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Daily Herald Football Picks

It’s that time once again when the kids are going back to school, and in northern Blair County, it’s the time of the year that nearly everybody has been waiting for, since last December-FOOTBALL season.
Here at the Daily Herald we are short one panelist from the past few seasons. Sam Zema, who had been waging a tough battle for the top spot, finally climbed to the top, taking the 2006 prize with an overall 98-32 record. And then he ran as fast as he could for Tennessee, where he was reunited with long-time chum Chris Lash, former General Manager here at the Herald.
However, we pick up two panelists. Joining our panel for the first time is Daily Herald Editor Christina Pryor and local sports enthusiast, referee and junior high basketball coach Jim Cushion. Good luck Christina and Jim!
The rest of the Herald Pickin’ Panel remains the same with Herald Sports Editor Bob Miller (94-36 last year), Philipsburg Journal Editor Kerry Webster (90-40), Herald Sports writer and Bellwood-Antis teacher Kerry Naylor (90-40) and a different guest picker each week.
As has been the usual practice since leaving he departed the Tyrone area, former Herald Sports and News Editor John Harlow has the honor of leading off the 2007 season as the guest prognosticator. Harlow is employed as the Director of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command News Service at Fort Monroe, VA, presently living in Yorktown, VA.
Tyrone at Bellwood-Antis: Over the long history of this most important rivalry in central Pennsylvania, if not the entire state, the Golden Eagles have come out on top the majority of the time and by some pretty dominating efforts. Since 1982, however, even though Tyrone has won the last four games in a row, the series is dead even. Each school has won 13 times since then.
Tyrone is without Tyler Golden and Justin Schopp who combined for a ton of yards and scores, and B-A must rebuild their entire backfield after losing Josh Kleinfelter, Evan Hughes, Devon Clapper and Jon Davila, and neither team has much of the line returning. The Eagles have a plus in senior running back Johnny Franco, B-A returns All-State Second Team lineman Anthony Jenkins.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 21-20, Kerry Webster Tyrone 27-14, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 21-14, Christina Pryor Tyrone 28-6, Jim Cushion Tyrone 24-6, John Harlow Tyrone 21-14.
Mount Union at Huntingdon: A mismatch on paper, since Mt. Union is a Single-A size school, and Huntingdon is Triple-A. Although the Bearcats have had their way in this series in the recent past, Mount Union has what should be their best squad in years after a couple of very good junior high teams, and an extra year of experience.
The picks: Miller Huntingdon, Kerry Webster Huntingdon, Kerry Naylor Huntingdon, Christina Pryor Huntingdon, Jim Cushion Huntingdon, John Harlow Huntingdon.
Glendale at Williamsburg: Glendale returns Derek Nash, who set the Vikings’ season rushing record as a junior in 2006, and led his team to their first winning season (8-3) in 20 years and first playoff win ever. A group of 13 returning letterwinners plus a strong junior high squad moving up, compliment Nash. Williamsburg is also on the rise for third-year head coach Dick Baronner, although the Blue Pirates steps up have been smaller, winning two games last year, after going winless in 2005. Numbers, especially along the lines are very important for Williamsburg, although 11 lettermen will help if they can stay healthy
The picks: Miller Glendale, Kerry Webster Glendale, Kerry Naylor Glendale, Christina Pryor Glendale, Jim Cushion Glendale, John Harlow Glendale.
Claysburg-Kimmel at Tussey Mountain: Claysburg welcomes new coach Joe Kitt. who will try to turn the Bulldog around after a 3-6 season in 2006. Tussey Mountain, long a doormat of the ICC Southern Division, has put two consecutive five win seasons up and played in the District 5 playoffs in both years. The Titans return 16 lettermen to keep the success flowing, including their QB, RB and four starters on the “O” line.
The picks: Miller Tussey Mountain, Kerry Webster Claysburg-Kimmel, Kerry Naylor Claysburg-Kimmel, Christina Pryor Claysburg-Kimmel, Jim Cushion Tussey Mountain, John Harlow Tussey Mountain.
Juniata at Lewistown: After breaking up a string of 30 seasons without a winning campaign in 2005, Lewistown slipped to 0-10 last year. With the Panthers, a Triple-A school moving into the smaller school Nittany Division of the MAC, Lewistown should be able to hold their own and at the least be competitive. Twenty seniors are included among a group of 60 players who turned out, and the competition should help them in the long run.
The picks: Miller Juniata, Kerry Webster Lewistown, Kerry Naylor Juniata, Christina Pryor Lewistown, Jim Cushion Juniata, John Harlow Lewistown.
Bishop Guilfoyle at Richland: BG has left their affiliations on this side of the mountain and joined the Laurel Highlands Conference, where they will take on the likes of Bedford, Bishop McCort, Forest Hills, Penn Cambria and others. Richland returns 20 lettermen, including a fourth-year starter at quarterback and a number of helpers with significant varsity experience. BG has 18 lettermen back including a strong line, but must replace nearly all their skill players.
The picks: Miller Richland, Kerry Webster Richland, Kerry Naylor Richland, Christina Pryor Richland, Jim Cushion Bishop Guilfoyle, John Harlow Bishop Guilfoyle.
Northern Bedford at Juniata Valley: A tough battle to start the season. With the exception of a quarterback and one receiver, Northern has everybody back and should be loaded. Juniata Valley has lost just three times during the regular season in fourth-year head coach Mike Smith’s tenure, and their district playoff runs have been stopped by Bellwood-Antis in each of those years, including in the district final last year. Seven starters return on offense, including most of the skill positions.
The picks: Miller Juniata Valley, Kerry Webster Northern Bedford, Kerry Naylor Juniata Valley, Christina Pryor Northern Bedford, Jim Cushion Juniata Valley, John Harlow Juniata Valley.
Southern Huntingdon at Moshannon Valley: A tough way for second-year head coach and Tyrone grad Murray Fetzer to start the year. The Knights are a full year into Fetzer’s program and should be much improved with 13 returning lettermen. Southern Huntingdon (9-2) has been the leader of the Southern Division for the last two seasons, losing only to Bellwood-Antis twice in 2006, and B-A and Juniata Valley in 2005. Several of the Rockets skill people return, although a new QB and offensive line and the entire linebacking corps on defense must be replaced.
The picks: Miller Southern Huntingdon. Kerry Webster Southern Huntingdon, Kerry Naylor Southern Huntingdon, Christina Pryor Southern Huntingdon, Jim Cushion Southern Huntingdon, John Harlow Moshannon Valley.
Eastern Michigan at Pitt: Panthers must find replacements for quarterback Tyler Palko who graduated and D-back Darelle Revis who left early after his junior year, and receiver Derek Kinder, who tore on ACL and is done. Four starters return on the offensive line. In the backfield, the combination of junior LaRod Stephens and true freshman LaSean McCoy should prove very interesting. Six starters and 19 lettermen also are back on defense.
The picks: Miller Pitt 30-19, Kerry Webster Pitt 52-0, Kerry Naylor Pitt 25-10, Christina Pryor Pitt 38-14, Jim Cushion Pitt 35-7, John Harlow Pitt 17-7.
Florida International at Penn State: Expectations are high in Happy Valley. Lion QB Anthony Morelli is just one of several Penn State seniors hoping to finish his career with a bang. An Outback Bowl win certainly boosted the Lions confidence in Morelli, who has his top three receivers back. Austin Scott needs to start running like everyone expected. Dan Connor and a strong secondary will lead another solid defensive effort. Florida International must show everybody they are not the fight-happy team that embarrassed their school last season in the bench-clearing brawl against Miami.
The picks: Miller Penn State 40-14, Kerry Webster Penn State 45-6, Kerry Naylor Penn State 44-3, Christina Pryor Penn State 49-10, Jim Cushion Penn State 42-18, John Harlow Penn State 64-3.