Leader Times football picks: Two teams look for 3-0 starts
With the WPIAL's nine-game regular season, 3-0 is a pretty significant milestone.
Two local teams, Kittanning and West Shamokin, have a chance to reach that mark this week in road games, and it's been a long time coming for those schools.
The Wildcats haven't started a season 3-0 since 2004, and the last time a school in Rural Valley hit that mark to start a season, Ford City coach John Bartolovic was on the sidelines coaching the Shannock Valley Spartans.
While those two teams are after a little bit of fast-start history, every other team on The Leader's radar — except for Apollo-Ridge — faces a key conference matchup in Week 3. That added incentive makes this weekend's games a challenge to pick, as high-pressure moments are sure to pop up in many of the games.
Kittanning at Greensburg Central Catholic
GCC's 0-2 record is deceptive; the losses were to No. 3 Mt. Pleasant and No. 5 Washington. However, the Centurions struggled to move the ball without injured quarterback Chase Keller, and Kittanning has had no problem putting points on the board. Kittanning, 26-17
West Shamokin at Riverview
The Leader was disappointed that he missed on this game last season when the Wolves finally snapped their lengthy losing streak. This year's West Shamokin team is even better, and Riverview, well ... not so much. West Shamokin, 38-14
Ford City at East Allegheny
Talk about a contrast of styles. East Allegheny will try to spread out and throw the ball, while Ford City will want to shorten the game and grind it out. The Leader is old school, though, and Ford City is confident with a win under its belt. Ford City, 27-24
Western Beaver at Apollo-Ridge
Vikings quarterback Jesse Zelonka had a rough game with four picks last year against the Golden Beavers, but Apollo-Ridge lost by only five. At home, expect the Vikings senior and his teammates to make amends. Apollo-Ridge, 34-24
Freeport at Deer Lakes
Both teams are 0-2, but through two weeks they're trending in opposite directions. Freeport looked much better against Ford City last week, while Deer Lakes appeared to regress, albeit against Shady Side Academy. Freeport, 22-14
Avonworth at Leechburg
The Antelopes have been impressive in two wins so far, and while the Blue Devils finally get a home game, this probably isn't the opponent they wanted to see. Avonworth, 34-14
Redbank Valley at Union-Rimersburg
After a tough night defending the run — Brookville's Zach Vroman ran for more than 300 yards against Redbank — the Bulldogs return to KSAC Small School play. Fortunately, Union doesn't have a back quite like Vroman. Redbank Valley, 28-20
Moniteau at Karns City
Karns City will have something to prove after getting blasted by Clarion, and there's no team the Gremlins would want to bounce back against more than their rivals in Butler County. Karns City, 35-21