The Birdie doesn’t need a backup to pick Westmoreland County games

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | 4:16 PM


Last week: 12-3 (80.0)

Season: 52-11 (82.5)

The Birdie would like to join Franklin Regional and take the week off, but he does not have a good backup like the Steelers or Penn-Trafford to fill in and make his picks for him.

While many area teams are battling injuries, the Birdie is trying to stay upright to avoid crutches and co-pays.

“I’m first string,” Birdie said. “Matter of fact, I’m all the strings. I am first-team talent, a starter to beat all starters. If I get hurt, I stay in the game.”

Part-timer: “Readers have to play through the pain of your column every Thursday.”

Birdie limps back to his desk and recovers.

Franklin Regional, which the Birdie said would not make the playoffs with five wins — huh? — could not find a replacement for Albert Gallatin on its schedule, so the Panthers get a rare bye week.

“Speaking of backups, how about those goats over at Norwin?” Birdie said. “Why hire a landscaper when you can bring in a herd of goats to scarf down that shrubbery? I heard one is named Jack. True story. Jack doesn’t need a backup.”

After a questionable week of matchups, the Birdie favors Week 5’s schedule a lot more.

“Much better slate of games this week,” Birdie said, taking a big bite out of his Kentucky Fried Chicken sandwich with a doughnut bun. “I’m down with these tilts. Southmoreland with the most hyped game in school history. EF-Derry is nice. Belle Vernon-Greensburg Salem has character. GCC, Mt. Pleasant games also worth a look.”

The Birdie read a story about high school players using wristbands to remember plays.

“Wasn’t just the QBs, either,” he said. “Receivers, linemen — they all have one.”

So the area’s prep football honcho made his own wristband with an old tube sock and a baseball card-holder and wrote his picks on it.

“So I can remember when I’m out at games Friday night,” he said. “When someone says, ‘Who’d the Birdie pick for this one?’, I can glance at my wrist like Big Ben and give it to them straight. I mean, like Mason Rudolph. No audibles, though. I make a pick, I stick to it. No backups, remember?”

Now to the reason you’re here:

Butler (0-5, 0-3) at Norwin (1-4, 1-3)

Norwin is due for a win, and the Knights will get one with an aerial assault. Norwin, 28-12

Hempfield (2-3, 1-3) at Mt. Lebanon (3-2, 3-1)

Mt. Lebanon has given up more points than some figured it would, so Hempfield should be able to score. But the Spartans’ dinged-up defense will have to play big. Mt. Lebanon, 35-16

Latrobe (2-3, 1-2) at McKeesport (3-2, 2-1)

Slowing down the Tigers’ triple-option is a task for any opponent. Latrobe won’t be able to contain it, either. McKeesport, 30-13

Plum (2-3, 1-3) at Penn-Trafford (4-1, 3-0)

Back from Ohio and back in the WPIAL flow, the Warriors will handle their business handily at home. Penn-Trafford, 42-7

Belle Vernon (3-1, 2-1) at Greensburg Salem (2-3, 2-0)

Look for the Golden Lions to stay with Belle Vernon early before field position tilts the Leopards’ way. Belle Vernon, 34-14

Elizabeth Forward (4-0, 3-0) at Derry (3-2, 2-1)

Derry doesn’t lose at home often, but the Trojans could come close this week if the running game doesn’t heat up early. Derry, 18-14

Freeport (1-3, 1-3) at Yough (1-4, 1-3)

Yough has not been able to stop many foes defensively since Week Zero, and the task doesn’t get any easier against the Yellowjackets. Freeport, 21-7

North Catholic (3-1, 3-0) at Mt. Pleasant (2-3, 1-2)

A shootout could be in the works, but Mt. Pleasant won’t be able to go score-for-score with the Trojans for four quarters. North Catholic, 32-22

McGuffey (5-0, 3-0) at Southmoreland (5-0, 4-0)

Southmoreland will face its most stern test of the season, but an electric home environment will ease the Scotties into their biggest game in decades. Buckle up. Southmoreland, 40-38

Springdale (4-1, 1-1) at Greensburg C.C. (4-1, 3-1)

The Centurions will establish themselves early and then hold off the Dynamos for an important conference win. GCC, 21-13

Monessen (1-4, 1-2) at Bentworth (1-4, 1-2)

Monessen should be able to put up some points and resurface in the playoff chase. Monessen, 29-12

Brownsville (2-3) at Jeannette (5-0)

The Jayhawks will take a break from conference play but can’t take Brownsville lightly. Jeannette, 28-12

Ligonier Valley (5-0, 5-0) at Purchase Line (3-2, 3-2)

Ligonier Valley is building momentum again, and that means the Heritage Conference is in trouble. Ligonier Valley, 48-8

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