The Birdie is always hungry for more in Westmoreland County
The Birdie never judges a playbook by its cover and he never judges a press box by its aroma on Friday nights — until he samples what's cooking inside.
“Some people think I play favorites based on the free food they serve up in the press perch,” Birdie said, sipping some antacid straight from the bottle. “Well, that can certainly help your cause, but there are a number of factors that go into my fine prognosticating. A full stomach, for instance.”
The influential leader of Westmoreland high school football with the stained shirt has sampled cuisine from a number of media seats and lists these spots as his favorite:
1. Penn-Trafford: “Can't find a better spot for hot sandwiches. Always bon appetite when I go to Warrior Stadium. I mean, when I eat there, I get up from my chair and do the Heisman pose. They already have the best team and student section around. The food is the extra point.”
2. Greensburg Salem: “First pizza, chips and cookies, then a Chick-fil-A boxed lunch? Take me to the courthouse, this grub's a crime.”
3. Franklin Regional: “Best sandwich rings around. It's like a graduation party up there in Murrysville. Drank so much pop, I couldn't hold it until halftime.”
4. Derry: “Chili, sandwiches, sweets — they have it all at Trojan Stadium. And that spicy beef stick is a real flea-flicker of a play. Am I still welcome to dine in after I picked you to go 4-6?”
5. Hempfield: “Hot sausage, here. Get your hot sausage here. Spartans know how to feed the people. And I get seconds.”
Also receiving votes: Jeannette: “Piping hot pizza. Greasy and cheesy the way I like it. And who needs napkins? Mrs. Birdie will wash my cargo pants on Saturday morning.”
While the Birdie lost three games last week — “Really, Southmoreland? Waynesburg?” — he still fried up a 12-3 mark to move to 65-15 for the season.
Now, before his heartburn returns, the Birdie offers his picks for Week 6:
Hempfield (1-5, 0-4) at Altoona (1-5, 0-4)
The Birdie thinks Hempfield's slide will end after a long drive up Route 22. “Neither defense has stopped anybody,” he said.
Norwin (3-3, 2-2) at Mt. Lebanon (4-2, 3-0)
Norwin has the potential to score some points but Mt. Lebanon's defense will be the difference in the end.
Mt. Lebanon, 28-17
Armstrong (3-3, 1-3) at Latrobe (2-4, 1-3)
Latrobe has an Armstrong at quarterback. “Does Armstrong have a Latrobe at linebacker?” Birdie asked. “They'll need him if they do. Latrobe is due for a big one on that beautiful grass surface at Memorial Stadium.”
Penn-Trafford (6-0, 4-0) at Franklin Regional (4-1, 4-1)
The Birdie wonders how good this game would be if both teams were at full strength, but he'll take the alternative. “P-T grinds it out on the ground for the win. Watch for that surprise onside kick.”
Greensburg Salem (2-4, 2-3) at Albert Gallatin (1-4, 1-3)
Greensburg Salem has not cashed in on golden opportunities despite a number of productive drives. “The Golden Lions have let me down,” Birdie said, tearing open a bag of chips.
Albert Gallatin, 17-14
Trinity (3-2, 2-2) at Belle Vernon (5-0, 5-0)
The Birdie thinks Belle Vernon will get it done up front, but will earn every yard.
Belle Vernon, 21-16
Elizabeth Forward (4-1, 4-0) at Yough (1-5, 1-2)
With a running game like Yough's the Birdie wonders how the Cougars are 1-5. “Injuries have not helped, I know,” he said. “But that defense has issues.”
Elizabeth Forward, 32-6
Derry (5-1, 3-1) at Mt. Pleasant (2-4, 1-3)
Mt. Pleasant did not give Elizabeth Forward a game last week as the Birdie predicted, but he thinks this game might be a little closer.
Southmoreland (0-5, 0-3) at McGuffey (4-2, 3-1)
McGuffey will sling it around and take control early.
Jeannette (6-0, 4-0) at Springdale (3-3, 2-1)
A rematch of last year's quarterfinals when the teams combined for 90 points — Jeannette won 69-21. The Jayhawks will roll again.
Riverview (1-4, 1-4) at Greensburg C.C.(2-4, 1-2)
The Birdie forecasted GCC to win one game this season. “And no good press box food because there is no press box,” he said. “Centurions hanging in there.”
Greensburg C.C., 26-13
Monessen (1-5) at Northgate (2-3)
A nonconference game in Week 6 usually carries little meaning, and the Birdie said this one follows that trend.
Ligonier Valley (6-0, 6-0) at Homer Center (6-0, 6-0)
Every time the Birdie thinks Ligonier Valley will be tested, he gets egg on his face. “Look for more LV domination in this tease of a Heritage tilt,” he said.
Ligonier Valley, 34-7