Week Zero sparks debate among newlywed Chick’s Picks, husband
Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 7:55 PM
Welcome to Week Zero.
Chick’s Picks had a busy summer, to say the least. One lovely weekend in June, she and Mr. Picks finally tied the knot. It was a summer of marital bliss. That is, until the high school football season was approaching.
Though Mr. Picks has been around for awhile, he has never played a role in Chick’s Picks’ prognosticating career. After he and Chick’s Picks got hitched, however, his tune quickly changed. Mr. Picks suddenly wanted to have a say in her predictions.
“Since we’re married, what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine,” Mr. Picks attempted to explain.
Chick’s Picks rebutted, “I’m pretty sure that’s not how the saying goes, Mr. Picks.”
The veteran prognosticator wasn’t shaken by her new hubby’s attempt to steal a share of her stardom. After a stern marital discussion, Chick’s Picks made it clear to Mr. Picks that she spent nearly 20 years achieving her prognosticating fame, and a ring on the finger simply didn’t entitle him to it. She suggested he start earning his keep by doing some household chores in the meantime.
Chick’s Picks and her trusty crystal ball went on about their business and put tighter the Week Zero predictions. Here are this week’s big games:
Class 5A No. 4 Penn Hills Indians at Class 6A No. 1 Pine-Richland Rams
Powerhouses from the WPIAL’s top two classifications clash in nonconference action Friday night. Penn Hills capped last season with a perfect 16-0 record, along with WPIAL and PIAA titles. Senior quarterback Eddie McKissick will fill big shoes for the Indians, who lost Hollis Mathis to graduation after passing for 2,800 yards and 40 touchdowns last season. Pine-Richland won its second straight WPIAL championship last season, finishing with an 11-3 record. The Rams will have most of their skill position players back this season, including quarterback Cole Spencer, who passed for 1,459 yards and rushed for another 880 last season. Penn Hills will be without coach Jon LeDonne on Friday night, as he serves a one-game suspension. Chick’s Picks predicts the Rams will take advantage of the vacancy on the Indians’ sideline … Pine-Richland over Penn Hills.
Class 6A No. 5 Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils at Class 5A No. 1 Gateway Gators
Gateway hosts Class 6A powerhouse Mt. Lebanon in a nonconference showdown Friday night. The Gators finished last season with a 12-1 record after being upset by a Bob Palko-led West Allegheny squad. Palko will face the Gators once again, but this time wearing Blue Devils’ colors. Mt. Lebanon finished last season with a 6-6 record, falling to Pine-Richland in the WPIAL semifinals. The Blue Devils graduated 2,100-yard passer Seth Morgan, but boast a massive offensive line. Gateway junior RB/LB Derrick Davis rushed for 1,229 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, and already has several elite Division I offers, including Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Clemson and Notre Dame. When these two met last season, the Gators routed the Blue Devils, 31-8. Chick’s Picks predicts a similar outcome this time around … Gateway over Mt. Lebanon.
Class 3A No. 4 Central Valley Warriors at Class 4A No. 5 Blackhawk Cougars
Central Valley takes on Blackhawk in a nonconference Beaver County rivalry Friday night. The Warriors wrapped up last season with a 5-6 record after falling to Derry in the WPIAL quarterfinals. The Cougars advanced to the WPIAL semifinals and finished with a 10-2 record. Central Valley returns junior quarterback Ameer Dudley, who passed for 1,018 yards last season. Blackhawk boasts a backfield duo of Marques Watson-Trent and Josh Butcher, who combined for more than 1,200 yards last season. When these two met in last year’s Week Zero, the Cougars came away with a 21-7 victory. Chick’s Picks predicts another win for the Cougars this time around … Blackhawk over Central Valley.
Class 5A Latrobe Wildcats at Class 3A No. 5 Derry Trojans
Derry plays host to rival Latrobe in nonconference action Friday night. The Trojans capped off a storybook season with an 11-2 record, finishing as the WPIAL Class 3A runner-up. The Wildcats advanced to the postseason for the first time in nine years, and finished with a 4-7 record. While Derry graduated several key defensive players, it returns quarterback Paul Koontz and RB Justin Huss. Latrobe hopes to build on last year’s success, returning 10 starters. When these two met last season, the Trojans rolled over the Wildcats, 45-15. Chick’s Picks predicts a repeat performance this time around … Derry over Latrobe.
Neshannock Lancers at Avonworth Antelopes
The Lancers kick off the season on the road against the Antelopes in nonconference action Friday night. Neshannock looks to rebound this season after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and finishing with a 4-6 record. Avonworth advanced to the first round and ended the season with a 7-4 record. The Lancers are fully loaded, returning seven starters on offense and six on defense. New Antelopes quarterback Park Penrod has big shoes to fill, replacing Derek Johncour, who threw for 2,694 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. When these two met last season, Avonworth knocked off Neshannock, 49-21. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Lancers will get revenge in this one … Neshannock over Avonworth.
Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa Quips at Class A No. 1 Clairton Bears
The Bears host the Quips in the ultimate nonconference showdown of perennial powers Saturday evening. Clairton finished last season with a 9-2 record after falling to OLSH in the WPIAL semifinals. Aliquippa went 14-1, claiming WPIAL and PIAA gold. The Bears are looking to rebound after back-to-back disappointing seasons. Clairton returns several key players, including quarterback Brendan Parsons, who threw for 1,357 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. The Quips return a Division I prospect in LB/TE Zuriah Fisher, but are otherwise facing some rebuilding. Chick’s Picks predicts that the Clairton home crowd will carry the Bears to a victory in this one … Clairton over Aliquippa.
Here’s the rest of the area matchups:
North Allegheny over Friendship Collegiate Academy, D.C.
Central Catholic over York William Penn
Hempfield over Greensburg Salem
North Hills over Butler
Seneca Valley over McDowell
Avalon (Md.) over Baldwin
Kiski Area over Allderdice
Peters Township over Fox Chapel
Armstrong over Indiana
New Castle over Shaler
Penn-Trafford over Norwin
West Mifflin over Mars
Woodland Hills over Calvert Hall, Md.
Woodrow Wilson, D.C. over McKeesport
Thomas Jefferson over Canon-McMillan
Chartiers Valley over Ringgold
Hampton over Knoch
Ambridge over McGuffey
Montour over Moon
Highlands over Plum
South Fayette over Upper St. Clair
Washington over Laurel Highlands
Uniontown over Connellsville
Freedom over Hopewell
Mt. Pleasant over Southmoreland
Beaver Falls over Ellwood City
Bishop Canevin over Carlynton
Valley over Burrell
Beth-Center over California
Fort Cherry over Chartiers-Houston
Jeannette over East Allegheny
Keystone Oaks over Brentwood
Rochester over New Brighton
South Allegheny over Frazier
Serra Catholic over Yough
Summit Academy over Western Beaver
Mapletown over Avella
Brownsville over Bentworth
Laurel over Mohawk
Monessen over Greensburg Central Catholic
Shenango over Union
Sto-Rox over South Side Beaver
Springdale over Deer Lakes
Waynesburg over Jefferson-Morgan
OLSH over Westinghouse
National Christian Academy over Imani Christian
Beaver over Brashear
Bishop Carroll over Carrick
Farrell over University Prep
Perry over Northgate