The Varsity Letters searched throughout the WPIAL – from the Alle-Kiski Valley to Western Beaver to West Greene to Laurel Highlands, – and beyond looking for someone willing to make fearless predictions on the top games throughout the district.
TVL couldn't find anyone with a catchy nickname like The Rumbler or The Wedgebuster or The Jolt.
Saturated Fats, the long-time, anonymous prognosticator for the Observer-Reporter, asked for too much money then wanted a lifetime membership to Cici's Pizza. Both requests were denied.
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was approached but he wanted to delegate writing responsibilities to his assistant coaches while still getting the byline.
Finally, after weeks of searching, TVL found its man. Yours truly. Each week, we'll offer up a serving of Kovak's fearless prognostications.
Mount Pleasant at Charleroi – The Vikings won the rugged Interstate Conference a year ago and took a 10-0 record into the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals before Keystone Oaks knocked them out. Mt. Pleasant returns one starter from that team. Charleroi returns Quentin Briggs, Kyle Shannon and Cory Altemara. Charleroi, 21-3.
North Catholic at Springdale – According to readers of this blog, I overrated North Catholic in my WPIAL Class A preseason rankings, while publishers of statewide rankings overrated Springdale. The Dynamos have the experience. Always take experience early in the season (except for a game yet to be mentioned). Springdale, 19-14.
Chartiers Valley at Montour – Colts quarterback Wayne Capers is back and CV always plays well early in the season. Montour returns a ton of talent from a team that went 5-5. I'm going with Capers. Chartiers Valley, 28-20.
Clairton at Washington – Remember the adage "always take experience early in the season?" Well, Clairton returns a loaded team that won the PIAA Class A title last year. This year's Bears might be better. With only five seniors, Washington will rely on unproven underclassmen at several key positions. Something tells me that Washington won't be the least bit intimidated by Clairton and something tells me the Bears are in for an upset. Washington, 17-12.
State College at North Allegheny – State College reached the PIAA Class AAAA title game out of District 6 a year ago. The Little Lions always seem to find their way into the state tournament. NA has some injuries, but the Tigers are in the conversation for WPIAL championship contenders. North Allegheny, 28-10.
Manatee (Fla.) at Woodland Hills – Woody High should be the class of the WPIAL once again but did anybody see Manatee manhandle Plant on national television last weekend? I did. Manatee 35, Woodland Hills 7.