Week 2 picks in Westmoreland County are no piece of cake for The Birdie

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Wednesday, September 7, 2022 | 7:10 PM


Last week: 10-1 (90.9%)

Season: 20-1 (95.2%)

Like a peacock in full strut, the Birdie went to Belle Vernon’s practice last Wednesday and found out it was star running back Quinton Martin’s 16th birthday.

The team had a little party after practice and sang to Martin.

The Birdie watched from the parking lot with binoculars. He felt like a lifeguard scoping out the “Beach.”

“I know a guy on the inside and he scored me a piece of cake,” the Birdie said. “But I didn’t eat it. Well, I might have had some icing. No, I am not selling it on eBay — yet. I am going to freeze it to preserve its value.”

The Birdie predicted last year that Martin would be the most sought-after recruit in Westmoreland County since Terrelle Pryor at Jeannette.

He thinks Martin can make it to the NFL.

“I never got a piece of Pryor’s birthday cake, but I did get his autograph on an old program,” he said. “There is a dig there, but I am a professional, and I did not go to Michigan or Greensburg Central Catholic, so I will refrain. Plus, Mama Birdie always told me to stay away from low-hanging fruit. Cake is better than fruit, anyways.

“Did you know Quinton’s favorite pregame snack is Pop-Tarts?”

This week’s picks, meanwhile, are not a piece of cake.

The Birdie, who went 10-0 in Week Zero and 10-1 last week — “Thanks a lot, Penn-Trafford,” he said — has put extra thought into Week 2’s matchups.

“I did not cut and paste them, either,” he said. “What is this, the Steelers depth chart?”

The lure of free press box food at some of these stadiums makes it tough enough, but he can’t decide which games to go to. He watches extra film when a “coin-flip” week pops up on the schedule.

“I have this special coin,” he said. “It’s an old Major Magic’s token. When I am stumped, I flip it. It’s gotten me through some wars.”

The Birdie loved the Backyard Brawl at Acrisure Stadium. He picked Pitt to win by a touchdown.

“Yes, sometimes I pick college games, too,” he said. “That Pitt pep rally where the quarterback said a bad word was the giveaway. It was like a new band formed before our eyes: Kedon Slovis and The Bonfire Expletive. You’re welcome.”

Belle Vernon (1-0) at McKeesport (2-0): Big plays will be worth the price of a ticket here. McKeeesport will show up defensively, but Belle Vernon will make one more play. Belle Vernon, 27-21

Charleroi (0-1) at Yough (0-2): If Yough can hold on to the football and cut down on penalties, it can score a win at home. Yough, 22-20

Fox Chapel (0-2) at Norwin (0-2): Norwin’s new offense will show what it can do from the start, and the line will get a nice push early. The Knights will finally run the ball with some authority. Norwin, 23-14

Franklin Regional (0-1) at Connellsville (1-1): With size and speed, Franklin Regional can be an exciting team. But the Panthers need to win on the road, where they have six games this year. Franklin Regional, 29-12

Greensburg Salem (1-1) at Ligonier Valley (2-0): Weller Field is one of the toughest places to play in the WPIAL. The host Rams will kick up dust with the running game. Ligonier Valley, 30-17

Hempfield (2-0) at Latrobe (2-0): Two power-running teams with big lines and quality blockers will cancel each other out in a lot of ways. Latrobe will hold on to win its home opener. Latrobe, 35-30

Jeannette (0-2) at Jefferson-Morgan (1-1): Long road trips were supposed to be few and far between, but Jeannette will pack up the bus for a long night if it doesn’t get better on special teams. Jefferson-Morgan, 21-14

McGuffey (2-0) at Mt. Pleasant (1-1): Rushing and defense is the name of the game with these programs. McGuffey will do it slightly better against the Vikings. McGuffey, 33-27

Monessen (0-2) at Frazier (0-2): Frazier has some holes in its defense and Monessen will exploit them. Monessen, 22-6

Southmoreland (0-2) at Derry (0-2): The Scotties will air it out against the young Trojans’ secondary. Southmoreland, 30-18

West Greene (0-2) at Greensburg Central Catholic (1-1): With a big-play offense and plenty of weapons, GCC will continue to move the football in its home opener. GCC, 28-20

Woodland Hills (1-1) at Penn-Trafford (1-1): Expect another physical matchup at Warrior Stadium, but look for the Warriors to rev up the running game. Penn-Trafford, 24-20

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