The Birdie likes what he sees on Westmoreland County gridirons

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 5:51 PM


Last week: 10-3 (76.9)

Season: 85-18 (82.5)

The Birdie has been reflective lately.

He has hearkened back to the old Saturday Night Live skit, “Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley.”

(Kids, look it up on YouTube.)

The local football legend turns and looks into a mirror.

“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me,” Birdie said, quoting the forever optimistic, sweater-wearing character played by Al Franken. “And I’d like to add to that, I am also blessed to be watching this football season.”

The Birdie thinks this is one of the most promising seasons he has seen in a while in Westmoreland County and he wants fans to stop and appreciate it.

“You can become spoiled by a season like this around these parts,” Birdie said. “I mean, come on. Penn-Trafford, No. 1 in the state. Jeannette, No. 1 in the state. Ligonier Valley, No. 3 in the state. Southmoreland is back in the playoffs. Shall I continue?”

The Birdie thinks Penn-Trafford, Jeannette and Ligonier Valley — he will opine on the Rams’ future move to the WPIAL later — all can compete for championship runs.

“And don’t forget about Belle Vernon — sneaky good, those Leopards are,” he said. “And I didn’t even get into Greensburg Central Catholic, Derry, Greensburg Salem and some other teams that can make some noise.”

The Birdie, once a fan of Buck Rogers but now a mega-fan of Duck Hodges, wants to look good like the local teams.

Uniform reveals have become a big thing on social media lately. Southmoreland started the local trend, but Ligonier Valley has jumped on board, too.

The Birdie, impressionable and shallow, likes the idea and would like to announce his outfit for Friday night.

“Hold my chocolate milk,” he says, and reaches for his backpack.

He begins to pull out articles of wrinkled clothing. It’s too early for Halloween, but he apparently has his costume already. (He asked to borrow Kevin Greene’s Hall of Fame blazer last week at Penn-Trafford but was denied).

“This week I will be wearing this puffy, Carolina Blue cardigan sweater and a yellow dress shirt underneath for a color pop,” he said. “I’ll wear khakis and penny loafers, too. I plan to dress for success, like our teams this season. Give them the daily affirmation they deserve, and don’t take a year like this for granted.”

Now for his take on Week 8.

Hempfield (2-6, 1-6) at Butler (0-8, 0-6)

Hempfield should be able to score with relative ease but the Spartans’ defense can’t take the night off. Hempfield, 26-16

Mt. Lebanon (5-3, 4-2) at Norwin (2-6, 1-5)

The Birdie likes the way Norwin has played of late. He thinks the Knights have the look of a playoff team in 6A and will give the Blue Devils a game. Mt. Lebanon, 28-24

McKeesport (6-2, 3-1) at Franklin Regional (4-2, 3-1)

Injuries have changed some of the things that Franklin Regional likes to do. McKeesport will take notice. McKeesport, 29-14

Thomas Jefferson (8-0, 5-0) at Greensburg Salem (4-4, 4-1)

Greensburg Salem picked up a signature win two weeks ago against West Mifflin. Scoring a second against TJ is too much to ask, but look for the Golden Lions to hang around. Thomas Jefferson, 44-14

Derry (6-2, 5-1) at Deer Lakes (3-5, 3-3)

A running attack against a passing attack. If Derry can get to the quarterback and establish the run, it could be all Trojans. Derry, 27-17

Freeport (3-4, 3-4) at Mt. Pleasant (3-5, 2-4)

Class 3A Big East games get harder each week for the Birdie to pick. Mt. Pleasant is good at home, so he likes the Vikings. Mt. Pleasant, 26-24

North Catholic (6-1, 6-0) at Yough (1-7, 1-5)

North Catholic should be able to dink and dunk on the Cougars, who have not been able to contain teams. North Catholic, 34-6

Washington (8-0, 5-0) at Southmoreland (5-3, 4-2)

Southmoreland has lost some steam, but the Scotties get quite a playoff-caliber test with the Little Prexies. Washington, 36-20

Riverview (2-5, 1-4) at Jeannette (8-0, 4-0)

Jeannette will do to the Raiders what they have done to most teams this year: jump on them early. Jeannette, 56-0

Belle Vernon (6-1) at Plum (3-5)

Belle Vernon, the Birdie thinks, is one of the area’s most well-rounded teams, and the Leopards will show that to Plum. Belle Vernon, 30-12

Greensburg CC (6-2) at Cornell (6-1)

A quietly good matchup, the Birdie likes nonconference games that are worth watching. This fits that description. Cornell, 21-18

Latrobe (3-5) at Midd-West (3-5)

Latrobe will take a cross-state trek to play a team it knows very little about. But the Wildcats will get a win. Latrobe, 23-10

Penn-Trafford (7-1) at Hampton (2-6)

A retooled running game is starting to round into form for the Warriors. Penn-Trafford, 38-14

Blairsville (3-5, 3-5) at Ligonier Valley (8-0, 8-0)

Big plays will highlight another Rams’ rout. Ligonier Valley, 58-7

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