Sports Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Daily Herald Football Picks

The kids have started back to school this week, and the temperature is cool during the nights, and the Steelers are playing their final exhibition game tonight. At the Daily Herald , we are getting out our crystal ball and all the information we have at our disposal, to get ready for the 2008 Prognostication Poll, to boldly (blindly) go where no man or woman has ever been before. We go forth to choose and select by whatever methods we are able to pick the winners, and in some cases scores of area football contests.
Christine Pryor (98-32), with some advice from Kris Yaniello, returns as the defending champion, after winning the picking poll in 2007, finishing just one game ahead of the Little Old (emphasis on “old”) Sports Editor, me (97-33). One more game back was Jim Cushion (96-34), who led for much of the year, until Pryor caught fire in the final three weeks to overtake Cushion and Miller, and earn her first title. Our two Kerrys, Webster (86-44) and Naylor (84-46) finished in that order, followed by our assorted guest pickers (79-51), whom we thank greatly for their time and effort. Note that the new blood was the best last year, with both Prior and Cushion participating in their first year on the panel.
With the approach of the first week and the annual Backyard Brawl, we welcome our long-time first guest, former Herald personality, John Harlow. Both a former Editor and Sports Editor of the Herald, Harlow is employed as a Public Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, at Fort Monroe, VA, and is presently living in Yorkstown, VA.
Bellwood-Antis at Tyrone: During the long tenures of the two present coaches, Tyrone’s John Franco and Bellwood-Antis’ John Hayes, this Backyard Brawl has settled down to become a prize rivalry-possibly the best in the state, and without a doubt the premiere opening contest in this area. The 2008 edition should be no different. The Eagles must rebuild their backfield, but returns Levi Reihart at QB and a large portion of their line and defense-and I do mean LARGE as far as size and experience and agility, from a team that has won its last 32 consecutive regular season games. Bellwood-Antis also returns QB Nate Gray, and a major part of their line, but must find the right combination, something it took nearly the entire season to accomplish last year, before the Blue Devils finally got it going to win their second straight district title.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 21-20, Kerry Webster Tyrone 35-16,  Jim Cushion Tyrone 28-7, Christina Pryor Tyrone 35-0, John Harlow Tyrone 21-17.
Huntingdon at Mount Union: Both of these teams want to prove something. Huntingdon had a very rare off season in 2007, going 3-7. But the Bearcats return 27 starters and add winning experience from the junior varsity and junior high, both of whom went 7-1 a year ago. Mount Union has taking their lumps the past few years, but is hoping for a return to good times, with a strong group of kids, who excelled in junior high and have had a season or two of varsity time to gain experience.
The picks: Miller Huntingdon, Kerry Webster Mount Union,  Jim Cushion Huntingdon, Christina Pryor Huntingdon, John Harlow Huntingdon.
Everett at Glendale: Everett has loads of experience coming back, but have been experiencing a down time for the past several years, and hope to use experience gained to their advantage as seniors. Glendale fought their way out of a downspin and has qualified for district playoffs the last two years. The Vikings have a strong core of seniors, who would like to continue that trend.
The picks: Miller Glendale, Kerry Webster Glendale, Jim Cushion Glendale, Christina Pryor Glendale, John Harlow Everett.
Tussey Mountain at Juniata Valley: Two ‘07 playoff teams, who are both looking for another playoff run. Tussey must replace a three-year starter at QB. Valley has coach Mike Smith, who has gotten his team to the playoffs four straight seasons and is a three-time defending ICC division champ. A new alignment puts the Hornets in the ICC North with Bellwood-Antis, a team that has knocked them out of the district playoffs all four years. A major strength is skill positions, where Valley returns a lot of talent.
The picks: Miller Juniata Valley, Kerry Webster Tussey Mountain, Jim Cushion Juniata Valley, Christina Pryor Tussey Mountain, John Harlow Juniata Valley.
State College at Hollidaysburg: With State College in the tough Mid-Penn Conference, playing some of the best teams in the state from the Harrisburg area, every game is a land mine. Although Hollidaysburg, has dropped out of the Mid-Penn, to join the re-aligned MAFC, this could be their year. Last year, the Golden Tigers fell to State 28-12. Look for a closer game this year
The picks: Miller Hollidaysburg, Kerry Webster State College,  Jim Cushion State College, Christina Pryor Hollidaysburg, John Harlow State College.
Northern Bedford at Moshannon Valley: The 2008 season opener will be the first game ever at the new Moshannon Valley Sports Complex, after turf problems coast the Knights an opportunity to play there last year. Mo Valley coach Murray Fetzer, a Tyrone grad and former Eagle assistant, has his work cut out for him against the Panthers, who lost a bunch of people, but always seem to rebuild into another powerhouse. Mo Valley won their ICC division, but like Juniata Valley has been thrown into the Devil’s Den, in the same new division as Bellwood-Antis. Northern has a new coach, but Jeff Batzel was the offensive coordinator for years, so that shouldn’t cost any falloff.
The picks: Miller Moshannon Valley, Kerry Webster Moshannon Valley, Jim Cushion Moshannon Valley, Christina Pryor Northern Bedford, John Harlow Moshannon Valley.
Villanova at West Virginia: Despite their shocking 13-9 loss to Pitt at the end of 2007, West Virginia is considered to be the “Beast of the East” in the Big East Conference. The Mountaineers with new head  coach Bill Stewart, return eight starters on offense, including Heisman Trophy candidate QB Pat White and RB Noel Devine, who averaged 8.4 yards a carry, and four on defense.
The picks: Miller West Virginia, Kerry Webster West Virginia,  Jim Cushion West Virginia, Christina Pryor West Virginia, John Harlow West Virginia.
Youngstown State at Ohio State: Looking for their fourth straight Big 10 crown, Ohio State is loaded. What the Buckeyes want to do is erase the memories of two lop-sided losses in the last two BCS title games. Nine starters return on each side of the ball, including QB Todd Boeckman and RB Chris Wells and all-world LB James Laurinaitis.
The picks: Miller Ohio State, Kerry Webster Ohio State, Jim Cushion Ohio State, Christina Pryor Ohio State, John Harlow Ohio State.
Coastal Carolina at Penn State: More questions need to be answered than seasons Joe Paterno has coached the Nittany Lions. How open will the spread offense actually be, will the line be as good as advertised, and will new starting QB Daryll Clark be able to run the offense, who will step up on defense at linebacker.? With all the uncertainty on the field, will there be unrest off the field as well? It won’t matter for the duration of the “chunks” part of the schedule in the early-going, but how about once the Big 10 part of the season starts? One more question, will this be JoePa’s final hurrah with no present contract beyond 2008?
The picks: Miller Penn State 40-7, Kerry Webste Penn State 48-6, Jim Cushion Penn State 44-14, Christina Pryor Penn State 28-7, John Harlow Penn State 84-3 (Next week, they play Taxidermy Tech).
Bowling Green at Pitt: Pitt has had three straight sub-.500 seasons under coach Dave Wannstedt. Can the Panthers use the big upset of West Virginia at the end of 2007 as a springboard for an upward turn? LaSean McCoy on offense and Scott McKillop on defense are the leaders and the return of QB Bill Stull and WR Derek Kinder, who both missed all but the first two games of 2007, should bolster the Panthers.
The picks: Miller Pitt 35-10, Kerry Webster Pitt 38-17, Jim Cushion Pitt 28-17, Christina Pryor Bowling Green 21-20, John Harlow Pitt 37-7.