The Birdie enjoying school spirit throughout Westmoreland County

By: HSSN Staff
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | 4:48 PM

Last week: 12-3 (80 percent)

Season: 46-16 (74.2 percent)

School spirit has been high on the Birdie’s priority list since he attended high school decades ago.

“Back when tube socks were all the rage, people used turn signals and press boxes were actually for the press, I was the King of Pep,” Birdie said. “Many student sections got their theme ideas from me.”

As a fourth-team long-snapper and scout team holder, his importance to his alma mater’s football team was minimal.

“But they could always hear me cheering on the sidelines,” said the Westmoreland prep football expert, painting his face with make-up he bought at a local Halloween store. “I used to change out of my uniform at halftime and wear costumes on the sideline. I once got flagged 15 yards for kicking a beach ball onto the field. I started Beach Night. Players left with sand in their shoes long before rubber pellets from that fake grass.

“And who do you think created the first Whiteout? It took a while to scrub it off and it smelled weird, but it masked our errors.”

The Birdie also takes credit for Zubaz Pants Night, which never gained momentum; Athletic Tape Mummy Night, which almost got a trainer fired; Make Toast When The Other Team Scores Night, which required too many extension cords and butter knives; Bring a Skunk Night — a real stinker; and Franklin Regional Defense Night, where everyone dressed like a linebacker, but it was offensive to some.

“Like my pee-wees coach once told me, keep it stupid, simple,” Birdie said. “Or was it the other way around?

A pause in the action: Penn-Trafford just scored again.

“Anyways, like my picks, you student sections need to simplify things. But keep the cheers coming. Your team appreciates it. Come on, it’s as easy as picking Ligonier Valley games.”

The Birdie thinks there should be scholarships for the best student sections. With one stipulation.

“I’ve seen some good ones this year,” he said. “Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Latrobe, I see you. But one of you has to drop in a Birdie. You all have that one person you know will dress up in feathers and a beak. Do it for me. Do it for your school.”

Now, for his latest predictions:

Mt. Lebanon (2-3, 2-2) at Hempfield (1-4, 0-4)

Hempfield has yet to put it all together since its opener but things will finally click in the Spartans’ return home. Birdie’s going out on a limb. Hempfield, 28-26

Norwin (2-3, 1-2) at Butler (0-5, 0-3)

Butler has one of the largest schools in the WPIAL but Norwin has more big playmakers. Norwin, 34-13

Franklin Regional (4-0, 2-0) at Albert Gallatin (0-5)

Franklin Regional finally resumes conference play and will merge back into the race. Franklin Regional, 42-6

McKeesport (4-1, 3-1) at Latrobe (1-4, 1-2)

While Latrobe has given teams some problems up front, McKeesport will use its speed to get around that issue. McKeesport, 21-7

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

Those who wrote off Penn-Trafford are eating crow, as the Birdie likes to say. Warriors make it four in a row. Penn-Trafford, 28-13

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

The critics’ choice for game of the week could be closer than some think, the Birdie said. He points to special teams as the difference. Belle Vernon, 27-21

Derry (5-0, 3-0) at Elizabeth Forward (4-0, 3-0)

The Birdie thinks EF will challenge Derry. But the Trojans will churn out another big rushing night on the road. Not that they’ll keep track of how many yards they get. Derry, 20-17

Mt. Pleasant (1-4, 1-2) at North Catholic (4-1, 2-1)

North Catholic has quite the passing attack and the Birdie said it will have the Vikings’ defensive backs dizzy. North Catholic, 42-14

Yough (3-2, 3-1) at Freeport (1-3, 1-3)

Yough should be able to churn out the yardage against the Yellowjackets. Yough, 31-20

Southmoreland (3-2, 2-2) at McGuffey (5-0, 3-0)

The Birdie heard someone compare the Scotties’ season-opening win to the Browns’ victory over the Jets. This game will be Hard Knocks for Southmoreland. McGuffey, 41-20

Greensburg Central Catholic (3-2, 2-2) at Springdale (0-4, 0-2)

Some players have returned from injury and others have been moved to new positions. The changes will show against the Dynamos. GCC, 26-12

Bentworth (3-2, 2-1) at Monessen (3-1, 2-1)

Bentworth gives up too many big plays, and Monessen will add a few more. Monessen, 28-18

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

The Birdie said Jeannette’s schedule has gotten stale but, like the Jayhawks, won’t look ahead to next week’s home showdown with OLSH. Jeannette, 51-7

Purchase Line (1-4, 1-4) at Ligonier Valley (5-0, 5-0)

Ligonier Valley might not be challenged until the playoffs. Ligonier Valley, 45-6

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