On a dreary mid-week evening in October, the month when things wither and die, I imagine that many high school football coaches in District 2 are pondering the health of their respective seasons. The Wyoming Valley Conference is a morass of mediocrity, topped by the bellwether Wyoming Area, who now may have to soldier on indefinitely without their starting quarterback, Blaise Sokach-Minnick. It’s nearly impossible right now to determine who stands in line behind the Warriors.

In the LFC, there are two programs that stand alone at the top. Prep and Valley View will stare at one another hostilely for another few weeks before their set-to on the season’s final Friday. But, in a story parallel to the one in my prior paragraph, the Cougars wonder about the status of their signal caller, Adam Howanitz, who went down last weekend in Valley View’s rout of Crestwood.

So with injuries as the order of the day, I peer deep into the eyes of Martha, my intrepid cat, to see if she has any insight into the most appealing games of this weekend’s slate. Alas, Martha provides me no answers. She has designs on creeping critters that reside in her domain outside my upland bucolic hovel somewhere northeast of nowhere.

So with my best wishes to those injured field generals and a yearning for some good football, I cast my lot with the following contests as the games of the week. No thanks to Martha.

WYOMING VALLEY CONFERENCE GAME OF THE WEEK
Berwick (3-3) at Wyoming Valley West (3-3)

See the above statement about a morass of mediocrity. Nothing says mediocre like 3-3. Still, I choose to look at this as a “season half full” situation, providing the winner of this street fight on the corner of Pierce and Tioga in Kingston with some light. Certainly the more impressive resume belongs to the Dawgs. Berwick enters this integral road game riding a two-game winning streak, dispatching Tunkhannock last weekend in a game that was a bit closer than most predicted. Berwick plays defense in a way that befits past denizens of Crispin Field. The problem resides on the offensive side of the ball. The Dawgs have yet to click. If they do, they could be a thorn in the side of the likes of Valley View, North Pocono, and Dallas in the 4A tournament.

Valley West leans heavily on sophomore tailback, Isaiah Cobb. The Spartans’ speedy back just surpassed the 1,000 yard mark. In order for Valley West to push their record just a bit away from the gray haze of 3-3, Cobb will need to make big plays. Can the Spartans block the talented and physical Berwick front seven? The answer will determine the outcome on Friday night.

It is my belief that these teams are separated by a single touchdown and that the affair may swing back and forth before the final decision. I’ll bank on Berwick as their offense makes just enough plays to win the day.

LACKAWANNA FOOTBALL CONFERENCE GAME OF THE WEEK
Lakeland (5-1) at Western Wayne (3-2)

If I were to effort an escape on Friday night, my choice would be to spin my smartly colored brown Ford Escape toward the quaint hamlet of Varden to catch this one that hearkens back to the halcyon days of the old Suburban Conference. And escape it would need to be, as I believe my wife has plans to catch a marathon of The Good Witch on the Cloying Melodrama Channel. It’s new on my subscription to Comcast. My wife dumped The Food Network as she claimed it provided me with unhealthy impulses. Sorry, back to football.

Lakeland is no longer unscathed as they dropped a rock fight at home last weekend against Wyoming Area. Still, their performance served notice to the power brokers in Class 3A (yes, that would be the Jesuit Giants) that they will not go gently. As I have stated in this column on several prior occasions, the Chiefs possess one of the area’s most dynamic offenses. If I had a choice of one quarterback from District 2, give me the guy wearing number 1 for the Chiefs. Dominico Spataro, the Passing Paisan, leaves both rapt fans and pursuing defensive linemen breathless, much like THE RICK climbing stairs after his most recent foray at Cafe Rinaldi. The Chiefs will force Western Wayne to defend the entire field. Failure to do so will result in a loss for the home squad.

So what about Western Wayne? We’re still waiting for this group to pass a major test. Resounding losses to Crestwood and Prep have curbed the enthusiasm of many in the area who saw hardware in the offing this year for the Cats. Is a sprint to glory still possible for Coach Randy Wolff’s squad? We’ve not seen Army commit Caden Brungard since the opener against Dunmore. Deprived of Brungard’s athleticism, the Cats have come to depend quite heavily on Luke Janiszewski, a powerful downhill runner who is more than capable of carrying Western Wayne on Friday.

So what gives? As the Portly Prognosticator from Pizza Town says weekly, “don’t ask me about my business.” Yes, Rick, I do have internet connection here in the backwoods, where the only restaurant in town serves Red Man as an appetizer. I’m thinking that the Chiefs are still smarting from last week and that Coach Wolff, in his home environs, will coax the Cats to pass this test. Give me WW.

I’ll have to get to this one. The Good Witch troubles me on many levels.

A Face in the Crowd