We had another perfect picker this week! Our guest panelist Jim Kilmartin nailed all 10 selections to become the fourth guest picker to get all of the games correct in my watch here as Sports Editor at the Daily Herald, which began in 2002. The last guest to pick them all right was Mike Blaska, in Week 9 of 2005. The perfect card was also the sixth of the season, giving 2007 a record five perfect lists. The previous best was four in 2005.
Christina Pryor and I both missed just once this week (Pryor went with Auburn over Georgia in the college ranks, while I picked Penns Valley over Central Cambria in District 6-AA action). Picking leader Jim Cushion, who used a perfect card in Week three to jump into first place, has been at the top for the last eight weeks. Although Jim is still in first place, he has lots of company after going 8-2. Cushion, Pryor and Miller are all tied for the top position at 85-25 with just two weeks to go in the race. Cushion had a Lone Ranger pick of Ligonier Valley over Bellwood-Antis and paid for it, after also picking Penns Valley.
Kerry Webster solidified his hold on fourth place with a 7-3 week, while Kerry Naylor stayed two games ahead of the combined guests with a 7-3 card for the week. Overall, Webster is 79-31, Naylor is 74-36 and the guests are 72-38.
Way to go and thanks, Jim Kilmartin!!
This week, our guest picker is Tyrone Athletic Director and TAHS grad Tom Coleman. Good luck Jim!
Central Cambria at Tyrone: A District 6-AA Friday semifinal, Central Cambria, the No. 5 seed, edged Penns Valley 7-6 last week, to earn the berth against the top seeded Golden Eagles. Although their defense was evident last week, Central Cambria’s offense was what everybody talked about most of the season. Tyrone got a huge boost last week with the return of Johnny Franco for the entire game on defense, and to spell 1,480-yard rusher Shayne Tate on offense. That gives opponents one more problem to think about as they prepare to play Tyrone, as if they needed another one! .
The picks: Miller Tyrone 30-7, Kerry Webster Tyrone 28-12, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 27-9, Christina Pryor Tyrone 27-7, Jim Cushion Tyrone 34-14, Tom Coleman Tyrone 28-7.
Bishop Guilfoyle at Bellwood-Antis: BG (No. 11 seed) with their passing attack presents a different type of problem than the Blue Devils opponent last week. Ligonier Valley passed only in dire necessity in their run, run, run offense. BG QB Chris Brown has thrown for 1,090 yards, after missing the first four games of the season due to mono. Bellwood-Antis must shut down the Marauders rushing attack and hope to slow down Brown. Long sustained drives on offense would be the best way for B-A (No. 7 seed), but can they do it? This Single-A District semifinal will be on Saturday night.
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 26-19, Kerry Webster Bellwood-Antis 14-7, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 32-13, Christina Pryor Bellwood-Antis 28-20, Jim Cushion Bellwood-Antis 20-14, Tom Coleman Bellwood-Antis 28-21.
Philipsburg-Osceola at Bishop McCort: No. 2 seeded Bishop McCort, the defending Double-A champ in District 6, hosts Philipsburg-Osceola, the No. 3 seed. This Saturday night contest is a rematch of last year’s semifinals, but P-O (9-2) is better and McCort has a few more questions. Bishop McCort (10-1) has gotten better as the season has progressed since a 30-27 loss to Richland in late Sept.
The picks: Miller Bishop McCort, Kerry Webster Philipsburg-Osceola, Kerry Naylor Bishop McCort, Christina Pryor Bishop McCort, Jim Cushion Bishop McCort, Tom Coleman Bishop McCort.
Purchase Line at Portage: Portage (10-0 and WestPAC Section I champ) is the top seeded District 6-A team, while No. 4 seed Purchase Line (9-2) is from the Heritage Conference in this District 6-A semifinal on Friday. Both schools play only teams in their respective leagues. Portage has just six seniors, while Purchase Line was also hit hard by graduation, especially at linebacker and on the line. Portage beat Penns Manor 27-13 last week in the quarterfinals, Purchase Line knocked off Penns Manor 15-0 in the regular season.
The picks: Miller Portage, Kerry Webster Portage, Kerry Naylor Portage, Christina Pryor Portage, Jim Cushion Portage, Tom Coleman Portage.
Indian Valley vs. Hollidaysburg: During the regular season, Indian Valley (8-2) jumped out to a 28-7 lead, then had to hang on for a 28-21 decision that was the Tigers first loss, after a 40-0 win by Hollidaysburg in the District 6-AAA final last year between the same two schools. While defending champ Hollidaysburg decisioned Somerset 21-7 last week, Indian Valley was beating Bellefonte 28-16 to reach the finals at Mansion Park on Friday night.
The picks: Miller Hollidaysburg, Kerry Webster Hollidaysburg, Kerry Naylor Hollidaysburg, Christina Pryor Indian Valley, Jim Cushion Hollidaysburg, Tom Coleman Hollidaysburg.
North Star vs. Northern Bedford: No. 3 seed North Star (8-2), from the WestPAC Section I slugged Windber 29-0, in the semifinal in District 5-A last week, while top seeded Northern Bedford (9-1), the ICC Southern Division champ was beating Tussey Mountain for the second time 29-8, holding Jordan Donaldson (1,726 yards and 25 TDs) to 36 yards on 17 carries. Northern is just a 10-0 loss to Southern Huntingdon from being undefeated. After back-to-back losses to Portage and Windber, North Star has outscored seven opponents 275-79 in going 6-0. This District 5-A final will be on Friday night at Bedford’s Bison Stadium
The picks: Miller Northern Bedford, Kerry Webster Northern Bedford, Kerry Naylor Northern Bedford, Christina Pryor North Star, Jim Cushion Northern Bedford, Tom Coleman Northern Bedford.
Ohio State at Michigan: Trick question- When was the last time these two teams both lost the game before they met? Answer-never! Top-ranked Ohio State (10-1) was stunned by Illinois 28-21, while Wisconsin sent No. 13 Michigan (8-3) reeling 37-21. The Spartans must beat Ohio State if they want to get to the Rose Bowl. Ohio State must regroup after being just two wins away from a return trip to the National title game
The picks: Miller Ohio State, Kerry Webster Ohio State, Kerry Naylor Michigan, Christina Pryor Ohio State, Jim Cushion Ohio State, Tom Coleman Michigan.
Pitt at Rutgers: Both of these teams had hoped to be in more favorable positions at the end of the season. Dave Wannstedt has another year of mediocrity at Pitt, while Ray Rice has not been able to rush Rutgers (6-4) into a major Bowl. If Pitt can just hold on, their major offensive stars are true freshmen, who should only get better, if given the time and a smattering of patience and confidence.
The picks: Miller Rutgers 32-28, Kerry Webster Pitt 45-36, Kerry Naylor Rutgers 34-12, Christina Pryor Rutgers 31-17, Jim Cushion Rutgers 30-24, Tom Coleman Pitt 35-31.
Penn State at Michigan State: The winner of this game gets the Land Grant Trophy, since that was the origin of both universities. Penn State need this one to secure a major bowl. This is the final regular season game for Nittany Lion seniors, who have seen both misfortune early and a resurgence of Lion pride the last two years. This is a big game if there is to be a third straight year of positive feeling in Happy Valley. Morelli, Kinlaw and the junior receiving corps must deliver, and the Connor-led defense needs to come up with a stop.
The picks: Miller Penn State 27-17, Kerry Webster Penn State 35-14, Kerry Naylor Penn State 25-21, Christina Pryor Penn State 34-19, Jim Cushion Penn State 42-30, Tom Coleman Penn State 17-14.
Steelers at NY Jets: Steelers offense and defense held up for a win, despite the special teams trying to give the win away on Sunday against Cleveland. Part of that was the Browns’ Cribbs, but tackles were missed as well. A Steeler-like get ahead and run the daylights out of the time clock is the sure-fire remedy. Four of Pittsburgh’s last seven opponents have losing records, the Steelers need to take advantage of the opportunity.
The picks: Miller Steelers 35-19, Kerry Webster Steelers 31-6, Kerry Naylor Steelers 27-17, Christina Pryor Steelers 24-6, Jim Cushion Steelers 34-9, Tom Coleman Steelers 31-24.