The Birdie might not be a spring chicken, but he still picks A-K Valley football winners

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 | 6:28 PM

Last week: 8-3 (72.7%)

Season: 31-10 (75.6%)

Watching Ben Roethlisberger take a beating against the Raiders last Sunday, a truth became painfully obvious: Big Ben isn’t as spry as he once was.

Well, join the club. Who is?

The Birdie. That’s who.

“I’ve been picking high school football games since the Carter Administration, and aside from these sweet tortoise shell reading glasses I got at the GetGo for five bucks, the knee brace I have to wear for takeoffs and landings and the fact that I never miss the Early Birdie Special at my local diner, I’m basically as youthful as the day I hatched,” Birdie bragged.

“So pay attention to my tips for staying young.”

• “Get plenty of exercise. Last Saturday, for example, I decided to do a push-up for each point Pitt gave up against Western Michigan. My wings were fried by the third quarter.”

• “Also exercise your mind. I do so by calculating the payouts for three-team parlays, but perhaps you might prefer a Sudoku.”

• “Eat a balanced diet. When sucking down halftime hot dogs, for instance, go with a whole-grain bun. And remember: Ketchup is a vegetable.”

• “Get plenty of rest. I like to find a nice, quiet place to settle down for a nap in the evening. For me, it’s usually the box seats at PNC Park.”

• “Stay regular. I do so by eating plenty of fiber, staying hydrated and flying over freshly washed cars at least twice a day. Heh.”

OK, on to Week 4’s picks.

Hampton (4-0, 1-0) at Highlands (4-0, 1-0): A Golden Rams team that hasn’t given up more than seven points in a game will be put to the test by the resurgent Talbots. A section title might hang in the balance. Highlands, 21-20

Apollo-Ridge (0-3, 0-0) at Burrell (0-4, 0-1): Burrell’s offense got it going a bit last week. Apollo-Ridge got a week off to regroup after a pair of losses to playoff contenders. Tough one to pick. Take the home team. Burrell, 27-26

Knoch (1-3, 0-1) at Armstrong (2-2, 0-1): A big styles clash. The Knights stick to the ground, and the River Hawks air it out. Armstrong, 28-8

Mars (0-4, 0-1) at Plum (0-4, 0-1): Two teams that unexpectedly have fallen on hard times. The Mustangs made strides on offense last week. Plum, 34-24

Moon (4-0, 0-0) at Fox Chapel (2-2, 0-0): The Foxes are coming off a nice win over Franklin Regional, but these Tigers are a handful, especially in the trenches. Moon, 27-10

Springdale (3-1, 0-1) at Leechburg (3-1, 0-1): This is a giant game that might end up deciding a playoff spot when all is said and done. The Dynamos’ defense is stout. The Blue Devils’ offense is dangerous. Something’s got to give. Leechburg, 27-26

Valley (0-4, 0-1) at Deer Lakes (1-3, 1-0): A lot on the line here. The Vikings are looking for their first win. The Lancers are trying to put together a winning streak. Deer Lakes, 14-13

West Allegheny (3-0, 0-0) at Kiski Area (4-0, 0-0): This should be a barnburner. The Cavaliers face their biggest test of the year so far in QB Gavin Miller. Kiski Area, 28-21

Clairton (1-2, 1-0) at Riverview (0-3, 0-1): The Bears are getting on track after a poor start. That’s bad news for the Raiders. Clairton, 30-7

Serra Catholic (4-0, 0-0) at Freeport (1-2, 0-0): At a PIAA board meeting earlier this week, a concern was raised: Some teams were being accused of using covid protocols as a ruse to duck tough opponents. No one will ever accuse the Yellowjackets of that offense. On short notice after Derry canceled their originally scheduled matchup, Freeport agreed to play an undefeated Serra Catholic team with offensive weapons galore. The Yellowjackets will be better for it in the long run. Serra Catholic, 27-13

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