Welcome to Championship Week of the high school football season. Each year at Thanksgiving, Chick’s Picks spends time reflecting on those things for which she is grateful. Her prized crystal ball is a regular on this list, as without it, her prognosticating career would surely be in jeopardy. Aside from the crystal ball, however, Chick’s Picks has added a few items to her list.
First and foremost, Chick’s Picks is thankful for The Fumbler. His poor prognosticating efforts this season shed new light on the talent of Chick’s Picks. Also, she is thankful for Twitter. This social media experience has opened new doors for Chick’s Picks, and allowed her fans a direct line of communication when her picks are unfavorable.
Chick’s Picks is also thankful for the fan, who shall remain anonymous, that proposed a prognosticating challenge at the start of the season. Chick’s Picks will reap the benefits of surviving the challenge when the fan holds true to his end of the bet by providing the prognosticator with her favorite homemade cookies at Heinz Field on Friday.
Most importantly, Chick’s Picks is thankful to be a part of the MSA Sports Network team. Chick’s Picks, most of the time, has considered it a privilege to be under the leadership of the Boss, Don Rebel, for more than a decade. What more could a WPIAL prognosticator ask for?
Chick’s Picks wrapped up last week’s semifinals with a (6-2) 75% record, bringing her season total to 528-127 (81%). Here are this week’s championship predictions:
Agree with her picks? Disagree? Chick’s Picks wants to hear from you! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @ChicksPicksMSA. Don’t forget to tweet your scores to us @MSASports or use #MSAScores!
North Allegheny (12-0) vs. Woodland Hills (10-2)
North Allegheny looks to claim its third straight WPIAL Class AAAA title Friday afternoon against Woodland Hills. The Tigers, in the postseason, defeated Altoona (42-14), Bethel Park (42-14), and Seneca Valley (47-17) to advance to the championship game. Woodland Hills knocked off North Hills (27-7) in the first round before pulling back-to-back upsets of Gateway (17-14) and Upper St. Clair (42-20). The Tigers boast a powerhouse offense led by QB Mack Leftwich, who has thrown for 2,411 yards and 32 touchdowns on the year. Wolverines rushing leader Miles Sanders has 641 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, but remains a question mark for the title game after suffering a neck injury. Woodland Hills is making its 6th championship appearance in 12 years. The Wolverines have allowed 168 points this season, more than double the Tigers’82 points. Chick’s Picks likes the Tigers for the three-peat.
North Allegheny over Woodland Hills
West Allegheny (11-1) vs. West Mifflin (11-1)
West Allegheny goes in search of its sixth WPIAL title by taking on West Mifflin in the finale of Championship Friday. The Indians made their way through the postseason with wins over Ringgold (48-7), Montour (14-2), and Thomas Jefferson (24-7). The Titans rolled over Knoch (28-14), Mars (28-13), and Central Valley (36-35 in overtime). West Allegheny relies on a daunting defense that allows less than 10 points per game. West Mifflin RB Jim Wheeler ranked among the best in the WPIAL this season with 2,144 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. The Titans only loss this season came to Thomas Jefferson, 28-14. The Indians come from the elite bloodlines of the Parkway Conference, from which a team has played in the title game in nine of the last 12 years. West Mifflin is making only its third title game appearance in 30 years. Chick’s Picks thinks the old adage that defense wins championships carries a lot of weight in this one.
West Allegheny over West Mifflin
Aliquippa (12-0) vs. Washington (12-0)
The Quips face the Little Prexies in the only battle of undefeateds to take place on Championship Friday. Aliquippa, in the postseason, rolled over Steel Valley (55-0), Mt. Pleasant (43-6), and Jeannette (56-0). Washington knocked off Shady Side Academy (47-12), Seton-LaSalle (28-10), and South Fayette (33-17). The Quips will look to their dominating backfield duo of Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson. The two have combined for over 2,300 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns this season. The Little Prexies boast the best RB in the WPIAL in Shai McKenzie. A junior, McKenzie has rushed for 2,656 yards and 42 touchdowns on the year. Aliquippa has appeared in 14 of the last 28 WPIAL championship games, including this, the fifth straight. The Quips own 14 titles, more than any other team in the WPIAL. The Little Prexies are seeking their eighth championship. Aliquippa has allowed only 42 points all season—the best of any championship team. Chick’s Picks likes the one-two punch of Henry and Swanson to bring home number 15.
Aliquippa over Washington
Clairton (12-0) vs. Sto-Rox (11-1)
Familiar foes meet again when Clairton and Sto-Rox face off in a rematch of last year’s title game. Last week, the Bears blasted Neshannock, 37-7, after routing Brentwood (39-0) in the quarterfinals and Frazier (58-6) in the first round. The Vikings knocked off Carmichaels (40-7) in the first round, Union (33-8) in the quarterfinals, and North Catholic (34-20) in the semifinals. The Bears own the longest win streak in WPIAL history at 59 games, and could become only the second school in history to win five straight WPIAL championships. Clairton is led by Tyler Boyd, who has 1,979 rushing yards, 560 receiving yards, and 40 touchdowns this season. Sto-Rox QB Lenny Williams gets it done on the ground and in the air, passing for 2,131 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,086 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Vikings only loss this season came unexpectedly to Neshannock, 35-34. Chick’s Picks likes the Bears in history-making fashion.
Clairton over Sto-Rox