The Rick, Week 13 – 2021
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1714-463 overall, .783 winning percentage)
Just a helmet head…
It was 12 years ago that The Rick was approached and asked if I would be willing to sit down and discuss a new broadcast venture with Chris Kucharski. What came next as they say is history. The Blue Devil Football Network was created to join the NPF Network. Other schools followed, and a character named The Rick joined the family.
The Rick wasn’t the only “character” to join the NPF Family. There is a cast of characters in The Family who ultimately love high school football and love promoting the players and coaches who participate. We lost one of those characters last week, and while The Rick refers to Eddie Walker as a “helmet head”, his friends referred to him as “Edsel.”
No matter what you called him, The Rick is sure all of those that encountered Eddie know that he was passionate about high school football – and Berwick football especially. He was loud. He was crass. He was opinionated. He was exactly like The Rick. I guess that’s why I liked him.
We had our spirited debates. Heck we are both Helmet Heads. CK probably could have video streamed us in a bull in the ring and made a few dollars on it. And while I don’t proclaim to be a close friend of Eddie’s, he was part of our Family here at the NPF Network. The Rick is going to miss that big booming voice of his, telling me and everyone else for that matter, why Berwick football was ready to reclaim its stake among the upper echelon. He’ll be back with his old pal George Curry blitzing St. Peter up in the A gap while explaining an outside stunt to anyone who will listen.
Ok. Time for the picks!
THE RICK’S PICKS (160-42)
Last week Mike Tomlin was quoted as saying, “Never say, ‘never.’ But NEVER.” It sure looks that way for The Rick. This season we kept score in a friendly rivalry, matching picks with Consigliere Tom Robinson in his weekly feature on our partner website, NEPASportsNation.com. After 12 weeks, The Rick is no closer. And when I presented additional picks from other districts as a shot to close the gap, Mister Robinson just matched my picks. He padded his lead when I picked Lakeland over Wyoming Area. He picked the Warriors. That puts me six games behind entering Week 13. I was going to make Tom an offer he couldn’t refuse, but it may just be time to read the writing on the screen.
Check out The Consigliere’s picks at www.nepasportsnation.com.
Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 13.
PIAA Class 6A First Round (3-0)
Delaware Valley (9-3) v. State College (6-5)
District 2 Champ Delaware Valley takes a nine-game winning streak into its matchup with District 6 champ State College. The Warriors took care of business during the district playoffs and are ready to make a run during the PIAA Tournament. The Little Lions outlasted Williamsport last week, 17-4, to claim the D4/6 Subregional title. The winner takes on the District 3 champ next week – either Wilson or Harrisburg. State College has played three underclassmen at QB. Finn Furmanek, Jack Morris, and Owen Yerka have all taken snaps under center. The trio have combined to throw for 1,664 yards and 13 TDs. Running back Brady Bendik has rushed for 500+ yards and four TDs. Yerka has over 400 yards rushing and three TDs, while Furmanek and Morris combined for 350 yards and nine TDs on the ground. Jashaun Green and TJ Yoder are the top pass catchers, hauling in a combined 56 receptions for 928 yards and six TDs. Delaware Valley will have its hands full stopping the versatile offense, but the one thing the Warriors have been consistent with this year is its defense. Look for that trend to continue.
Delaware Valley 20, State College 13
PIAA Class 5A First Round (3-0)
East Stroudsburg South (9-3) v. Erie Cathedral Prep (10-1)
The Rick is going to continue to pick the 5A games until our subregional champ is eliminated. ES South put up a ton of points the last three weeks and will need it against traditional state power and District 10 champ Erie Cathedral Prep. The Rick is not sure there is a game featured two teams who are geographically farther apart this weekend. They play at a neutral site in Bald Eagle HS, it’ll be a long ride home for both.
EC Prep 34, ES South 30
District 2 Class 4A (6-0)
North Pocono (10-2) at Valley View (11-1)
North Pocono made a statement last week in its win over Dallas. It was the statement win the NEPA high school football world was waiting for from the Trojans all season. Valley View had its own statement win early in the year when it beat Delaware Valley. The Cougars pummeled opponents for the most part this season, even after its starting quarterback was lost for the season in Week 6. VV has played it close to the vest the last few weeks and will need to open it up against one of the hottest teams in the district. The Rick has a weird feeling about this one.
North Pocono 27, Valley View 23
District 2 Class 3A (4-1)
Wyoming Area (10-1) at Scranton Prep (10-0)
It will be a clash of the titans on Friday night in Scranton. Wyoming Area travels north to take on Scranton Prep in what is the most anticipated matchup of the season in Class 3A. The Warriors have two quality wins over Lakeland with a red zone stand last week in the semifinal to claim victory. Prep smashed Mid Valley last week and has the most impressive win of the high school season with is victory at Valley View three weeks ago. Much like VV, Prep needs to be more than one-dimensional this week. Yes, the 1D version of tailback London Montgomery is what every team covets, but Wyoming Area will be big and strong up front just like the Cavaliers. So, they are going to need to keep the Warriors honest. The Rick predicts some points in this one!
Prep 44, Wyoming Area 40
PIAA Class 2A (3-0)
Lackawanna Trail (8-3) at Northern Lehigh (9-3)
Lackawanna Trail did something no one else could in the last eight years – keep Dunmore out of the state playoffs. The newly cemented state contender Lions take to the road where they will face Northern Lehigh in the Class 2A Tournament. Trail will need a strong performance from its defense as the Bulldogs feature a high-potent passing attack. Senior QB Dylan Smoyer has thrown for over 1,400 yards and 18 TDs. His top target is Trevor Amorim, a senior WR who has hauled in 34 passes for 720 yards and five TDs. Amorim has also added 552 yards and six TDs on the ground. He compliments Matt Frame who has rushed for 745 yards and 11 TDs on 103 carries. The Lions will need to do what they do – control the football with the running game and play stout defense. It’ll be a tall order.
Northern Lehigh 27, Lackawanna Trail 20
PIAA Class 1A (1-1)
Williams Valley (9-2) v. Old Forge (10-0)
A little bit of a surprise here in the opening round of Class 1A. District 11 champ Williams Valley pulled off the upset last week, knocking off Tri-Valley in a rematch from a few weeks prior in which the Vikings were beaten. Old Forge is no stranger to Williams Valley as the Blue Devils lost to WV in 2017 in the second round of the state playoffs. This is a different Vikings team. However, they still have some offensive firepower both on the ground and in the air. Sophomore Alex Achenback has rushed for over 1,600 yards with 16 TDs to pace to offense. Junior QB Isaac Whiteash has thrown for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns but has also been picked off 11 times on the year. Twelve of Whiteash’s TDs have gone to junior wideout Brady Evans who has 42 catches for 789 yards. The duo will test the Blue Devils pass defense. Old Forge has been waiting for the state playoffs to start since last November. This will be their toughest test of the season, but the Blue Devils are ready. The Rick sees a Thanksgiving weekend game on the horizon for Old Forge.
Old Forge 41, Williams Valley 21
Time to settle all Family business (81-18)
Harrisburg over Wilson
Imhotep over Father Judge
Bonner-Prendie over Bishop Shanahan
Wyomissing over Boiling Springs
York Catholic over West Catholic
Canton over Steel-High
The Rick is going to give you all six PIAA State Champion predictions right now! I filled out each bracket like its March Madness – only November…
PIAA Class 6A: St. Joseph’s Prep over Pittsburgh Central Catholic
PIAA Class 5A: Imhotep over Penn Hills
PIAA Class 4A: Thomas Jefferson over Bishop McDevitt
PIAA Class 3A: Central Valley over Wyomissing
PIAA Class 2A: Southern Columbia over Steel Valley
PIAA Class 1A: Old Forge over Rochester
One upset caused a shakeup in the Big Six while a close loss atoned for the movement in the Small Six. North Pocono’s win over Dallas moved them into the No. 3 Big spot while Lakeland’s loss to Wyoming Area coupled with Old Forge’s blowout win over the D12 champ moved the Blue Devils into the No. 3 Small spot while dropping the Chiefs to No. 4. North Pocono gets a chance to move up further as they take on Valley View this week, and Scranton Prep and Wyoming Area can decide who the best small school team is. We will forge on another week!
Here is this week’s Pick-Six….
- Valley View (11-1) 1
- Delaware Valley (9-3) 2
- North Pocono (10-2) 4
- Hazleton Area (8-4) 3
- Dallas (8-3) 5
- Berwick (7-5) 6
- Scranton Prep (10-0) 1
- Wyoming Area (10-1) 2
- Old Forge (10-0) 4
- Lakeland (10-2) 3
- Mid Valley (9-3) 5
- Lackawanna Trail (8-3) 6
The Rick’s PIAA Predictions