Sick and tired of ‘next man up,’ The Birdie picks Week 3 games in the A-K Valley

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | 8:08 PM

Last week: 8-3

Season: 27-5 (84.4%)

There’s a cliche The Birdie is getting a little sick of these days.

Next man up.

“Like there’s some other choice,” Birdie sneered, the tears he shed after hearing about T.J. Watt’s pectoral injury now dry.

“And let’s face it,” he continued, “the next man isn’t going to be as good as the first man. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been the next man in the first place.”

The Birdie was rolling now. An epic rant was beginning.

“When I have a fresh 30-pack of IC Light in front me, it’s definitely next can up.

“When I feel more sophisticated and mix a Bass Ale with a Guinness Stout, it’s next black and tan up.

“When I have dessert at a Brazilian restaurant, it’s next flan up.

“When a judge falls ill at the pierogi tasting contest, it’s next Stan up.

“When I misplace the lap blanket Grandma Birdie made for me, it’s next afghan up.

“When Shelley Long left Cheers in 1986 because she wanted to star in movies, it was next Diane up.

“But I’ve had it up to here with next man up.”

With that off his chest, Birdie picked the Week 3 games in A-K Valley football.

Burrell (3-0) at Serra Catholic (2-1): The undefeated Bucs are one of the better stories of the early part of the season, and their ball-control offense is the type that can pull off an upset, but Serra Catholic is just so talented and so opportunistic. Serra Catholic, 28-7

Deer Lakes (1-2) at Greensburg Salem (2-1): The Lancers are coming off a resounding victory over Apollo-Ridge. Greensburg Salem, though, is a much more formidable foe now that it has dropped down to face similarly sized schools in Class 3A. Greensburg Salem, 21-20

Freeport (3-0) at Armstrong (2-1): The Yellowjackets have rolled through their first three games and look like contenders in Class 3A, but now they’re facing a 4A team that actually gave Aliquippa a game. Armstrong, 24-21

Hampton (1-2) at Kiski Area (0-3): The Cavaliers have faced a brutal early schedule, losing to Pine-Richland and Laurel Highlands the last two weeks. The hurdle gets a little shorter this week but just a little. Hampton, 17-14

Knoch (0-3) at Southmoreland (1-2): The Birdie has been looking for a spot where the Knights can grab a first W on their brutal season-long road trip. This is the spot. Knoch, 20-10

Ligonier Valley (2-1) at Apollo-Ridge (2-1): Looks like injuries are unfortunately taking their toll on the Vikings again this season. Ligonier Valley, 28-14

Mt. Pleasant (2-1) at Valley (0-3): Valley had a great showing in a loss to Burrell last week. Better days are ahead. But Mt. Pleasant is averaging 40 points per game so far. Mt. Pleasant, 35-21

North Catholic (2-1) at Highlands (3-0): The Golden Rams, off to a great start, could make a huge statement with a win. The Trojans are coming off a 26-0 loss to Aliquippa, but there’s no shame in that. North Catholic, 27-20

Norwin (1-2) at Plum (2-1): These teams couldn’t be closer in The Birdie power rankings. Norwin beat Fox Chapel, 27-14. Plum beat Fox Chapel, 28-14. When in doubt, take the home team. Plum, 22-21

Springdale (0-3) at Leechburg (2-1): These two have been great rivals at times, but the programs are in different places on the development curve at the moment. Leechburg, 40-7

Upper St. Clair (3-0) at Fox Chapel (0-3): The Foxes are trying to find their footing, and they run into the team that has looked like the class of 5A in the WPIAL. Upper St. Clair, 38-13

Clairton (0-3) at Riverview (1-2): These Bears will be angry. They’re winless but have faced a tough schedule of Westinghouse, Washington and OLSH. Clairton, 33-13

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