The Birdie opines on Week Zero, Westmoreland County matchups

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 6:39 PM

Four years after its inception, Week Zero remains a confusing proposition, even for Mr. Birdie.

He gets questions from readers all the time about the official/unofficial start of the season.

Why doesn’t everyone do it?

Do the games really count?

How are Antonio Brown’s feet?

(OK, the last one might be a stretch, although, ironically, a Derry reader once tried to freeze the yellow legend in a cryotherapy chamber).

Westmoreland County’s high school football expert thinks it’s time to streamline the first week of the season.

“Teams used to get two scrimmages before the first official game,” Birdie said. “Making games ‘optional’ for Week Zero compromises the integrity of the schedule. It’s time to make everyone open the season at the same time and do away with the zero. And that’s coming from your hero.”

The Birdie can’t wait for opening night, regardless of what it’s numbered. Just like a recent movie premier, he was sure to go on opening night.

After seeing “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” he wanted to hire a stunt double to go to places where fans don’t like him, but costs proved prohibitive.

“I’ll just have to go incognito like I do every Week 1,” he said. “I mean, Week Zero. You knew what I meant. This old vet is no washed-up actor. I still got it.

“And speaking of stunts, I’m tired of hearing about ‘AB,’ too. Let’s just play some football.”

Now for the Birdie’s take on opening week:

Norwin at Penn-Trafford

A lot will be made of the skill players, but the Birdie thinks this game will be decided up front. Norwin will make some plays but Penn-Trafford’s pressure will make a difference in a WCCA seven-on-seven revenge game. Penn-Trafford, 28-21

Greensburg Salem at Hempfield

Greensburg Salem has shelves full of experience and playmakers, but the Golden Lions will have to deal with the Spartans’ size. Hempfield will run the ball with authority in a nail-biter. Hempfield, 23-20

Jeannette at East Allegheny

Jeannette has a lot more veteran players back than the Wildcats, and the Jayhawks will use big plays to take the opener on the road. Jeannette, 28-16

Latrobe at Derry

Derry has had the upper hand in this long rivalry series because of its ability to block, tackle and run the football. The trend will continue. Derry, 19-13

Monessen at Greensburg C.C.

Monessen is looking for players to get the football into the end zone, a process that might take some time. GCC, in turn, appears to know who will do its damage and has been waiting to let them rip. GCC, 23-16

Southmoreland at Mt. Pleasant

The Birdie likes evenly-matched teams, as is the case with this game. But he gives the nod to Southmoreland, which will show improvement on defense. Southmoreland, 25-16

Yough at Serra Catholic

Serra lost a lot of senior talent, but the Eagles will be a tough out on the road for the Cougars, who are looking for an identity. Serra Catholic, 22-14

Homer-Center at Ligonier Valley

Ligonier Valley has had some ruthless teams the past few years and while the Birdie thinks some of the past were slightly better, this one also will win its share of games handily. Ligonier Valley, 36-7

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