The Fumbler: Time isn't necessarily on his side

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Time travel.

Many of you would love to experience it, but The Fumbler knows none of you have.

You all are huge fans of someone who has, though. He's the fella who writes this column.

On a blazing-hot day this July, The Fumbler -- exhausted after playing in a celebrity softball tournament -- walked in the front door of his home and began to rehydrate himself with some tasty beverages. The next thing he knew, he was sitting in a stadium in Beaver County watching Joe Namath play a high school game.

Yep, The Fumbler was in the "WPIAL Time Machine."

It was pretty neat, to say the least. It would take The Fumbler days to tell all of the stories, so here are some highlights.

It was incredible to watch Tony Dorsett and Dan Marino play high school ball in person. Mike Ditka gave The Fumbler an autograph. Chuck Klausing yelled at The Fumbler for standing too close to the sideline.

The travel wasn't limited to the past. The Fumbler went to the future, too. Some interesting tidbits: Upper St. Clair's Jim Render and Aliquippa's Mike Zmijanac will still be coaching 20 years from now. In 30 years, West Shamokin will be a WPIAL power. And in 50 years, eligibility rules will be restructured to, get this ... allow aliens to play.

After going on this grand adventure, The Fumbler began to hear music. It was his alarm clock.

As it turns out, it was all just a dream.

If you had a time machine, which players, teams or games would you go back to watch? Email The Fumbler at thefumbler@post-gazette.com to give your thoughts.

The Fumbler is off to a rousing start after going 52-14 (.787) in Week 1.

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

Pine-Richland (1-0, 1-0) at North Allegheny (1-0, 1-0), 7:30 tonight -- SPOILER ALERT! The Fumbler is picking against North Allegheny. And, boy, just like eating carrots and fixing a flat tire, The Fumbler hates to do it. He did it last week, too. And guess what? The Tigers shut out Seneca Valley. Pine-Richland lost a 29-28 heartbreaker to North Allegheny last season, a game in which Rams quarterback Ben DiNucci (25 of 29 for 313 yards) lit up the North Allegheny defense. DiNucci is back. He'll spoil North Allegheny's perfect record. Winner: Pine-Richland.

McKeesport (1-0, 1-0) at Altoona (1-0, 1-0), 7 tonight -- Please sing along ... The foot bone's connected to the leg bone. The leg bone's connected to the knee bone. The flexbone's connected to the win bone. Wait, what was that last part? McKeesport coach George Smith is about as synonymous with the flexbone offense as Colonel Sanders is with fried chicken. Neither invented it, but both might have perfected it. McKeesport has a new star in Khaleke Hudson, who rushed for a mere 346 yards in the season opener. Make no bones about it ... Winner: McKeesport.

Thomas Jefferson (1-0, 1-0) at Belle Vernon (1-0, 1-0), 7:30 tonight -- The Fumbler has a friend named Lump who is from Belle Vernon. Lump is strong and well built, but he's no machine. Well, Thomas Jefferson is. Think about it. U.S. Steel is nearby. So is Carnegie Mellon. And have you ever seen the TJ players try to go through metal detectors? OK, so maybe TJ isn't really a machine, but the program goes about its business like one, humbling opponent after opponent. Belle Vernon is much improved, but the machine will roll on. Winner: Thomas Jefferson.

Knoch (1-0, 1-0) at Greensburg Salem (1-0, 1-0), 7 tonight -- Saxonburg. Oh, Saxonburg. The Fumbler recalls going their once for a Knoch home game. All went well, except for when he got lost on his way home. He literally drove around for hours, probably going in circles. Luckily, for his sanity's sake, this game is at Greensburg Salem, a team that stunned Gateway in overtime last week. An impressive win for sure, but another won't follow. When Knoch arrives at Greensburg Salem's Offutt Field: "Knock knock. Who's there? A Knights victory." Winner: Knoch.

And the rest (home teams in capital letters):

Tonight

WPIAL CLASS AAAA -- (Foothills Conference) PENN-TRAFFORD over Connellsville; Hempfield over NORWIN; Kiski Area over LATROBE; McKeesport over ALTOONA. (Northern Eight) Central Catholic over SHALER; Seneca Valley over FOX CHAPEL. (Southeastern) Penn Hills over CANON-McMILLAN; UPPER ST. CLAIR over Peters Township; Woodland Hills over BETHEL PARK.

WPIAL CLASS AAA -- (Big Nine) ELIZABETH FORWARD over Albert Gallatin; LAUREL HIGHLANDS over Trinity; RINGGOLD over Uniontown. (Greater Allegheny) FRANKLIN REGIONAL over Hollidaysburg; Indiana over HAMPTON; Mars over YOUGH. (Parkway) CENTRAL VALLEY over Blackhawk; WEST ALLEGHENY over Chartiers Valley; AMBRIDGE over Hopewell; MONTOUR over New Castle.

WPIAL CLASS AA -- (Allegheny) HIGHLANDS over Deer Lakes; Freeport over FORD CITY; Shady Side Academy over BURRELL; APOLLO-RIDGE over Valley; KITTANNING over West Shamokin. (Century) SOUTH FAYETTE over Keystone Oaks; Seton-LaSalle over SOUTH ALLEGHENY; QUAKER VALLEY over South Park; Steel Valley over EAST ALLEGHENY; Sto-Rox over CARLYNTON. (Interstate) McGuffey over CHARLEROI; Mount Pleasant over DERRY; Washington over BURGETTSTOWN; Waynesburg over BROWNSVILLE. (Midwestern) MOHAWK over Freedom; ALIQUIPPA over Laurel; New Brighton over ELLWOOD CITY; BEAVER over Summit Academy.

WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) ROCHESTER over South Side Beaver; Western Beaver over RIVERSIDE. (Black Hills) FORT CHERRY over Brentwood; CARDINAL WUERL NORTH CATHOLIC over Chartiers-Houston; AVONWORTH over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. (Eastern) Jeannette over SERRA CATHOLIC; Springdale over LEECHBURG; CLAIRTON over Wilkinsburg. (Tri-County South) AVELLA over California; Frazier over JEFFERSON-MORGAN; CARMICHAELS over Mapletown; BENTWORTH over West Greene.

NON-CONFERENCE -- Allderdice over PERRY; Baldwin over BUTLER; UNION over Bishop Canevin; REDBANK VALLEY over Carrick; WEST MIFFLIN over Gateway; Greensburg Central Catholic over BETH-CENTER; Karns City over BRASHEAR; MT. LEBANON over Moon; North Hills over PLUM; BEAVER FALLS over Southmoreland; NORTHGATE over Vincentian.

Saturday afternoon

WPIAL CLASS A -- (Eastern) Monessen over RIVERVIEW.

Saturday night

WPIAL CLASS A -- (Big Seven) NESHANNOCK over Shenango.


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