The Birdie trying to keep his chin up during challenging season

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Thursday, October 22, 2020 | 5:47 PM


Last week: 10-1 (90.9 %)

Season: 55-21 (72.3 %)

Disappointment hit the Birdie hard last week when he found out seven local games would be postponed or canceled due to covid-19 cases and other reasons.

He has been moping around ever since, limping like a defensive back who just got beat on a go route.

But he’s trying to keep his masked chin up as the regular season heads into its final week.

“This season has turned into a bummer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay safe and finish strong,” he said. “We’re all in this together. Spartans, Greyhounds, Trojans, Scotties … and Birdies. It’s like the IT guys when I can’t turn on my laptop. Support is the key.”

Hempfield and Monessen each shelved their last two games. Derry might do so, as well.

“They’re likely finished for the year,” Birdie said. “Hate to see the Spartans have to deal with the virus and Monessen have trouble with roster numbers for various reasons. There are certain things I can’t predict in this space.”

The Birdie feels for programs that have been hit with in-season adversity.

“It will only make you stronger,” he said. “Hopefully Derry and Southmoreland can come back and build momentum again.”

With the WPIAL moving forward with playoffs, albeit with a slightly altered format — no neutral sites until the finals — the Birdie is miffed the league didn’t ask for input on the postseason.

“No response on my bowl games idea,” he said. “And I offered to help pick the seeds. I mean, opinion is going to play into this thing more than ever before. I got me an opinion on everything. Just ask Mrs. Birdie.”

He said the WPIAL should consider playing its finals at Norwin, Hempfield and Latrobe.

The Birdie will miss his annual trip to Heinz Field for the title games.

“First they take away the pairings meeting and now this?” he said, throwing up his hands like he’s signaling a touchdown.

The Birdie followed Belle Vernon to the Mustard Bowl last year and Derry there the previous season.

“I hope the finals go back to Norwin,” Birdie said. “The people there care about putting on a good show, and they know how to treat celebrities like myself.”

Before the gloating gets to second down, here are the Birdie’s picks for Week 7:

Norwin (1-5, 1-5) at Canon-McMillan (2-3, 2-3): Norwin will score some points but won’t be able to slow down the Big Macs’ rushing attack. Canon-McMillan, 26-16

Penn-Trafford (4-1, 3-0) at Franklin Regional (4-2, 2-2): The Warriors, despite a rusty first half last week, have some momentum heading into the last week of conference play. They will win the battle up front against the Panthers. Penn-Trafford, 30-13

Woodland Hills (4-1, 2-1) at Latrobe (2-3, 1-2): Latrobe has had an up-and-down year. An offensive shootout one week and a defensive stand the next. But Woodland Hills will give the Wildcats’ defense some trouble. Woodland Hills, 32-13

Greensburg Salem (1-5, 1-5) at Highlands (3-3, 3-3): Highlands put up 48 points in its last home game. The Golden Rams and Golden Lions will exchange a few scores before Highlands grabs the gold. Highlands, 30-20

Mt. Pleasant (4-2, 4-1) at South Park (3-3, 3-2): Mt. Pleasant needs to rebound after last week’s tough loss to Elizabeth Forward. But the Vikings have some nagging injuries that could catch up to them. South Park, 14-12

Southmoreland (3-2, 2-2) at Elizabeth Forward (5-0, 4-0): Southmoreland has shown more balance offensively, which will help, but the Scotties have not faced a defense like this. Elizabeth Forward, 34-17

• Yough (1-5, 0-4) at Brownsville (0-6, 0-4): Look for Yough to take control early and let its defense do the rest. Yough, 23-6

Shady Side Academy (1-3, 1-2) at Ligonier Valley (3-3, 1-2): The Birdie didn’t think Ligonier Valley would win more than two games. Apparently, he doesn’t know Ligonier Valley very well. Ligonier Valley, 25-15

Jeannette (5-1, 5-1) at Greensburg Central Catholic (2-4, 2-4): At the start of the season, the Birdie predicted this game could help decide the Eastern Conference title. Instead, it will be for bragging rights. Jeannette will score early and often. Jeannette, 42-14

Uniontown (0-2) at Belle Vernon (5-1): Look for Belle Vernon to rest some starters after the Leopards take quick command. Belle Vernon, 64-0

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