The Fumbler was feeling ambitious when he awoke Monday morning.
"Let's run for president," he said to himself while eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.
Nothing like a last-minute effort to try to become the leader of this nation. In football terms, The Fumbler was running the two-minute offense.
The Fumbler knew he would get the vote of local football coaches and former players, but winning a small fraction of Western Pennsylvania wasn't going to be enough to get the 270 electoral votes needed to grab the presidency.
So, The Fumbler branched out to football hotbeds across the country. Flying a small plane he borrowed from a friend, The Fumbler flew everywhere from Florida and Texas to California and Ohio in an attempt to make the presidential race a three-man competition. The Fumbler labeled his affiliation the "Prognosticator Party."
No political pundit even knew who The Fumbler was just one day earlier, but by the end of the day Monday, The Fumbler was a household name.
For The Fumbler, though, it was a case of too little, too late. Tuesday night, President Obama was re-elected. The Fumbler finished a scant 55 million or so votes behind.
But as The Fumbler viewed it, gaining a few million votes while being in the election for such a short time was a moral victory.
Said The Fumbler: "2016 will be the year of The Fumbler."
Have any political advice for The Fumbler? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first-round of the WPIAL playoffs was a great success for The Fumbler, who went 28-5. Overall this season, he is 501-124 (.801).
Here are his thoughts on tonight's quarterfinal matchups. All games will begin at 7:30 p.m.
North Allegheny (10-0) vs. Bethel Park (7-3) at North Hills -- Four years ago, Bethel Park stunned heavily favored Gateway to win the WPIAL title. Upsetting North Allegheny this season might be an even taller task. The two-time defending champion Tigers have dominated the competition all season and have won 35 in a row against WPIAL opponents. Winner. North Allegheny.
Seneca Valley (9-1) vs. Mt. Lebanon (8-2) at North Allegheny -- This will be a fun one to watch. Both teams like to spread out opposing defenses and take shots downfield. The quarterbacks -- Seneca Valley's Jordan Brown and Mt. Lebanon's Tyler Roth -- are excellent. What gives Seneca Valley the edge is running back Forrest Barnes. Winner: Seneca Valley.
Gateway (9-1) vs. Woodland Hills (8-2) at Norwin -- In 10 of the past 13 seasons, at least one of these teams have advanced to the WPIAL championship game. Woodland Hills was held to 66 total yards against North Hills last week, yet won, 27-7. Wolverines quarterback Cody McClelland will need to have a big game to keep pace with the high-scoring Gators. Winner: Gateway.
Upper St. Clair (9-1) vs. Central Catholic (8-2) at Baldwin -- A rematch of a semifinal from last season, when Upper St. Clair upset Central Catholic, then the No. 1 seed. Backup quarterback Pete Coughlin got the start and ran for 209 yards and a touchdown. Now a full-time starter, Coughlin will again try to eliminate the Vikings and their razor-sharp defense. Winner: Upper St. Clair.
Thomas Jefferson (10-0) vs. Franklin Regional (8-2) at Elizabeth Forward -- Franklin Regional running back Dane Brown, slowed by an ankle injury this fall, is running as well as he has all season and scored eight touchdowns the last two games. But how will the Panthers be able to keep in check one of the top passing attacks in the WPIAL? Winner: Thomas Jefferson.
Montour (9-1) vs. West Allegheny (9-1) at Chartiers Valley -- What's the over/under for this one? Eight and a half? When these Parkway Conference rivals got together three weeks ago, West Allegheny won, 5-3. The West Allegheny defense has been terrific, giving up 10 points over the past four games. The rematch will again be close, but The Fumbler has a feeling Montour's Devin Wilson will emerge as the hero. Winner: Montour.
Mars (9-1) vs. West Mifflin (9-1) at Fox Chapel -- The Fumbler picked Mars to lose to No. 15 Blackhawk last week. Not even close. Call The Fumbler stubborn, but he's picking against Mars again. Former Titans running back Shamar Greene rushed for 224 yards against the Planets in a first-round win a season ago. Jimmy Wheeler won't match that, but ... Winner: West Mifflin.
Central Valley (8-2) vs. Hopewell (5-5) at Ambridge -- Survive and advance. That's what Central Valley did last week, narrowly avoiding a major upset against Belle Vernon. Robert Foster is back from suspension, but Jordan Whitehead and Nathan Climo -- both missed last week's game with injuries -- are questionable. Central Valley beat Hopewell, 35-17, in the regular season. Winner: Central Valley.
Aliquippa (10-0) vs. Mount Pleasant (8-2) at Peters Township -- Mount Pleasant has scored at least 48 points in each of its past three games and had two players rush for more than 100 yards last week. Aliquippa has surrendered only 36 points all season and has not allowed a runner to cross the century mark. The Quips move one step closer to their fifth final in a row. Winner: Aliquippa.
Jeannette (9-1) vs. Beaver (9-1) at Hampton -- An intriguing matchup between teams that finished runner-up in likely the top two conferences in Class AA. Both squads run the ball well, but The Fumbler believes Jeannette has the better defense. The Jayhawks will also have the best player on the field in fullback/linebacker Jordan Edmunds. Winner: Jeannette.
South Fayette (10-0) vs. Beaver Falls (8-2) at Moon -- Will South Fayette continue its season-long streak of having the "mercy rule" invoked against its opponents. Playing Beaver Falls, you wouldn't think so. That said, Beaver Falls did lose to Aliquippa, 66-7. Thus, seeing the continuously moving clock in the second half is a possibility. Winner: South Fayette.
Washington (10-0) vs. Seton-LaSalle (9-1) at Canon-McMillan -- Time for another episode of "The Shai McKenzie Show." The WPIAL's leading rusher ran for 584 yards and 12 touchdowns the past two weeks alone. McKenzie will break off a few big runs against Seton-LaSalle, but the Rebels passing game gives them the edge. Get ready for another Brumbaugh vs. Brumbaugh matchup in the semifinals. Winner: Seton-LaSalle.
Clairton (10-0) vs. Brentwood (7-3) at Belle Vernon -- The last time Clairton lost a game, President Obama was in his first year of office. Since then, the Bears have ruled Class A in the WPIAL and state. When Clairton won at Brentwood in October, sprinklers -- some claim intentionally -- wet the field just before kickoff. It takes more than that to slow down the Bears. Winner: Clairton.
Monessen (9-1) vs. Neshannock (9-1) at Chartiers-Houston -- Even The Fumbler didn't predict Neshannock would be this good. After all, the Lancers are in the playoffs for just the second time in more than three decades. Monessen has an excellent dual-threat quarterback in Chavas Rawlins, but so does Sto-Rox (Lenny Williams), and the Lancers have been the only team to beat them. Winner: Neshannock.
Sto-Rox (9-1) vs. Union (7-3) at Mars -- Speaking of Lenny Williams, The Fumbler is impressed with this dazzling junior quarterback. He accounted for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in the first round. When Sto-Rox met Big Seven rival Union last month, Williams both passed and ran for more than 100 yards. Expect similar success this time around. Winner: Sto-Rox.
Rochester (9-1) vs. North Catholic (8-2) at Keystone Oaks -- The Fumbler has a lot of respect for Rochester, which is in the quarterfinals for the 13th year in a row. North Catholic played one other Big Seven team this season (Neshannock) and lost, 42-7. That only strengthens The Fumbler's thought that the Rams will prevail, making it three Big Seven teams and Clairton in the Final Four. Winner: Rochester.
District 5-6-8-9 Semifinals
Somerset (5-5) vs. University Prep (5-3), 7 p.m. today at Cupples Stadium -- A week after losing in overtime to Perry in the City League championship game, University Prep begins play in the PIAA playoffs. Somerset has lost three games in a row. Winner: University Prep.
The Fumbler: email@example.com