It's prediction Thursday
Below are my picks on this weekend's top games. But before that, I just wanted to give a plug to our Post-Gazette football statistics page. This is the second year we have done it, and there is nothing like it in the WPIAL, as far as statistics go. Besides offensive statistical leaders for the WPIAL and City League, you can look at statistics for every team.
Of course, we are at the mercy of each school providing us their statistics, and we thank those schools who have cooperated so greatly. You can also access the page by going to www.pgstatistics.com
Now for the predictions.
Central Catholic at Seneca Valley - Tonight's game will be televised live by Root Sports. If Seneca Valley plays mistake-free football, it wins. But can the Raiders do that? Having the game moved from Fox Chapel to Seneca Valley has to be worth a few points for Seneca Valley, but I don't know if it's worth a win. QB play for Central will be a key. Winner: Central Catholic.
Mt. Lebanon at Woodland Hills - I go back and forth on this one. If Mt. Lebanon stops Woodland Hills' big plays, Mt. Lebanon wins. Winner: Mt. Lebanon.
Gateway at Hempfield - Hempfield hasn't scored a point in the past four meetings against Gateway. Hempfield's offense is banged up with injuries. Only a healthy Hempfield team would have a chance. Winner: Gateway.
West Allegheny at Central Valley - Quarterback play will be a key for both teams. Central Valley had an impressive road win last week against Blackhawk. Now, it's time for an impressive home win. Winner: Central Valley.
West Mifflin at Ringgold - Don't sleep on the Ringgold Rams. I like them. But I like West Mifflin a little more. Winner: West Mifflin.
Knoch at Hampton - Hampton is 3-1 and Knoch 4-0. Knoch hasn't been tested the past three weeks. The Knights will be tested in this one, but they will pass. Winner: Knoch.
South Fayette vs. Seton-LaSalle at Baldwin - I'll have a live blog from this Century Conference game. At the end of the night, the blog will say South Fayette wins. By the way, I think you could make a point for South Fayette's Zach Challingsworth being WPIAL player of the half year. He's that good. Winner: South Fayette.
Jeannette at Washington - I'd really like to see this game. I'd also really like to see Washington RB Shai McKenzie, who is tearing it up this season. One opposing coach was quoted as saying he will play on Sundays? Really? Wow. Winner: Washington.
Shady Side Academy at Freeport - After a 3-0 start, it could be two losses in a row for Shady Side Academy. Winner: Freeport.
Monessen at Bishop Canevin - If Monessen doesn't turn the ball over or commit key penalites, it wins. But ... Winner: Bishop Canevin.
Union at Laurel - Playoff implications in the Big Seven in this one. Winner: Laurel.
How old is he?
Ted Silary of the Philadelphia Daily News has a good story on a player who transferred from Ghana to a very good basketball program in Philadelphia. The kid's birth certificate says he's 15, but how old is he really?
I will say this. Transfers in Philadelphia are numerous, and you know some of them for athletic intent. But rarely do you see any of those transfer students come to the PIAA with their eligibility in question. That district's governing body (District 12) seems to see things differently than the WPIAL.
**** If Gateway and North Allegheny win this week - which they should - we'll have one of the best games of the year next Friday when North Allegheny plays at Gateway. It's a non-conference game.
**** Quarterback brothers Luke and Brett Brumbaugh will go against each other tomorrow night when Luke's Seton-LaSalle team plays Brett's South Fayette team. This has to be awfully tought on the Brumbaughs parents. They weren't doing interviews this week. Understandable, I guess.
**** I wish I could sneak in a quick 18 holes tomorrow morning.
**** I say Aliquippa will have to wait until Week 8 before its starters will play a full game. The Quips are 4-0 and have crushed every opponent. The starters don't play a full game. In the next three weeks, Aliquippa plays Mohawk, Freedom and Ellwood City. That means three more easy wins. Beaver Falls and Beaver are the last two opponents of the season.
I will also say this: The Class AA Midwestern Conference has really gone downhill in the past five years or so, in terms of quality teams. Of course, it didn't help that Center folded and merged with Monaca to form Central Valley.
**** I hate stadiums with stands on only one side.
**** Geibel's problem with not having enough players this season has been well-documented. Three soccer players joined the team last week and two of them played the entire game on offense and defense. The other one also started. That should help matters a little.
**** Check out tomorrow's Post-Gazette for our Varsity Xtra section cover piece on athletes who are playing two sports - IN THE SAME SEASON. Surprisingly, it's happening more and more, and I'm not talking about soccer players who are kickers in football. And some of these athletes are very good.
**** I have yet this season to see players holding up four fingers and yelling "fourrrrrrrrrrrrrr" at the end of the third quarter. Is there anything more stupid in high school football?
**** Someone is going to break a long losing streak tomorrow when Plum plays Canon-McMillan. Plum has lost 11 in a row and Canon-McMillan 20.