Upsets have Birdie’s feathers ruffled while making A-K Valley picks

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 | 6:03 PM

Last week: 5-6 (45.5%)

Overall: 44-18 (71.0%)


The final minutes of an upset are often the most thrilling moments in sports. A plucky group overcomes the odds to silence the doubters and accomplish a great feat.

Everybody loves an upset, right?

Yeah. Not everybody.

“Last week really chirped me off,” The Birdie said. “While you were cheering for your last-minute drama, my credibility was going right out the window.”

Coming off a 5-6 week, The Birdie has put into place an action plan for correctly identifying upsets in the future. Here are the factors he will now take into consideration when making his picks.

• Momentum. Deer Lakes and Plum, for example, are on a roll. It’s not their overall records that are the most important thing.

• Injuries. Look at Springdale and Greensburg Central Catholic. The Dynamos had an all-star team on the sidelines. Gotta take that into consideration.

• Playmakers. Oftentimes, one player can turn the tide with an exceptional performance. Look at Riverview’s Dean Cecere, for example.

• Payola. The Birdie accepts checks, money orders, PayPal, Venmo and Sheetz gift cards.

All right, on to Week 6.

Bishop Canevin (5-1, 2-1) at Leechburg (5-1, 2-1): What a great matchup. One of Class A’s best defenses against one of its most dynamic offenses. In the old days, you’d take defense. In 2021, offense is king. Leechburg, 34-28

Fox Chapel (3-3, 1-0) at Kiski Area (5-1, 0-1): You could make the case that the Cavaliers don’t have momentum, but their Hail Mary was nearly answered on the last play against North Hills last week. They’re still rolling. Kiski Area 20-17

Hampton (6-0, 3-0) at Plum (2-4, 2-1): The Mustangs have momentum, but the Talbots have more. Hampton, 30-20

Highlands (4-2, 1-2) at Indiana (3-3, 1-2): This one comes down to the playmaker criteria. Luke Bombalski is a game-breaker. Highlands, 28-21

Knoch (2-4, 1-2) at Mars (0-6, 0-3): The Knights have momentum and the Fightin’ Planets have none. Knoch, 20-0

Burrell (0-6, 0-2) at Deer Lakes (3-3, 3-0): The Lancers are challenging Leechburg in the feel-good story department. Deer Lakes, 21-13

East Allegheny (2-4, 1-2) at Freeport (2-3, 1-0): This is where the Yellowjackets’ tough early schedule pays off. Freeport, 22-13

Valley (0-6, 0-3) at Derry (0-5, 0-1): The Birdie’s favorite matchup of any year. Valley-Derry. Valley Dairy. Let’s get some ice cream. Valley, 13-6

Riverview (1-4, 1-2) at Greensburg Central Catholic (4-2, 2-1): The Centurions need this one to stay in the conversation in the Eastern Conference. GCC, 34-20

Springdale (3-3, 0-3) at Jeannette (1-5, 1-2): Dynamos just need to get healthy. Springdale, 41-12

Apollo-Ridge (2-3, 1-0) at Shady Side Academy (3-3, 0-1): Here’s a good test of the upset protocols. The Bulldogs have the better overall record. The Vikings have momentum. Apollo-Ridge, 27-26

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