While making Westmoreland County finals picks, Birdie sees red on Highway to Heinz

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 2:07 PM


Last week: 2-0 (100 %)

Season: 97-37 (72.4%)

Whether in packets or by the bottle, the Birdie has a ketchup obsession.

An unhealthy Heinz ketchup obsession.

Ever since last week when Penn-Trafford and Belle Vernon won semifinal games to advance to the WPIAL finals Saturday at Heinz Field, he has been putting ketchup on everything.

Everything.

The red stains on his TribLive HSSN polo tell the story.

It’s his way of telling co-workers, fans and readers, “I told you so.”

“What’s so bad about that?” he asked, eating a frozen ketchup ice pop. “I saw Belle Vernon players squirting ketchup into each other’s mouths after that win I picked over Thomas Jefferson. You didn’t think that was so bad. I told yinz we’d have two teams at Heinz. How you like me now?”

The Westmoreland County football past master has gone too far. A photographer caught him, well, red-handed, in the lunch room.

He put ketchup on his morning bagel, his afternoon cold pizza and his dinner spaghetti. He even tried it on his late-night bowl of ice cream.

“You’d be surprised,” he said. “It goes well with a lot of things — 57 varieties.”

He also plans to complement his Thanksgiving feast with the tomato condiment. He asks that you limit the “carve the bird” talk.

“It’s time to celebrate our teams’ trip to Heinz,” Birdie said, squeezing ketchup from a packet into his mouth. “True champions put ketchup on everything. Like Bill Hillgrove says, we’re entering the Heinz Red Zone; get yourself some thick, rich Heinz ketchup.”

The Birdie, who is 9-2 in the playoffs, thinks the fun will continue for Penn-Trafford and Belle Vernon, teams he said at the start of the season would be his golden ticket.

“I am on my game, folks,” he said. “You know I can still cut the mustard.”

• Penn-Trafford (10-2) vs. Moon (12-0): Penn-Trafford is 0 for 3 in WPIAL finals, but the Buffalo Bills-like stigma ends here. The Warriors will put together a complete effort, showing why they made it this far. The line will get a push, the running game will flourish and special teams will be crisp and sound. The defense will bend some, but Moon won’t do enough offensively. Both teams have allowed 146 points, but Moon will allow a few more. Penn-Trafford, 23-16

• Belle Vernon (10-0) vs. Aliquippa (10-1): Belle Vernon players wore college and pro jerseys to practice Thursday, and some donned throwback Leopards tops. The Leopards will be getting fitted for WPIAL champions shirts after Saturday’s big win. The offense will make a few splash plays against a solid Quips defense, take advantage of a turnover or two and get pressure on the quarterback to win their second title. Belle Vernon, 20-19

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