The Birdie won’t stop squawking about Westmoreland County teams in WPIAL playoffs

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | 5:40 PM

Last week: 11-2 (84.6)

Season: 110-20 (84.6)

Playoff time gets the Birdie pumped up to talk football.

He raps about pigskin with random people when he is in line at the bank (where he deposits his big bucks), at local pizza shops when he picks up a late-night snack, and even at the self-checkout line at the supermarket.

“That’s a tough crowd,” Birdie said. “Why do I always have to bag my own stuff?”

He even chirped it up with some folks on a recent bus ride in Pittsburgh. (His Chevette is in the shop again.)

“I got off at the stop right before the sinkhole,” he said. “That was close.”

What he really enjoys is going to the annual WPIAL pairings meeting in Green Tree, where he schmoozes with old media chums and coaches, knocks back a couple of diet pops in the lobby bar and reminisces about the season.

He even bought Chicks Picks a drink this year. What a gentleman.

“I try not to talk too long with certain coaches because other teams will get suspicious,” he said, polishing off the last of his Halloween treats — a rock-hard popcorn ball, a few circus peanuts and a handful of stale candy corn. “I have to scour the room and make sure every coach gets to shoot the breeze with yours truly.

“I have no favorites.”

He delved into small talk about “that championship-caliber Penn-Trafford defense, Southmoreland’s five-up, five-down season, Nathan Roby’s stats, Justin Huss’ stats and records falling left and right in Westmoreland County.”

The Birdie hides his Southmoreland pom pom, reverses his Jeannette ‘700’ hat and covers his new GCC T-shirt with his Members Only jacket.

“I want all local teams to do well in the playoffs,” he said, putting his wing over a “LV Rams” sticker in his lunch box. “If they keep winning, I keep working, and that’s a good thing, according to Mrs. Birdie.”

The highway to Heinz Field begins this week, and Westmoreland County’s prep gridiron expert has the first round sorted out.

Fox Chapel (4-6) at Penn-Trafford (9-1)

Fox Chapel was a tough out two years ago, and the Foxes could provide some more issues for Penn-Trafford if the Warriors can’t get the running game going. Penn-Trafford is too good up front to get upset, though. Penn-Trafford, 37-7

Franklin Regional (4-4) at Moon (8-2)

Moon has a number of quality wins and has proven it can play defense against potent teams. Franklin Regional’s schedule, although slight, prepared it well for road games, but the Panthers won’t be balanced enough to beat the Tigers. Moon, 23-13

Latrobe (5-5) at Penn Hills (9-1)

The Birdie thinks someone in the WPIAL has a strange obsession with Latrobe-Penn Hills matchups. Latrobe never wants to play the Indians, especially in a first-round playoff game. Penn Hills, 42-14

New Castle (6-4) at Belle Vernon (8-1)

When the Birdie looks at the two conferences in Class 4A, he thinks the Big Eight is better and Belle Vernon will prove his point. Belle Vernon, 38-8

Greensburg Salem (5-5) at Blackhawk (6-4)

Greensburg Salem has not won a playoff game since 2000 and does not want to wait until next season to post win No. 700. The Golden Lions will work for every inch, but they’ll get the job done. Greensburg Salem, 27-24

Beaver Falls (8-2) at Derry (8-2)

Derry has been strong at Trojan Stadium, and its line and running game are as proficient as any in the WPIAL, but Beaver Falls will use a few big plays to run past the Trojans. Beaver Falls, 30-21

Mt. Pleasant (5-5) at Central Valley (9-1)

Central Valley has a strong front line and playmakers on defense that will slow down the Vikings running game. Central Valley, 41-12

Southmoreland (5-5) at Avonworth (10-0)

The Birdie finds it almost unfathomable a team could win its first five game and lose its final six, but that is what will happen to the Scotties. Shootout in the works. Avonworth, 49-24

Jeannette (9-1) at Sto-Rox (9-1)

Some thought this might be the WPIAL final, but instead it’s a quarterfinal clash. Jeannette has to limit mistakes and apply pressure to the QB like it did against OLSH to advance to the semis. Sto-Rox will score some points. Jeannette, 35-20

Greensburg Central Catholic (7-3) at West Greene (9-1)

GCC is glad to be back in the playoffs, but the Centurions won’t be able to slow down Ben Jackson and the Pioneers rush. It will be a good game. West Greene, 29-22

West Shamokin (5-5) at Ligonier Valley (10-0)

By all accounts, Ligonier Valley is done with the Heritage Conference. Now, the big-play offense is ready to make a run at District 6. Ligonier Valley, 46-7

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