The Rick, Week 11 – 2021

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1688-460 overall, .783 winning percentage)

 

Apologies

The Rick is a Steelers fan. My fandom is thoroughly documented. During the adult phase of my citizenship in Steeler Nation – the last 10 years – there have been many times that the Steelers organization received apologies from the NFL after games in which the rules were misinterpreted or calls were botched. Many of those times, those gaffs cost them the game, but hey, the NFL said, “We’re sorry!” Like everything was now ok.

So, The Rick knows, an apology to the Valley View Cougars isn’t going to mean anything. But Coach George Howanitz and his players deserve one. If you are reading this and don’t know the sequence The Rick is talking about, let me give you the short version. The Cougars were in the red zone, tied 7-7, late in the first half against Scranton Prep last week. Twice, Valley View appeared to reach the endzone. Once on a pass, once on a run. Two different officials called the Cougars short of the goal line.

The Rick’s eyes told him different. Both players scored touchdowns. The score would have put Valley View ahead 13-7 at worst, headed to halftime. That’s a big difference in a game the Cougars would lose 17-10. Does it change who won and lost? Not necessarily, but momentum in high school football is a big thing, and that point of the contest sure changed the momentum in the game.

Again, an apology from the LIAA or the officials isn’t going to change anything. But The Rick knows from my years of coaching and being around sports that coaches appreciate it when officials simply relay to coaches that they blew the call or missed it. Don’t tell coaches they are wrong. They’d rather hear the admission of guilt, then an alibi.

 

Apology No. 2

All that said regarding the LFC Game of the Year, The Rick has his own apology to issue – to Prep. The Cavaliers were outstanding up front on both sides of the football and tailback London Montgomery not only brought the flash, but earned the cash, with some tough running between the hashes.

The Rick was very impressed with the offensive and defensive line play by Scranton Prep as they controlled the trenches throughout the contest. It shocked The Rick quite frankly that the Cavs pushed the Cougars around. So, while the end of the first half may have been a fluke, coaches always preach that the game is won on the line of scrimmage. And that’s what allowed the Jesuit Giants to get out of Peckville still undefeated.

 

The Fix 3

The Rick likes to refer to himself as Ray Donovan sometimes – the ultimate fixer. So, when I saw the news of the West Scranton job opening come across the ticker the other day, I knew exactly how to help fix one of the more storied high school football programs in NEPA.

Hire Matt McGloin.

It’s as simple as that. Does McGloin want the job? The Rick has no inside knowledge of that. But so, what? Figure out a way to make him want the job if he doesn’t want it. The scrappy kid from West Side needs to be the new leader of the Invaders. The West Side kids need to learn from a self-made successful football player. Someone that can point to a life made from hard work. Someone who you know will put the work in to make his home team a success once again.

And if McGloin did take the job? Maybe then some of his former teammates and other West Side legends who were successful would join him as assistants. West side guys like Eric Shrive, Evan Prall, and John Fox. Coaches who would have football knowledge from the college world and from the point of being teachers and coaches previously.

The last thing West Scranton needs is an uninspiring figure to take over. The Invaders need to be rescued. Matt McGloin may not be the hero West Side wants, but he is in fact the one they need.

Ok. Time for the picks!

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (134-39)

Well, I had a chance. An added attraction in 2021, throughout the season, The Rick kept score in a friendly rivalry, matching picks with Consigliere Tom Robinson in his weekly feature on our partner website, NEPASportsNation.com. After 10 weeks, The Rick fell further behind Mister Robinson as his 16 wins bettered my 14. That puts me six games behind entering Week 11. Going into Week 10, we had different picks in four games, which gave me a shot to tie. Well, the only shot The Rick got was on Friday when Dunmore’s legendary pharmacist Tommy DiPietro stuck me with a needle. Maybe The Rick should have got the booster shot before I picked the games.

Check out The Consigliere’s picks at www.nepasportsnation.com.

Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 11.

 

District 2 Class 6A

No. 4 Scranton (4-6) at No. 1 Delaware Valley (7-3)

No. 3 Wilkes-Barre Area (4-6) at No. 2 Hazleton Area (7-3)

The Rick predicted in Week 1 that Delaware Valley would beat Hazleton Area for the District 2 6A title. I am going to stick with that prediction this week, but that could change next week. The Rick reserves that right. I do not expect Scranton to give the Warriors a full four-quarter battle, but the other semi-final could be a trap game for the Cougars. Hazleton Area should not look past WBA.

Delaware Valley 28, Scranton 14

Hazleton Area 17, Wilkes-Barre Area 14

 

District 2/11 Class 5A Subregional

No. 4 Wyoming Valley West (3-7) at No. 1 East Stroudsburg South (7-3)

No. 3 Southern Lehigh (4-6) at No. 2 Whitehall (3-6)

Valley West was The Rick’s pick to be the D2 5A champ at the start of the season – and they are. Can they win the subregional? Never say, ‘never.’ But it’s a tough road for the Spartans. A win over ESS could make them the favorite as SoLeHi and Whitehall aren’t sporting great records themselves. The Rick goes with chalk.

ES South 31, Valley West 21

Whitehall 18, SoLeHi 14

 

District 2 Class 4A

No. 8 Crestwood (3-7) at No. 1 Valley View (9-1)

No. 7 Pittston Area (3-7) at No. 2 Dallas (7-2)

No. 6 Honesdale (4-6) at No. 3 North Pocono (8-2)

No. 5 Wallenpaupack (4-6) at No. 4 Berwick (6-4)

In Week 1, The Rick predicted Valley View to be the champ. In Week 11, I am sticking to my guns. The Cougars are the class of D2 4A right now, but don’t sell Dallas or North Pocono short. It will be interesting to see how Valley View responds to its first loss of the season last week. The Cougars beat No. 8 Crestwood during the season but started slow in that game. It was also the game in which star QB Adam Howanitz was injured, and his season ended. So, this game could be a good indicator of what happens the rest of the bracket. As for the other games in this tourney, Dallas and North Pocono should beat up on Pittston Area and Honesdale respectively, but The Rick wouldn’t be surprised if Berwick slips. The Dawgs have struggled offensively and Wallenpaupack hasn’t been bad on defense this year.

Valley View 34, Crestwood 12

Dallas 27, Pittston Area 14

North Pocono 37, Honesdale 7

Berwick 14, Wallenpaupack 10

 

District 2 Class 3A

No. 7 Carbondale Area (5-5) at No. 2 Wyoming Area (8-1)

No. 6 Lake-Lehman (4-5) at No. 3 Lakeland (9-1)

No. 5 Western Wayne (4-6) at No. 4 Mid Valley (8-2)

Scranton Prep was the pre-season pick to win the D2 Class 3A title and they remain the favorite entering the post-season. The Cavaliers get a bye this week with only seven teams eligible for the tournament. And while, Prep is the favorite, there are a few suitors for the crown. The semifinals of this bracket will be must-see football for fans in NEPA. Wyoming Area and Lakeland both have an equal chance to take home the hardware and many are looking forward to a rematch of the Warriors win during the regular season that also involved a controversial call or two. Don’t look past the Mid Valley v. Western Wayne game this week. It would be another feather in the Spartans helmet after an outstanding season. But The Rick also wouldn’t be surprised if the Wildcats dig deep into their pride and come up with a win.

Wyoming Area 37, Carbondale 6

Lakeland 41, Lake-Lehman 14

Mid Valley 20, Western Wayne 12

 

District 2 Class 2A

No. 4 Riverside (2-8) at No. 1 Lackawanna Trail (6-3)

No. 3 Susquehanna (3-7) at No. 2 Dunmore (3-6)

The Rick picked Lackawanna Trail to win Class 2A before the season started. And while, I still must go with the Lions as the class of this class in D2, The Rick has had this gut feeling since last weekend that it wouldn’t be THAT crazy if Riverside upset Trail in the opening round. Look, The Rick uses the eye test for the most part and his eyes told him one of two things last Thursday – either Old Forge is really, really, really good or Trail is not as good as advertised. Sure, the Lions could have not played their best and the Blue Devils could have played outstanding. But The Rick isn’t so sure. Ultimately, I am going to stick with Trail, but The Rick is sayin’ there’s a chance.

Trail 24, Riverside 22

Dunmore 31, Susquehanna 13

 

District 1/2/12 1A Subregional

No. 3 Belmont Charter (7-1) at No. 2 Bristol (7-2)

This is where Old Forge will be playing next week after being handed the D2 Class 1A title when Holy Cross opted out to play Eastern Conference. Somewhere along the line, District 12 joined this subregional, and its entrant, Belmont Charter will face Bristol in this week’s semifinal. Belmont Charter is in West Philadelphia and is a mile or so from the Philadelphia Zoo. The Tigers only loss is the Steel-High, 61-6, early in the season. Bristol is near the New Jersey border, east of Plymouth Meeting. The Warriors two losses were back-to-back to, Executive Education Academy Charter, the team Holy Cross plays in the Eastern Conference Championship, and Academy of the New Church, the school Riverside played a few seasons ago. No matter who wins, Old Forge will travel to face the winner next week.

Bristol 21, Belmont Charter 20

 

Time to settle all Family business (75-17)

EECA 24, Holy Cross 20

Nanticoke 24, Schuylkill Valley 21

 

Pick Six

The Rick hasn’t yet decided if this will be the last poll of the season. I think I may go one more week as all the teams in the polls are still playing. Two changes this week. North Pocono moved up one spot in the Big Six after a tough loss to Delaware Valley, and Scranton Prep moved back into the top spot in the Small Six after its huge road win at Big Six No. 1 Valley View.

Here is this week’s Pick-Six….

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Valley View (9-1) 1
  2. Delaware Valley (7-3) 2
  3. Hazleton Area (7-3) 3
  4. North Pocono (8-2) 5
  5. Dallas (7-2) 4
  6. Berwick (6-4) 6

 

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Scranton Prep (9-0) 2
  2. Wyoming Area (8-1) 1
  3. Lakeland (9-1) 3
  4. Old Forge (9-0) 4
  5. Mid Valley (8-2) 5
  6. Lackawanna Trail (6-3) 6