The Birdie writes the perfect pregame speech before making A-K Valley Week 9 picks

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | 5:01 PM

Last week: 12-1 (92.3%)

Overall: 70-26 (72.9%)

This is a big week in high school football. No point denying it.

For many teams, it’s win or go home. A playoff spot hangs in the balance. For others, it’s about momentum heading into the playoffs. For still others, it’s the last game before a long offseason. No one wants to go into it with a loss.

Therefore, coaches need to bring their A game when it comes to making an inspirational pregame speech.

That’s where The Birdie comes in. He spent hours locked in his office this week, dreaming up the best pep talk his tiny, never-plagiarizing brain could muster.

“I got you, coaches,” Birdie said. “Just memorize this, recite it to the boys, and — pow — guaranteed W.”

“Great moments are born from great opportunity,” Birdie started, smacking his rolled-up rosters into the palm of his hand. “And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight.

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

“We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on. We’re going to survive. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day.

“You got a pet. You got a responsibility. If your dog is lost, you don’t look for an hour then call it quits. You get out there, and you find that barking dog.”

Properly fired up, The Birdie then made his Week 9 picks.

Freeport (4-4, 3-1) at Deer Lakes (4-5, 3-2): Going from a winless season to the playoffs would be an amazing story for the Lancers. The playoff-bound Yellowjackets aren’t interested in writing stories, though. Freeport, 21-14

Penn Hills (5-3) at Kiski Area (6-3, 1-3): Kiski Area is wrapping up a pretty good year, but these Northeast Conference playoffs are a tough nut to crack. Penn Hills, 28-20

Pine-Richland (5-4, 3-1) at Fox Chapel (4-5, 2-2): Knocking off the Rams would be a massive resume builder for the Foxes heading into the playoffs. Won’t be easy, of course. Pine-Richland, 20-10

Greensburg Salem (5-4, 3-3) at Plum (3-6, 3-3): After a roller coaster of a season, the Mustangs have to be thrilled to be in a win-and-you’re-in situation. Plum, 34-27

Knoch (2-7, 1-5) at Highlands (6-3, 3-3): The Golden Rams are a team no one will want to draw as a first-round opponent. Highlands, 28-6

Valley (2-7, 1-4) at Burrell (2-7, 2-3): The Bucs don’t often root for Freeport, but that’s what they’ll be doing Friday. They have to take care of their own business first, of course. Burrell, 21-19

Apollo-Ridge (2-6, 1-3) at Ligonier Valley (7-2, 2-2): The Vikings could erase a lot of memories from a difficult season with a win Friday night. The Rams have been pretty solid, though. Ligonier Valley, 27-21

Leechburg (7-2, 4-2) at Greensburg C.C. (6-3, 4-2): WPIAL committee will be watching this one for seeding purposes. Greensburg C.C., 30-27

Springdale (5-4, 2-4) at Riverview (1-7, 1-5): The Dynamos can get a ticket to the tournament with just one more win. Springdale, 30-10

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