The Birdie provides bulletin-board fodder, Week 6 picks in Westmoreland County

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | 6:51 PM

Last week: 10-2 (83%)

Season: 53-20 (72.6%)

Before the season started, when the Canada wildfires were burning out of control and casting a haze over Westmoreland County, and Matt Canada was turning the Steelers playbook into a dumpster fire, the Birdie was predicting how good (or bad) local teams would be.

“Man, the words fire and Canada go so well together,” Birdie said.

Mr. Birdie called for Jeannette to win four games and for Derry to win two.

But Jeannette already has five wins, and Derry has three.

“First of all, there is only one real Birdie,” he said. “Accept no substitutes. I picked Jeannette to win last week. This other Birdie got the Jayhawks all riled up.”

As for the team predictions …

“That’s the name of the game here, folks, for the teams to prove me wrong,” Birdie said. “I give teams bulletin-board material. They either stick me with thumb-tacks and throw shade or fist-bump me and tell me they love me, then everything goes back to normal.

“We live in times of instant gratification or anger. People don’t spend enough time taking in moments. But I digress … “

He also said Mt. Pleasant would get five wins and the Vikings are already there, and Norwin is one win shy of the forecast he predicted for the Knights (three).

Yough caught the Birdie by surprise last week with a shutout of Ligonier Valley on the road. The Cougars are also a win away from his three-win prediction.

“It’s all right,” Birdie said, talking with his hands like a politician at a debate. “Tim Benz asked me, ‘You mad, bro?’ I’m like, of course not. This is a good thing. Everything is right with the world again. Jeannette and Derry are winning. Norwin is competitive again. It’s a good time to be a local football fan.”

With the same token, the Birdie believes he may have overrated Monessen and Southmoreland, “But there is a lot of football left. Prove me wrong, kiddos.”

Now for a look at his hot takes on Week 6:

Gateway (3-3, 3-0) at Penn-Trafford (3-3, 2-0): While this is usually one of the most anticipated and physical matchups of the year, Gateway simply has too much to offer in the passing game. Gateway, 31-21

Norwin (2-4, 1-1) at Franklin Regional (4-2, 1-1): Franklin Regional will get an early push up front, hit some big plays then hold off the Knights, who have shown zero give-up. Franklin Regional, 28-23

Latrobe (4-2, 2-1) at Ringgold (0-6, 0-2): There are certain games where teams can work on things they haven’t in tight matchups. That will be the case for Latrobe in a runaway. Latrobe, 30-6

Elizabeth Forward (6-0, 1-0) at Mt. Pleasant (5-1, 1-0): Few teams have been able to solve Mt. Pleasant’s wing-T. But the Warriors have something going with that defense. Elizabeth Forward, 32-22

Greensburg Salem (1-5, 0-1) at Belle Vernon (4-1, 1-0): Conference play has started and Belle Vernon is playing for keeps. Belle Vernon, 45-7

South Allegheny (1-5, 0-1) at Southmoreland (3-3, 0-1): The running game will get going again for the Scotties, who will regain their footing at The Grimm. Southmoreland, 33-16

Burrell (3-3, 2-1) at Ligonier Valley (2-4, 1-2): A couple of up-and-down teams that the Birdie can’t quite pin down. Burrell will give the Rams all they handle, but he’s going with the Rams at Weller. Ligonier Valley, 29-26

Derry (3-3, 2-1) at Steel Valley (4-1, 3-0): Derry will fall back to earth a bit against a solid Ironmen team. Steel Valley, 34-14

Serra Catholic (1-4, 1-1) at Yough (2-4, 1-2): Yough has shown improvement in its rushing attack. Look for the Cougars to move the sticks against the Eagles. Yough, 20-15

Frazier (0-6, 0-3) at Greensburg Central Catholic (3-3, 1-1): Greensburg Central Catholic has a chance to put up the points and the Centurions will, using big plays to dominate. Down goes Frazier. Greensburg Central Catholic, 50-13

Jeannette (5-1, 2-0) at Leechburg (4-2, 2-1): Jeannette has more offensive weapons but will have to play smart to continue its winning streak. Leechburg is grittier than a sand trap. Jeannette, 22-19

Carmichaels (2-4, 1-2) at Monessen (1-5, 0-2): The Birdie thinks Monessen’s defense needs some work. Greyhounds aren’t getting enough stops. Carmichaels, 19-17

Hempfield (1-5) at Seneca Valley (1-5): Shades of 6A here. Nonconference games are supposed to get teams sharper for the conference schedule. Seneca Valley, 24-14

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