Daily Herald Football Picks

Heading into the semifinals, we are down to just two more weeks on the prognostication panel. The picking title is still up for grabs. Christina Pryor and “Little Ole Sports Editor” me tied on last week’s card going 8-2. We both missed the Iowa upset of Penn State on the final play of the game, and the Steelers, who are feeling the results of a stacked schedule, and more injuries than Heinz has varieties. Jim Cushion, who also muffed on the Pitt win over Louisville, was 7-3. That gives me (85-25) a two-game game cushion (bad choice of terms?) over Cushion (83-27) and remain three in front of Pryor (82-28).
Kerry Webster (78-32 overall) was also 7-3 last week, including his Lone Ranger pick of the Colts. Kerry Naylor was 6-4 to fall five games off the pace overall (80-29), and guest picker Nick Cushion was 4-6. Overall, the guests are on the bottom of the pile, with a combined 75-35.
This week, our guest picker is Tom Coleman, Tyrone grad and athlete and present Tyrone Area School District Athletic Director. Good luck Tom!
The cards match on every game this week, except for the B-A/Bishop McCort game, which we cut right down the middle, with three picks for Bellwood-Antis and three for Bishop McCort. Everybody expects a close score, but Webster, Cushion and Pryor picks McCort, while Naylor, Coleman and myself side with the Blue Devils!
Central Cambria at Tyrone: Friday night rematch of last year’s semifinal game which knocked the Eagles out. Orange and Black (10-1) has been doing everything and some would say, better than last year. Larry Glace, a guard on offense in ‘07, has rushed for over 1,300 yards. Levi Reihart, who was hurt in the CC game last year and didn’t play in the second half, has had an incredible season, passing for 1,335 yards with nine TDs and only a pair of interceptions, completing nearly 65 percent of his tosses. The Tyrone defense has only Clearfield, their only loss, to score more than two TDs, and has four shutouts. Central Cambria got off to a slow start, losing two and winning one of the first three contests in overtime, but their only loss since is a one-pointer to top seeded Single-A Bishop McCort. The Red Devils (8-3) shut out Huntingdon last week 14-0 in the D-6AA quarters.
The picks: Miller Tyrone 21-7, Kerry Webster Tyrone 35-12, Kerry Naylor Tyrone 19-13, Jim Cushion Tyrone 21-14, Christina Pryor Tyrone 28-7, Tom Coleman Tyrone 28-14.
Bellwood-Antis at Bishop McCort: B-A has won the last two Single-A titles, McCort has won the last two Double-A championships before dropping to Single-A this year. Crimson Crushers (10-0) have pretty much lived up to their nickname in ‘08 racing through their schedule undefeated outscoring the opposition 360-136. The only schools to get close, were Bishop Guilfoyle (39-34), Richland (38-34) and Central Cambria (14-13). McCort vanquished Laurel Valley last week 31-6. B-A was very lucky to still be alive in the playoffs after escaping from Moshannon Valley 13-7, last week in the quarters. Blue Devils must bring their “”A” game or be crushed under the Bishop McCort Express. Friday night game at Point Stadium in Johnstown
The picks: Miller Bellwood-Antis 21-20, Kerry Webster Bishop McCort 21-12, Kerry Naylor Bellwood-Antis 29-22, Jim Cushion Bishop McCort 24-14, Christina Pryor Bishop McCort 21-13, Tom Coleman Bellwood-Antis 28-24.
Central at Forest Hills: Central (9-2) was undefeated and running away from first seven foes, then lost to Clearfield (49-21), edged St. Marys (28-27) and fell to Tyrone 38-14, to end their regular season. Dragons beat Penn Cambria 21-14 to advance last week. Forest Hills (10-1) shut out Richland 28-0 last week in Double-A quarters. Their only blemish was a 27-0 loss to Central Cambria in week six. Game will be played on Saturday.
The picks: Miller Forest Hills, Kerry Webster Forest Hills, Kerry Naylor Forest Hills, Jim Cushion Forest Hills, Christina Pryor Forest Hills, Tom Coleman Forest Hills.
Purchase Line at Portage: Two 10-0 teams, who play only in their own leagues. Portage hasn’t been challenged by anyone, except North Star (42-35) and has two 1,000-yard runners and a stingy defense, giving up just 48 points in their other nine games. Purchase Line finished as the No. 3 seed to Portage’s No. 2, and has proven they know how to win close contests, winning one in overtime and three more by nine points or less.
The picks: Miller Portage, Kerry Webster Portage, Kerry Naylor Portage, Jim Cushion Portage, Christina Pryor Portage, Tom Coleman Portage.
Conemaugh Township vs. Windber: Classic battle of offense against defense. Township (8-3) has used defense all year to win big games, including 14-0 over Windber in Week 2. Windber has turned it on late, with big runner who has three 250-yard games this year. Windber (8-3), runs the Single-Wing for those fans who still remember it, has piled up points and yards
The picks: Miller Windber, Kerry Webster Windber, Kerry Naylor Windber, Jim Cushion Windber, Christina Pryor Windber, Tom Coleman Windber.
Johnstown vs. Hollidaysburg: Johnstown (8-3) wiped out Indian Valley last week after a slow start, in Tripe-A playoffs, but has spent much of the season against Single-A and Double-A schools in the Laurel Highlands Conference. So has Indian Valley for that matter. Hollidaysburg (9-1) has waded through Triple-A and Quad-A teams. Tigers only loss was against Quad-A State College in first week.
The picks: Miller Hollidaysburg, Kerry Webster Hollidaysburg, Kerry Naylor Hollidaysburg, Jim Cushion Hollidaysburg, Christina Pryor Hollidaysburg, Tom Coleman Hollidaysburg.
South Carolina at Florida: Florida (8-1) has clinched their SEC division and a berth against current No. 1 Alabama setting up what could be considered a national semifinal at the Georgia Dome, but must not be looking ahead this week past the Gamecocks of coach Steve Spurrier. No. 24 South Carolina (7-3) would love to go head-hunting against No. 3 Gators if given half an opportunity. Spurrier would like nothing better than to ruin Florida’s national title hopes.
The picks: Miller Florida, Kerry Webster Florida, Kerry Naylor Florida, Jim Cushion Florida, Christina Pryor Florida, Tom Coleman Florida.
Georgia at Auburn: No. 13 Georgia has Matthew Stafford (376 passing yards) and Knowshon Moreno (123 yards rushing and 3 TDs) operating fullout last week against Kentucky, but defense was suspect in 42-38 win. Auburn, ranked earlier but losses to West Virginia among others dropped the Tigers off the top 25. None-the-less, going into Auburn and coming out with a victory is never easy.
The picks: Miller Georgia, Kerry Webster Georgia, Kerry Naylor Georgia, Jim Cushion Georgia, Christina Pryor Georgia, Tom Coleman Georgia.
Indiana at Penn State: Key for Nittany Lions is to be able to get back on track after last-second loss to Iowa. All is not lost, a high bowl game, possibly the Rose Bowl, is still in the picture, but not if Nits allow any doubt left over from last week to steal into their confidence. Offense needs to get diversified and defense needs to play like the first nine games. Rather they admit it or not, the bye week hurt Penn State.
The picks: Miller Penn State 37-12, Kerry Webster Penn State 42-14, Kerry Naylor Penn State 48-14, Jim Cushion Penn State 8-6, Christina Pryor Penn State 42-17, Tom Coleman Penn State 45-7.
Chargers at Steelers: Second team in a row for Steelers, not doing their usual run through the NFL. Steelers need to make sure this is not the week for San Diego to begin their comeback. Injuries are key to performance, despite Mike Tomlin’s story about filling in and expecting everyone to perform like a first-teamer. Philip Rivers and LaDanian Tomlinson must be contained and the Steelers offense, with whoever at quarterback has to take control.
The picks: Miller Steelers 28-24, Kerry Webster Steelers 35-28, Kerry Naylor Steelers 27-10, Jim Cushion Steelers 28-26, Christina Pryor Steelers 34-24, Tom Coleman Steelers 24-21.
Congratulations:Bellwood-Antis cross country runners Cooper Campbell and Tyler Hunter and Emily Stapleton, and volleyball p-layers Tori Baldauf, Chelsey Lowry and Emily Sinisi were honored recently with First Team ICC All-Star selections.

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