The Birdie is on the clock picking Westmoreland County football games

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019 | 8:09 PM


The Birdie is on the clock.

Westmoreland’s guru of the gridiron was tasked with making each of his Week 1 predictions while face-to-face with a running 40-second clock.

“Like our teams this year,” Birdie said. “Refs want to speed things up. Same goes for our copy editors. They want my column ASAP.

“Time’s a wasting, they say. Hike the ball already, junior. No delays of game.”

With his hurry-up offense, the Birdie moved faster but did not make any rash decisions as that dooming deadline peeked around the corner.

“I didn’t want to mix up Dave Keefers or miss a pick,” Birdie said, crunching on a Popeye’s chicken sandwich he bought secondhand. “That would be like giving Norwin or Penn-Trafford a touchdown for crossing the wrong colored stripe in their new end zone. Whose line is it, anyway? Maybe I should ask the field hockey people.”

The Birdie thinks anybody who attends a game this season will have to adjust to the new clock — like the deadlines.

And that goes for everyone.

“I feel bad for the clock operators,” Birdie said. “That play clock could be a real headache if they turn around to grab a slice of pizza before a snap. I did that once at Penn-Trafford and bumped my keyboard. All my fine prose, gone, like another team’s game ball.

“Bethel Park didn’t want to come to Franklin Regional last week, so those teams got another scrimmage to work out the play-clock kinks.

“Lot of games this week so let’s get to it. But hurry up … and no skimming.”

Friday

Norwin (0-1) at North Allegheny (1-0)

Last year, North Allegheny pressured Norwin’s quarterback and nearly rendered the passing game unusable. The pressure will keep coming. North Allegheny, 35-14

Pine-Richland (1-0) at Hempfield (1-0)

The top-ranked Rams are often as strong on the road as they are at home. Hempfield will put up a fight but fade out. Pine-Richland, 31-20

Franklin Regional (0-0) at Plum (1-0)

A smashmouth running game will wear down Plum, and the neighboring Panthers will open with a win. Franklin Regional, 21-7

Gateway (1-0) at Penn-Trafford (1-0)

Game of the night material on the new turf in Harrison City. Special teams play has been a big focal point for Penn-Trafford, and it will almost pay off. The Gators will make one more big play. Gateway, 27-20

Greensburg Salem (0-1) at Trinity (0-0)

Trinity struggled to score last year, and the Hillers don’t appear to have made vast improvements offensively. The Golden Lions win with a balanced attack. Greensburg Salem, 30-15

Freeport (0-0) at Derry (0-1)

Ground-and-pound football returns to Trojan Stadium, where Derry has been superb in recent seasons. They’ll earn it, but they’ll win. Derry, 29-23

Uniontown (0-1) at Yough (0-1)

Yough plans to spread the ball around this year, and the Cougars will get ample attempts to do that this week. Yough, 27-7

Frazier (0-1) at Southmoreland (1-0)

In order for the Scotties to turn things around, they need to win a few games against teams that beat them last year. This is an example. Defense must show up. Southmoreland, 17-13

Leechburg (0-1) at Jeannette (1-0)

Jeannette has wondered what it would be like to play on turf for years. Now, the Jayhawks get their chance. Jeannette, 34-6

California (1-0) at Monessen (0-1)

These teams played fairly close last year, but Monessen has more playmakers on the perimeter this time. Monessen, 29-21

Belle Vernon (0-0) at Ambridge (0-1)

Belle Vernon makes its season debut on the road and will waste little time putting points on the board. Belle Vernon, 30-10

Mt. Pleasant (0-1) at Hopewell (0-1)

Mt. Pleasant will need to play better up front to have a chance, but a long road trip won’t end its way. Hopewell, 21-14

Penn Hills (0-1) at Latrobe (1-0)

Penn Hills lost some quality players from its WPIAL and PIAA championship team, but the Indians still will outrun the Wildcats. Penn Hills, 27-13

Ligonier Valley (1-0) at Penns Manor (1-0)

With that big line pushing the pile, the Rams will use big plays to dash to an easy road win. Ligonier Valley, 33-6

Saturday

Greensburg C.C. (1-0) at Riverview (0-0)

GCC will spoil a nice fall afternoon in Oakmont for the host Raiders. Too much in the arsenal. GCC, 28-8

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