The Rick, Week 5 – 2021

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1605-442 overall, .783 winning percentage)

 

Feast or Fandom

In the Fandom of Life, The Rick is Pie-O-My. One day, I am on top of the world, with Tony Soprano as my benefactor. The next? My stable is burning down at the hands of Ralphie Cifaretto. What does all this mean? Well, let The Rick explain.

Last week, The Rick penned about his perfect football weekend in Rocky Top. It couldn’t get any better with the Blue Devils, Panthers and Steelers winning. So, what happens this week? The Devils don’t play, the Panthers lose embarrassingly, and the Steelers made Week 1 look fluky. From perfection to depression. It happens that quick.

Now maybe not all of you are football crazy like The Rick, but the emotional investment – not to mention the financial investment – made by yours truly is substantial in all three of these teams. So, when things go bad, The Rick really doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Let’s hope for a better weekend of football these last days of September.

PLAYOFF POSITIONS

As we approach Week 5, it’s time to start looking at playoff positioning. According to the District 2 website, here is what the playoffs look like if we started today:

1A: Holy Cross (3-1) at Old Forge (3-0)

2A: Susquehanna (0-4) at Trail (3-1); Riverside (2-2) at Dunmore (2-1)

3A: Lake-Lehman (1-2) at Lakeland (4-0); Holy Redeemer (1-3) at Prep (3-0).

Carbondale (2-2) at Wyoming Area (3-1); Mid Valley (3-1) at Western Wayne (2-1)

4A: Crestwood (1-3) at Valley View (4-0); Pittston Area (1-3) at Dallas (2-1)

Tunkhannock (2-2) at North Pocono (3-1); Honesdale (2-2) at Wallenpaupack (2-2)

5A: Valley West (2-2) at Whitehall (3-1); PM East (1-2) at ES South (3-1)

6A: Wilkes-Barre Area (1-3) at Hazleton Area (2-2); Scranton (1-3) at Delaware Valley (1-3)

 

Ok. Time for the picks!

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (51-21)

An added attraction in 2021, throughout the season, we’ll be keeping score in our own friendly rivalry, matching picks with Consigliere Tom Robinson in his weekly feature on our partner website, NEPASportsNation.com. After four weeks, The Rick finally showed some fight and held Mister Robinson’s lead at four games in the neighborhood rivalry, matching Tom’s Week 4 record at 15-2. I have a feeling this may be an insurmountable lead. I may have to change the rules next week!

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

Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 5.

May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 2-2

Hazleton Area at Dallas

The demise of Dallas was greatly exaggerated by The Rick. The Mountaineers have gotten better each week and were only stopped by COVID last week. Otherwise, they would have been winners of three in a row with Hazleton Area coming to the Back Mountain this week. The Cougars themselves are on a roll. After two tough games to open the season, they are winners of two straight. This game is pivotal for both teams as Dallas travels to Millionaire City next week and Hazleton Area hosts Delaware Valley. So, a win is monumental here. The Rick expects this to be the first of a few WVC battles this weekend. Let’s go with the home team.

Dallas 25, Hazleton Area 22

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 3-1

Wyoming Area at Crestwood

Wyoming Area is coming off a very emotional loss to Southern Columbia. The Warriors outplayed the Tigers for 44 minutes and came up one-yard short of putting the final nail in the state powerhouse’s proverbial coffin. But that one yard and final four minutes proved to be all Southern needed to pull out the win. Crestwood is coming off a very emotional victory over Western Wayne. The Comets registered their first victory of the season convincingly over the Wildcats in a game many thought would go the other way. So, where does that bring us this week? The Rick could easily see Crestwood taking full advantage of their momentum in this one, but I am just not sure the Wyoming Area coaches will allow the sting of last week’s loss to hurt for another week.

Wyoming Area 24, Crestwood 20

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 3-1

Dunmore at Riverside

We probably have readers that are old enough to remember when this game MEANT something. Those readers are probably between the ages of 12-18, because it was NOT THAT LONG AGO! But boy, times have changed. The struggles of Dunmore and Riverside are not exaggerated. The Rick has seen both teams play in person. There are good athletes, good players and good coaches on both sides, but the mighty have indeed fallen. Maybe the team that wins this game will kick start a move to better days.

Dunmore 14, Riverside 13

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 4-0

Scranton Prep at Western Wayne

The Rick is sure you took one look at this game and did a double take. Prep and Western Wayne in the Cannoli Game? No way! Yes way! The Cavaliers may be better than advertised. The Wildcats? Well, it looks like the jury is out after last week’s loss to previously winless Crestwood. Yes, injuries have taken a toll on Western Wayne. But The Rick is losing faith in WW. Leave the Wildcats, take the Cavaliers!

Prep 40, Western Wayne 14

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 5-0

Mid Valley at Holy Cross

I don’t remember the exact details, but The Rick remembers during the days of the Suburban Conference, this game between Mid Valley and then Bishop O’Hara was somewhat of a rivalry. So much so, that one of the teams placed a dead fish in the other’s locker room during the week of this matchup. The offended party then brought the dead fish with them to the game and tossed it back at the offenders, having it land on the 50-yard line during pre-game. The Rick ain’t no furniture salesman. Neither are the Spartans.

Mid Valley 38, Holy Cross 21

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 1-3

Hanover at Lake-Lehman

Lake-Lehman has seen better days. So has Hanover Area. The Black Knights are not that far removed though from being a dominant program. The Hawkeyes are. Lake-Lehman had last week off, but they are looking to gain some solid ground as we approach the middle of the season. Hanover lost to Carbondale last week and will travel to Old Forge next week. They need to get their feet under them or its going to be a long, long season Both teams are looking for respect in this one. Only one will escape the Black Hole with victory.

Lake-Lehman 34, Hanover 12

 

Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 1-3

Pittston Area at Wilkes-Barre Area

Last week, The Rick took the easy way out in desperation for a victory. This week, I am going back out on the limb. Pittston Area is playing better football the last few weeks while Wilkes-Barre has been sputtering, losing three in a row. Yes, both teams are 1-3 and The Rick thinks the Patriots are playing better. But the Wolfpack are a big favorite on paper. They have the athletes. They have the former three Wilkes-Barre based schools under one umbrella. And that should give them the advantage. But not so fast my friend. The Rick is picking the family from Northern Luzerne County!

Patriots say, IT WAS YOU FREDO!

Pittston Area 23, Wilkes-Barre Area 20

 

Time to settle all Family business (32-11)

Williamsport over Berwick

Lakeland over Carbondale

Tunkhannock over Valley West

Nanticoke over Susquehanna

Scranton over Honesdale

Valley View over West Scranton

Wallenpaupack over North Pocono

Trail over Holy Redeemer

Delaware Valley over Abington Heights

 

Pick Six

It’s the second season of The Rick’s Six. Nothing fancy. Just my opinion of who are the best Big School teams and the best Small School teams. Nothing else. Remember, it’s where you finish at the end – not the beginning or the middle.

But this week is Moving Day in The Rick’s Six.

In the Big-Six, the top four remain the same with Hazleton Area and Delaware Valley moving into the count at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively. In the Small-Six, The Rick was super-impressed by Wyoming Area and despite their loss, the Warriors move into the No. 1 slot past an idle Scranton Prep. Lakeland moves up to No. 3 with an impressive win over Wallenpaupack, and Trail moves up a spot to No. 5. But it is the newcomer that surprises here. Mid Valley moves in at No. 6, replacing Western Wayne who lost at winless Crestwood last week.

Here it is….

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Valley View (4-0) 1
  2. Williamsport (3-1) 2
  3. Dallas (2-1) 3
  4. Wallenpaupack (2-2) 4
  5. Hazleton Area (2-2) NR
  6. Delaware Valley (1-3) NR

*Missed it by that much…. Tunkhannock (2-2)

 

THE SMALL-SIX

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

*Missed it by that much…. Western Wayne (2-1)