The Rick, Week 8 – 2020

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1517-410 overall, .788 winning percentage)

 

COVID caused havoc

Well we made it to Week 5? 8? 10? Zero?

The Rick isn’t sure what week it is, but for the most part, high school football in District 2 has survived its first pandemic. But it hasn’t been easy, and there were sure a bunch of bumps and bruises along the way.

A quick look at the schedule spreadsheet that The Rick employs to navigate and prognosticate the LFC and WVC tells me that over 40 games were either cancelled, postponed and/or rescheduled due to COVID-19 – and that doesn’t include the 10 games that would have been played by Abington Heights and Carbondale had they not cancelled their seasons before they got started.

Only seven of the 34 teams in District 2 did not have games cancelled because of the pandemic to this point. One team, Riverside actually played three more games than their LFC counterparts. Strangely enough, of the four other LFC teams that have played a full schedule, three of them – Holy Cross, Honesdale and West Scranton – are all winless headed to this week. That will change though, as Honesdale is at West tonight. Western Wayne is the LFC other team that played uninterrupted.

In the WVC, only Nanticoke and Lake-Lehman didn’t lose games on their schedules. Now, via the laws of probability (which The Rick has no clue about), you could say that the WVC had a better chance of this happening as its member schools played more games with each starting the year with an eight-game schedule. In turn, most LFC teams played five-game schedules. On the flip side of this non-quadric  equation, Pittston Area lost four games, while Wilkes-Barre Area, Holy Redeemer and Hanover Area lost three games each. In the LFC, Montrose lost the most with three games vacated.

Give credit to the young men and their coaches for doing an admirable job of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Many of the games that were affected had little to do with individual players or programs being infected with the virus, and more to do with schools as a whole, protecting their students because of outbreaks or possible outbreaks within the school district or the school district community.

Still, COVID-19 caused some havoc with high school football as it has every facet in each of our lives. Hopefully, as we wind down and the playoffs begin, we have limited disruptions so teams can complete their respective seasons.

Finally a Rivalry!!!

For all of my years working at The Sunday Dispatch, the people in Greater Pittston tried to convince me that Pittston Area and Wyoming Area was one of the top rivalries in the state and the best in District 2. The Rick politely disagreed – until this week.

After years of having breakfast together and playing nice-nice during the week before the game, it took a pandemic for the Cross River Rivalry to become a real rivalry! Someone vandalized the huge “Patriot Country” sign on the campus of Pittston Area by putting green paint over the word “Patriot”. I mean, it’s not something to celebrate, but at least NOW IT’S A RIVALRY!!!

When The Rick saw the story on a local newscast, I immediately sent a text to my former ED-itor, The Ackerman. His response, “You’ve been waiting a long time for this.” The Rick feels like a proud father right now. It’s too bad the game is cancelled this year because of COVID, but if anything good came out of this, it’s that a TRUE rivalry was born.

The Rick can’t wait for the Patriots rebuttal in 2021.


RICK’S SIX

Well the only major story out of The Rick’s Six was the Western Wayne win over Valley View. The Wildcats beat the Cougars for the very first time. It puts the Cats all the way to Small-Six No. 3 as they jump Lakeland and Old Forge.

 

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Delaware Valley (3-1) 1
  2. Williamsport (6-1) 2
  3. Crestwood (6-0) 3
  4. Hazleton Area (4-2) 4
  5. Dallas (3-3) 6
  6. Wilkes-Barre (2-3) NR

 

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Lake-Lehman (7-0) 1
  2. Prep (4-0) 2
  3. Western Wayne (3-1) 5
  4. Lakeland (4-0) 3
  5. Old Forge (3-0) 4
  6. Wyoming Area (4-3) 6

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (77-14 overall, 29-7 Godfather Games)

May their first child is a masculine child (The Big Boys) 7-0

Hazleton Area at Delaware Valley

The District 2 Class 6A Championship game happens a week – or two – early, depending upon how you look at it. Upstart Hazleton Area will travel to brown bear country to take on Delaware Valley. The Warriors have had an interesting season to say the least, yet they are still the clear-cut favorites to win the title. The Cougars started slow but won four straight before their last two opponents had to cancel. If Hazleton can shake off some rust, this game may be closer than some people believe. The Cougars have played Del Val tough the last few years, even on the road. Still, The Rick thinks with all things being equal, the Warriors win this one.

Delaware Valley 27, Hazleton Area 14

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of the Week) 5-2

Lake-Lehman at Crestwood

It’s the Granddaddy of them all in Mountain Top this weekend! Undefeated Lake-Lehman travels to undefeated Crestwood in the grand finale in the WVC. The winner takes home the WVC Division 2 crown. However, the game means NOTHING to the Comets in terms of the District 2 Class 4A playoffs, and EVERYTHING to the Black Knights. Crestwood has solidified the top spot and will host the title game next week. That puts the Comets in an interesting situation as the result of this game plays into who gets the second berth into the D2 Class 3A playoffs. A Lake-Lehman win puts them into the playoffs as the top seed. But if the Black Knights were to lose, they could end up out if Prep beats Valley View. All the numbers The Rick gets are provided by The Family Accountant and are subject to change, but it sure looks like this game is an elimination game for Lake-Lehman. That motivation has The Rick thinking the Back Mountain Boys come out on top.

Lake-Lehman 31, Crestwood 24

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 2-5

Western Wayne at North Pocono

The Rick can’t seem to get it right with either of these two teams. Western Wayne will travel to North Pocono and while the Trojans have a chance of making the District 2 Class 4A championship game with a victory, the Wildcats seem to be the better club overall. According to the math skills of the Family Accountant, North Pocono gets into the tournament with a victory and losses by Dallas to Berwick and Valley View to Prep. Should either of those teams win, North Pocono is out. That said, The Rick was thoroughly impressed with the Cats win over Valley View.

Western Wayne 32, North Pocono 26

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Easiest Pick of the Week) 7-0

Scranton Prep over Valley View

What a spot Scranton Prep is in. The Cavaliers have steamrolled four opponents and now host Valley View. The Cougars were upset by Western Wayne last week, and Prep smashed the Wildcats, so The Rick would think The Prep is the favorite in this game. All that doesn’t matter though, as the Cavaliers could be the odd man out in the District 2 Class 3A playoffs – even with a victory. As of press-time, both Lakeland and Lake-Lehman are ahead of Scranton Prep. The Chiefs conveniently have a bye this week so they are assured of a spot. The Cavaliers need a victory and a Black Knights loss to make the dance. Should Lake-Lehman beat undefeated Crestwood, they clinch the top spot regardless of what Prep does. That factor alone leads The Rick to believe that The Prep will play angry – and the Cougars won’t like them when they are angry.

Prep 42, Valley View 24

(Editor’s Note: Valley View is also still in the playoff hunt. A victory combined with a Dallas loss could send the Cougars to the post-season.)

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 7-0

Lackawanna Trail at Old Forge

The annual battle of small-school powers highlights this week’s schedule as Trail visits Old Forge on Halloween Night! The Blue Devils seem to have the Lions number in the regular-season the last few seasons. But Trail has upset Old Forge the last two years in the D2 Class 1A final. The Lions are 2A this year and are in command of the top spot in that classification. This is definitely a playoff game for Trail, a win and they go to the PIAA state tournament as the D2 rep, but lose and the Lions will need Riverside to upset Dunmore tonight to keep that berth. A Dunmore victory forces the Lions to win to get in. Old Forge hosts Bristol next week in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs in the District 1-2 Subregional Final. The Blue Devils haven’t played in two weeks after having both Montrose and Notre Dame Green Pond pull out because of COVID related issues. The Rick sticks with the trend in this one.

Old Forge 20, Lackawanna Trail 13

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 6-1

Riverside at Dunmore

This game may as well be played in the Superdome. This is a Super Bowl type level matchup. Riverside has thumbed its nose all season at league leaders and the blue bloods of the LFC. Why stop now? The Vikings – while only 2-5 – could put the local football world on its rear-end this week with a victory over Dunmore. The Bucks on the other hand seem like a lost soul looking for some redemption here on Halloween weekend. Dunmore faces a three-game losing streak AND a possible losing season for the first time in who knows how long! The playoffs are also on the line for the Bucks – win and they have a shot to be the District 2 Class 2A champ, lose and they are finished (unless they pick up some consolation games). The Rick is really looking forward to the result of this game because heck, when have both of these teams only had two wins in Week 10??? (Yes I know it’s not the same).  UPSET ALERT!!!

Riverside 25, Dunmore 21

 

Time to settle all Family business (44-9)

Honesdale over West Scranton

Wallenpaupack over Scranton

Susquehanna over Holy Cross

Dallas over Berwick

Nanticoke over Holy Redeemer

Tunkhannock over Hanover Area

Bye College U. over Pitt

Steelers over Ravens