The Rick, Week 12 – 2021

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1703-461 overall, .783 winning percentage)

PIAA looks past senior fans

It’s been a crazy 18 months for sports fans. From no sports to no fans to no contact, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world has operated. Some for the good, some for the bad. But one thing that has seemingly become permanent – and not for the good – is online ticketing.

The Rick has received quite a few complaints about the new, “no ticket at the gate,” rule that is in place for the PIAA playoffs. And while, I understand the concept of it and maybe some of the reasoning, what the PIAA may not realize is that they are turning off the biggest demographic of the high school sports fan base – senior citizens.

Yes, some senior citizens are tuned into the Metaverse and know how to go on the line, but the majority are not. Most seniors are leery of putting any kind of payment or banking information online. Heck, I know some millennials and Gen-Xers that refuse to make any transactions online. Even past that, how are senior fans supposed to even know they will be turned away at the gate if they can’t produce a digital ticket? Sure, those on social media may see it in their news feeds, or maybe catch it in their local newspapers if they can still afford to buy a newspaper. But what about those that don’t?

I would bet that after parents, senior citizens make up most fans that attend every game of their high school teams. And yet, the PIAA is doing everything in their power to turn those fans away. Heck, The Rick still must find a pay phone when he needs to make an important call.

There’s an easy solution. Keep the online ticketing but make tickets available at the gate. There is no rhyme or reason not to do this. None!

Ok. Time for the picks!

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (149-40)

Well, maybe there is 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 11 weeks, The Rick closed the gap behind Mister Robinson as my 15 wins bettered his 14. That puts me five games behind entering Week 12. I am going to have to come up with some crazy upsets to win this thing, or maybe I should just put a blindfold on my opponent and have him pick odds and evens. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Let’s pick some games blind!

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

 

Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 12.

 

District 2 Class 6A (2-0)

No. 2 Hazleton Area (8-3) at No. 1 Delaware Valley (8-3)

In Week 1, The Rick picked Delaware Valley to beat Hazleton Area for the District 2 Class 6A title. Well, it’s Week 12 and here are the Cougars and Warriors all set to do battle for the big-school crown. To be honest, I have had trouble getting a read on Del Valley this year. While they have won eight in a row, the Warriors haven’t been their dominate selves. Hazleton Area has gotten better each week, and a win this week will surely push the Cougars into the upper echelon of D2 football. The Rick has trouble doubting DV will do nothing but show that the standard is the standard this week. However, a Hazleton win won’t necessarily be an upset. I know, I sound wishy-washy. The winner gets the winner between State College and Williamsport next week.

Delaware Valley 27, Hazleton Area 24

 

District 2/11 Class 5A Subregional (2-0)

No. 2 Whitehall (5-6) at No. 1 East Stroudsburg South (8-3)

This game is technically a subregional with District 2, so let’s make a pick in a game that The Rick knows nothing about. ES South hammered D2 “champion” Valley West last week, so let stick with the South Side of Stroudsburg over Lehigh County.

ESS 37, Whitehall 21

 

District 2 Class 4A (4-0)

No. 4 Berwick (7-4) at No. 1 Valley View (10-1)

No. 3 North Pocono (9-2) at No. 2 Dallas (8-2)

It’s been 30 years since North Pocono upset Berwick for the Eastern Conference Championship. It’s also the same weekend The Rick saw his first Steelers game in person. So, are we headed for a repeat performance in Week 13? The majority of fans are expecting a Dallas-Valley View rematch from Week 1. But we cannot sleep on the Trojans and the Dawgs. Berwick has won 6 of 7 with its only loss during the streak coming to Dallas. North Pocono has also won 6 of 7 with its close loss two weeks ago to Delaware Valley. The Dawgs have played tremendous defense all season long and will need another stellar effort to combat the defense of Valley View. The Cougars were hands down the best team in D2 before Prep gave them their first loss in Week 10. Dallas has won six straight entering this week’s game. Obviously, we should have two great games on Friday night. But who will win? The Rick is torn, but here is what I see.

Valley View 17, Berwick 8

North Pocono 19, Dallas 16

 

District 2 Class 3A (3-0)

No. 4 Mid Valley (9-2) at No. 1 Scranton Prep (9-0)

No. 3 Lakeland (10-1) at No. 2 Wyoming Area (9-1)

Has there been a better story in NEPA than the Mid Valley football team? The Spartans have had a historic season with their only losses coming to two teams a combined 19-1. One of those teams, Lakeland, is playing in the other D2 Class 3A semi. But this chapter of history is about to end as Mid Valley takes on Scranton Prep this weekend. The Cavaliers match up well with the Spartans, which should negate any speed advantage for the Silver and Blue. The other semi will be of titanic proportions. Lakeland travels to Wyoming Area in a rematch of a game earlier this season, a game the Warriors won, and a game which had a few controversial calls that benefited Wyoming Area. Both teams are practically even despite a different approach to offense. Up at the lake, the Chiefs want to spread you out and use their speed. At The Jake, the Warriors want to beat you up on the line of scrimmage and grind it out until they break your defense. It’s going to be a fun weekend in Class 3A with two very good teams going home. The Rick has the roadmap for them.

Scranton Prep 34, Mid Valley 14

Lakeland 27, Wyoming Area 23

 

District 2 Class 2A (2-0)

No. 2 Dunmore (4-6) at No. 1 Lackawanna Trail (7-3)

The Rick has called for a few upsets this coming weekend, and while I was considering another one, I became senseless after reviewing the last few games of the season – including last week’s playoff games. Dunmore struggled to get past Susquehanna while Lackawanna Trail had its hands full with Riverside. I still can’t believe I typed those words. I guess someone must win this game, and the Lions did beat the Bucks just a month ago in Tunnel Hill. The winner gets the winner of Palmerton and Northern Lehigh. So, who wins? Well, it is deer season.

Lackawanna Trail 13, Dunmore 12

 

District 1/2/12 1A Subregional (0-1)

No. 3 Belmont Charter (8-1) at No. 1 Old Forge (9-0)

Everything about this subregional final came out of nowhere. Originally, the District 1 champ was set to host the District 2 champ in Week 12. Old Forge fans were all set to make the trip to Bristol this week as the Warriors travelled to the Pizza Capital last year. Then District 12 became involved somehow last weekend and Belmont Charter entered the subregional without any warning from anyone at the PIAA. The Tigers then upset Bristol in the semifinal game at Bristol on Friday and appeared to be the new destination for the Blue Devils. Located just a few blocks from The Philadelphia Zoo, Belmont Charter does not have its own field, and played two “home” games this season at the Germantown Supersite, located in the Stenton area of Philly and just a few miles from Arcadia University.  Then out of nowhere, the Blue Devils were informed on Saturday night they would host the District 1/2/12 Subregional Final. All this turned out great for Old Forge, and probably not so great for Belmont Charter. There is not much info on the Tigers in the Metaverse, but against Bristol, they were led by running back Shamere Davenport (11-72, 1TD), quarterback Nasisy Harrison (12-19, 78 yards 2 TDs) and wideout Chris Palmer (3-70, 1 TD). One game of note on their schedule was a 61-6 loss to Steel-High in early September.

Old Forge 38, Belmont Charter 12

 

Time to settle all Family business (77-17)

State College over Williamsport

Boiling Springs over Hamburg

Wyomissing over Middletown

Northern Lehigh over Palmerton

Tri-Valley over Williams Valley

 

Pick Six

Ok. All our Pick Six teams are still alive. That won’t be the case next week as we have three head-to-head matchups in the Big Six and two head-to-head matchups in the Small Six. We’ll go at least one more week and maybe into Week 13. No movement this week but expect some next week.

Here is this week’s Pick-Six….

 

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Valley View (10-1) 1
  2. Delaware Valley (8-3) 2
  3. Hazleton Area (8-3) 3
  4. North Pocono (9-2) 4
  5. Dallas (8-2) 5
  6. Berwick (7-4) 6

 

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Scranton Prep (9-0) 1
  2. Wyoming Area (9-1) 2
  3. Lakeland (10-1) 3
  4. Old Forge (9-0) 4
  5. Mid Valley (9-2) 5
  6. Lackawanna Trail (7-3) 6