Picking Week 3 of the H.S. football season
OVERALL — 61-23
LAST WEEK — 33-12
Those factions of fans — and you know who you are — who sit in the stands at Anytown High School and complain about the coach soon may start stirring in Penn Hills.
The Indians, overrated in these pages as the preseason No. 1 team in Class AAAA, are off to another 0-2 start after consecutive losses to current No. 1 Gateway and No. 7 Bethel Park. The same happened last year after losing to the same teams.
But those fans who ran Neil Gordon out of Penn Hills should sit down and relax. Penn Hills coach Ron Graham kept a strong hand on the throttle and led his team into the WPIAL semifinals after a 1-3 start. Two weeks isn't a lot of time to judge a team of 16- and 17-year-olds. Penn Hills will be back.
LATROBE (1-1) at NO. 1 GATEWAY (2-0): FSN Pittsburgh kicks off its broadcast season with the No. 1 Gators against the upstart Latrobe Wildcats. Gateway has rolled in its first two games and should pick up another win this week. Latrobe is coming off a tough loss at Fox Chapel.
UPPER ST. CLAIR (2-0) at NORTH ALLEGHENY (2-0): Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render has been watching and directing quarterbacks for more than three decades, and he says Alex Park is as accurate as anyone he can remember. That's why a road victory is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Upper St. Clair, 27-23
BETHEL PARK (2-0) at NORTH HILLS (1-1): Back we go to Martorelli where North Hills lost by a point to Mt. Lebanon two weeks ago. It's not always wise to pick the road team, but Bethel Park bused all the way to Hershey last season; a trip to West View is no problem.
Bethel Park, 21-14
SCHENLEY (2-0) vs. BRASHEAR (1-1): Brashear has outscored its two opponents, 61-7, and Schenley's advantage is only 22-12. But Perry beat Brashear, 7-0, and lost to Schenley, 8-6. What does it all mean• Show up at The Cup on Friday and you'll find out for sure. In the meantime ...
FOX CHAPEL (2-0) at FRANKLIN REGIONAL (1-1): It's a long way from Murrysville to Ambridge, which is one reason Franklin Regional is 1-1. The other reason is that the Bridgers are no pushover, even in the post-Yannessa era. (More on that in a minute.) It's hard to pick against the Foxes ... so we won't.
Fox Chapel, 15-14
BUTLER (0-2) at PENN HILLS (0-2): The guess here is that when a team plays two consecutive home games — such as Butler has done — and then goes on the road, bad things happen. Especially when the opponent is as hungry as Penn Hills must be at this point in a rough season.
Penn Hills, 24-6
CANON-MCMILLAN (1-1) at WOODLAND HILLS (1-1): This game is worth watching, if only to see the expected return of courageous Chad Hagan from a heart ailment. Woodland Hills coach George Novak gets the good-guy trophy for kicking field goals on first down to ease the pain on Connellsville last week in a 37-0 victory. Novak will need every one of his downs this week.
Woodland Hills, 21-20
PENN-TRAFFORD (0-2) at HEMPFIELD (1-1): The Quad-A South Conference opener features teams trying to find some consistency. Penn-Trafford's offense needs to get untracked to help its defense. Hempfield must find a way to eliminate mistakes. These games are always entertaining.
ERIE MCDOWELL (2-0) at NORWIN (2-0): A clash of the unbeatens emerges at Norwin Stadium. The Knights play host to McDowell in a Quad South game. Norwin has found different ways to win its two games, but the special teams have been consistently stellar. This could be a good one.
HOPEWELL (2-0) at AMBRIDGE (1-1): Ambridge has its program headed in the right direction, which is a tribute to new coach Neil Tkatch, who replaced Don Yannessa. Tkatch will try to game-plan against Hopewell running back Rushel Shell, but it won't work.
BELLE VERNON (2-0, 0-0) at CHARTIERS VALLEY (2-0, 0-0): Running back Beau Carson's athleticism will be too much for surprisingly successful Belle Vernon.
Chartiers Valley, 28-12
WASHINGTON (1-1) at No. 10 GREENSBURG C.C. (1-1): The Centurions were embarrassed last week at McGuffey. The Prexies couldn't handle the Mt. Pleasant running game. Look for the Prexies to get a big dose of GCC running back David Miller, who rushed for more than 230 yards in Week 1 and was held to about 50 last week.
Greensburg Central Catholic, 33-14
H.S. PICKS ALSO LIKES:
Beth-Center 14, Carmichaels 13; Burrell 12, Summit Academy 7; California 20, West Greene 6; Carlynton 14, Leechburg 12; Charleroi 20, Brownsville 7; Chartiers-Houston 30, Avella 7; Chartiers Valley 21, Belle Vernon 13; Clairton 40, Frazier 14; Ford City 22, Deer Lakes 14; Fort Cherry 27, Bentworth 14; Franklin Regional 23, Fox Chapel 21; Freeport 26, Apollo-Ridge 14; Greensburg Salem 24, Albert Gallatin 14; Jeannette 25, South Allegheny 6; Jefferson-Morgan 28, Geibel 20; Kiski Area 17, Indiana 10; Laurel Highlands 17, Yough 14; Laurel Valley 20, Purchase Line 7; Ligonier Valley 20, Blairsville 13; Marion Center 20, Homer-Center 10; McGuffey 20, East Allegheny 7; McKeesport 42, Connellsville 3; Monessen 21, Mapletown 14; Mt. Pleasant 33, Waynesburg 14; Penns Manor 33, Saltsburg 14; Ringgold 21, Southmoreland 10; Shady Side 12, Kittanning 7; Uniontown 27, Derry 20; United 14, Northern Cambria 7; Valley 25, West Shamokin 6.