Though I don’t prognosticate like the Corpulent Capo from Old Forge, The Rick, I would like to boast that my “plays” are currently 4-0. He’s far more glamorous than I, and his ego needs stroking, hence his incessant touting of relatively mediocre results. I simply wish to send you to watch good high school football games throughout District 2. I have not steered you wrong yet. Last week, the WVC Game of the Week featured a wild finish as Wyoming Area held on to deprive Wilkes-Barre Area of that identity win that they want so badly. In Peckville, Valley View stepped boldly to the front of the line by stomping DV in the LFC headliner. As I said in my piece last week, they are, definitively, the best team in all of District 2.
So where do we go this week? Will my wife allow it, or will I be forced to read Petrarchan sonnets with her while sipping Merlot? Should I put vinegar on my fries from the refreshment stand? So many questions…
WYOMING VALLEY CONFERENCE GAME OF THE WEEK
Wilkes-Barre Area (1-1) at Dallas (1-1)
This is what I like to call a bus ticket game. The winner moves forward to Week 4 having proven, essentially, that they are deserving of contender status, while the loser gets a bus ticket to Palookaville. Both teams have losses to big boys: WBA to the aforementioned Warriors and Dallas to Valley View on the opening weekend. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of there. But a loss here would smell a bit different.
Wilkes-Barre Area is the more explosive team in the contest. Wyoming Area survived on Saturday afternoon. Make no mistake, the game was a rock fight that was finally won by the team with more experience winning that type of close struggle. And the Wolfpack played much of the game without their starting quarterback, Javant McClary. Sophomore stud Mekhi Nelson leads WBA in rushing and receiving, and may lead the Pack in passing if he is forced behind center again this week. Once again, the Wolfpack needs to beat one of the big boys. Dallas most certainly fits that description.
Dallas quarterback Jackson Wydra may well be the most polished quarterback in the WVC. He has thrown for over 360 yards and two TD’s without the blemish of an interception. He has accomplished receivers all over the formation and will force WBA to play disciplined, assignment-based defense. His stellar efforts were the driving force behind the Mountaineers’ heart-stopping overtime victory last week over Valley West, a game that few gave Dallas a chance of winning. Rich Mannello is a wily old veteran who coaxes impressive efforts out of his group on a regular basis. Dallas needs this win to hang with Williamsport in the division.
If there was a total to bet in this game (and there may be in Old Forge), certainly most of the sharp money would be placed on the over. It seems as though neither defense has the resources to handle the skilled talents of the offenses attacking them. It’s difficult to buck trends. The trend in the WVC is to count on Dallas when it counts. I do believe that makes sense again this week.
LACKAWANNA FOOTBALL CONFERENCE GAME OF THE WEEK
Scranton Prep (2-0) at Wallenpaupack (2-0)
Let’s begin with the fact that this was supposed to be a Scranton Prep home game. Because of the disrepair currently on display at Valor Field at Mike Munchak Way at Joe DeAntona Boulevard at Moe DeCantis Center at Memorial Stadium, Prep made the decision to swap home games with the Buckhorns and travel to the Lake this Friday night. The word that comes to mind is “portentous”.
There are similarities too numerous to mention between these teams. The one that jumps off the page is at tailback. London Montgomery is a monster. The Prep junior has over 500 yards and 10, that’s right, 10 touchdowns in the first two contests for the Purple and Gold. Keeping Montgomery out of the end zone is harder than keeping Anthony Fauci away from television cameras. The Cavalier star is currently averaging over 15 yards per carry. He is on pace to shatter every rushing and scoring record in Prep football history, which is both lengthy and illustrious. On the other sideline, the Buckhorns and Coach Mark Watson counter with Shadrak Agyei, a jet of a back who needs very little in the way of interference in front of him. These two may trade punches early before the defenses settle down.
Both teams have registered knockout wins in their first two encounters, but neither has defeated a high-quality opponent. Both teams have notched 40-plus points in each tilt and have put their games out of reach by intermission. Both teams are led by quarterbacks who are thin on experience, but long on athleticism and toughness. The most glaring differences are in pedigree and history. The Cavs have owned Paupack in the recent and distant past. And Terry Gallagher has constructed a program that produces results that are the envy of every other program in the area.
Where am I going with this? Let me refer you to the opening paragraph. History tells us to go with Prep and wait for the inevitable result. But something is steering me in the other direction. Just as the path up 590 from Elmhurst to the Lake is treacherous and serpentine, so too is my thinking here. Don’t be surprised if this one bucks the historical trend. As I said, certain decisions and circumstances are portentous. I think the change in setting fits the bill.
And yes, please pass the vinegar. Merlot leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth.
A Face in the Crowd