The Rick, Week 12 – 2018

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1202-329 overall, .785 winning percentage)

 

The next step

It’s Week 12 in local high school football, and while half of our area teams have put the helmets and shoulder pads away the other half continues on their journey toward a District 2 championship, and maybe even a state championship.

Two D2 champions will be crowned Friday night. They will play in Week 13 against a state playoff opponent. Two others have already been crowned, and face off this week against opponents in subregional finals. Victories by Lackawanna Trail and Wallenpaupack will officially put the Lions and Buckhorns into the state tournament.

District 2 will crown its final two champions next week in what should be two really good matchups. There is a lot of exciting football left to be played in Northeastern PA, and The Rick will be with you the whole way.

Blue Devil Football Network

A shout out to all the people who watched us LIVE on Facebook last Friday night from Lions Pride Stadium – that includes famous Lackawanna Trail alums Rich and Morris Jackson. We had some technical difficulties with our broadcast and turned to the social media platform to salvage what was an otherwise disappointing night for The Rick and my broadcast partner Dean Corwin. We hope our Blue Devil fans enjoyed what hopefully was a one-time fix.

Now let’s pick some games….

THE RICK’S PICKS (57-24)

May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 8-4

District 2 Final

Hazleton Area (6-5) at Delaware Valley (8-3)

The Rick predicted this would be the final way back in Week 1. Well now it’s here. Delaware Valley started the season slow as it rebuilt its offense, but the Warriors defense has been very good right from the start. DV will need another strong performance on the defensive side of the ball as Cougars QB Sparky Wolk provides a unique offensive weapon for Hazleton Area. The Cougars have played well the last month of the season and the offense is clicking. The Warriors were able to contain Wolk and the Cougars in an earlier-season matchup and The Rick thinks they will again. The winner faces the winner of the State College Area (10-1) and Erie McDowell (7-4) game next Friday.

Delaware Valley 28, Hazleton Area 14

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 10-2

District 2/11 Subregional Final

Wallenpaupack (8-3) at East Stroudsburg South (8-3)

Two different styles of play will meet on Friday night in East Stroudsburg for the D2-11 Subregional title. Big and physical Wallenpaupack travels to take on athletic and speedy East Stroudsburg South. The Buckhorns have played better and better each week and have peaked at the right time of the season using a punishing running game and physical play on the defensive side of the ball. The Cavaliers are high octane and will try and play at a quicker pace than Wallenpaupack is used to. The key for the Buckhorns will be a ball-control offense if they hope to advance into the state tournament. The winner faces the winner of the Hollidaysburg (7-4) and Oil City (10-1) game next Friday.

ES South 17, Wallenpaupack 16

 

Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 12-4

District 2 Class 4A Semi-Finals

West Scranton (7-4) at Valley View (11-0)

West Scranton has been somewhat Jekyll and Hyde this year. Valley View has been all Hyde. The No. 1 team in The Rickter Scale – and the consensus No. 1 team in District 2 – the Cougars have had a monster season, beating all comers and setting its sights on a bigger prize. The Invaders on the other hand have sometimes looked like they could run with the big dogs while other times look like they want to stay on the porch. West played Valley View tough earlier in the season and The Rick thinks, that could happen again. The Cougars cannot get caught looking ahead.

Valley View 36, West Scranton 24

 

Berwick (9-2) at Dallas (10-1)

This is the rematch everyone in the Wyoming Valley Conference has waited for. Dallas kicked a late field goal to beat Berwick at Cripsin Field. Now the Mountaineers get to host the Dawgs in what should provide another special atmosphere for high school athletics. A rematch for revenge awaits the winner, as both lost to Valley View earlier in the year. Expect another defensive battle, but The Rick is going with Dallas who will get better quarterback play than Berwick in the Back Mountain.

Dallas 22, Berwick 13

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 12-5

District 2 Class 3A Semi-Finals

Western Wayne (6-5) at Scranton Prep (10-1)

Western Wayne is flying high. And while the casual fan sees the Wildcats’ 6-5 record and thinks, ‘What’s the big deal?’, those of us who have followed high school football for the past 35 years, knows it’s been a special few seasons in Varden. Coming off its first-ever District-playoff victory, Western Wayne is living the high life. That high may soon come to an end however. Scranton Prep enters Week 12 as the prohibitive favorite in Class 3A, having dominated the class the past few seasons. It’s been a special few seasons for the Cavaliers as well. Led by quarterback Leo O’Boyle and the Purple Haze defense, Prep’s only blemish this season was a loss to Valley View. The Cavs have dominated almost everyone else on its schedule. For Western Wayne to have a chance in this one, they are going to have to control the football on offense to keep it away from the high-scoring Prep offense. They have the horses to do it, but Prep’s defense may just prevent them from getting out of the barn.

Scranton Prep 24, Western Wayne 13

 

Lakeland (8-3) at Wyoming Area (11-0)

This is the game The Rick has been waiting for all season. Wyoming Area has steamrolled its WVC Division III schedule, finishing the season at 10-0. The Warriors did open the season at Mid Valley – its only non-WVC opponent – and crushed the Spartans, 48-7. Lakeland only played Mid Valley, and defeated the Spartans at home, 42-0. By simple transitive mathematics, that would make the Chiefs a one-point favorite over the Warriors on Friday night. However, Lakeland was taken to overtime by Lake-Lehman in a 6-3 win last week, a team that Wyoming Area beat 29-7during the regular-season. So what does all that mean for this matchup? The Rick really doesn’t know. It’s tough to argue with the numbers Wyoming Area has posted all season, including a dismantling of its rival Pittston Area – a Class 4A team. Two of Lakeland’s three losses are to Class 4A teams West and Western Wayne, and it’s third is to Scranton Prep. All three teams are still playing. No one on the Warriors schedule is still alive. The Rick is probably going to regret this pick in the morning, but I am staying true to my beliefs even though my big gut is telling me different.

Lakeland 21, Wyoming Area 20

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 7-5

District 2 Class 2A Final

Susquehanna (7-4) at Dunmore (8-3)

Everyone and their brother expected Dunmore to be playing in this game, but the only people who may have expected Susquehanna to be here were the Sabers. While it wasn’t a typical season for the Bucks, they smashed the teams they usually smash, but did so without the services of their legendary head coach Jack Henzes, who is still recuperating from a health issue. The Sabers on the other hand are winners of three straight after losing to Dunmore in Week 8. They too have fought off adversity to come together at the right time of the season. Quarterback CJ Stone is back from an injury and threw three touchdown passes last week against Riverside. The Rick doesn’t know if that will be enough to give the Sabers a chance at an upset this week, but I think this game goes contested into the second half. The winner faces the winner of the Philadelphia West Catholic (9-2) and Wyncote Bishop McDevitt (8-3) game next Friday. The District 12 champ Burrs beat the District 1 champ Royal Lancers, 41-0, earlier this season.

Dunmore 29, Susquehanna 13

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 8-4

District 2/1 Subregional Final

Bristol (7-4) at Lackawanna Trail (10-1)

The Rick will always give credit where credit is due. That said the Lackawanna Trail rushing game was unstoppable in last week’s victory over Old Forge. If the Lions can manufacture over 400 yards on the ground again, they will be a winner this week against Bristol. The Warriors just demolished Jenkintown for the District 1 championship. The Drakes had beaten Bristol, 24-21, earlier this season. But according to Philly.com, Jenkintown was depleted by injury in the final. Junior Mike Are led the Warriors on the ground with 161 yards on just six carries. Some quick research tells The Rick this game may be over by 9 p.m. if both teams stick to the ground. Trail fullback Ray Melnikoff reminded The Rick of a young Jim Colvin last week. If that turns out to be the case, the Lions are looking forward to some Glory Days. The winner faces the District 11 champion next Friday. Williams Valley (9-2) and Tri-Valley (8-3) are the teams vying for that title. Williams Valley beat Tri-Valley earlier this year, 47-21.

Trail 35, Bristol 10

 

Time to settle all family business (114-14)

State College 35, Erie McDowell 21

Oil City 44, Hollidaysburg 26

West Catholic 40, Bishop McDevitt 12

Williams Valley 37, Tri-Valley 28