The Birdie likes to see upsets in Westmoreland County
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 | 5:39 PM
Upsets always get the Birdie excited — even when he doesn't call them.
He was bouncing off the walls in the office last week when he heard Franklin Regional scored with a second left to clip top-ranked McKeesport, 13-7.
He tips a wing to the Panthers, who were supposed to be young and inexperienced (Birdie rolls his eyes at coach Botta).
“There are a few things I never learn,” Birdie said. “One, don't throw anything away on garbage night without Mrs. Birdie's approval; Two, coaches are always in the shower when I call them; And three, never bet against Franklin Regional.”
The Birdie, the self-proclaimed authority on high school football in Westmoreland County (even though it's his rookie season), went 11-4 last week. He has won 75 percent of his picks so far — yet fans still think he should join Le'Veon Bell and apply at Dairy Queen.
He claims to have called the Howard University upset of UNLV; “Greensburg Salem grad calling the plays,” he said. But nobody can substantiate the claim.
While on the subject of upsets, something has been on the Birdie's mind lately.
“So here's the deal,” he said. “There's this new ‘Beat the Birdie' contest going around, which I had little to do with. Management talked to my peeps and made it happen. Whatevs. Any who, I'm all right with it. They're not making me correct the ballots by hand and I still get column space.
“But you beating me? ( chuckles and lowers sunglasses) … Now, there's an upset!”
The Birdie suggested any contest winners get a Cuban gold link chain to wear, ala the Miami Hurricanes, instead of the cash prize.
“If you win the $100, don't waste it on a pay-per-view fight,” Birdie said. “Hope they don't take that out of my paycheck.”
While Pitt-Penn State and the premier of the “It” remake have distracted him from his picks column, the Birdie is ready to get back to business this week.
“Can't wait to see ‘It,' ” he said, tying a red balloon to his 2002 laptop. “Some clown shows up and brings out the fear of kids in Derry. Don't even say it … .”
Now, Week 2 picks:
Hempfield (1-1, 0-1) at Mt. Lebanon (1-1, 0-0)
With Hempfield's quarterback situation disrupting preparation, Mt. Lebanon should take advantage. “Can't let that receiver catch 25 passes again, Spartans?” Birdie said. “Picked him up on my fantasy team.”
Mt. Lebanon, 28-20
Norwin (1-1) at Shaler (0-2)
Shaler has struggled to move the football. Norwin has not. “Big plays on the way, I tell you,” Birdie said.
Franklin Regional (1-0, 1-0) at Kiski Area (0-2, 0-1)
Momentum is a powerful thing in high school football, Birdie says. “Franklin Regional is locked in and won't fall for any trap game talk in this revenge game.”
Franklin Regional, 21-7
Plum (1-1, 1-0) at Penn-Trafford (2-0, 1-0)
Once again, the Warriors will win the battle up front and move the ball on the ground.
Greensburg Salem (1-1, 1-0) at Laurel Highlands (2-0, 0-0)
With the makings of shootout, Birdie likes the Highlanders at home.
Laurel Highlands, 42-38
Chartiers Valley (0-2) at Latrobe (0-2)
The Birdie says this is the week it all comes together for Latrobe. “Every game is winnable,” Birdie said. “But this one really is.”
Belle Vernon (1-0, 1-0) at Uniontown (0-2, 0-1)
Belle Vernon has a potent offense and will bulldoze the Raiders.
Belle Vernon, 30-13
Mt. Pleasant (1-1, 1-0) at South Park (1-0, 1-0)
With the game at Dormont Stadium, it will have the feel of a playoff game. “Play this one anywhere, South Park is just a better all-around team,” Birdie said.
South Park, 26-14
Yough (0-0, 0-2) at Derry (1-1, 0-1)
Both teams are banged up, so some unlikely players may have to step up and make a difference. “Yough is due to get the offense going, and I won't be surprised if it wins, but just can't see Derry pride faltering at home,” Birdie said.
Southmoreland (0-1) at Charleroi (1-1)
Southmoreland has a chance to keep it close but has to avoid mistakes. “Charleroi has a dual-threat QB who will be tough to stop,” Birdie said.
Leechburg (0-2, 0-1) at Jeannette (2-0, 0-0)
Jeannette has playmakers all over the field, which should make for another Jayhawks' throwdown at home. “This isn't basketball season,” Birdie quipped.
Jefferson-Morgan (1-1, 0-0) at Monessen (0-2, 0-1)
Monessen has been waiting for a game in which to take out its frustration. “Greyhounds beat ‘em last year, and they'll beat ‘em again,” Birdie said.
Greensburg C.C. (1-1) at Fort Cherry (0-1)
More game experience so far should benefit GCC before it “Feels the jaws of the Eastern Conference close around it,” Birdie said.
Greensburg C.C. 20-12
Northern Cambria (2-0) at Ligonier Valley (2-0)
A couple of high-scoring offenses get together for an old-fashioned shootout. Don't forget, Northern Cambria has a Marino at quarterback.
Ligonier Valley, 42-33
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