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H.S. Picks getting hot at just the right time

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Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead carries past West Allegheny's Christian Stout during the fourth quarter Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Center.

Just like some of the best high school teams in the area, H.S. Picks, the Tribune-Review’s iconic high school prognosticator, knows when to rise to the occasion.

After a ho-hum first week of the playoffs, going 40-7, Picks turned it around in the second week correctly predicting 20 of 22 winners, by far his best week of the season.

Picks only missed Neshannock’s win against Jeannette and Seton-La Salle’s victory against Highlands.

He was impressed to see Penn-Trafford, Ringgold and Blairsville found ways to win games and continue their seasons.

Picks congratulates all those teams from the area that qualified for the playoffs.

This week, the top teams square off in the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA District 6 playoffs.

Let’s see who Picks likes in a couple of key games.

Central Catholic vs. Penn-Trafford

This is a game that features two high-powered offenses, averaging nearly 40 points each. Both also have outstanding defenses. It’s a rematch of last season’s semifinals when Central Catholic rolled to a 49-10 victory. Central Catholic has won the past three playoff games between the schools. This should be a great game, but it’s time for Penn-Trafford to end the losing streak.

Penn-Trafford, 24-21

Ringgold vs. Central Valley

These squads have a lot of outstanding athletes. Central Valley, led by Pitt recruit Jordan Whitehead, have two other quality running backs in Preston Johnson and Ryan Robertson. Ringgold needed overtime to edge Hampton last week. Quarterback Nico Law is the Rams’ top player.

Central Valley, 28-13.

Portage at Blairsville

These teams played in the opening round of the District 6 playoffs last season with Portage winning 49-14. Both teams rely on the running game, so don’t look for too many passes. Blairsville has home-field advantage, which could prove the difference.

Blairsville, 21-14

Picks also likes:

Class AAAA: Pine-Richland 35, McKeesport 14.

Class AAA: West Allegheny 27, Thomas Jefferson 20; Somerset 28, Clearfield 26

Class AA: South Fayette 28, Seton-La Salle 14; Aliquippa 40, Washington 24.

Class A: Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic 24, Avonworth 21; Clairton 55, Neshannock 14.

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