The Rick, Week 7 – 2018

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1122-316 overall, .780 winning percentage)

LFC Supreme

The calendar has turned to October, and with it, many of the high school football teams in District 2 have seen their future. After all its Week 7 and either your team is in prime position to make the playoffs or they are fighting for their lives. Either way, there is a lot of drama to be played out in the final month.

Before the season started, The Rick had a very knowledgeable fellow prognosticator tell me that this was the year that the Wyoming Valley Conference would rule the land and win at least four of the five District 2 crowns they would play for. The Rick, being the Homer Simpson of the Lackawanna Football Conference, laughed at him. But then I sat down and took a serious look at the divisions and thought, ‘Hey, he may be right. DOH!’

Williamsport, Hazleton Area, Valley West, Berwick, Dallas, and Wyoming Area all looked to be pretty strong coming into the season and could easily be penciled in as the favorites in their respective classifications. The first three schools have had some head scratching results this year, but all still have the talent to compete for a title, while the latter three are still all in position to capture a top seed to put them in position to host a few playoff games.

However, something happened last week that has piqued The Rick’s interest. The Lackawanna Football Conference won four crossover games in important matchups of teams in the same class. Three of those games featured possible future championship matchups while the other had two seemingly even matched teams fighting for playoff positioning to avoid one of the contenders in Week 11.

The LFC only leads the season matchups against the WVC, 13-9, but in last week’s games, the Northerners made a statement.

First, in the marquee matchup of the season, Valley View travelled to Berwick and throttled the Dawgs in a Class 4A preview of a possible title tilt on November 16. Then in the same class, West Scranton punished Pittston Area as the teams fight for positioning to avoid Dallas or Berwick in a first-round matchup. However, the way things went in Berwick, maybe West should want to play one of those teams.

Two games in the upper classes also caught The Rick’s eye. Delaware Valley – which has won all three of its games at home while losing all three on the road – beat Hazleton Area, a team that had just beaten Wallenpaupack on the road the week before. The second game had the Buckhorns – who beat Delaware Valley earlier in the season – beating Valley West on the road, a team the Cougars lost to early in the year. So in two games in which the WVC was seemingly poised to grab victories, they were both defeated.

What does this say for the WVC come playoff time? For The Rick, it says that once again, the D2 South Siders will be underdogs. It doesn’t mean they won’t win, but it looks like they will have an uphill battle to capture the gold or all will be right in Springfield.

Ok. Here’s this week’s Rickter Scale before we pick some games. (Remember, this is purely a mathematical formula.)

WEEK 5 RICKTER SCALE…. Record Rating LR
1. Dallas (6-0) 31.50 1
2. Valley View (6-0) 20.00 3
3. Berwick (5-1) 26.50 2
4. Scranton Prep (5-1) 25.00 5
5. Williamsport (4-2) 24.25 8
6. North Pocono (4-2) 24.00 4
7. Western Wayne (5-1) 22.75 7
8. Wallenpaupack (3-3) 21.00 11
9. Valley West (3-3) 19.75 6
10. Wyoming Area (6-0) 19.75 10
11. Delaware Valley (3-3) 17.50 NR
12. Pittston Area (3-3) 17.00 9
13. Lackawanna Trail (6-0) 16.50 12

Teams to Watch: Nanticoke (16.50), West Scranton (16.00), Lake-Lehman (13.75), Hazleton (13.75), Lakeland (13.75), Meyers (13.50), Susquehanna (13.00).

THE RICK’S PICKS (23-13)

May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 2-4

Scranton at West Scranton

The Battle of the Bell resumes this week at Scranton Memorial Stadium – home of both the Knights and the Invaders. West Scranton will wear the home Blues in this year’s matchup and are coming off of a big victory over Pittston Area last week. Scranton is having one of its worst seasons in some time with its only victory coming over Abington Heights a few weeks ago. Both sides feature high-octane athletes that can explode for big plays at any time. But right now, the Invaders are getting better quarterback play and have been a grade above the Knights on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Rick is old school where games were won in the trenches. It’ll be no different on Friday night.

West 34, Scranton 26

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 4-2

North Pocono at Wallenpaupack

Everything in The Rick’s gut is telling him to take North Pocono in its game against Wallenpaupack. The Trojans have experienced success more. They have played the tougher schedule. They are the team to beat in LFC 1. But then The Rick’s head starts creeping into the picture. The Buckhorns have won 3 of 4. They were a lot of prognosticators pick (not me) to be a breakout team this year. They may very well be the better team. What to do, what to do…. The Rick goes out for a swim on the lake.

Wallenpaupack 15, North Pocono 14

 

Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 5-1

Dallas at Nanticoke

Dallas is right where it wants to be. Undefeated headed to Week 7 with showdowns with Valley View, Berwick and Back Mountain arch-rival Lake-Lehman on the horizon. But it’s only Week 7 and those matchups will have to wait as Nanticoke welcomes the Mounts this week. The Trojans are a modest 3-3, but they are coming off a somewhat surprising dismantling of Crestwood in Mountaintop this past Saturday. Nanticoke has put itself in position to make the D2 playoffs if they started this week. They still have some work to do and an upset win over Dallas could make a date with the post-season a certainty. The Mounts haven’t showed any signs of slowing down this season, but you wouldn’t fault them for looking past the Trojans with the daunting schedule that follows. The Rick doesn’t see it happening, but this game may just be closer than you think.

Dallas 28, Nanticoke 15

 

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

Meyers at Wyoming Area

Last week The Rick said Wyoming Area could have its hands full with Lake-Lehman – and for two quarters it did. After Meyers win over Susquehanna last week, The Rick is going to say the same about the Warriors and Mohawks. Maybe Wyoming Area is getting a little bored after all. The Warriors are a good team but have played the weakest schedule in the district with its opponents totaling a record of just 21-39 through six weeks of action. Meyers is starting to believe and is building some steam headed down the stretch. Don’t forget, the Mohawks lost on the road in overtime to Riverside in Week 1 or else the team from South Wilkes-Barre would be 5-1. The Rick thinks this game will also be better than is being advertised.

Wyoming Area 41, Meyers 37

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 4-2

Mid Valley at Riverside

At the onset of the season, The Rick thought this had all the makings of a great matchup. But the seasons have gone opposite ways for Mid Valley and Riverside. The Spartans have struggled with injuries and have not been successful on either side of the ball. Mid Valley’s lone victory has come over Holy Cross. The Vikings have adapted quicker to the scheme of new (old) coach Harry Armstrong and are throwing the ball all over the joint. While Riverside has lost against the two better teams on its schedule, the Vikings’ opening week win over Meyers looks better and better each week as the Mohawks continue to post Ws. A little nostalgia comes for Mid Valley HC Dave Rebar who was once the head man at Riverside. This game won’t be in Taylor though. It’s across town in Moosic at PNC Field for the 5th annual RailRiders Bowl. The Rick sees a lot of home runs hit in this matchup for the Vikes.

Riverside 37, Mid Valley 14

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 5-1

Old Forge at Lackawanna Trail

Old Forge is at a crossroads. The Blue Devils travel to Tunnel Hill to face undefeated Lackawanna Trail in what some would consider a must-win victory if Old Forge has any designs on hosting the District 2 Class 1A title game. However even a win will not guarantee that. The Lions are rolling and have a win over Dunmore on their 2018 resume so far. Coach Steve Jervis has his club believing that they are the team to beat, and with its toughest games remaining all at home, no one should argue with him. Yes, Old Forge has won 12 of 13 from the Lions, and has been the proverbial bully in the smallest class of football the past decade. But Trail has always been right there on the cusp of beating the Blue Devils. If it happens Friday night, the Lions put themselves in the driver’s seat. Old Forge hosts Riverside next week and will travel to Northwest the week after. A loss in this game and the Blue Devils will have to start worrying about making the championship game instead of worrying about hosting it. The Rick never lies. He’s worried this week.

Trail 20, Old Forge 19

 

Time to settle all family business (14-5)

Delaware Valley over Abington Heights

Scranton Prep over Honesdale

Valley View over Western Wayne

Lakeland over Carbondale

Dunmore over Montrose

Holy Cross over Susquehanna

Berwick over Hazleton Area

Valley West over Coughlin

Crestwood over Tunkhannock

North Penn Mansfield over HAR

Hanover over Northwest

Lake-Lehman over Holy Redeemer

Williamsport over Pittston Area

 

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.

 

RANK TEAM RATING OR LW
1t. Mid Valley 5.75 (36-24) 2
1t. Western Wayne 5.75 (35-25) 3
3t. Coughlin 5.50 (33-27) 1
3t. Carbondale Area 5.50 (32-28) 3
3t. Honesdale 5.50 (34-26) 8
3t. Scranton 5.50 (34-26) NR
7t. Dunmore 5.25 (33-27) 3
7t. Crestwood 5.25 (33-27) 3
7t. Abington Heights 5.25 (35-25) 8
7t. Hanover Area 5.25 (32-28) NR
7t. GAR 5.25 (33-27) NR

5.00: Pittston Area (35-25); Valley View (34-26); West Scranton (33-27); Scranton Prep (32-28)

TOP 5 EASIEST SCHEDULES
RANK TEAM RATING OR
1. Wyoming Area 2.75 (21-39)
2t. Tunkhannock 3.25 (22-37)
2t. Williamsport 3.25 (23-37)
2t. Holy Cross 3.25 (22-38)
5t. Delaware Valley 3.50 (24-36)
5t. Lackawanna Trail 3.50 (24-36)
5t. Meyers 3.50 (23-37)