The Birdie sets sights on web stardom in Westmoreland County

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 | 6:45 PM

Last week: 12-3 (80 percent)

Season: 18-5 (78.3 percent)

The Birdie is old school and set in many of his ways. He still uses a pencil and paper to keep game stats and likes to get ink on his fingers after reading the print edition of the newspaper.

“People still like to pick up the paper,” he said.

But the Birdman is not a complete stranger to technology.

“I like those viral videos,” he said, thumbing at the air like he’s playing a video game. “I watch them over and again. And I try to duplicate them in the office.”

Or in the parking lot.

In this case, he tried to recreate the 12-second clip of the lineman from Latrobe catching a punt at the end of a practice, which allowed the team to avoid conditioning that day.

“I had a part-timer boot a punt to me, over some cars and delivery trucks,” Birdie said. “If I caught it, I could get out of watching game film on Saturday morning. If not, more film.”

So, how did the kick-and-catch turn out?

“It was a bad punt to begin with,” Birdie said. “It bounced off a fancy Chrysler, hit a SUV and came in so low I had to arch my back. Off my fingertips and out onto the street the ball went. I demanded a re-kick but we lost the football in a nearby yard where a pit bull patrols the property. Game over.”

Birdie also claimed he had a cramp because of the heat.

“I needed a real punter to hit me up,” Birdie said. “Maybe one of these soccer dudes. They seem to show out each week. Durable and dependable, like my picks. Next time, we’ll film on one of these new turf fields. Better footing for my Nikes.”

Latrobe got out of conditioning but the Birdie had to watch extra film Saturday to get ready for Week 2.

“You need it,” the so-called co-worker/punter yelled from the water cooler. “Speaking of going viral, you couldn’t catch a cold. United wouldn’t even let you try out.”

The Birdie had a 12-3 week and picked against Penn-Trafford, which toppled No. 1 Gateway, 28-7, in 5A. Like the punt, that is one he’d like to have back.

“Warriors are for real. I didn’t think they’d ring Gateway’s bell,” he said. “This is their year. They have to stay healthy, though. That goes for the coaches, too.”

Now, his take on Week 2.


Hempfield (1-1, 0-1) at Norwin (0-2, 0-1)

It’s always a good matchup when these teams play, and this year will be no different. Hempfield’s hefty line wins the battle in the trenches. Hempfield, 21-14

Latrobe (1-1, 0-0) at Franklin Regional (1-0, 1-0)

The Panthers had some issues putting away Latrobe last season, but the scene shifts to Murrysville, where the Panthers are sturdy defensively. Franklin Regional, 28-20

Penn-Trafford (2-0, 1-0) at Connellsville (1-1, 0-1)

After an emotional and head-turning win over Gateway, Penn-Trafford can fine-tune some things on the road to stay sharp in the conference. Penn-Trafford, 46-6

Belle Vernon (1-0, 0-0) at Thomas Jefferson (2-0, 1-0)

Belle Vernon has the talent — in all three phases — to solve the Jaguars. But the mental hurdle is the toughest part of this road trip. Big boy football in the South Hills. Belle Vernon, 23-20

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

Both teams rebounded well from opening losses and will look to keep the momentum going. This could be a tight one at Viking Stadium. Yough, 22-21

Carmichaels (1-0, 1-0) at Southmoreland (2-0, 1-0)

Southmoreland is playing with confidence as the passing and running game are merging to form balance. Now about that defense. Southmoreland, 34-27

Clairton (0-2, 0-0) at Greensburg C.C. (2-0, 1-0)

With a number of Class A teams down this year, GCC is aiming to take its place among the contenders. Slowing down a perennial power is a huge step forward, but also huge ask. Clairton, 22-15

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

Jeannette went to the air last week in its conference and home opener. Look for more deep throws and big plays. Jeannette, 38-8

Derry (1-1) at South Park (0-1)

Derry is starting to get its rushing attack revved up behind a solid line. That’ll spell trouble for South Park. Derry, 21-13

Greensburg Salem (1-1, 1-0) at Mars (1-1, 0-0)

A spirited overtime win was a nice bounce-back for the Golden Lions but winning at Mars is a tall task. Mars, 27-14

Monessen (0-2, 0-1) at Springdale (2-0, 1-0)

Springdale looked impressive in taking down Imani Christian last week. The Dynamos will slow down the Greyhounds. Springdale, 18-8

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