The Fumbler: Good fortune his goal

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The streak is over! The streak is over!

Those were the headlines Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. If you live in Western Pennsylvania, you've more than likely heard the news.

An embarrassing, 20-year run of losing came to a halt. A generation of fans saw their first winner. An entire city can rejoice.

Yep, in one instant, history was made ... The Fumbler was a winner on a scratch-off lottery ticket.

The Fumbler hears there was another streak broken that night -- something about a baseball team -- but there was only one end of futility The Fumbler was concerned about.

Each week since the fall of 1992, The Fumbler traveled to a local convenience store to buy one of those scratch-off tickets in hopes of getting rich. Week after week, he went home a loser. He had hoped the day finally would come when he would see a winner, but he always found himself disappointed.

Then, late Tuesday night, magic happened. A huge smile appeared on The Fumbler's face when he took a penny, scratched away, and realized he had finally won. Granted, the prize was a "free ticket," but he'll take what he can get. The Fumbler would love to win an even bigger prize later this fall, but any further success would just be icing on the cake.

The Fumbler wasn't doing much celebrating after Week 1 of the high school football season. He has been known to be a slow starter, and this season proved that. He went a pedestrian 49-19 (.720) last week.

Here are his thoughts on this weekend's top games:

Central Catholic at North Hills, tonight at 7:30 -- This past weekend saw the annual Rib Fest set up shop outside of Heinz Field. Vendors from across the country came to show off their products. Some had cool names like Bad AZZ BBQ and Pigfoot. The event made The Fumbler think of Andrew Johnson, a big-time WPIAL running back in the early 2000s who played at Central Catholic and then North Hills. Johnson later became part owner of a restaurant named A&J Ribs in Market Square (it's no longer open). In a game you can dub "The Andrew Johnson Bowl," Central Catholic is a juicy pick. Make no bones about it. Winner: Central Catholic.

Elizabeth Forward at Thomas Jefferson, tonight at 7:30 -- The last time Elizabeth Forward beat Thomas Jefferson, gas cost less than $1 a gallon and the first Batman movie -- starring Pittsburgh's Michael Keaton -- hit theaters. Nearly a quarter century later, it's safe to say Elizabeth Forward is due to top the Jaguars again. A season ago, the Warriors lost by two points. This season? Well, let's just say that late tonight the Warriors will be partying like it's 1989. In a Class AAA Big Nine Conference upset ... Winner: Elizabeth Forward.

Central Valley at Montour, tonight at 7:10 -- This sets up to be a good one, but chances are it won't end with as much drama as the game last season, when Montour edged Central Valley, 28-27, after the Spartans stopped Robert Foster short of the goal line on a two-point attempt in overtime. Montour coach Lou Cerro called it an "unbelievable game." Believe it or not, this year's Central Valley team might be as good as the Foster-led squad of last year. The guys in the Carolina Blue uniforms will have Montour singing the blues. Winner: Central Valley.

Brentwood at Monessen, tonight at 7 -- Monessen native Michael Moorer defeated Evander Holyfield to become the first southpaw to claim the heavyweight title. The Monessen football team has the punching power to deliver knockout blows, too. One of the heavy hitters is Clintell Gillaspie, who is known for his big-play ability. When Monessen won at Brentwood a year ago, Gillaspie had touchdown receptions of 79 and 87 yards. Last week, he scored on runs of 85 and 47 yards. This one will go the distance, but still ... Winner: Monessen.

And the rest (home teams in capital letters):


WPIAL CLASS AAAA -- (Foothills Conference) KISKI AREA over Altoona; GATEWAY over Connellsville; Hempfield over LATROBE; PENN-TRAFFORD over Norwin. (Northern Eight) Butler over SHALER; NORTH ALLEGHENY over Fox Chapel. (Southeastern) Baldwin over PLUM; Bethel Park over MT. LEBANON; UPPER ST. CLAIR over Canon-McMillan; PETERS TOWNSHIP over Penn Hills.

WPIAL CLASS AAA -- (Big Nine) UNIONTOWN over Albert Gallatin; WEST MIFFLIN over Belle Vernon; RINGGOLD over Laurel Highlands. (Greater Allegheny) Franklin Regional over INDIANA; HIGHLANDS over Hampton; GREENSBURG SALEM over Hollidaysburg; Mars over DERRY. (Parkway) Blackhawk over MOON; HOPEWELL over Chartiers Valley; West Allegheny over AMBRIDGE.

WPIAL CLASS AA -- (Allegheny) VALLEY over Burrell; SHADY SIDE ACADEMY over Deer Lakes; KITTANNING over East Allegheny; Ford City over FREEPORT. (Century) STEEL VALLEY over Burgettstown; SOUTH FAYETTE over Keystone Oaks; SETON-LaSALLE over McGuffey; Quaker Valley over SOUTH ALLEGHENY. (Interstate) JEANNETTE over Charleroi; MOUNT PLEASANT over Greensburg Central Catholic; WASHINGTON over Southmoreland; Yough over BROWNSVILLE. (Midwestern) NEW BRIGHTON over Beaver; Ellwood City over FREEDOM; BEAVER FALLS over Mohawk.

WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) NESHANNOCK over Laurel; Rochester over SHENANGO; Sto-Rox over SOUTH SIDE BEAVER. (Black Hills) Bishop Canevin over CHARTIERS-HOUSTON; FORT CHERRY over California; CLAIRTON over Carlynton. (Eastern) WEST SHAMOKIN over Northgate; AVONWORTH over Riverview; NORTH CATHOLIC over Springdale. (Tri-County South) JEFFERSON-MORGAN over Bentworth; Carmichaels over FRAZIER; AVELLA over West Greene.

NON-CONFERENCE -- Aliquippa over SOUTH PARK; Allderdice over BROOKE (W.VA.); Chestnut Ridge over CARRICK; Knoch over TRINITY; UNION over Leechburg; NEW CASTLE over Riverside; University Prep over SHENANDOAH VALLEY; MAPLETOWN over Vincentian; Westinghouse over WHEELING CENTRAL CATHOLIC (W.VA.).

Saturday afternoon

WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) Our Lady of the Sacred Heart over WESTERN BEAVER. (Eastern) Apollo-Ridge over WILKINSBURG.

NON-CONFERENCE -- ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (MD.) over Kiski School; SUMMIT ACADEMY over Waynesburg; Woodland Hills over McKEES-PORT.

Saturday night

NON-CONFERENCE -- HANCOCK (MD.) over Serra Catholic.



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