Daily Herald Football Picks

All the classifications are involved in playoffs this week, although because our district has so few Quad-A schools, there will be no game in that class. Single-A schools have a week in and Double and Triple-A begin this week. District 5-AA has their championship game this weekend.
In last week’s poll, only our two Kerrys, Webster and Naylor hit on Pitt’s four overtime win over Notre Dame and only Christina Pryor nailed Texas Tech over top-ranked Texas, which gave the others a short group of correct cards. Kerry Webster, Kerry Naylor, guest picker Jim Kilmartin and I all were 8-2, Pryor was 7-3 and Jim Cushion was 6-4.
Overall, I passed Cushion to take over the lead at 77-23, while Cushion is second a game back at 76-24. Pryor (74-26) and Naylor (74-25) are two more lengths back, and Webster and the combined guests are 71-29.
This week, our guest picker is Nick Cushion. Nick is the Daily Herald stringer who covers the Tyrone Area Boys Basketball program and did a stint this summer as a Daily Herald intern, covering a little bit of everything. Nick is a student at Penn State Altoona. Good luck Nick!
Bald Eagle Area at Tyrone: This quarterfinal District 6-AA game on Friday night, is a rematch of the MAFC game from Sept. 26. This bird fight was won by the top seeded Golden Eagles from Tyrone 41-0 over the Bald Eagles from BEA. It is always tough to play and defeat a team twice in the same year. Saying that, Tyrone (9-1) with all guns blazing, and a defense that has only gotten better with experience as the season goes on, should do much the same this time around. No. 8 seed BEA (4-6) has won four games, after a winless season in ‘07.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 42-0, Kerry Webster Tyrone 52-12, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 42-6, Jim Cushion Tyrone 41-6, Christina Pryor Tyrone 41-6, Nick Cushion Tyrone 44-7.
Moshannon Valley at Bellwood-Antis: Quarterfinal match-up of two ICC North teams, on Saturday night. In first battle, B-A (9-1) handed Black Knights (9-1) their only loss of the year. That game was a 44-0 triumph for the Blue Devils on Oct. 3. B-A defense has allowed just 35 points in eight games since week 2, while the offense has scored 296 points. Everybody knows No. 4 seed Bellwood-Antis is a power running “here we come, try to stop us “ team, but foes must also stop Nate Gray and Nate Plummer, who threw for nearly 200 yards last week in a 37-7 win over Bishop Guilfoyle in the opening round of the playoffs. Tyrone grad Murray Fetzer has No. 5 seed Mo Valley primed for upset.
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 35-7, Kerry Webster Bellwood-Antis 35-6, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 44-12, Jim Cushion Bellwood-Antis 28-6, Christina Pryor Bellwood-Antis 42-14, Nick Cushion Bellwood-Antis 33-14.
Central Cambria at Huntingdon: A Saturday night Double-A District 6 quarterfinal. Huntingdon (7-3) made a late season surge to win their final five games and claim No, 4 seed in Double-A. After a down year, it appears the Bearcats are back for long-time head coach Jim Zauzig. Central Cambria the number 5 seed at 7-3, was the district runner-up in ‘07, who lost to Bishop McCort only 14-13 late and suffered two early season defeats by a total of six points
The picks: Miller Central Cambria, Kerry Webster Huntingdon, Kerry Naylor Huntingdon, Jim Cushion Central Cambria, Christina Pryor Central Cambria, Nick Cushion Huntingdon.
Laurel Valley at Bishop McCort: Top seed McCort (9-0), from the Laurel Highlands Conference, had an bye week last week, the only Single-A school to get the first round off. No. 9 seed Laurel Valley (7-3), with veteran coach Gerry Paige still at the helm, tripped up Northern Cambria 14-6 to reverse a regular season loss to the Colts in first-round action. Bishop McCort a two-time Double-A champ, who dropped to Single-A in ‘08, had a close call before edging Bishop Guilfoyle 39-34 and just beat Richland 38-34. In week 9, Crushers edged Central Cambria 14-13. This is a Friday night D-6A battle.
The picks: Miller Bishop McCort, Kerry Webster Bishop McCort, Kerry Naylor Bishop McCort, Jim Cushion Bishop McCort, Christina Pryor Bishop McCort, Nick Cushion Bishop McCort.
Chestnut Ridge vs. North Star: With District 5 only going with two qualifiers in Double-A, second seed Ridge (6-4) and top seed North Star (8-1) both had byes last week. From the WestPAC, North Star’s only blemish was a 42-35 shootout loss to undefeated Portage. Cougars average 30 points per game and have surrendered more than two scores to just two teams, other than Portage. Chestnut Ridge Lions have played all over this year, without the benefit of a league to play in. Lions lost to Portage 34-7 in week 5. D-5AA championship will be played at Berlin-Brothersvally’s High School’s Snyders of Berlin Sports Complex on Saturday.
The picks: Miller North Star, Kerry Webster North Star, Kerry Naylor North Star, Jim Cushion North Star, Christina Pryor North Star, Nick Cushion Chestnut Ridge.
Mount Union at Portage: This D-6A quarterfinal on Friday night, matches two power-running offenses, who are also both stingy on defense. Neither has shown any indication of a passing game, and with the exception of Mount Union’s season opening 7-6 loss to Triple-A Huntingdon, both play exclusively Single-A schools in their respective leagues. No. 2 seed Portage (10-0) downed Claysburg 44-12 in first round action, while No. 10 seed Mount Union ran past No. 7 seed Blairsville 41-28.
The picks: Miller Portage, Kerry Webster Portage, Kerry Naylor Portage, Jim Cushion Portage, Christina Pryor Portage, Nick Cushion Mount Union.
Alabama at LSU: The newest No. 1 team Alabama takes its turn as King of the Mountain, going into the Tigers den this week to face defending champ LSU. While the Crimson Tide was shutting out Arkansas State 35-0, No. 15 LSU was taking the measure of Tulane 35-10. Will the No. 1 jinx hit ‘Bama as it has so many teams over the past two seasons? LSU will not repeat, but still has a say in who succeeds them.
The picks: Miller Alabama, Kerry Webster LSU, Kerry Naylor LSU, Jim Cushion Alabama, Christina Pryor Alabama, Nick Cushion LSU
Penn State at Iowa: Joe Paterno keeps saying the BCS ignoring his Nittany Lions doesn’t mean much to him or his team, but a chance for another national title depends on it. The Nits have to watch for land mines along the way, but must run the table and score as many points at they can to get a shot, plus hope for Texas Tech and/or Alabama to lose. Penn State defense must stop Iowa runner Shonn Green, the only back in the nation with nine 100-yard games. QB Daryll Clark has been cleared to play after a concussion in the Ohio State game.
The picks: Miller Penn State 35-17, Kerry Webster Penn State 42-0, Kerry Naylor Penn State 48-10, Jim Cushion Penn State 32-21, Christina Pryor Penn State 34-10, Nick Cushion Penn State 38-17.
Louisville at Pitt: Pat Bostick has proved to be a winner at No. 25 Pitt (6-2, 2-1). He has started two games and Pitt is a perfect 2-0. Bostick didn’t beat Notre Dame last week all by himself, and now is going back to the bench with starter Bill Stull returning from a concussion after missing a game. Pitt’s defense has to guard against being tempted to take a break this week. Louisville (5-3, 1-2) is not the team it has been in recent years, but the Panthers can’t afford to let up, the Big East is full of teams still on the schedule that are potential land mines.
The picks: Miller Pitt 30-7, Kerry Webster Pitt 24-17, Kerry Naylor Pitt 23-13, Jim Cushion Pitt 21-13, Christina Pryor Pitt 38-35, Nick Cushion Pitt 35-7.
Colts at Steelers: With a short week for the Steelers, after playing on Monday night, there is less time for injuries to mend and tired bodies to replenish. Colts are only a meager 4-4, one of their worst starts in the Peyton Manning era. Adam Vinatieri showed he is still one of the best in the clutch, booting the Colts to an 18-15 win over the Patriots last Sunday to get Indianapolis to a 4-4 mark. Steelers will need a continuation of their defensive effort and may go with Byron Leftwich, who finished strong in Monday’s win over the Redskins, when Ben Roethlisberger was injured again.
The picks: Miller Steelers 33-21, Kerry Webster Colts 28-17, Kerry Naylor Steelers 31-24, Jim Cushion Steelers 31-20, Christina Pryor Steelers 17-13, Nick Cushion Steelers 24-10.

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