The Birdie gets ready for an Acrisure Stadium football feast with Belle Vernon

Thursday, November 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Last week: 1-0 (100%)

Season: 107-28 (79.3%)

Belle Vernon was using a new catchphrase in the WPIAL semifinal win over East Allegheny: “Burn the boat,” a 1500s Spanish reference to destroying the war boats in order to take over the island.

“But they already stormed the Beach,” Birdie said, chuckling. “I did some digging and found out the Leopards borrowed that battle cry from another local team, Greensburg Salem. So, good on you, Golden Lions. You may have a hand in a WPIAL championship.”

The Birdie is set to follow Belle Vernon to Acrisure Stadium on Friday for the Class 3A championship, assuming the stuffed bird can move after his annual Thanksgiving gorge.

He claims he broke the news about Matt Canada getting fired but that cannot be confirmed.

“I will eat like that Belle Vernon line,” Birdie said. “I’m going to open holes to the grub. Maybe an RPO calls for pie before dinner. I am crazy and hungry enough to do it. I might hurdle a defender since refs don’t call that a penalty much anymore.

“Pitch me the rolls, give me a turk-turk drumstick and lather the mashed potatoes with butter.”

The Birdie likes his Thanksgiving meal like the Leopards appreciate a skilled rushing attack.

“You have to have options,” Birdie said. “One guy isn’t going to win it for you. Even Quinton Martin needs some help. Nobody eats only turkey on turkey day. It’s about the fixins and sides. That’s what Belle Vernon has, fixins and sides.”

The Birdie also thinks the Leopards will have another WPIAL title come Friday night on the North Shore.

“That Antelope pie was pretty tasty last year,” Birdie said. “So I was told.”

Avonworth (12-0) vs. Belle Vernon (10-1)

5 p.m. Friday, Acrisure Stadium

Field position and special teams are going to play a big part for Belle Vernon. The shorter the field, the better. But a fast-pursuing defense must set the tone early and force the Antelopes to be one-dimensional. Martin can put on a show like he did last year, but the Leopards will need to hit a few passes to extend drives. Belle Vernon 28, Avonworth 14

Bonus picks (do not count on his record):

Fort Cherry 23, South Side Beaver 20

Steel Valley 27, Beaver Falls 16

Aliquippa 16, McKeesport 14

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