The Fumbler was up bright and early Wednesday morning, relaxing on his front porch while reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee.
Suddenly, the calmness was interrupted.
"Tweet, tweet, tweet. Chirp, chirp, chip. Tweet, tweet, tweet. Chirp, chirp, chirp."
A bunch of neighborhood birds began announcing their presence with unbearably loud sounds it seemed that only they could understand.
Annoyed, The Fumbler quickly walked inside his house and slammed the door.
He then said aloud, "Maybe this is a sign. Perhaps those birds were trying to tell me something."
Yes, The Fumbler was ready to begin tweeting himself. The time had come to set up a Twitter account.
So, he did just that. His plan was to tweet his picks each week, while extending his fan base to people across the country.
He figured he'd follow a few people, so he added Post-Gazette high school writers Mike White (@mwhiteburgh), Craig Meyer (@CraigMeyerPG) and Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica), as well as PG Varsity Extra (@PGVarsityXtra). SHAMELESS plugs, The Fumbler knows.
The Fumbler had also hoped to follow a couple of high school coaches with bird-sounding last names -- Thomas Jefferson's Bill Cherpak, Ringgold's Matt Humbert and Yough's Mark Crovak -- but he couldn't find any of them on there.
Unfortunately, The Fumbler's Twitter experience was short lived. Within hours of signing up, he received a stern email from the president of the NPA (National Prognosticators Association), stating that providing picks through social media was against association by-laws.
Bye, bye birdie.
Luckily, you can still email The Fumbler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fumbler has reason to crow after another tremendous week -- 56-8 (.875) -- that improved his season record to 325-70 (.822).
Here are his thoughts on this weekend's top games:
Bethel Park (5-1, 5-1) at Upper St. Clair (6-0, 5-0), 7:30 tonight -- The Fumbler has a few friends in Bethel Park. They have dogs named Bismarck and Dakota, both of whom are strong, reliable and unflappable. They remind The Fumbler of the Upper St. Clair defense, which has given up only 10 points the entire season and hasn't surrendered a point in the past 21 quarters. USC has a mean bark and its bite is vicious. Bethel Park's defense is pretty doggone good, too -- fourth-fewest points allowed in Class AAAA -- but the Panthers are a totally different animal. Winner: Upper St. Clair.
West Allegheny (6-0, 5-0) at New Castle (5-1, 4-1), 7:30 tonight -- There's a contest held each spring called the "Mr. West Allegheny" pageant, in which contestants are judged in categories such as formal wear (usually tuxedos), casual wear, talent and answering questions during an interview. This West Allegheny team isn't flashy, so it's unlikely to earn many style points. The Indians know how to win games, however. That makes them the favorite in most contests. This week is no different. The Red Hurricanes will have the most talented athlete on the field in Malik Hooker, but the votes are in, and ... Winner: West Allegheny.
Seton-LaSalle (5-1, 5-1) at Quaker Valley (5-1, 5-1), 7 tonight -- Back in the early 1990s, Quaker Valley had a terrific athlete named Phil Oxendine, who was one of the top sprinters in Pennsylvania and also an outstanding soccer player. This Quaker Valley football team is regularly kicking butt, but it's not concerned about being the best in the state. The Quakers are focused on a possible second-place finish in the Class AA Century Conference, which would be a great feat considering they haven't made the playoffs in 14 years. Seton-LaSalle has beaten the Quakers five years in a row, and the Rebels haven't lost a conference game this decade to a team not named South Fayette. Winner: Seton-LaSalle.
Mount Pleasant (6-0, 6-0) at Washington (6-0, 6-0), 7 tonight -- If Mount Pleasant wins this game, don't be surprised if borough residents put together a petition to rename the place "Mount Ecstatic," as a victory would just about clinch the Class AA Interstate Conference title (the Vikings' only other conference game remaining is against 0-6 Brownsville). Washington is seeking its second conference title in a row. Somehow, the Little Prexies have been just as dominant without Shai McKenzie as they were with him. This sets up to be a thriller. The coin is in the air and ... Winner: Washington.
And the rest (home teams in capital letters):
CITY LEAGUE -- Brasher over PERRY; UNIVERSITY PREP over Westinghouse.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA -- (Foothills Conference) Gateway over NORWIN; ALTOONA over Latrobe; McKeesport over CONNELLSVILLE; Penn-Trafford over KISKI AREA. (Northern Eight) CENTRAL CATHOLIC over North Allegheny; SENECA VALLEY over North Hills; PINE-RICHLAND over Shaler. (Southeastern) PETERS TOWNSHIP over Mt. Lebanon; PENN HILLS over Plum; Woodland Hills over CANON-McMILLAN.
WPIAL CLASS AAA -- (Big Nine) THOMAS JEFFERSON over Belle Vernon; RINGGOLD over Elizabeth Forward; ALBERT GALLATIN over Laurel Highlands; TRINITY over Uniontown. (Greater Allegheny) HAMPTON over Derry; Franklin Regional over HOLLIDAYSBURG; HIGHLANDS over Greensburg Salem; Mars over KNOCH. (Parkway) Ambridge over CHARTIERS VALLEY; CENTRAL VALLEY over Hopewell.
WPIAL CLASS AA -- (Allegheny) KITTANNING over Deer Lakes; FREEPORT over East Allegheny; BURRELL over Ford City. (Century) SOUTH ALLEGHENY over Keystone Oaks; McGuffey over BURGETTSTOWN; South Park over STEEL VALLEY. (Interstate) SOUTHMORELAND over Brownsville; GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC over Charleroi; WAYNESBURG over Yough. (Midwestern) Beaver Falls over FREEDOM; ALIQUIPPA over Ellwood City; BEAVER over Mohawk.
WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) Laurel over ROCHESTER; NESHANNOCK over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; UNION over Shenango. (Black Hills) CLAIRTON over Bishop Canevin; CHARTIERS-HOUSTON over California; BRENTWOOD over Carlynton; Fort Cherry over SERRA CATHOLIC. (Eastern) Avonworth over SPRINGDALE; APOLLO-RIDGE over Northgate; LEECHBURG over Riverview; NORTH CATHOLIC over Wilkinsburg. (Tri-County South) CARMICHAELS over Avella; Beth-Center over FRAZIER; MAPLETOWN over West Greene.
NON-CONFERENCE -- BALDWIN over Fox Chapel; Hempfield over BUTLER; Moon over NEW BRIGHTON; Shady Side Academy over JEANNETTE; South Fayette over RIVERSIDE; WEST SHAMOKIN over South Side Beaver; St. Michael's College High School (Toronto) over KISKI SCHOOL; JEFFERSON-MORGAN over Vincentian; West Mifflin over INDIANA.
WPIAL CLASS AA -- (Allegheny) Valley over SUMMIT ACADEMY.
WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) Sto-Rox over WESTERN BEAVER. (Tri-County South) Bentworth over GEIBEL CATHOLIC.
First Published October 10, 2013 8:00 PM