The Rick, Week 13 – 2018

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1211-332 overall, .784 winning percentage)

 

Let it snow? How about, LET THEM PLAY!

One week after District 2 postponed a slate of football games due to RAIN, the PIAA has followed suit and have postponed this week’s games due to IMPENDING snow.

In the name of Vince Lombardi, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT HERE?!?!?!

Two weeks ago, the PIAA and/or District 2 didn’t care about the weather. Teams played opening round and championship games in the driving rain. That was OK for whatever the reason. But all of a sudden, weather is dictating the scheduling of FOOTBALL games! Has anyone ever heard of the Ice Bowl?

The Rick will never understand the rescheduling of games because of rain, but I get the reason for postponing because of ice and snow – even if I disagree with it. We are in a day and age of safety first, and that includes the safety of the paying customer at these games – the fans. So with travel a possible problem for those paying customers due to ice and snow covering the roads, games are postponed.

I guess the PIAA didn’t care about my safety 31 years ago, traveling on a school bus to and from Mahanoy City to play in minus-25 degree weather! Worst part was I didn’t even get into the game. Stood on the sidelines and shivered for two hours, standing on a frozen field while watching my teammates suffer a heart-breaking loss – all because of the weather and the field conditions.

OK, so you’ll say the PIAA has learned over the course of the last 31 years. Well, why didn’t they apply that knowledge two weeks ago? And why do they apply that knowledge TWO DAYS BEFORE games are to be played. We can’t wait until Friday morning to reschedule games? Its noon on Thursday and The Rick hasn’t even seen a flake yet!

In short, The Rick is just looking for some consistency. And some fun. Football is supposed to be a game played in the backyard. In the rain! In the mud! In the snow! But if for whatever reason the powers that be choose to change those standards, change them at the beginning of the post-season so everyone plays under the same conditions and standards.  The next thing you know, games are going to be postponed because it’s too hot.

But you know what? The Rick would rather a postponement for heat, especially if the concern is for the players and not the fans. Or maybe the PIAA would shorten the season or force schools to build domes.

Now let’s pick some games….

THE RICK’S PICKS (64-25)

May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 9-4

PIAA Class 6A Eastern Quarterfinals

State College v. Delaware Valley at Hazleton Area, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Delaware Valley has come back from a very un-Warrior like start to put themselves back into the state playoffs. Winners of seven straight, Delaware Valley used a stifling defense to win its third straight district title, and its fifth crown in seven seasons, when it beat back Hazleton Area for the second time this season. The Warriors will need a herculean effort on defense once again if they wish to advance against State College Area, a 55-20 winner over Erie McDowell in the District 6-8-10 Subregional Final last week. The Little Lions are 11-1 with their only loss coming to Harrisburg, who plays for the District 3 crown on Friday night. Two of State College’s victories have come against Hollidaysburg – who faces Wallenpaupack in the Class 5A state playoffs on Saturday – and Altoona, who beat Williamsport early in the season. The Little Lions are led by 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior quarterback Tommy Friberg who has thrown for 1,882 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. Seniors Cohen Russell and Keaton Ellis, and sophomore Dresyn Green all have over 1,000 all-purpose yards this season. The latest weather forecast could play into the hands of the Warriors, especially a Harman-Geist Field which has been known to get a little bit icy in previous post-season affairs. A win would be huge for DV, but The Rick thinks the Warriors are still a year away from making it to the next round.

State College 22, Delaware Valley 14

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 10-2

PIAA Class 5A Eastern Quarterfinals

Wallenpaupack v. Hollidaysburg at Danville Area, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Wallenpaupack is another team which started slow and has come on late to be a force in the post-season. The team they face – District 6 champion Hollidaysburg – had some struggles themselves before righting the ship. The Golden Tigers lost four in a row during the middle part of their season to sit at 2-4 before winning six straight to get to the PIAA state playoffs.  Among the losses were defeats to, State College, Cedar Cliff, Fort Hill (MD), and Erie McDowell. None of the defeats were anything to be ashamed of as three of the four are long-time Pennsylvania post-season participants. The six-game winning streak got started against some lesser teams, but Hollidaysburg’s last two wins over Pittsburgh City Champ Brashear and District 10 champ Oil City were impressive. The Golden Tigers are led by dual-threat senior quarterback Brady Walters. Walters has thrown for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns, and rushed for 885 yards and 15 TDs. The Golden Tigers offensive line is massive and may be one of a few in the state to be able to match the physicality of the Buckhorns. Wallenpaupack will need some splash plays on special teams to get to the next round.

Hollidaysburg 24, Wallenpaupack 13

 

Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 13-4

District 2 Class 4A Final

Dallas at Valley View, Saturday, 7 p.m.

For 12 weeks The Rick has picked Valley View to win. A majority of those picks stated the Cougars would win by two touchdowns or more. So how do you think Week 13 will go? Coach George Howanitz has done things the right way this season, and it has paid off in dividends. Valley View has smashed the regular-season’s top threats and has a chance to make some history if its fine play continues. So as the accomplishments of Janaasah Boone, Jaden Duplessis, the best O-Line in District 2 and the rest of the Cougars pile up, The Rick predicts a repeat of the first matchup with Dallas. The Mountaineers have a fine football team themselves, and have had an outstanding season with only one blemish on its record at the hands of the Cougars. That blemish however has been telling in the level of play between the LFC and the WVC in 2018. So for one more District 2 title, the LFC will prevail and prevail convincingly.

Valley View 33, Dallas 0

 

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

District 2 Class 3A Final

Lakeland at Scranton Prep, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Lots to digest here for The Rick. Lakeland has won five of six since an upset loss at Western Wayne midway through the 2018 campaign. The Chiefs biggest win came last week when it went on the road and beat a previously undefeated, unchallenged Wyoming Area team at Jake Sobieski Field in West Pittston. However that one loss during the last six weeks was to Scranton Prep – and it wasn’t pretty. The Cavaliers beat back Lakeland, 44-12, when they met in Week 9 and it was just another pit-stop for the high-flying Prep offense. Led by senior quarterback Leo O’Boyle, Prep has managed at least four touchdowns in every game but one. That one game was a loss to juggernaut Valley View in Week 4. Since that loss, the Purple and Gold has outscored opponents by an average score of 39-6 during an eight-game winning streak. The Rick isn’t looking past the Chiefs however. If Lakeland can get its running game going with Giovanni Spataro and CJ Dippre controlling the clock and keeping the ball away from O’Boyle and Co., it could stay in this game. That’s a big ‘IF’ but it’s an ‘IF” that could make this game as exciting as last week’s semifinal.

Prep 24, Lakeland 12

 

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

PIAA Class 2A Eastern Quarterfinals

West Catholic v. Dunmore at Northern Lehigh, Saturday, 1 p.m.

A familiar state playoff foe faces Dunmore on Saturday afternoon at Northern Lehigh, but this West Catholic team may not be at the same level of past Burrs teams. The District 12 champ is 10-2 out of the Philadelphia Catholic League, but a-come-from-behind, overtime victory last week over Bishop McDevitt may have shown some kinks in the Burrs’ armor. West had beaten McDevitt, 41-0, earlier in the season but the Golden Lancers were almost able to pull off an unthinkable upset in Week 12. So did McDevitt get better? Was West looking ahead? These are major questions heading into this week. It’s been obvious this year that this is not our typical Dunmore team. However, this Bucks 11 hasn’t relied on just one or two players this year, and that makes them dangerous come the post-season. It’s been a true team effort on both sides of the ball for the Crimson Tide, and without one or two guys to key on, they could be tough to stop for a Class 2A team – including one from the PCL. The Rick is going with an upset on Saturday.

Dunmore 25, West Catholic 20

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 8-4

PIAA Class 1A Eastern Quartefinals

Tri-Valley v. Lackawanna Trail at Scranton High, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Lackawanna Trail is in an enviable position this week – a position that invites them to look ahead. Now The Rick isn’t inviting the Lions to look ahead, but when a District 2 Class 1A team is at this juncture of the season, it is natural for any football fan to get excited and think about the possibility of a trip to Hershey. So when The Rick looks ahead, he knows if Trail can beat a rough-and-tough Tri-Valley team on Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium, they will surely have an opportunity to reach the Eastern Final with a date in Chocolatetown on the line. It will take a lot a skill and a little bit of luck to get there. And so far, Tri-Valley has been blessed with both. After losing by multiple touchdowns to Williams Valley during the regular season, the Bulldogs (9-3) bounced back to beat their arch-nemesis, 28-21, in the District 11 final last week. Hard work and a balanced offense, led by senior quarterback Dalton Leedy gave TV the win. Leedy rushed for 118 yards and threw for 199 to lead the Bulldogs. The luck part of the win is that Tri-Valley didn’t face a Williams Valley team at full strength. But that’s the playoffs. No team is really at full health in November. The teams that are usually the closest are the teams to beat. And at this point of the season, it sure looks like Trail is one of those teams.

Lackawanna Trail 38, Tri-Valley 20

 

Time to settle all family business (116-16)

Muncy over Halifax

Ligonier Valley over Richland

Danville over Montoursville

Imhotep over Cardinal O’Hara

Archbishop Wood over Simon Gratz

Pine-Richland over Seneca Valley