- High School
Welcome to Week 11 of the high school football season. Chick's Picks hit the gym hard this week in preparation for the Highway to Heinz, knowing that quality time with the treadmill would be necessary to avoid a repeat of playoff mishaps from seasons past. After an unreliable GPS, speeding tickets, and other Highway to Heinz hang-ups, Chick's Picks decided not to take another chance driving on this championship course. She decided she would run it instead.
Just a few weeks into her marathon training, Chick's Picks felt she had already conquered this challenge. So, she decided to counter her tread mill boredom by bringing along her trusty crystal ball. No more than twenty minutes into her run, Chick's Picks grabbed the crystal ball and began predicting. Suddenly, beneath her feet, Chick's Picks felt the tread mill's belt begin to hesitate like a faulty car engine.
The belt shut down completely in an instant, launching Chick's Picks and her crystal ball across the gym. The embarrassment was bad in and of itself, although not as bad as the image of her prime predicting tool shattered in pieces next to her. After this mishap, Chick's Picks was convinced that the higher prognosticating powers were out to doom her, one way or another, from advancing on the Highway to Heinz.
Chick's Picks got back on track last week with a 33-8 (80%) record, bringing her season total to 402-117 (77%). Here are a few of this week's big games:
#3 North Hills (9-1) vs. #6 Upper St. Clair (8-2) at Chartiers Valley
These two Quad-A powers meet Friday night at Chartiers Valley to fight for the right to advance to the WPIAL semifinals. In last week's first round action, North Hills routed Penn-Trafford, 20-3, while Upper St. Clair eliminated Penn Hills, 37-21. The Indians' only loss this season came to WPIAL newcomer Erie McDowell, 19-14. Upper St. Clair has not faced North Hills since the 2006 season, when the Panthers knocked off the Indians, 34-10, en route to WPIAL and PIAA titles. This season, the Panthers rely on RB Dakota Conwell, who is approaching the 1,000-yard mark. Conwell will face a stingy North Hills defense that has allowed only 93 points all season. Chick's Picks thinks this will be the key to an Indians victory.
North Hills over Upper St. Clair.
#14 Central Valley (7-3) vs. #6 Knoch (9-1) at New Castle
The Warriors and the Knights battle it out at New Castle Friday night in a Class AAA quarterfinal matchup. Central Valley has made some noise in its first season in Class AAA, following the merger of the Center and Monaca districts. The Warriors finished the regular season at (6-3), but upset #2-ranked Ringgold 21-13 last week. Knoch shut down Greensburg Salem last week, with its only loss of the season coming to Mars, 23-12, in the final week of regular season play. The Knights boast one of the top offenses in the WPIAL, averaging over 37 points per game. Knoch RB Andrew Rumberg-Goodlin leads the attack, and is approaching 1,000 rushing yards on the year. Chick's Picks likes the fancy stats of the Knights, but loves the heart of the Warriors.
Central Valley over Knoch.
#15 Keystone Oaks (7-3) vs. #7 Beaver Falls (9-1) at Moon
Beaver Falls faces upset-minded Keystone Oaks Friday night at Moon for a chance to advance to the WPIAL semifinals. The Tigers are coming off a narrow 19-18 win over Steel Valley last week, while the Golden Eagles pulled out a huge upset over undefeated Greensburg Central Catholic, 20-16. The only loss this season for Beaver Falls came in Week 2 to Aliquippa--the same team that eliminated the Tigers in the WPIAL semifinals a season ago. Keystone Oaks suffered its three losses all within the final four weeks of the regular season. Much of this game will take place on the ground, with 1,000+-yard rushers on both sides in the Golden Eagles' Matt McCann and the Tigers' Trey Hall. Chick's Picks knows the Golden Eagles played giant killers last week, but isn't so sure they can pull it off two weeks in a row.
Beaver Falls over Keystone Oaks.
#4 Monessen (9-1) vs. #5 Springdale (9-1) at Penn-Trafford
The Dynamos will take on the Greyhounds at Penn-Trafford Friday night in this Class A showdown. Both Springdale and Monessen are coming off of big first round wins. The Greyhounds shut out Chartiers-Houston, 33-0, while the Dynamos upended Western Beaver, 35-14. Last season, Springdale was responsible for ending Monessen's season, as the Dynamos handed the Greyhounds a 21-14 defeat in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. Monessen's only falter this season was a one-point overtime loss to North Catholic. Springdale's offense has been impressive, posting 369 points this season. Monessen has been solid on both sides of the ball, behind QB Brady Kunsa--who has passed for over 1,000 yards--and a defense that has allowed only 88 points all year. Chick's Picks knows the Dynamos heat up in the postseason, but thinks the Greyhounds will shut them down in this one.
Monessen over Springdale.
CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINALS:
Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Gateway
North Allegheny over Bethel Park
Woodland Hills over Mount Lebanon
CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:
Montour over Indiana
West Allegheny over Mars
Thomas Jefferson over Hopewell
CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:
Aliquippa over Beaver
Seton-LaSalle over Ford City
South Fayette over Freeport
CLASS A QUARTERFINALS:
Clairton over Bishop Canevin
Rochester over Beth-Center
Avonworth over North Catholic
PITTSBURGH CITY LEAGUE SEMIFINALS:
Brashear over Allderdice
Perry over Schenley