The Rick, Week 5 – 2018

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1091-309 overall, .779 winning percentage)

Back East

You may have noticed that The Rick is a little late this week. Please forgive me as I am struggling to re-adjust to the time change. What time change you ask? Well, The Rick is back on Eastern Standard Time after his crew convinced him to ditch Yuma and come back to the East Coast on a red-eye for a little Family reunion.

Just don’t tell anyone 😉

So what can I say about Vegas? Well I am not supposed to say much, but there are prognosticators everywhere. Some good, some bad. And you can wager on anything from a football game to a Friday night NASCAR Truck race – which by the way, my guy Mitchell Ma is the Ace Rothstein of picking winners in. The Rick can’t envision a day of ever being able to bet on high school games – legally – but then that is what this column is semi-about – to give you winners in a hypothetical world. Heck, Party Paul (The Grocer) stopped picking winners because it wasn’t real enough for him without point spreads. But that is a column for a different time.

Fans may have noticed that I was away for last week’s games but that didn’t stop me from taking in some action. On Friday night, I tuned into the NPF Network and caught both the Valley View-Prep game and the Lackawanna Trail-Dunmore game. I thoroughly enjoyed both the broadcasts of the Cougar Sports Network and the Dunmore Football Network. Both broadcast teams were professional and on point with their descriptions of the games. If you haven’t listened to either network yet, give them a listen when they cover your team.

Then on early Saturday morning in Vegas, I tuned into the sweet melodic sound of the voice of Dean Corwin – aka, the Velvet Phog – on the Blue Devil Football Network. It was tough being away from The Family, but Dean brought me home on his call of Old Forge’s victory over Holy Redeemer. I can now see (hear) how so many people around the country love to stop what they are doing on Friday nights and listen to us ‘bring you home’ with the call of Blue Devils football.

Ok. Here’s this week’s Rickter Scale before we pick some games.

We had some shuffling in the top part of the scale. Berwick moved up to No. 1 with Dallas dropping to No. 2 despite a convincing win over No. 11 Pittston Area. Valley View moved to No. 3, jumping over previous No. 5 Scranton Prep who dropped to No. 6. Valley West falls to No. 4 after its first loss of the season, and North Pocono bounces back to No. 5.

Victories by big schools Wallenpaupack and Williamsport put them back into the scale and forced out Lakeland who lost to west and Lackawanna Trail who recorded a monumental and historic victory over Dunmore to remain undefeated. Both those teams are just on the outside of the Top 13.

WEEK 5 RICKTER SCALE…. Record Rating LR
1. Berwick (4-0) 23.75 3
2. Dallas (4-0) 23.25 1
3. Valley View (4-0) 21.50 4
4. Valley West (3-1) 20.00 2
5. North Pocono (3-1) 18.25 6
6. Scranton Prep (3-1) 17.00 5
7. Wallenpaupack (2-2) 16.25 18
8. Western Wayne (3-1) 16.00 7
9. Williamsport (2-2) 15.25 20
10. Wyoming Area (4-0) 14.75 13
11. Pittston Area (2-2) 13.75 8
12. Lake-Lehman (3-1) 13.00 12
13. Nanticoke Area (2-2) 13.00 9

Teams to Watch: Lackawanna Trail (12.75), West Scranton (12.25), Lakeland (12.00), Riverside (12.00), Delaware Valley (11.75), Old Forge (11.25), Honesdale (10.50).

THE RICK’S PICKS (15-9)

May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 1-3

Abington Heights at Scranton

There was a time when this game was THE game on the schedule for both of these teams. Unfortunately this year is not one of those times. Both Scranton and Abington Heights have fallen on hard times this season, and this game may very well be both teams opportunity to win a football game. The Comets scored its first points of the season last week in a bad loss to North Pocono after being shutout for 13 quarters of football. The Knights will probably have a shot to beat arch-rival West only because we know you throw records out the window when it comes to rivalries. But realistically, Friday night is their shot for a W, and The Rick thinks it’ll be Scranton’s kind of Knight.

Scranton 27, Abington Heights 23

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 3-1

Delaware Valley at North Pocono

North Pocono is on a roll after being upset in Week 1 by West Scranton. However, this week we find out if that roll came against inferior opponents or if the Trojans are just that good. Delaware Valley isn’t the same team it has been the past few years, but the 6A Warriors will be a formidable litmus test when favorite son Keith Olsommer returns to face his alma mater. DV has struggled with consistency, and has been a different team playing on the road, having lost both its games away from its Milford campus while winning both games on its own gridiron. The Rick sees North Pocono as a team looking to prove itself once again this season – especially after that opening week loss. The Trojans are on a mission with tough games following the next two weeks at Prep and at Paupack. The Rick sees a Mission Accomplished.

North Pocono 31, Delaware Valley 21

 

Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 3-1

Valley West at Dallas

The Rick’s game of the week features once-beaten Valley West at unbeaten Dallas. The Spartans fell to Berwick last week while the Mounts beat back Pittston Area to remain unblemished. Valley West came into 2018 with not a lot of fan-fare while Dallas was expected to be one of the top teams. But the Spartans have put themselves in position to end the season with some fan-fare as they are currently the No. 2 seed in the D2-11 Sub Regional. The Mounts are in a battle in Class 4A as that classification is turning out to be the deepest in District 2 football.  They get a bit of a breather after this week with games against Coughlin and Nanticoke to follow before they run the gauntlet in the final three weeks against Valley View, Berwick and Old-Shoe Rival Lake-Lehman. It’ll be Fall on Saturday officially and the Back Mountain in Fall can be very pretty or pretty ugly for opposing teams.

Dallas 40, Valley West 22

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 2-2

West Scranton at Scranton Prep

Will this week be a beginning or an end? That is the question fans of both West Scranton and Scranton Prep are asking. For West, a win could prove to be the beginning of not only a resurgence but a winning streak as well. For a victory over the Cavaliers could give one reason to look at the Invaders remaining schedule and see them running the table to finish at 8-2 and be the surprise team of the LFC. On the flip side of the gridiron, was Prep’s loss to Valley View last week the end of quite a memorable run the past few years for the Purple Haze? Prep did not give up a point the first three weeks before getting whacked by the unbeaten Cougars who seem to be the class of the LFC Class 4A teams this year. But that three-game shutout streak didn’t exactly come against world beaters. So how do the Cavaliers react to that loss? It’s going to be interesting. Should they not bounce back Friday night, Prep is staring a tough final five weeks in the face, as only Honesdale has a losing record on the second-half schedule. However, the Hornets are only 13 points from being unbeaten themselves. Prep needs to win this game. Ignatian Nation should worry.

West 18, Prep 14

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 3-1

Dunmore at Riverside

The Rick warned everyone in the preseason that Riverside would be back. The Rick just didn’t think it would be so quick. Pass-happy coach Harry Armstrong just might star in an upcoming remake of ‘The Miracle Worker’ if the Vikings continue to win in his first season back at the helm. Riverside QB Johnny Gilchrist has thrown the ball 35 more times than any other team in the LFC (West’s Nick Giola has flung it 77 times) and the Vikings lead the entire LFC in total offense with 1,410 yards after four weeks. On the other side of this game, Dunmore leads Division III in defense and is third overall in the LFC, allowing just 164.5 yards per contest. But the Bucks suffered a big loss last week at Lackawanna Trail. The Lions are a good team, but the Dunmore mystique took a hit last week and in high school football that could be devastating. It’s been quite some time since the Bucks lost two games in a regular-season – 2010 to be exact – and even longer since they lost back-to-back games. The last time Riverside beat Dunmore? You guessed it, 2010. The Rick smells an “upset” which when all is said and done, may not be an upset at all.

Riverside 28, Dunmore 21

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 3-1

Holy Cross at Old Forge

Only three games to put here in the ‘Bandleader’ game, so The Rick flipped three coins and came up with this one. Holy Cross visits Old Forge in what probably is the most historically lopsided matchup in area high school football. The Blue Devils are 12-0 against the upstart Crusaders having given up only three scores in a game once while recording five shutouts. However, on paper, this isn’t your average Holy Cross team. The Crusaders started the season 2-0, and have battled the past two weeks against Mid Valley and Northwest. Tailback Jeremy Fick leads LFC Division IV in rushing. The Blue Devils on the other hand seem to be using the pass to set up its running game as sophomore quarterback Dante Lucarelli has 10 TD passes after turning in a near perfect game last week by completing 13-of-14 passes for over 200 yards. It’s Homecoming in Old Forge, and besides the all-time perfect mark against Holy Cross, the Blue Devils have won 14 straight when they crown a King and Queen. Ironically enough, the Homecoming winning streak began in 2004 against Bishop O’Hara. The streak won’t stop here.

Old Forge 40, Holy Cross 13

 

Time to settle all family business (47-13)

Valley View over Honesdale

Hazleton over Wallenpaupack

Western Wayne over Nanticoke

Trail over Carbondale

Lakeland over Mid Valley

Susquehanna over Montrose

Berwick over Selinsgrove

Pittston Area over Coughlin

Williamsport over Crestwood

Wyoming Area over GAR

Meyers over Hanover

Tunkhannock over Holy Redeemer

Lake-Lehman over Northwest

 

Top 10 Hardest Schedules (Per The Rickter Scale)

For fun, to give you an idea if how hard a team’s schedule is, I am going to post every week the top 10 hardest schedules based on the Rickter Scale. The OR is the combined record of a team’s opponents. And some more fun this week, the easiest five schedules follow.

TOP 10 TOUGHEST SCHEDULES
RANK TEAM RATING OR LW
1. Coughlin 6.25 (22-18) 1
2t. Western Wayne 6.00 (24-16) 1
2t. Abington Heights 6.00 (25-15) 4
4t. Carbondale Area 5.75 (23-17) 3
4t. Mid Valley 5.75 (23-17) 4
4t. Pittston Area 5.75 (23-17) 10
4t. Hanover Area 5.75 (22-18) 10
10t. Valley View 5.50 (22-18) NR
10t. Honesdale 5.50 (22-18) NR
10t. Dunmore 5.50 (22-18) 4
10t. Crestwood 5.50 (22-18) 4
10t. Scranton 5.50 (23-17) NR

5.25: Dallas (21-19), West Scranton (21-19), Hazleton Area (22-18), Northwest (21-19)

TOP 5 EASIEST SCHEDULES
RANK TEAM RATING OR
1t. Wyoming Area 3.75 (14-26)
1t. Lackawanna Trail 3.75 (16-24)
1t. Delaware Valley 3.75 (15-25)
1t. Holy Cross 3.75 (15-25)
5t. Valley West 4.00 (16-24)
5t. Riverside 4.00 (16-24)