The Fumbler has had homecoming on his mind a lot this past week.
Some WPIAL schools will have their annual ceremonies at their games tonight, and one college will announce its king and queen at Heinz Field tomorrow.
Also, The Fumbler thoroughly enjoyed the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's story on South Allegheny football player/majorette/soccer player/student council president Audra Lewis, who added homecoming queen to her impressive resume Friday.
This got The Fumbler to thinking about his homecoming experience when he was in high school way back when.
The night was unforgettable, but for all of the wrong reasons.
First there was pricking his fingers about a dozen times while attempting to apply a boutonniere to a suit that had pants that were about 3 inches too short. Then his date didn't show (she said she was sick). The limo he rented broke down, making him an hour late. He spilled fruit punch all over his white shirt. Finally, he sprained his ankle while trying to breakdance.
And you thought you've had some miserable nights.
Some of the faculty at his old school remember his pitfalls and have invited him back to homecoming -- as a chaperone this time -- in hopes of getting him to have a more enjoyable time.
The Fumbler always responds by saying, "Thanks, but no thanks. They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but once was enough for me."
Do you have any good (or bad) homecoming stories. Email them to The Fumbler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fumbler was never homecoming king, but he has long been the prognosticating king. He continued his royal season by going 57-9 (.863) last week. He is now 215-51 (.808) through four weeks.
Here are his thoughts on this weekend's top games:
Seneca Valley (4-0, 3-0) at Central Catholic (4-0, 3-0), 7:30 tonight, Highmark Stadium -- These two hope to play in late November on the other side of the river. For now, they'll square off in the second high school football game staged at the picturesque stadium in Station Square. The Fumbler would love to get hockey legend Mario Lemieux to come to this one. Why? Just so The Fumbler can snap a picture of Mario and Luigi (Lista-Brinza), who is Central Catholic's star running back. Forgive The Fumbler for the video game reference. And forgive Seneca Valley for losing its first game. Winner: Central Catholic.
Central Valley (4-0, 4-0) at West Allegheny (4-0, 4-0), 7 tonight -- The home team has never lost in this rivalry. Then again, the series consists of just three previous games. These directional schools might have Central and West in their names, but the winner will find themselves at the northernmost point of the Class AAA Parkway Conference standings. West Allegheny's Chayse Dillon (513 yards) is averaging 15.5 yards per rush. Look for West Allegheny, however, to find itself in a rush to chase the Warriors on the scoreboard. Winner: Central Valley.
Seton-LaSalle (4-0, 4-0) at South Fayette (4-0, 4-0), 7 tonight -- South Fayette has some talented players and an excellent coaching staff headed by Joe Rossi, but The Fumbler believes there's also a secret weapon behind the Lions' success -- middle school principal Dave Deramo. Now, Deramo appears to be just observing the action when he stands on the sideline during games, but a little birdie told The Fumbler that every time South Fayette has scored an offensive touchdown, the play was called by Deramo. That birdie could be wrong, but the play-calling will continue to be right. Winner: South Fayette.
Clairton (3-1, 3-1) at Fort Cherry (4-0, 4-0), 7:30 tonight -- Clairton was impenetrable during its 66-game winning streak. Now that it's over, the Bears must take down a fort to regain its championship form. How long has it been since Clairton dropped two games in a row? In 2005, the Bears lost their first three games, the last two coming at Rochester (led by Derek Moye) and at Duquesne (led by Elijah Fields). This is not a good spot for Clairton. The Bears must hit the road and play a very good Fort Cherry team led by the WPIAL's second-leading rusher, Koltan Kobrys (769 yards). Winner: Fort Cherry.
And the rest (home teams in capital letters):
WPIAL CLASS AAAA -- (Foothills Conference) McKEESPORT over Altoona; GATEWAY over Hempfield; PENN-TRAFFORD over Latrobe; CONNELLSVILLE over Norwin. (Northern Eight) North Allegheny over BUTLER. (Southeastern) Canon-McMillan over PLUM; BETHEL PARK over Peters Township; Upper St. Clair over BALDWIN; Woodland Hills over MT. LEBANON.
WPIAL CLASS AAA -- (Big Nine) Elizabeth Forward over UNIONTOWN; TRINITY over Laurel Highlands; WEST MIFFLIN over Ringgold; Thomas Jefferson over ALBERT GALLATIN. (Greater Allegheny) MARS over Greensburg Salem; KNOCH over Hampton; Highlands over INDIANA; Hollidaysburg over DERRY. (Parkway) NEW CASTLE over Chartiers Valley; Montour over AMBRIDGE; Moon over HOPEWELL.
WPIAL CLASS AA -- (Allegheny) VALLEY over East Allegheny; Kittanning over BURRELL. (Century) SOUTH PARK over McGuffey; Quaker Valley over STEEL VALLEY. (Interstate) Greensburg Central Catholic over BROWNSVILLE; Mount Pleasant over YOUGH; WAYNESBURG over Southmoreland. (Midwestern) NEW BRIGHTON over Freedom; ALIQUIPPA over Mohawk; ELLWOOD CITY over Riverside.
WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) Laurel over UNION; Neshannock over SOUTH SIDE BEAVER; SHENANGO over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; ROCHESTER over Western Beaver. (Black Hills) MONESSEN over Bishop Canevin; California over SERRA CATHOLIC; BRENTWOOD over Chartiers-Houston. (Eastern) AVONWORTH over Apollo-Ridge; North Catholic over WEST SHAMOKIN; Springdale over LEECHBURG. (Tri-County South) Beth-Center over WEST GREENE; Carmichaels over MAPLETOWN; JEFFERSON-MORGAN over Frazier; AVELLA over Geibel Catholic.
NON-CONFERENCE -- Beaver over BLACKHAWK; Beaver Falls over KEYSTONE OAKS; FRANKLIN REGIONAL over Belle Vernon; Deer Lakes over CHARLEROI; Fort Hill (Md.) over CARRICK; NORTH HILLS over Penn Hills; BISHOP HARTLEY (OHIO) over Perry; Pine-Richland over KISKI AREA; Sto-Rox over NORTHGATE; Vincentian over BENTWORTH; CARLYNTON over Westinghouse.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA -- (Northern Eight) Fox Chapel over SHALER.
WPIAL CLASS AA -- (Allegheny) SUMMIT ACADEMY over Ford City; SHADY SIDE ACADEMY over Freeport. (Century) South Allegheny over BURGETTSTOWN.
NON-CONFERENCE -- Allderdice over LINSLY SCHOOL (W.Va.); MERCERSBURG ACADEMY over Kiski School.hsfootball