While waiting for a lifeguarding gig at Belle Vernon’s ‘Beach,’ The Birdie is picking Westmoreland County winners

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021 | 6:05 PM


Last week: 11-2 (84.6%)

Season: 51-22 (69.9%)

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The Birdie had a lot of jobs growing up before he finally answered his calling to become a prep football virtuoso.

“I tested crash helmets for a spell, was a survey taker for Family Feud briefly, and read palms on weekends,” he said. “Pay wasn’t great and I got tired of people asking me for all the answers.”

An influencer before the title existed, he also delivered pizzas (to himself, which is why he got fired), sold Walking Tacos at the Westmoreland County Fair, and ball-picked at a driving range.

“Cholesterol went up and I became a target,” he said. “These are things that didn’t change when I eventually got into this business, but still.”

Lately, the Birdie is thinking about applying for a new side hustle. No, not a baby powder salesman, although he calls the market a “gold mine” in the student section space.

He wants to work on the gold turf.

“I want to be a lifeguard at the Beach,” he said, caking sunscreen on his nose and draping a whistle he stole from a local coach around his neck. “Is Belle Vernon hiring? I come cheap.”

A fan of Belle Vernon since the preseason when he told everyone the Leopards were the best 4A team in the state, the Birdie resents those who say he’s on the bandwagon and doesn’t deserve preferential treatment went he visits James Weir Stadium.

“On the bandwagon? More like on the lifeguard chair,” he said. “Now that would be the place to cover games. Up on my perch, in the sun, the glow of gold turf in my shades. ‘Free Bird’ playing in my buds. I could watch live streams on my cell. That’s what fishermen do on the opening day of trout season. Tee hee.

“Life would be good.”

While he is concerned pink flamingos in people’s yards around Rostraver is a troll job on him — “The girls soccer team is at is again,” he said — he still enjoys coming to the Beach.

Before he tips over in the chair he stacked on top of his desk and disrupts the office, the Birdie runs toward Week 6 shirtless like Lt. Mitch Buchannon — in slow motion, of course.

Baldwin (1-5, 1-2) at Hempfield (2-4, 0-3): The Spartans return home to their new turf and resurfaced track to get their running game recharged. Hempfield, 20-14

Norwin (2-4, 0-3) at North Allegheny (3-3, 1-2): Class 6A is a grind every week and teams that lack the depth of others simply can’t compete. “It’s a stone-cold fact,” Birdie said. “Some things don’t change.” North Allegheny, 42-6

Connellsville (0-6, 0-1) at Latrobe (2-4, 0-1): Like Hempfield, Latrobe gets to come home to greet a winnable game. Defense and special teams will make an appearance for the Wildcats. Latrobe, 25-13

Gateway (4-2, 1-0) at Penn-Trafford (4-2, 1-0): The Ruane Bowl could be another dandy. If Penn-Trafford’s outstanding secondary is up to the task, defense could propel the Warriors. If Gateway’s run defense shows up, Gators could roll. Gateway, 20-17

Woodland Hills (1-5, 0-1) at Franklin Regional (2-4, 1-0): The Birdie is drawn to lure of another game a local team should win. But he is cautious with this one because the Panthers have not taken care of the football. Still, he likes them at home. Franklin Regional, 19-13

Belle Vernon (5-0, 3-0) at Ringgold (3-3, 0-2): After back-to-back primetime matchups, Belle Vernon can chill out some as it heads across the river. Special teams will show out. Belle Vernon, 42-7

Greensburg Salem (4-2, 2-1) at Armstrong (4-2, 2-1): A matchup of two of the most productive quarterbacks in the WPIAL will test the corners and safeties but the linebackers will decide who wins. Armstrong, 30-21

Valley (0-6, 0-3) at Derry (0-5, 0-1): Something has to give in a matchup of teams that average about 10 points a game between them. The Trojans are due for something good to happen in a season of bad. Derry, 8-6

Brownsville (0-5, 0-3) at Mt. Pleasant (4-2, 2-0): Mt. Pleasant is showing how quickly conference losses can fade in the rearview mirror. The Vikings are winning games that count. Mt. Pleasant, 35-7

Yough (0-6, 0-3) at Southmoreland (4-2, 1-1): Southmoreland will spread the field, get to the end zone early and soundly take care of the visiting Cougars. Southmoreland, 33-6

Riverview (1-4, 1-2) at Greensburg CC (4-2, 2-1): GCC will show what some of its much-discussed playmakers can do for the home crowd. GCC, 32-12

Springdale (3-3, 0-3) at Jeannette (1-5, 1-2): Jeannette used to be unbeatable at McKee Stadium but that was when the Jayhawks could stop the run. Springdale will run it effectively in this one. Springdale, 20-8

Monessen (3-3, 2-1) at Carmichaels (4-2, 2-1): Who thought Monessen would be playing such a meaningful game in Week 6? Not the Birdie. The Greyhounds will run out of steam against the Mikes. Carmichaels, 20-14

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