So it’s late August, and a young man’s fancy turns to 2-deep zones and RPO’s. With apologies to the romantics in the reading public, this is, after all, a high school football website. For the next ten weeks and, hopefully, into the playoffs, I will expand upon the two best games of the weekend, one from the Wyoming Valley Conference and one from the Lackawanna Football Conference.

Let’s begin with some ground rules. If a game pits two District 2 teams against one another, I will consider the home teams’s conference when deciding how to classify each game. For example, in Week 1, Valley View plays at Dallas. That would be considered a WVC contest, only for the purposes of this platform. I will only consider games that match two WVC and LFC opponents. Berwick travels to Southern Columbia in Week 1. That game doesn’t fit my profile.

These are the games that I would travel to see if my wife would allow it. Chances are, she will not. She’s funny that way. High school football is not high on her list of priorities. It’s far below Aurora Teagarden Mysteries on Hallmark. But these are my problems, not yours. Let’s get started.

Williamsport at Crestwood

In my humble opinion, these are the two best teams in District 2. Before you get all hot and bothered, I know that the Millionaires are not a District 2 team, but they are a WVC team so I lump them in with the rest.

Chuck Crews has a group that is speed on speed on speed. They will be difficult to contain on both sides of the football. Williamsport’s football talent generally runs in cycles and we are now riding the crest of this particular pattern. Keith Freeman may be the most electrifying player we will see all year long. He complements RB Nasir Hennigan and the bullies upfront for WAHS. Defensively, Port will run to the ball with bad intentions. I’m not sure how the Comets will deal with this group, but I give them a puncher’s chance at home in Mountain Top.

Ryan Arcangeli is an outstanding coach who has solidified this program to compete on a yearly basis. Signal caller Noah Schultz will be under fire and eager to prove himself after filling in capably late last season. The strength of the Crestwood squad is their defense. Cole Kakalecik will be the best linebacker on the field on Friday night. Crestwood will need to force turnovers and control the ball to win. If the tens digit reads “3” on the scoreboard, it will be too many points for the Comets.

This is a big on big matchup that will be a learning experience for both teams and their respective coaching staffs. Barring injuries, there is absolutely nothing to lose here, but so much to gain. Even with an opening loss, either of these teams can still be factors in November in their respective classifications and in their own divisions. But the winner will stand as king of the hill, at least for a week.

Dunmore at Western Wayne

Given the anomalous 2020 high school football season, Dunmore Head Coach Kevin McHale should be given a “do-over” as he creates his own legacy following Jack Henzes in Dunmore. All prior Western Wayne football coaches now stand in the shadow of Randy Wolff who has accomplished things that the rest have only imagined. He is the MAN in Varden. Dunmore vs. Western Wayne is a Big 11 traditional power facing off against one of the rising programs in all of District 2.

Regardless of experience, Dunmore breeds athletes. Though the names may be unfamiliar to many, do not expect the Bucks to take many steps backward. Thomas Bowen is a good-looking quarterback with size and a strong arm. Only a sophomore, he will improve as the year progresses. Austin Brislin is a mule on both sides of the ball, following in the footsteps of so many lauded Dunmore linemen. More importantly, Dunmore football teams never expect to lose. I guarantee that, when they depart their buses on Friday night, they will be prepared to go 1-0.

Coaching matters. Western Wayne is a prime example of that adage and will put their well-learned lessons on display all year long. Thomas Chernasky, a tight-end/defensive end, is headed to the University of Delaware. Caleb Brungard, an athlete who will be utilized all over the field in all three phases, is slated to play his football at West Point. This does not happen by accident, and it certainly never happened at Western Wayne prior to Wolff’s arrival. The Cats will be physical and disciplined, a combination that may just be too much for the young Bucks on the very first weekend.

By game’s end, we will know where the Bucks stand and what work remains in front of them. We will also have insight into just how big a threat Western Wayne will be to Wyoming Area and Scranton Prep in 3A. It’s amazing to consider that a Western Wayne victory on Friday will not be an upset. Times have changed.

A Face in the Crowd