The Birdie keeps his head held high heading into Week 2 in A-K Valley high school football

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | 4:58 PM

Last week: 8-3 (72.7%)

Season: 23-9 (71.9%)

When The Birdie shuffled out of the office late Friday night, he was little bit down.

He wasn’t even thinking about which bar’s kitchen would still be open, which is normally pretty much the only thing his bird brain obsesses about late Friday nights.

“I went 8-3,” the prickly prognosticator said, “but those three losses are wearing on me. I got the game of the week wrong, Burrell and Valley. Shouldn’t have picked against Devin Beattie.

“I was so close to picking Knoch over Beaver Falls. Even typed it out on my little typewriter. K-N-O-C-H. Then I got my Wite-Out and went with Beaver Falls just because that’s the bigger name.

“Finally, my breakout team of the year, Riverview, took a loss on the road. No shame in that. Northgate’s solid. But I didn’t even consider picking the Flames, and I’ve got to be better than that.”

By Monday morning, though, The Birdie’s mood had improved considerably. Why? Let the old bird explain.

“You saw the Steelers game,” he squawked. “How many of you, after that perfect Pickett preseason, had a 49ers blowout win on your parlay card? Not many, I bet. And how’s your fantasy team doing? You probably used a first-round pick on Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or Jalen Hurts, right? The top three fantasy QBs on Sunday were Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Jordan Love.

Yes, last weekend taught The Birdie an important lesson.

“The ball isn’t round,” he said, spinning an old Wilson on his chicken finger. “You never know which way it’s going to bounce.”

This lesson should have humbled him, but unsurprisingly, it did the opposite. Humility isn’t The Birdie’s specialty.

“You try going 8-3 every week,” he crowed. “The old bird’s still got it.”

He put that theory to the test as he made his Week 3 picks:

Highlands (3-0) at North Catholic (1-2): The Trojans are better than their record, but the Golden Rams have ramped it up nicely and are ready to roll in their conference opener. Highlands, 35-21

Kiski Area (1-2) at Hampton (0-3): Don’t discount the Talbots, who have had a tough nonconference schedule (Knoch, Shaler, Central Valley), but the Cavaliers are too talented not to stack some W’s. Kiski Area, 28-27

Plum (2-1) at Norwin (1-2): A tough call, with the Mustangs coming off their first loss and the Knights coming off their first win, but Plum’s ground game makes the difference. Plum, 34-21

Apollo-Ridge (1-2) at Ligonier Valley (1-2): A good spot for the Vikings to stop an early two-game slide. The Rams are very young. Apollo-Ridge, 21-6

Serra Catholic (0-3) at Burrell (1-2): The Eagles have talent but have been giving up points at an alarming rate. The Bucs, who got untracked last week, have a real shot at this one. The Birdie might be repeating his Beaver Falls mistake from last week, but … Serra Catholic, 21-20

Leechburg (2-1) at Springdale (1-2): Good to see the Dynamos get into the win column last week. The competition gets tougher now. Leechburg, 40-14

Riverview (2-1) at Clairton (1-2): It’s a daunting task for an upstart team to compete with the perennially powerful Bears. The Raiders won’t want to hear this, but a competitive game is a moral victory in this case. Clairton, 21-19

Armstrong (2-1) at Freeport (2-1): The Yellowjackets have shaken off a Week Zero blip. The River Hawks’ only loss is to Aliquippa. Should be a good one. Armstrong, 28-27

Fox Chapel (0-3) at Upper St. Clair (3-0): The Foxes are making strides, especially on offense, but a road game against the Panthers is a tough spot. Upper St. Clair, 40-20

Greensburg Salem (1-2) at Deer Lakes (2-1): The Lancers are off to a real solid start, especially on defense. Deer Lakes, 20-6

Southmoreland (3-0) at Knoch (3-0): This one should be fun. A battle of high-octane offenses. Knights get the nod on strength of early-season schedule. Knoch, 33-27

Valley (1-2) Mt. Pleasant (2-1): Valley’s already been on a roller-coaster, and the season’s only three weeks old. Mt. Pleasant, 27-13

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