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Written by: Phil Myers on Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Well, the long-awaited week is here. Neither Covid, nor Governor Wolf, nor anyone or anything else can prevent opening kickoffs of high school football across the Commonwealth.
And just in time too. Mrs. Protime is one of the biggest #LetThemPlay proponents there is. After spending the last 38 straight Fridays together with Protime, it is obvious that another Friday night or two might have sent her over the edge. You see Protime has this inordinate ability to constantly analyze and predict everything. Mrs. Protime has the patience of Job and is the cutest thing you ever did see, but the endless analyzing and predicting, especially on Fridays, has its limits.
Remember two weeks ago when Protime ran his ‘what might have been’ series? It had thousands of hits on twitter, and some even had thought the games were actually happening. Well, as it turned out two of those games actually happened as scrimmages last weekend. Clearfield hosted DuBois and Berwick was home to Southern Columbia. As predicted by Protime in his ‘what might have been’ games, Clearfield and Southern were victorious. Does that mean Protime starts the season at 2-0?
Remember, these predictions are for fun. Nobody, including Protime, takes the prognostications seriously. But, if teams want to use these forecasts as locker room fodder and motivation, by all means do so. Last year Protime ended up 304-76. Now, on with the picks. Follow Protime on twitter @Protime_PFN.
Richland at Bishop Guilfoyle – There are some huge games in the opening week of play and this is certainly one of them. Coach Brandon Bailey’s Richland Rams graduated a couple good players, but the cupboard is not bare. Kellan Stahl returns as quarterback and is ready to pick up where he left off last year. BG Marauder coach, Justin Wheeler, has plenty back from last year’s state single A runner-up squad that lost by three in overtime including LB Zach McCloskey, RB Keegan Myrick, and DE Andrew Yanoshak. Richland won last year 36-0. It won’t be that easy this time, but something tells Protime the Rams still win, ironically by three, 17-14.
Clairton at Jeannette – Either one of these two great teams might be playing Bishop Guilfoyle in the state class A title game this year. Just a Protime hunch. Clairton is ranked #1 by many, but Jeannette is rated high among the contenders. Bear coach Wayne Wade has Isaiah Berry returning at RB and big Da’Metrius Weatherspoon who is 6’6” 315 pounds back on the offensive and defensive line. Roy Hall, the Jayhawk head man, lost some good people but does have wide receivers Brett Birch and Toby Cline returning. In a slugfest and preview of the District 7 championship, Clairton’s Bears prevail over the Jayhawks, 26-20.
Tamaqua at Shenandoah Valley – The winner of this game will be in blue heaven, while the loser will be feeling blue. That’s because Tamaqua’s nickname is the Blue Raiders, while Shenandoah Valley’s nickname is the Blue Devils. Coach Sam Bonner and his Tamaqua eleven are led by RB Nate Curvey. Meanwhile, first year head coach, Ed Moran, has some work to do in order to lift Valley to its first win in 28 games. Brian Dunne, Jr. returns at half back for the Blue Devils. Valley returns enough starters from last year to give Tamaqua a good game before losing 14-6.
Chestnut Ridge at Bedford – Chestnut Ridge won last year 20-19 in a nail-biter. The Lions, under the tutelage of Max Shoemaker, return QB Logan Pfister who was the leading rusher last year along with tossing the ball for almost 2,000 yards. The Bisons, guided by Kevin Steele, return Elijah Cook at RB and Mercury Swaim at QB. Look for another down to the wire game with Bedford topping Ridge 13-7.
Oil City at Franklin – Oil City advanced to the state quarter finals last year before succumbing to Southern Lehigh. Coach Dan York’s Oilers return plenty from a year ago including the RB duo of Cameron Russell and Brayden Crocker. But Protime is hearing the Oiler defense will be a force this season. Meanwhile, the Franklin Knights have a new coach in Matt Turk and will have to find a new QB to replace Ian Haynes. They do return WR Cade Williams and some linemen like Ryan Wood. Oil City 35 Franklin 14.
Wyoming Valley West at Wilkes-Barre – Wilkes-Barre won the game last year, but WVW should have dual threat QB Dontae Rhodes ready to go. Spartan head coach Jack Baranski would love to see his team get off to a good start against a very challenging opponent. The Wolfpack had a tremendous first year, even winning a playoff game. Coach Ciro Cinti returns, among others, QB Kameron Taylor. This should be a great game. The Wolfpack edges the Spartans 14-13.
Washington at McGuffey – Protime is thinking Washington, Beaver Falls, and McGuffey are three of the top contenders in D-7. So, what a way to begin the season with the Little Prexies at the Highlanders! Wash High needs to replace quite a few offensive players, but coach Mike Bosnic might have a secret weapon in D.C. transfer Andre Porter. Remember that name. McGuffey’s head coach, Ed Dalton is closing in on 200 career wins and says this year’s team of Highlanders may be his best yet. McGuffey has QB Nate Yagle, RB McKinley Whipkey, and RB Jared Johnson among others returning. In a real dandy the Prexies win 35-31.
DuBois at Brookville – DuBois has some talent under first year head honcho T.J. Wingard. WRs Zach Shilala and Dale Kot are two legitimate threats for the visiting Beavers. The Blue Raiders return a veteran squad and if QB Jack Krug, along with a couple other key ingredients stay healthy, look out. Robert Keth returns as a vital cog playing wide receiver for coach Scott Park’s offense. Brookville won last year 35-25. Protime literally had to flip a coin for this one and the home team comes out on top, 34-31.
Wyoming Area 27 Riverside 15 – The Warriors are the returning AAA state champs, but they do not have an easy time with the upstart Vikings.
Loyalsock Township 20 Warrior Run 10 – The Lancers go on the offense and spear the Defenders of Warrior Run.
Wellsboro 33 Cowanesque Valley 13 – The Hornets (not going to say it) swarm all over the Indians.
Montoursville 21 Midd-West 12 – The Warriors may not be as strong as last year, but they have enough to corral the Mustangs.
Bellwood-Antis 24 Northern Bedford 14 – In this interesting tilt, the Blue Devils find a way to fend off the Panthers.
Tussey Mountain 28 Meyersdale 27 – Protime’s crystal ball calls this a one-point triumph for the Titans over the Red Raiders.
Bellefonte 17 Tyrone 10 – Never count out John Franco’s Golden Eagles, but Shannon Manning’s Red Raiders are a touchdown better.
Clearfield 35 Penns Valley 28 – Clearfield scored late last year to beat the Rams in a 56-49 thriller. The 2020 version is just as exciting, but just not as high scoring.
North Allegheny 28 Penn Hills 13 – Interesting match-up in D-7. NA’s Tigers find out that the Indians came to play, but NA still wins.
Beaver Falls 30 Riverside 13 – The Tigers are one of the preseason favorites in AA and are led by Syracuse recruit Josh Hough, the 6’3” 230-pound RB and LB. The Panthers of Riverside beat McGuffey in the playoffs last year before losing to state finalist Avonworth in the D-7 semis.
Thomas Jefferson 35 West Mifflin 17 – Bill Cherpak leads the Jaguars, last year’s 4A state champs, to another regular season victory in doubling up the Titans.
Central Valley 38 Hopewell 20 – The Warriors’ dual threat QB, Ameer Dudley, will be the difference maker in the opener with the Hopewell Vikings.
Cathedral Prep 45 Butler 14 – Mike Mischler’s Ramblers welcome the Golden Tornado to District 10 football. Side note: Protime has not seen Butler for a few years, but if memory serves him correctly, they had a tremendous band.
Erie McDowell 23 Erie 16 – In two thirds of the battle for bragging rights in the city of Erie, McDowell’s Trojans come out on top of the Erie Royals.
Keystone 34 Sheffield 24 – The Panthers are led by a very good running back in the person of Nick Weaver. They walloped the Wolverines in 2019. Protime has a feeling this year will be much more competitive.
Sharon 22 Slippery Rock 14 – The Sharon Tigers lost Lane Voytik their record-setting quarterback to graduation, but have enough to fizzle out the Rockets in a close contest.
Blue Mountain 17 Schuylkill Haven 7 – Protime’s crystal ball envisions the Eagles soaring high above the Hurricanes.
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