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H.S. Picks back for more in 2013

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The start of another high school football season is upon us, and H.S. Picks, the wily Tribune-Review high school football prognosticator, is ready to tackle another season.

Picks is coming off a spectacular season, finishing the 2012 season by correctly predicting more than 86 percent of the games. During the final weeks of the season, Picks was 48-6.

Too bad Picks isn't a gambler, because he would have cleaned house.

Picks has done his homework, and he feels he has a handle on all the WPIAL and Heritage Conference teams thanks to the Tribune-Review's “Gameplan” preseason publication.

Picks expects Clairton to continue to be strong in Class A. Aliquippa should be a three-peat champion in Class AA. West Allegheny looks powerful in Class AAA, and Upper St. Clair is a top contender in Class AAAA.

Here's a look at this week's key games:

Franklin Regional at Mars

Will this game decide the winner of the Greater Allegheny Conference? It pretty much did last year. Mars' Wing-T offense has always given Franklin Regional's defense problems. It won't be any different this season. Mars gets the early lead on the conference crown.

Mars, 24-14

McKeesport at Hempfield

Hempfield shocked the WPIAL by defeating McKeesport to open the 2012 season. McKeesport welcomes back coach George Smith, who returns after a three-year hiatus. It will take time for Smith to get the Tigers back to their old form. Hempfield returns a lot of offensive skill, keyed by RB Joey DeFloria.

Hempfield, 27-20

Gateway at Latrobe

There is a new coach at Gateway as Donnie Militzer replaces Terry Smith, who now is an assistant at Temple University. But will the Gators still dominate the Quad East? Latrobe hopes to spoil Militzer's debut.

Gateway, 20-14

Picks also likes: Belle Vernon 17, Uniontown 7; Beth-Center 20, Mapletown 7; Blairsville 20, Marion Center 14; Burrell 14, Brownsville 13; Carmichaels 15, Jefferson-Morgan 13; Derry 14, Albert Gallatin 7; East Allegheny 23, Summit Academy 8; Elizabeth Forward 18, Trinity 14; Frazier 30, Geibel 14; Homer-Center 17, Saltsburg 14; Freeport 20, Kittanning 17; Highlands 17, Hollidaysburg 7; Indiana 27, Hampton 14; Jeannette 19, Southmoreland 14; Kiski Area 21, Connellsville 14; Knoch 10, Greensburg Salem 7; Leechburg 17, Wilkinsburg 6; Ligonier Valley 27, Purchase Line 7; Monessen 26, California 14; Mt. Pleasant 34, Waynesburg 14; Northern Cambria 20, Penns Manor 13; North Catholic 21, Apollo-Ridge 14; Penn-Trafford 17, North Hills 14; Norwin 16, Altoona 14; Bishop Canevin 35, United 14; Shady Side Academy 23, Ford City 15; Springdale 21, West Shamokin 16; Thomas Jefferson 27, Ringgold 7; Valley 25, Deer Lakes 14; Washington 22, Greensburg Central Catholic 14; West Mifflin 27, Laurel Highlands 13; West Greene 12, Bentworth 6; Yough 22, Charleroi 13.

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