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Daily Herald Football Picks

The annual Backyard Brawl is set to take place tomorrow. This time the place is Bellwood Memorial Stadium and it’s the usual suspects with the Tyrone Golden Eagles matching up with the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils.
That means it is also time to begin the weekly battle for bragging rights at the Herald office to see who is bestin picking winners in local high school, college and pro games. Last year, we were such gracious hosts that our combined guest pickers took top place.
This year, sports editor Bob Miller, football tab editor and writer John Harlow and Tyrone football columnist Kerry Naylor will be joining each week by editor G. Kerry Webster as well as a different special guest each week. General Manager Chris Lash, who was a regular picker last year, will join in the picking as often as he can.
This season the first guest picker is Ted Beam, the official scorer for Altoona Curve games at Blair County Ballpark. Beam is also a teacher in the Altoona School District and a District VI football official.
Tyrone-Bellwood-Antis: This is never a cut and dry facts on the table kind of game, especially in recent years. When the Golden Eagles won the state championship in 1999, Bellwood-Antis stayed closer to Tyrone than any other regular season opponent, before falling 24-0. Last year, the Eagles jumped out in front early, B-A came back to take the lead and then had to hold off a Tyrone surge that brought the Eagles just a two-point conversion away from a tie game in a 17-15 Bellwood-Antis win. B-A has won the last three season openers, but past contests, seldom figure into the present year’s game except to provide inspiration and extra incentives are never needed in this rivalry.
This year, it would appear, Tyrone has too huge a line and Bellwood-Antis too little size or experience. Ask us again following the game, when we can be 100 percent right. Until then:
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 21-20, John Harlow Tyrone 21-17, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 31-0, Kerry Webster Tyrone 24-6, Chris Lash Tyrone 21-10, Ted Beam Tyrone 21-14.
Laurel Highlands at Huntingdon: Huntingdon has been picked by many to win the final Big 8 title (Beginning in 2004, the league expands to 12 teams, including B-A, Bishop Guilfoyle, Penns Valley, Clearfield and Punxsutawney, and will be known as the Mountain Athletic Football Conference). However injuries to several key players have cast a shadow of doubt on the Bearcats’ strength and depth. Huntingdon still has lots of good athletes in the fold and will get All-Big 8 lineman Jeremy Stanowski back in mid season. How this will affect the Bearcats in the early portion of the season is as yet unknown.
The picks: Miller Huntingdon, John Harlow Huntingdon, Kerry Naylor Huntingdon, Kerry Webster Huntingdon, Chris Lash Huntingdon, Ted Beam Huntingdon.
Bishop Guilfoyle at Chestnut Ridge: BG (11-1) rambled through the regular season and first playoff game undefeated in 2002, before falling to Windber in the district semifinals. The Marauders return running backs Josh Destefano and Matt Georgiana, who each rushed for more than 800 yards each and scored 25 TDs between them as juniors. However the entire offensive line, quarterback and top receivers are gone. Will BG be able to continue their excellence until the running attack can get some help? Chestnut Ridge returns some key people at the skill positions and has six starters on both offense and defense returning among 20 letterwinners. Some area ICC coaches are predicting a Section I title for the Lions.
The picks: Miller Chestnut Ridge, John Harlow Chestnut Ridge, Kerry Naylor Bishop Guilfoyle, Kerry Webster Bishop Guilfoyle, Chris Lash Bishop Guilfoyle, Ted Beam Chestnut Ridge.
Altoona at Hollidaysburg: After the Tyrone-Bellwood-Antis series, this is the next best rivalry in the area if not the state. These teams often meet in the opener and then again in the Quad-A playoffs. Altoona has had the upper hand in the last few years and has played some remarkable football for coach Phil Riccio. Can the Mountain Lions repeat this year? Hollidaysburg coach John Barton has done an excellent job at the County Seat and you can be assured he will have the Golden Tigers ready.
The picks: Miller Altoona, John Harlow Altoona, Kerry Naylor Altoona, Kerry Webster Hollidaysburg, Chris Lash Altoona, Ted Beam Altoona.
Lewistown at Philipsburg-Osceola: Lewistown got off to a good start last year despite losing a tough 7-0 decision on a defensive touchdown to P-O, but were unable to sustain the momentum, continuing a trend that has the Panthers without a winning record since the 1970s. Philipsburg-Osceola has also had trouble winning in the past few campaigns, but has five starters back on offense and six on defense, including tailback Adam White, who is ready to break out in 2003.
The picks: Miller Philipsburg-Osceola, John Harlow Philipsburg-Osceola, Kerry Naylor Philipsburg-Osceola, Kerry Webster (a P-O grad) Philipsburg-Osceola, Chris Lash Philipsburg-Osceola, Ted Beam Philipsburg-Osceola.
Bellefonte at Penns Valley: Bellefonte has a bunch of returning letterwinners at the skill positions. Included among the returnees are eight starters on offense, including quarterback Josh Mundy and four starters on the offensive line. Some think this may be the year the Red Raiders challenge for the Big 8 crown. Penns Valley returns almost their entire line on both offense and defense, but must replace the QB and receivers, all lost to graduation.
The picks: Miller Bellefonte, John Harlow Bellefonte, Kerry Naylor Bellefonte, Kerry Webster Bellefonte, Chris Lash Penns Valley, Ted Beam Bellefonte.
Moshannon Valley at Southern Huntingdon: Mo Valley won their first eight ballgames in 2002 before losing to Bellwood-Antis 21-16 in the rain and mud and their first playoff contest the following week. Southern Huntingdon has experience at their skill positions, but is inexperienced on the line after going 5-4 last year. The Rockets are back on the Bellwood-Antis schedule this fall for the first time since 1998. Moshannon Valley coach Howie Camberg feels his defense is the strength of the squad until the offense has a chance to develop as the Black Knights bid to repeat their Section III title in the ICC.
The picks: Miller Moshannon Valley, John Harlow, Moshannon Valley, Kerry Naylor Moshannon Valley, Kerry Webster Moshannon Valley, Chris Lash Moshannon Valley, Ted Beam Moshannon Valley.
Washington at Ohio State: The Ohio State will have to do without super soph Maurice Claret while he serves his six-game suspension for questions about his academic eligibility and about the thousands of dollars of stereo equipment stolen from a car. The number two Buckeyes have plenty of returning lettermen, including 18 starters from last year’s championship squad. The offense returns all 11 starters, but the Ohio State schedule is brutal to say the least. Washington returns eight starters from an offensive unit that averaged 429 yards per game in 2002, led by quarterback Cody Pickett and receiver Reggie Williams.
The picks: Miller Ohio State, John Harlow Ohio State, Kerry Naylor Ohio State, Kerry Webster Ohio State, Chris Lash Ohio State, Ted Beam Ohio State.
Southern Cal at Auburn: USC, known for producing tailbacks, is inexperienced at running back, but has one of the best wide receiver tandems in the country in Mike Williams and Keary Colbert. The defense figures to be one of the nation’s best led by linebackers Matt Grootegoed and Melvin Simmons. Auburn is the popular pick under coach Tommy Tuberville to win the SEC title for the first time since 1989. The Tigers return eight starters on both offense and defense from a team that upset three top 10 teams in the final six weeks of the 2002 season (LSU, Alabama and Penn State).
The picks: Miller Auburn, John Harlow Auburn, Kerry Naylor Auburn, Kerry Webster Southern Cal, Chris Lash Southern Cal, Ted Beam Auburn.
Temple at Penn State: The Nittany Lions are facing a lot of questions for the 2003 season. Who will replace Larry Johnson. When coach Paterno has gone to a run-by-committee scheme, the record has suffered, when JoPa selects one candidate to be the main ballcarrier, the record goes up and up. Will Zack Mills return to his 2001 performance level and what will happen with Michael Robinson? The defensive line will be tough to replace with Michael Haynes, Anthony Adams and Jimmy Kennedy all gone to the NFL. Temple should not provide much of a roadblock, but Penns State has a habit of playing early non-conference foes only to their level, rather than dispatching them by 50 points as they should.
The picks: Miller Penn State 42-14, John Harlow Penn State 47-7, Kerry Naylor Penn State 33-12, Kerry Webster Penn State 48-14, Chris Lash Penn State 28-10, Ted Beam Penn State 35-7.