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Daily Herald Football Picks

The Herald panel all got off to a big start the first week, although enough of the games confounded us to insure that there would be no perfect cards to begin the season. I started out on top (9-1), get out the smelling salts, missing only the Juniata Valley/Northern Bedford game (With Rob Carolus working at the Herald again, I had to go with the Green Hornets). Sorry Rob, but I would have picked Valley anyway. As a matter of fact that was the monkey wrench for four of the six panelists with Kerry Naylor, John Harlow and Jim Cushion joining me in selecting Juniata Valley
Everybody nailed the Tyrone, Huntingdon, Glendale, Pitt and Penn State wins. Kerry Webster (8-2) and Kerry Naylor (8-2) missed the Tussey win over Claysburg, Newcomers Christina Pryor (8-2) and Jim Cushion (8-2) missed Richland welcoming BG to the Laurel Highlands Conference with its first loss. Webster and Pryor missed the Juniata win over Lewistown, and Harlow (6-4) went with local coach Murray Fetzer and Mo Valley to knock off the Southern Huntingdon Rockets (Rockets 7-6). Murray and company almost pulled that one off! Look for good things up the mountain.
This week, our guest panelist is Huntingdon native and Daily Herald publisher George “Scoop” Sample. Good luck Scoop!
Huntingdon at Tyrone: It was 20 years ago (1987) that the Eagles won their first district title, and present Huntingdon head coach Jim Zauzig was an assistant at Tyrone at that time. Seven more district trophies adorn the Tyrone trophy case and the Eagles look well on the way to their third straight undefeated regular season! Both teams were sluggish at the start in their openers last week, before Tyrone shutout Bellwood-Antis 19-0 and Huntingdon overcame a 6-0 deficit to down Mount Union 21-6. Shayne Tate and Mark Mingle combined their talents to take over for the injured Johnny Franco and did the job well, especially Tate, who rushed for a game-best 121 yards. Andy Young was the Cats big running back with 164 yards and two scores and will be a test for the Eagle defense, one they did not get last week.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 20-14, Kerry Webster Tyrone 35-21, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 18-7, Christina Pryor Tyrone 28-0, Jim Cushion Tyrone 21-14, Scoop Sample Huntingdon 21-17.
Bellwood-Antis at Lewistown: It’s been a long time since these two schools met on the gridiron. In the recent past, Lewistown has enjoyed just one winning season since 1975, while B-A has suffered through just three losing campaigns in that same period. Lewistown used a big passing attack to score 25 points (235 yards, two TDs) in their opener against Juniata, but their defense gave up 33 points. Bellwood-Antis must put together a line that was the major weakness a week ago, along with jitters and mistakes against Backyard rival Tyrone.
The picks; Miller Bellwood-Antis 25-20, Kerry Webster Bellwood-Antis 28-13, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 14-6, Christina Pryor Lewistown 21-14, Jim Cushion Bellwood-Antis 14-6, Scoop Sample Bellwood-Antis 22-7.
Philipsburg-Osceola at Bellefonte: P-O used big plays, highlighted by three pass interceptions on defense and six receptions for 197 yards from J. D. Mason to defeat Brookville 29-20. Bellefonte scored quickly, with Ryan Poorman throwing for 112 yards and three TDs in the Raiders 21-12 win over Chestnut Ridge. The winner could be the team who can grind out yards and take time off the clock on offense.
The picks: Miller Philipsburg-Osceola, Kerry Webster Philipsburg-Osceola, Kerry Naylor Philipsburg-Osceola, Christina Pryor Philipsburg-Osceola, Jim Cushion Philipsburg-Osceola, Scoop Sample Philipsburg-Osceola.
Penns Valley at Bald Eagle Area: Fresh from a goal-line stand at the end of last week’s 7-0 victory that saved a win over Central, Penns Valley defensed their way to a first-game win. Can the Rams make it 2-0 for the first time in years? Bald Eagle Area found themselves in a 20-0 hole against Clearfield, ad were never able to dig themselves out in a 20-14 loss. Can the Bald Eagles find a way to puncture the Penns Valley defense, and will the Rams be able to open up their offense?
The picks: Miller Penns Valley, Kerry Webster Penns Valley, Kerry Naylor Penns Valley, Christina Pryor Penns Valley, Jim Cushion Bald Eagle Area, Scoop Sample Penns Valley.
Harrisburg at Altoona: A quick start was led by dazzling Division I prospect A. J. Alexander who turned the Mountain Lions opener into a scoring feast (TDs on a kick return, lateral pitch, pass completion, and finally a conventional run from scrimmage) against St. John’s of Washington D. C. The 35-20 triumph was the first time in a long while, Altoona did not play Hollidaysburg in the opener, following the end to that series when the Tigers dropped to Triple-A and out of the District 3-6 Mid-Penn Conference. Harrisburg, always tough, had little trouble in turning back Central Dauphin 49-13.
The picks: Miller Altoona, Kerry Webster Harrisburg, Kerry Naylor Altoona, Christina Pryor Altoona, Jim Cushion Altoona, Scoop Sample Altoona.
Cheyney at IUP: Cheyney hasn’t won a game under present head coach and former NFL star Tim Newsome (0-20) including last week’s 28-22 loss to Central State of Ohio, after holding a 22-14 halftime lead. This is the opener for IUP and second year head coach Lou Tepper, who returns 38 lettermen, including 10 starters on defense and six on offense. Quarterback is one position where the 2006 starter graduated, but Andrew Krewatch, who threw for 1,700 yards in 2005 before red-shirting last year will get the nod. IUP (8-2 in 2006) is always tough, and this opener should be a run-away early.
The picks: Miller IUP, Kerry Webster IUP, Kerry Naylor IUP, Christina Pryor IUP, Jim Cushion IUP, Scoop Sample IUP.
West Virginia at Marshall: WVU opened with the offense firing on all cylinders last week, ripping Western Michigan 62-24, with Steve Slaton rushing for 109 yards and Pat White 97 rushing and 192 passing. Look for more of the same.
The picks: Miller West Virginia, Kerry Webster West Virginia, Kerry Naylor West Virginia, Christina Pryor West Virginia, Jim Cushion West Virginia, Scoop Sample West Virginia.
Grambling at Pitt: Pitt should have no trouble with the soft underbelly of their early season. Young Panthers should have lots of opportunities to gain experience. Coach Dave Wannstedt has been saying he will wait until the very latest to name his quarterback-either Kevan Smith or Pat Bostick, in place of injured starter Bill Stull. A real battle exists for the running back spot, between LaRod Stephens-Howling the incumbent and freshman LeSean McCoy. Pitt must get a solid run game if they are be successful n 2007.
The picks: Miller Pitt 34-17, Kerry Webster Pitt 38-21, Kerry Naylor Pitt 31-10, Christina Pryor Pitt 21-7, Jim Cushion Pitt 31-14, Scoop Sample Pitt 17-14.
Notre Dame at Penn State: If Nittany Lions expect to make up for the thrashing they took last year at South Bend, they can’t afford a slow start on offense like last week. The PSU defense did the job from the get-go, while Anthony Morelli and the offense took longer before turning it on. If the “O” responds, the result should go a long way toward establishing confidence in themselves. Notre Dame will start freshman Jimmy Clausen at QB and he should be fair game for Dan Connor and the Penn State defense.
The picks: Miller Penn State 33-15, Kerry Webster Penn State 41-24, Kerry Naylor Penn State 29-7, Christina Pryor Penn State 38-10, Jim Cushion Penn State 33-39 (same score as ND-Georgia Tech), Scoop Sample Penn State 17-3
Steelers at Cleveland: Season opener for NFL teams. Now it counts and the first teams will see a lot more than just a few series. These two bitter rivals are about as close to a pro Backyard Brawl as there is anywhere. The current editions count a new coach for the Steelers in Mike Tomlin, with a new system that at least in exhibition games, didn’t look too different from the old one. Will that change and the two and three tight end formations Tomlin has talked about really get work, or will it be back to basics once again?
The picks: Miller Steelers 28-21, Kerry Webster Browns 35-27, Kerry Naylor Steelers 21-16, Christina Pryor Steelers 17-14, Jim Cushion Steelers 31-14, Scoop Sample Steelers 17-3.