Where does time go? Here we are with week nine looming quickly.
For Single-A squads, this is the last week to qualify for district playoffs, which will begin next week, or to get a better seed for that all-important home game. A maximum of 16 Single-A schools could qualify, with four wins needed to reach that goal. At present 14 teams have four or more wins, including Bellwood-Antis, and Mount Union and Glendale have three and could qualify on this final week of play. Glendale plays winless and hopeless West Branch and should get their fourth win. Mount Union however, has to play once-beaten Northern Bedford and is less likely toget that fourth win.
Christina Pryor, Kerry Webster and current leader Jim Cushion all topped out our panel last week with 7-3 cards. Everybody missed on Pitt downing Cincinnati, UCLA upsetting Cal, and the Steelers falling to Denver, so the three weekly leaders ran the table on the other seven results.
Miller was 6-4 and Kerry Naylor and our guest picker Magisterial Judge Fred Miller each were 5-5.
Overall, Cushion (61-19) continues to hold the lead, with Miller (59-21) two back, followed by Pryor and Webster at 57-23, Naylor (51-29) and the combined guests (50-30). Thank you Fred Miller!
This week, our guest picker is Kellie Goodman, WTAJ-TV sports director and Tyrone favorite. Kellie will be leaving her job at WTAJ-TV at the end of 2007 and taking a position with the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she will be the marketing director, as well as manager of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association and the East West All-Star Game. Good luck Kellie!
Tyrone at Central: This may be the final regular season game for the Eagles also. Tyrone had picked up Moshannon Valley for the 10th date, after Johnstown reneged on their contract, but the Black Knights will be involved in the Single-A playoffs instead. On the field, despite any troubles in scheduling Week 10, Tyrone will have to defense Central QB Chris Kurtz, a threat to run or pass and do both very well. The Eagles (8-0) counter with the best defense in the area and a very potent run offense that gobbles up huge chunks of ground and time.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 35-7, Kerry Webster Tyrone 35-25, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 35-0, Christina Pryor Tyrone 35-14, Jim Cushion Tyrone 42-14, Kellie Goodman Tyrone 35-3.
Moshannon Valley at Bellwood-Antis: B-A (4-4) hasn’t had four loses at this stage of the season since 1996. Moshannon Valley has grown up fast after getting hit by the learning curve in 2006, the first season for Tyrone alum and former TAHS assistant coach Murray Fetzer. Twice-beaten (Northern Bedford (21-6, and Southern Huntingdon 7-6), the Knights can not be taken lightly. Brandon Humphreys return last week strengthens Blue Devil rushing attack, which is averaging just 161 yards rushing per game, lowest total at Bellwood in years.
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 20-14, Kerry Webster Moshannon Valley 16-14, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 26-13, Christina Pryor Bellwood-Antis 28-21, Jim Cushion Bellwood-Antis 18-14, Kellie Goodman Bellwood-Antis 24-21.
Somerset at Bishop Guilfoyle: After a slow start, BG (4-4 overall, 4-1 in their section) has done well in the Laurel Highlands Conference, in Section I. Somerset in Section II has risen from several bad years to a 6-2 overall, 4-1 division record. Both lost by similar scores to Bishop McCort, Forest Hills beat Somerset but lost to BG, Richland beat BG, but lost to Somerset, Westmont-Hilltop was edged by Somerset, but defeated BG by four.
The picks: Miller Somerset, Kerry Webster Somerset, Kerry Naylor Bishop Guilfoyle, Christina Pryor Somerset, Jim Cushion Somerset, Kellie Goodman Somerset.
Hollidaysburg at State College: State College has formidable ground game, led by QB Larry Ryland, Jon Stupar, Terna Ityokumbul, and sophomore Alex Kenney. Hollidaysburg counters with Brad Nocek and David Glunt on the ground and QB Patrick Smith through the air. With all this offense, it may be defense that decides the winner. This will be just the Little Lions second game outside of the District 3-6 Mid-Penn Conference.
The picks: Miller Hollidaysburg, Kerry Webster State College, Kerry Naylor State College, Christina Pryor Hollidaysburg, Jim Cushion Hollidaysburg, Kellie Goodman Hollidaysburg.
Juniata Valley at Penns Valley: Juniata Valley has not performed as well as many thought after trip to district finals in 2006, though Hornets are 4-1 in the ICC and 5-3 overall. Penns Valley (7-1) has just a 10-3 loss to Tyrone and a very tough defense, although the Rams just squeaked by Bellwood-Antis in overtime.
The picks: Miller Penns Valley, Kerry Webster Penns Valley, Kerry Naylor Penns Valley, Christina Pryor Penns Valley, Jim Cushion Penns Valley, Kellie Goodman Juniata Valley.
Chestnut Ridge at Tussey Mountain: Tussey (6-2) demolished Southern Huntingdon last week (36-14). Ridge must stop Titan super running back Jordan Donaldson, who has rushed for 1,460 yards and 130 points. Chestnut Ridge Lions lost to Northern Bedford last week and barely got past B-A a week earlier. This will be another tough match-up against a smaller school for the Double-A Lions.
The picks: Miller Tussey Mountain, Kerry Webster Chestnut Ridge, Kerry Naylor Tussey Mountain, Christina Pryor Chestnut Ridge, Jim Cushion Tussey Mountain, Kellie Goodman Tussey Mountain.
Boston College at Virginia Tech: Boston College (7-0) is the new No. 2 in the weekly AP Top 25 list. The last three teams South Florida, LSU and Southern Cal, all lost the next game after their selection to the Two spot. Virginia Tech moved up three spots to No. 8 this week and has home field advantage. BC which had last week off, can’t afford to look ahead to South Florida next week.
The picks: Miller Boston College, Kerry Webster Boston College, Kerry Naylor Boston College, Christina Pryor Boston College, Jim Cushion Virginia Tech, Kellie Goodman Virginia Tech.
Pitt at Louisville: Louisville (4-3) has a powerful offense that opened the season with 73 and 58 points and had a season-low two weeks ago in a 28-24 win over Cincinnati. The Cardinals, who had last week off, were ranked as high as No. 9 in week three, but back-to-back shootout losses to Kentucky (40-34) and Syracuse (35-32) carried them out of the Top 25. Pitt upset Cincinnati last week getting 100-yard rushing efforts from both LaRod Stephens-Howling and LaSean McCoy. The Panthers will need more of the same against a defense that has given up 195 points since the opener.
The picks: Miller Louisville 37-29, Kerry Webster Louisville 25-7, Kerry Naylor Louisville 33-20, Christina Pryor Louisville 42-31, Jim Cushion Louisville 31-21, Kellie Goodman Louisville 35-14
Ohio State at Penn State: The last time Ohio State lost a regular season game was two years ago at Beaver Stadium, all the incentive the Buckeyes should need, plus the number of top and second ranked teams to already lose this season. Penn State lines are overcoming injuries and getting better each week. As good as Maurice Evans has been playing, the Lion defense needs to be better than last week. Ohio State has soph tailback Chris Wells, averaging over 100 yards rushing per game and 23-year old QB Todd Boeckman with the same completion percentage, as his Heisman Trophy winning predecessor Troy Smith, (65.3). Ohio State defense is No. 1 in the nation in yards per game and scoring defense.
The picks: Miller Penn State 23-21, Kerry Webster Penn State 24-21, Kerry Naylor Penn State 20-17, Christina Pryor Penn State 17-13, Jim Cushion Ohio State 27-20, Kellie Goodman Penn State 20-14.
Steelers at Cincinnati: Pittsburgh has looked woeful in two losses and world-beaters in four wins. Big Ben must take better control of the football than last week (2 INT and 1 lost fumble in first half). Steelers need to get running game going, which they didn’t even try much in loss to Denver. Bengals would like nothing better than a win over Steelers at home to set up rematch at Heinz Field in just two weeks.
The picks: Miller Steelers 33-20, Kerry Webster Steelers 24-14, Kerry Naylor Steelers 38-21, Christina Pryor Steelers 34-24, Jim Cushion Steelers 30-28, Kellie Goodman Steelers 31-20.
Where does time go? Here we are with week nine looming quickly.