The Birdie needs to cool off in Westmoreland County

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | 4:42 PM


Before the Birdie begins his picks column for Week 5, he asks that you allow him 15 minutes to cool off.

“Don't want to say anything that gets me in trouble,” Birdie said. “I should have had a perfect week, but Derry left me with egg on my face.”

As for the WPIAL's new coach-media policy:

“Can there be a more bizarre thing than to have coaches ‘cool down' after playoff games?” Birdie said. “The media has deadlines. I have been doing this a long time and the best quotes often come from the heat of the moment. The WPIAL is not protecting anyone; it's admitting to other districts that its coaches have temper issues. If you're not mature enough to take the high road, maybe you shouldn't be the head coach.”

Off his soap box, the Birdie clocks back in.

“I'd like to get some housekeeping items off my chest before I reveal my picks, dear readers,” he said, knocking back a fistful of candy corn. “I'd first like to welcome the folks from MSA Sports to the Trib. We'll make a great couple. Not Chicks Picks and I; I'm married. I mean, the two forces joining sides to make a high school sports empire. Well, at least a Rebel alliance. I just ask that you guys had better keep my identity quiet.

“Secondly, I'd like everyone to know that was not my drone that crashed at Hempfield two weeks ago. I was not spying on practice.

“Thirdly, Greensburg Salem plays its 1,100th game Friday. No, I was not present for its first game. I'm old, but not that old. And lastly, if teams want to be taken seriously, their fans need to behave. That Jeannette-Imani Christian game was filled with exciting plays but turned into an ugly scene.”

The Birdie won 12 of 13 games last week to improve his sizzling season record to 53-12. While he may have underestimated Derry, he isn't ready to apologize just yet.

“Now let's get back to business and sort out Week 5,” he said. “Before the copy desk calls me for delay of game.”

Friday

Bethel Park (3-1, 2-0) at Hempfield (1-4, 0-3)

Hempfield's front line's best days are ahead. “Great to see that QB back, but he needs more time to throw,” Birdie said.

Bethel Park, 34-20

Peters Township (4-1, 2-1) at Norwin (3-2, 2-1)

Norwin's offense still has not showed its full potential, but the Birdie thinks it will continue to round into form.

Norwin, 29-21

Franklin Regional (3-1, 3-1) at Connellsville (1-4, 0-4)

Franklin Regional looks like a different team because it is, a rash of injuries forcing multiple changes in the lineup. But the Panthers should still outlast the Falcons.

Franklin Regional, 19-7

Gateway (5-0, 3-0) at Penn-Trafford (5-0, 3-0)

Penn-Trafford's season started to dovetail with this game last year, but the Birdie expects a different result against the big-play Gators this time. “That defense will be tested, but it will be ready when it counts in the Ruane Bowl,” he said. “Or, the Battle for the Bell. Either way, P-T will ring-a-ding-ding that bell.”

Penn-Trafford, 34-27

Belle Vernon (4-0, 4-0) at Laurel Highlands (2-3, 0-3)

Way too much size up front for Laurel Highlands to overcome.

Belle Vernon, 28-7

West Mifflin (3-1, 2-1) at Greensburg Salem (2-3, 2-2)

Game No. 1,100 could be a dandy at Offutt Field. And the Golden Lions win if they trim the penalties and tackle.

Greensburg Salem, 24-21

Mt. Pleasant (2-3, 1-2) at Elizabeth Forward (3-1, 3-0)

The Birdie likes those sleeper matchups that he knows produce good football. “This could be an old-fashioned throwdown.”

Elizabeth Forward, 23-16

Southmoreland (0-4, 0-2) at Waynesburg (0-4, 0-4)

Southmoreland will end its streak. The Birdie foresees it. “Something has to give,” he said.

Southmoreland, 28-26

Yough (1-4, 1-1) at McGuffey (3-2, 2-1)

McGuffey has allowed a lot of points, but so has Yough. The Cougars have to get better on defense to salvage this campaign.

McGuffey, 20-14

Bishop Canevin (2-2, 2-1) at Jeannette (5-0, 3-0)

Bishop Canevin was once considered a contender in the Eastern, until several players transferred before the season. “Jayhawks are always contenders; pick ‘em,” Birdie said. “Hope this game doesn't take almost four hours like last week.”

Jeannette, 36-13

Greensburg C.C. (1-4, 0-2) at Leechburg (0-5, 0-4)

The Birdie picked GCC to win one game this season and it has — so far. Can the Centurions make it two and curtail the old expert?

Greensburg C.C., 22-18

California (5-0, 3-0) at Monessen (1-4, 1-2)

Monessen has shown improvements but won't be a match for upstart California.

California, 38-8

Frazier (0-5) at Derry (4-1)

Derry will roll without hesitation: “Down goes Frazier,” Birdie said. “Derry's defense just might have something.”

Derry, 41-6

Ligonier Valley (5-0, 5-0) at West Shamokin (3-2, 3-2)

Ligonier Valley has a long road trip, but that shouldn't affect the Rams' mojo. “I like chicken and mojos,” the Birdie said. “Rams have outscored teams 269-6. Lol.”

Ligonier Valley, 50-7

Saturday

Latrobe (2-3, 1-2) at McKeesport (3-1, 3-1)

McKeesport will use big plays to win its homecoming game handily. Latrobe will move the ball, however, the Birdie thinks.

McKeesport, 30-17

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