The Birdie: Prognosticator puts pedal to metal for Week 3 in Westmoreland County

Thursday, September 24, 2020 | 5:06 PM

Last week: 10-4 (71.4%)

Season: 17-10 (62.9 %)

The wordy Birdie regained his form last week. He has some swagger back in his step.

While he isn’t allowed to work from the office yet, he has been strutting around his front lawn.

(He thought teleworking meant he had to sell subscriptions).

With a bounce-back week — if Week 1 was a fumble for your favorite picks columnist, then Week 2 was a wide receiver reverse — the Birdman is walking tall again.

“Suddenly, I’m looking and feeling like Penn-Trafford,” he said, doing a tomahawk chop to dry his freshly sanitized hands. “I mean, I don’t have a Carr and a Ford parked in my driveway — or my backfield — like the Warriors, but I still feel like my picks should be on display like an auto show. Classic car show.”

The Birdie has been referred to as a car salesman before, but he claims he does not push his predictions on anyone.

“Take it or leave it,” he said. “No pressure. No haggling.”

The Birdie has been doing this job long enough to make a few guarantees.

“When Penn-Trafford and Peters Township play, Pee Tee always wins,” he said in his dad-joke voice. “And when Derry and North Catholic square off, always take the Trojans.”

Funny guy, that Birdie.

“Let me add, for effect, that every year I have at least one coach tell me I only pick his team when they lose,” Birdie said. “And that same coach is always ‘in the shower’ when I call to discuss it with him on Saturdays. You can count on it every year.

“What I didn’t count on was Wolf keeping the floodgates closed. I lost a friendly bet on that one. Still no excitement in the bleachers.”

Getting back to the (used) car theme for this column, the Birdie is ready to drive this one off the lot.

“But first, let me remind you, dear readers,” he said. “While I am often imitated, I am never duplicated, and I am the only WPIAL prognosticator bold enough to give you scores. Anybody can say Big Valley High over Pom-Pom Prep, but I go the extra nine yards. Talk about a fully loaded vehicle.”

Trusting his weekly audience has regained faith in his picks after his slow start, the masked-up swami is ready to sound off on this week’s games.

“Like 2020 senior nights, I’m going hurry-up offense,” he said. “Let’s get this done before something bad happens.”


Hempfield (1-1, 1-1) at Mt. Lebanon (0-1, 0-1)

Mt. Lebanon checks all the boxes for a good 6A team: big line, skill and great coaching. Hempfield will see all three facets up close. Mt. Lebanon, 28-13

Norwin (0-2, 0-2) at Seneca Valley (1-0, 1-0)

Norwin has more game experience than the Raiders, which could help, and the Knights went punch-for-punch with Central Catholic. But Seneca Valley showed why it’s ranked No. 3 in 6A last week. Seneca Valley, 28-7

Belle Vernon (2-0, 2-0) at Thomas Jefferson (2-0, 2-0)

The Birdie thinks this could be the best game of the year. But he also thinks the result will be painfully similar for Belle Vernon, which is good but not TJ good. Who is? Thomas Jefferson, 28-21

Greensburg Salem (1-1, 1-1) at Indiana (0-2, 0-2)

After clearing a big hurdle by locking down its 700th win, Greensburg Salem will be confident as it hits the road to play the Indians. Greensburg Salem, 27-17

Freeport (1-1, 1-0) at Derry (1-1, 1-1)

After a rough home opener two weeks ago, Derry is looking for a sharper game at Trojan Stadium. But Freeport is a tough out and has played the Trojans tough of late. Freeport, 20-19

Mt. Pleasant (1-1, 1-0) at Southmoreland (1-1, 1-1)

This is a matchup Southmoreland has been excited about for a while, since it’s a conference game. The Scotties will air it out and overshadow the Vikings’ run. Southmoreland, 23-20

South Allegheny (0-2, 0-2) at Yough (1-1, 0-1)

Yough has looked refreshed and charged-up this season and the Cougars will carry that confidence to a home win. Yough, 35-27

Bishop Canevin (1-0, 1-0) at Greensburg CC (1-1, 1-1)

The Birdie usually likes Greensburg Central when it plays at home. Special teams will carry the Centurions. GCC, 21-14

Imani Christian (0-2, 0-2) at Jeannette (1-1, 1-1)

Jeannette returns to McKee Stadium and will use deep throws to take down the Saints. Look for big plays early. Jeannette, 42-6

Monessen (0-2, 0-2) at Jefferson-Morgan (0-2, 0-2)

Youthful Monessen’s best years could lie ahead but road challenges like this will only make the Greyhounds better. Jefferson-Morgan, 18-15

Franklin Regional (1-1) at Bethel Park (0-2)

Not a traditional matchup but a good matchup nonetheless. Defense will stand tall on this one. Blackhawks by a touch. Bethel Park, 23-16

Shaler (0-2) at Penn-Trafford (1-1)

Clearly a team to be reckoned with in 5A despite a tough loss to opportunistic Peters Township, Penn-Trafford will give a sparse crowd a show in Harrison City. Penn-Trafford, 42-7

South Fayette (1-1) at Latrobe (1-1)

A tough draw for Latrobe, even at Memorial Stadium. The Steelers couldn’t come this year, but another pretty solid team will do more than show up. South Fayette, 30-13


Ligonier Valley (1-1) at Western Beaver (2-0)

A long road trip won’t be as long as the ride home for the Rams, who showed some fight last week but will come up just short. Western Beaver 16-14

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