Allegheny where the teams wanted to play with a running clock as another case in point but adds, “That one is for another column on another day.”

Now for old yellow’s take on Week 8:

Friday

Butler (0-8, 0-6) at Hempfield (1-7, 0-7)

It’s been almost two months since the Spartans won. They are better than last in 6A. Hempfield, 23-16

Norwin (3-5, 2-4) at Mt. Lebanon (3-5, 3-3)

Norwin’s playoff hopes slipped from its grasp last week. Advantage Blue Devils at home. Mt. Lebanon, 28-14

Albert Gallatin (0-8, 0-5) at Latrobe (2-6, 2-4)

Latrobe will put on a show for its fans in its home finale for 2018. Latrobe, 38-8

Franklin Regional (6-1, 4-1) at McKeesport (7-1, 4-1)

McKeesport has been waiting to avenge an upset loss to the Panthers last year. Look for big plays to foil FR early. McKeesport, 20-14

Greensburg Salem (3-5, 3-2) at Thomas Jefferson (7-0, 5-0)

Thomas Jefferson was better up front last year, but the Jaguars are always in front of many opponents in the rankings. Thomas Jefferson, 37-7

Deer Lakes (3-4, 3-3) at Derry (7-1, 5-1)

Derry wants a piece of the Big East championship and will move closer to that goal with a big win. “Trojans not just giving me Flack anymore,” Birdie said. Derry, 48-8

Mt. Pleasant (1-7, 1-5) at Freeport (4-3, 4-3)

Mt. Pleasant is having an off-putting year and a long drive north won’t help. Freeport, 28-12

Yough (3-5, 3-3) at North Catholic (7-1, 5-1)

North Catholic will have some trouble with the Cougars’ secondary, but will score enough points to cover that deficiency. North Catholic, 33-23

Southmoreland (4-4, 2-4) at Washington (7-1, 4-1)

The pass-happy Scotties will hit a few big plays downfield but won’t be able to slow the Prexies’ ground game. Washington, 44-27

Cornell (4-3) at Greensburg Central Catholic (5-3)

GCC isn’t going to the playoffs so the pressure’s off. The Centurions’ foot, however won’t come off the gas pedal. GCC, 36-16

Hampton (2-6) at Penn-Trafford (6-2)

The Birdie never thought he’d have to pick matchups like this, but that’s why they pay him the big bucks. Penn-Trafford, 40-6

Plum (2-6) at Belle Vernon (6-1)

Another odd pairing and, “Another sit-on-your-hands blowout,” Birdie said. Belle Vernon, 35-7

Rochester (7-1, 6-1) at Monessen (6-1)

The Birdie said Hudl highlights were invented for games like this one. Monessen, 30-28

Ligonier Valley (8-0) at Blairsville (1-7)

After a test last week, Ligonier Valley gets amped up again and coasts to a road victory. Ligonier Valley, 38-0

Saturday

Jeannette (8-0, 4-0) at Riverview (2-5, 1-4)

Jeannette didn’t like Saturday games last year and doesn’t like this one either. But that won’t stop the Jayhawks from running circles around the Raiders. Jeannette, 51-0

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