Daily Herald Football Picks

The regular season is fast drawing to a close! That might come as a shock to some of you, like me, who has trouble figuring out where the time goes and how it goes so quickly. The upper three classifications in high school football have a week to play, while for Single-A area schools, playoffs begin this weekend.
Jim Cushion led our picking party for Week 9, missing only on the Pitt and Steelers losses to finish 8-2. Guest Doug Hoover and regular panelist Kerry Webster both went 7-3, with Webster using his Lone Ranger pick of the Giants over the Steelers to hold on to the second place tie with Hoover. Kerry Naylor and myself were each 6-4, and Christina Pryor was 5-5. Webster was the only panelist to pick against either Pittsburgh team and everybody else paid for their loyalty.
Overall, Cushion (70-20) retakes the top spot, all by himself, while I am a game back (69-21), losing two lengths after leading by a game in Week 8. Pryor (67-23) and Naylor (66-23) continue to press the front-runners, while Webster and the combined guests are tied at 63-27.
This week, our guest picker is Jim Kilmartin, mayor of Tyrone and Director of Joshua House, in addition to being a Tyrone grad. This is Jim’s second straight season as a guest panelist, after being absent for several years. Good luck, Jim!
Central at Tyrone: Third tough road game in a row for Dragons, completing a stretch that started at Clearfield and continued last week at St. Marys. Central (8-1) hopes to complete that trio with two of three, but have their hands full against the Eagles, who have been knocking the spit out of everybody lately. Tyrone has outscored their last five opponents 210-21 since their one-point loss to Clearfield. If St. Marys can upset Clearfield, the winner of this game will claim the MAFC title.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 33-7, Kerry Webster Tyrone 45-12, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 34-14, Jim Cushion Tyrone 35-34, Christina Pryor Tyrone 35-7, Jim Kilmartin Tyrone 35-13.
Bishop Guilfoyle at Bellwood-Antis: Second year in a row these two have met in playoffs, after BG’s move to Laurel Highlands Conference stopped regular season confrontations. Fourth seed Blue Devils (8-1), with eight straight wins, have been able to misfire and err and still win two of the last three weeks. B-A has displayed a marked lack of ability to defense against the pass this year, and 13th seed BG (5-4) and quarterback Chris Brown have thrown for over 1,500 yards thus far. Bellwood-Antis will have to do better on defense and keep the ball away from Marauders by going with long, time-consuming marches on offense.
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 26-24, Kerry Webster Bellwood-Antis 38-7, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 21-17, Jim Cushion Bishop Guilfoyle 14-8, Christina Pryor Bishop Guilfoyle 28-13, Jim Kilmartin Bellwood-Antis 28-17.
Claysburg-Kimmel at Portage: Number 2 seed Portage (9-0) has been piling up points, and as usual has a couple big runners and some big people up front. They play only in their own WestPac league, so how strong they really are, will be measured by what they do in the playoffs. No. 15 seed Claysburg-Kimmel Bulldogs (4-5) are in playoffs for first time since 1991.
The picks: Miller Portage, Kerry Webster Portage, Kerry Naylor Portage, Jim Cushion Portage, Christina Pryor Portage, Jim Kilmartin Portage.
Mount Union at Blairsville: No. 10 seed Mount Union (6-3), has lost three times, by a combined total of eight points and should be considered here. Blairsville (6-3) threw a giant monkey wrench into the district playoff picture by stunning Laurel Valley 42-7 last week, to move up and take the No. 7 seed. Going into that game, Valley was No. 6 and Blairsville No, 11, but jumped up four spots, after the Bobcats were considering not even getting into the playoffs, had they lost.
The picks: Miller Mount Union, Kerry Webster Blairsville, Kerry Naylor Mount Union, Jim Cushion Blairsville, Christina Pryor Mount Union, Jim Kilmartin Mount Union.
Bishop Carroll at Moshannon Valley: Carroll (5-4) is the number 12 seed, while Moshannon Valley (8-1) is the five seed. Knights’ only loss is to Bellwood-Antis and Moshannon has outscored three opponents 101-18 since then. BC has just one won over a team with a winning record, although losses are to Johnstown, Bishop McCort, Forest Hills and 4-5 Richland.
The picks: Miller Moshannon Valley, Kerry Webster Moshannon Valley, Kerry Naylor Bishop Carroll, Jim Cushion Moshannon Valley, Christina Pryor Bishop Carroll, Jim Kilmartin Moshannon Valley.
Penns Manor at Purchase Line: If you look at records, then this game belongs to No. 3 seed Purchase Line (9-0) on a cake walk over No. 14 seed Penns Manor (5-4). Even if you compare opponents, since both schools play in the Heritage Conference and play all the same teams, again the Lions seem an easy victor. The one card Penns Manor can play, is that in the game between the two teams weeks ago, Purchase Line barely escaped with a 28-20 win.
The picks: Miller Purchase Line, Kerry Webster Purchase Line, Kerry Naylor, Purchase Line, Jim Cushion Purchase Line, Christina Pryor Purchase Line, Jim Kilmartin Purchase Line.
Texas at Texas Tech: Top-ranked Texas has a murderous schedule in the middle of their season, with Tech, the fourth straight top 11 team to face the Longhorns. That stretch has catapulted Texas to the No. 1 spot. Can they stay there? No. 6 Texas Tech has not been ranked this high in 32 years, but now has to face Number One, when they host Texas. All of Texas victories over Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State have come at home, or at a neutral site. How will they do in Lubbock, their roughest road test of the year?
The picks: Miller Texas, Kerry Webster Texas, Kerry Naylor Texas, Jim Cushion Texas, Christina Pryor Texas Tech, Jim Kilmartin Texas.
Georgia at Florida: Georgia is fresh off a big win over national defending champ LSU and has most of their talent returning from last year, including sophomore tailback Knowshon Morena. Bulldogs also have a stingy defense. Florida however has returning Heisman winner Tim Tebow. Gators scored one less point two weeks ago a in a big win against LSU 52-51, and allowed 17 fewer points in the victory than did Georgia on defense.
The picks: Miller Florida, Kerry Webster Florida, Kerry Naylor Florida, Jim Cushion Florida, Christina Pryor Florida, Jim Kilmartin Florida.
Pitt at Notre Dame: Just when you thought Pitt was starting to put it all together, they got rudely ambushed by Rutgers big-time, last week (54-34). Will Bill Stull return after getting knocked out of that contest? Has backup QB Pat Bostick matured after being forced to play in ‘07 when Stull was lost for the season in Pitt’s opener? Four TDs and 146 yards rushing from LaSean “Shady” McCoy couldn’t equal the scoring machine Rutgers countered with. Fighting Irish (5-2 and on the rebound) were the last team to put such a pasting on Panthers (60-6 in 1996). Will Pitt wake up, or will this be a repeat?
The picks: Miller Notre Dame 30-27, Kerry Webster Pitt 24-17, Kerry Naylor Pitt 38-28, Jim Cushion Notre Dane 30-25, Christina Pryor Notre Dame 38-17, Jim Kilmartin Notre Dame 28-24.
Steelers at Redskins:Unknown to most fans, a long snapper is far more important than most fans give credit. That said, if the Steelers offensive line performs like they are expected and needed, Pittsburgh wouldn’t have lost to either the Eagles, or the Giants and would still be undefeated. Hopefully they can put the loss to the Giants behind them, and get it right against the Redskins. Steeler defense did the job regardless of injuries, now the offense (line) must step up and Ben Roethlisberger needs to have a better game (get rid of the ball quicker).
The picks: Miller Steelers 33-19, Kerry Webster Steelers 28-17, Kerry Naylor Steelers 24-21, Jim Cushion Steelers 28-17, Christina Pryor Steelers 23-17, Jim Kilmartin Steelers 20-17.
Congratulations: Former Tyrone Golden Eagle golfer Ryan Ruscio has received one of the 12 $1,000 scholarships given out by the Central Counties Golf Association. Ryan graduated from Tyrone in June, and is continuing his education at Penn State Altoona.

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