Unlike The Birdie, Belle Vernon football keeps going up

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | 2:41 PM


The Birdie

Last week: 1-0 (100%)

Season: 108-28 (79.4%)

The Birdie saw the elevator door begin to close as he sprinted — that’s a strong word — down a hallway on the fourth floor of Acrisure Stadium.

His stomach full of chips, pretzels and cold black coffee, he was leaving the press box and heading down to field level to greet Belle Vernon after the Leopards won their second straight WPIAL Class 3A championship.

“Hold that elevator!” he yelled. But the door continued to slide right.

Out of breath, he arrived just before it closed. He turned sideways, directing his backside toward the inside of the door, wedging himself in and propping his foot up.

With a tinge of pain, he managed to stop the door.

“Tush push,” he said to the not-so-amused attendant who was seated on a stool in front of the button panel. “Hey, how about those Leps? Looks like they’re going up!”

The Birdie turned around, back-peddled two steps and leaned in closer to the yawning man, pressing up against the “STAFF” on his jacket.

“Look,” Birdie said. “We’re back-to-back, like Belle Vernon.”

The attendant offered a sly grin and after a long pause replied, “What floor?”

The Birdie made sure to sit in Matt Canada’s old seat at Acrisure to watch Belle Vernon handle Avonworth, 26-0. He smiled into the coach’s cam and screamed “Let’s go!” when Belle Vernon scored.

The cam was off.

“I told you that line and defense was going to show up and show out,” Birdie said. “This team is more than Quinton Martin. Like TribLive is way more than the Birdie. Even five-star prognosticators need some help.”

The next game will be tougher, but Belle Vernon has a state-title repeat in its sights.

“Hickory is pretty balanced and has big-play ability,” Birdie said. “That defense is tough. The Hornets have 16 1/2 sacks and 18 interceptions. They’re out for blood.”

And speaking of going up, “Don’t forget, the Leps will be in 4A next season, so they better squeeze all they can from that 3A orange.”

Belle Vernon (11-1) vs. Hickory (11-2): Look for Hickory to pressure the quarterback and defend against the pass, but also look for Belle Vernon to get the running game going early with Martin and Jake Gedekoh. Belle Vernon’s linebackers will play a key role in slowing the run and keeping an athletic quarterback in the pocket. Belle Vernon 20, Hickory 9

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