The Birdie has kind words for the WPIAL before picking Week 3 Westmoreland County slate

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | 8:06 PM

Last week: 8-4 (66.7%)

Season: 28-5 (84.8%)

The Birdie has two words for the WPIAL: “Thank you.”

Usually, the football-toting fowl is angry at the District 7 staffers over some mundane detail on a league cover sheet that failed to pass his quality standards.

But he is praising the league in this week’s column space.

“Surveying schools and drawing up this football schedule by hand was one of the best things the Whip has done in two decades,” Birdie said, putting on his Willie Nelson Hempfield camo jersey before he heads to the casino to play slots. “They really got this one right. They made nonconference football relevant again, fun again. To you I offer a Ric Flair ‘Woo!’ and a Birdie wing-spread. Take a bow. Kudos from Greensburg to Green Tree.”

Eight area teams (Norwin, Franklin Regional, Latrobe, Ligonier Valley, Derry, Yough, Jeannette, and Monessen) will open conference play. The Birdie also loves the conference alignment. He can’t get enough of the schedule in its entirety.

The Birdie was against six classifications and still thinks five would have worked better, but he thinks the interplay of classes and return of neighborhood rivalries has local high school football in a good place.

“I am having a career season,” Birdie said. “A coincidence? I think not. Life is good from this perch. Be good, kiddos.”

Gateway (3-0) at Franklin Regional (1-1): The Gators’ big-play passing game will have the Panthers backpedaling and chasing down receivers. Gateway, 28-10

Norwin (1-2) at Plum (2-1): The Big East opener has the potential to be close if Norwin can get its running game going early. The Knights improved last week and could make it two in a row. Norwin, 23-20

Latrobe (2-1) at Thomas Jefferson (2-1): Thomas Jefferson and coach Bill Cherpak have been known to draw up game plans to stop running backs. The Jaguars will be ready for the Wildcats. Thomas Jefferson, 23-12

Derry (0-3) at Yough (1-2): Derry has played until the final horn every week, even in blowouts. The no-quit mentality has lead to improvements, but Yough is getting better, too, and has momentum for the Allegheny Conference opener. Yough, 25-20

Ligonier Valley (2-1) at Apollo-Ridge (2-1): The Birdie told a friend this could be the best local game this week because the programs are similar. Two old-school offenses. But Apollo-Ridge is very good at home. Apollo-Ridge, 29-27

Frazier (0-3) at Jeannette (0-3): Jeannette needs to tighten some things up on special teams, but it is due for a win in its third home game in four weeks. The Jayhawks break through. Jeannette, 26-14

Monessen (1-2) at Bentworth (2-1): Monessen is allowing over 40 points per game, and Bentworth is scoring more than 30. Bentworth, 30-18

Deer Lakes (1-2) at Greensburg Salem (2-1): Greensburg Salem has one of the top athletes in the area, and he will prove it to the Lancers. Make it three in a row for the Golden Lions. Greensburg Salem, 25-15

Greensburg Central Catholic (2-1) at Washington (2-1): Look for big returns to set up scores for both teams. Washington will outrun the Centurions in a potential shootout. Washington, 38-30

Hempfield (3-0) at Shaler (2-1): Shaler will play its third straight home game, but the Spartans will take away the home-field advantage with a mean ground game and stay perfect. Hempfield, 30-20

Knoch (0-3) at Southmoreland (1-2): In a matchup that doesn’t happen very often, Southmoreland will edge past the Knights. Southmoreland, 14-9

Mt. Pleasant (2-1) at Valley (0-3): Mt. Pleasant will put its collective head down and power its way to a win in a battle of Vikings. Mt. Pleasant, 36-16

Penn-Trafford (2-1) at Belle Vernon (1-1): Belle Vernon beat the Warriors by 20 last year at the Beach. It will be a lot closer, thanks to the Warriors’ line. Penn-Trafford, 26-16

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