The Birdie stays on brand with his A-K Valley Week 4 picks

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 | 6:23 PM

Last week: 7-5 (58.3%)

Overall: 30-14 (68.2%)

The Birdie walked into the office Monday morning and plopped two big blue Giant Eagle bags down on the sports desk.

This wasn’t unusual. He usually calls an order of that size “lunch.”

But this time, he had a point to make, which became clear as he pulled out a vat of Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter the size of a paint can.

“When I go grocery shopping, there are some items where buying generic just won’t do. Peanut butter is one of those items,” The Birdie explained.

“You might prefer Skippy or Peter Pan, but it’s best to stick with the name brands. I remember at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a peanut butter shortage and I had to buy a store brand. Tasted like I was eating an Elmer’s glue and jelly sandwich.

“And God forbid you get stuck with one of those jars of all-natural peanut butter, the kind where it separates and pools with oil after about a week. What kind of dirty hippie eats that stuff?”

With that, The Birdie began to pull out a series of other items, scattering them all over the desk.

Finally, The Birdie was getting to his point.

“In high school football, paying attention to name brands is going to burn you more often than not. Two weeks ago, I picked Beaver Falls to beat Knoch just because Beaver Falls has the bigger-name football program. What happened? The Knights unleashed that offense on the Tigers and won the ballgame.

“Then last week, I picked name-brand Serra Catholic to beat Burrell. What happened? The Bucs played hard-nosed ball, scored a touchdown late, hit the 2-point play and got the W.”

The Birdie smiled smugly, thinking he had just made a very clever point. He probably should have come to those conclusions before he turned in a terrible 7-5 record in Week 3. He’ll try to do better with his Week 4 picks:

Clairton (2-2) at Leechburg (3-1): The Bears are on a roll after starting with two tough losses. Clairton, 35-21

Gateway (1-3) at Plum (2-2): Looked like the Gators figured some things out in the second half against Franklin Regional last week. Gateway, 28-26

Fox Chapel (0-4) at Pine-Richland (2-2): There are no breaks in the schedule for the Foxes. Pine-Richland, 42-12

Indiana (2-2) at Highlands (3-1): A great test for the Golden Rams. Can they bounce back after a gut punch vs. North Catholic? The Birdie thinks so. Highlands, 27-20

North Catholic (2-2) at Kiski Area (1-3): There aren’t many WPIAL players who have impressed The Birdie quite like 6-foot-6 North Catholic tight end Brady O’Hara. North Catholic, 19-18

Burrell (2-2) at Yough (1-3): The Bucs keep the momentum going. Burrell, 19-6

Derry (2-2) at Apollo-Ridge (1-3): Before the season, this looked liked a pencilled-in W for the Vikings. But the Trojans have won two of three. Derry, 21-20

Springdale (1-3) at Greensburg Central Catholic (2-2): Dynamos are playing some pretty good ball, but this is a tough ask. Greensburg Central Catholic, 35-12

Deer Lakes (3-1) at Southmoreland (3-1): Great matchup between the tough Lancers ‘D’ and high-flying Scotties. Deer Lakes, 28-26

Freeport (2-2) at Mt. Pleasant (3-1): It’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Yellowjackets. This looks like it might be an up. Freeport, 19-14

Knoch (4-0) at Elizabeth Forward (4-0): This isn’t a pick against the Knights, who are an outstanding football team. It’s a pick for the Warriors, who have looked great. Elizabeth Forward, 35-28

Uniontown (2-2) at Valley (1-3): A chance for the Vikings to bounce back from a couple of losses. Valley, 19-18

Frazier (0-4) at Riverview (2-2): Time for the Raiders to show the strides they’ve made at the annual Friday night homecoming game. Riverview, 27-6

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