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Daily Herald Football Picks

Where was all this rain in August? Football got lucky last week for a day or two, but the fields were still muddy and if the weather hadn’t turned cold, to partially freeze the gridirons, it would have provided very slick footing for all.
It’s always tough to choose winners and losers when playoffs begin and this season is no exception. Our staff of pickers has proved themselves quite capable this season. We got through the opening week of playoffs with nobody doing worse than 70 percent correct.
Our guest picker, Bud Noel, proved he is still the team leader, just as he was on the 1940 Tyrone team (12-0-1) that won the mythical state title with the tie against Shenandoah. Bud (9-1) fronted the attack on the week 10 picks missing just the Pitt win over Virginia Tech from an otherwise perfect score. Bob Miller went 8-2 a game back and John Harlow, Kerry Naylor and Chris Lash all came in at 7-3.
For the season, the guests have a combined 81-19 mark followed by Bob Miller with 77-23, Kerry Naylor and Chris Lash are tied at 73-27 and John Harlow is 68-320.
Thanks again Bud Noel for taking the time to educate us with your picks.
This week, the guest spot is split between Tommy Edwards and Danice Bell from WPRR radio station. Good luck Tommy and Danice.
Tyrone at Forest Hills: Semifinal District 5/6 Class AA Playoff game. A rematch of the first round game last year in which the Golden Eagles (5-4) were within one point of taking the top seed into overtime. This time, Tyrone has a two-edged sword on offense, after getting just 62 yards of offense from the running back position in the game against the Rangers last year. Tyrone has sophomore runners Brice Mertiff and Ben Gummo who have accounted for nearly 1,500 yards and 22 TDs this season to take some of the pressure off Tyler Mertiff and his receiving corps. Forest Hills, the No. One seed again, really doesn’t have the offensive power they had in past years, but does have enough to get by, plus a defense that has shut out six teams and allowed just 189 yards total offense per game.
The Picks: Miller Tyrone 27-14, John Harlow Tyrone 35-20, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 27-13, Chris Lash Tyrone 20-17, Tommy Edwards/Danice Bell Forest Hills 35-14.
Altoona vs. Hollidaysburg: Championship Class AAAA Playoff game at Mansion Park. Another rematch, of both the opening game of this season and the AAAA final from 2001, both won by Altoona. Hollidaysburg has improved since the opening week, but except for occasional road bumps against Williamsport and Erie McDowell, the Mount Lions have raced through their schedule practically untouched.
The Picks: Miller Altoona, John Harlow Hollidaysburg, Kerry Naylor Hollidaysburg (Mike Harris gave me the tip on this one), Chris Lash Altoona, Edwards/Bell Altoona.
Penn Cambria vs. Indian Valley: Championship Class AAA Playoff game at Mansion Park. Indian Valley and Tyrone are the two Big 8 teams still in the playoff chase. Indian Valley bombed Johnstown 42-14 in first round action showing off their free-wheeling offense as they did all season. For Penn Cambria, the way to the Class AAA crown goes through the Big 8. Penn Cambria edged another Big 8 school, Huntingdon 6-3 in the semifinal last week.
The Picks: Miller Indian Valley, John Harlow Indian Valley, Kerry Naylor Penn Cambria, Chris Lash Indian Valley, Edwards/Bell Indian Valley.
Bedford at Bishop McCort: Semifinal Class AA Playoff game. Bedford stomped Marion Center 25-7, the Stinger’s third straight first round playoff loss by scoring the final 25 points after Marion Center took an early 7-0 lead. Bishop McCort, the defending Class AA champ.
The Picks: Miller Bishop McCort, John Harlow Bishop McCort, Kerry Naylor Bishop McCort, Chris Lash Bishop McCort, Edwards/Bell Bishop McCort.
Windber at Bishop Guilfoyle: Semifinal Class A Playoff game. Windber showed a great defense in shutting out Bellwood-Antis, but was only able to score one TD. Bishop Guilfoyle put the Blue Devils away 21-0 in the second week of the season for the first time since 1996, and used that win as a springboard for an undefeated record that is the Marauders best mark since 1987
The Picks: Miller Bishop Guilfoyle, John Harlow Bishop Guilfoyle, Kerry Naylor Windber, Chris Lash, Bishop Guilfoyle, Edwards/Bell Bishop Guilfoyle.
Bishop Carroll at Blairsville: Semifinal Class A Playoff game. Bishop Carroll has loads of experience, getting to the semis for the fourth straight year, led by quarterback Nate Crookshank, who had a normal day in BC’s 33-2 domination of Portage last week-156 yards rushing, beside throwing a touchdown pass. In a battle of perhaps the two biggest physical teams, Blairsville smashed Moshannon Valley 34-19.
The Picks: Miller Bishop Carroll, John Harlow Bishop Carroll, Kerry Naylor Bishop Carroll, Chris Lash Blairsville, Edwards/Bell Bishop Carroll.
Oklahoma at Texas A & M: Oklahoma is the top ranked team in the BCS and AP polls and is second in the USA/ESPN poll and is undefeated at 8-0. Texas A & M was ranked early in the season when the Aggies edged a Pitt team that keeps getting better with each game 14-12.
The Picks: Miller Oklahoma, John Harlow Oklahoma, Kerry Naylor Oklahoma, Chris Lash Oklahoma, Edwards/Bell Oklahoma.
Temple at Pitt: Pitt as noted above has been improving with every week, cracking the Top 25 for the first time since 1991. A win over Temple at home, the Panthers will play No. Two Miami (8-0) for the Big East championship on Nov. 21. Having stated that, Pitt can’t afford a let-down after last week’s big win over Virginia Tech.
The Picks: Miller Pitt 33-14, John Harlow Pitt 37-0, Kerry Naylor Pitt 34-0, Chris Lash Pitt 34-14, Edwards/Bell Pitt 35-3.
Virginia at Penn State: Virginia lost their first two games of the season, then won six in a row before losing to Georgia Tech and is coming off a bye week. Penn State became bowl-elegible with their win last week over Illinois. This game was originally scheduled for Sept. 7, but Virginia asked for it to be moved saying they had inadvertently scheduled two games for that date. Larry Johnson and Zach Mills are the talk of the offense, but the name of the game in Nittany Valley is defense with Michael Haynes and Jimmy Adams and Gino Capone and the rest of the gang.
The Picks: Miller Penn State 35-17, John Harlow Penn State 31-27, Kerry Naylor Penn State 33-7, Chris Lash Penn State 24-14, Edwards/Bell Penn State 34-17.
Steelers at Atlanta: Perhaps the bigger question concerning the Steelers is not the winner of the game, but who will be the starting running back- “the Bus” or “Famous Amos.” Can you take a player who has run for 164 yards and two TDs in Pittsburgh’s last two games and set him on the bench for on first and second downs. Can you put someone out of the lineup who has 1,000-yard rushing seasons again and again. Jerome Bettis has been there for the long run, but has watched much of the last two season from the bench due to an assortment of injuries. Amos Zereoue has filled in admirably for Bettis while the Notre Dame grad has missed the last two games due to a strained knee. The question the Pittsburgh defense has to handle is how to stop Falcon quarterback Michael Vick or at least slow him down?
The Picks: Miller Steelers 33-20, John Harlow Steelers 20-10, Kerry Naylor Steelers 27-14, Chris Lash Steelers 26-21, Edwards/Bell Steelers 24-21.
AREA SPORTS NOTES: The Penn State Ladies Tennis Team captured the Allegheny Mountain Cloogiate Conference championship and received All-Conference honors in the process. The team finished with a 9-3 overall record and 4-0 in the AMCC. Sophomore Julie DelBaggio, a Tyrone grad, is a member of the PSU Altoona sxquad and was named an AMCC Athlete of the Week for her 4-0 performance during the second week in October.
Congratulations to the Tyrone Junior High Football Team and coaches for their second straight Big 8 championship. The Little Eagles finished in a tie with Indian Valley ans were declared Co-champs.