The Rick, Week 8 – 2021
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1643-454 overall, .783 winning percentage)
It’s One Worthy Answer
A curious title to a column you may think to yourself. The Rick himself is wondering exactly where this may be going. I mean, I know what the worthy answer is of course, but how am I going to get you to that answer. Some more of this and you may think that the Sesquipedalian has taken over my column. But he is too busy wandering around every mini-mart in NEPA looking for Munchos.
The Rick has been watching a lot of football the past few weeks. College. NFL. There have been some very entertaining games going on and The Rick thinks that maybe there is some hope that we see some parity in both of those levels just as we are seeing in some instances on the high school level. You can look at some of the matchups in our own backyard. The big schools are just about even record-wise in the 6A classification. After Valley View, Prep and Wyoming Area, the 4A and 3A divisions are a mixture of teams that can beat each other on any given night. And in 2A, it looks like it’s going to be a few interesting weeks.
Back to the college game, heck, even the Pitt Panthers are starting to gain some attention! That’s how much parity has reigned in college football sans Alabama and Georgia – but even the Tide got beat last week. Now as The Rick gets excited for Pitt football this weekend, he knows it is entirely possible that Pitt does its thing and loses to Virginia Tech with a highly anticipated matchup with Clemson on the slate the following week.
Yet, let’s make one thing abundantly clear. There is only one worthy answer this week. It’s the first letter of each word in the title of this column.
According to the NPF Football website, here is what the playoffs look like if we started today:
1A: Holy Cross (3-4) at Old Forge (6-0).
2A: Susquehanna (1-6) at Trail (5-1); Riverside (2-5) at Dunmore (3-3).
3A: Nanticoke (2-5) at Wyoming Area (6-1); Carbondale Area (3-4) at Scranton Prep (6-0);
Lake-Lehman (3-3) at Lakeland (6-1); Western Wayne (3-4) at Mid Valley (6-1).
4A: Tunkhannock (2-5) at Valley View (7-0); Crestwood (2-5) at Dallas (4-2);
Pittston Area (2-5) at North Pocono (6-1); Wallenpaupack (2-5) at Berwick (4-3).
5A: Southern Lehigh (1-6) at Whitehall (3-3); Valley West (3-4) at ES South (4-3).
6A: Scranton (3-4) at Delaware Valley (4-3); Wilkes-Barre Area (4-3) at Hazleton Area (4-3).
Ok. Time for the picks!
THE RICK’S PICKS (89-33)
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 seven weeks, The Rick gained some ground on Mister Robinson and trails only by four games entering Week 8. You may recall, I was down six games, but a math error on The Rick’s part, and my pick of Mid Valley over Dunmore got me another game in the standings. Now if we were in Vegas, I’d probably have gained yet another spot as the King Keeper of Stats forgot to enter a pick on the Hanover – Holy Redeemer game! He should be penalized two losses for that! But The Rick doesn’t roll that way.
Check out The Consigliere’s picks at www.nepasportsnation.com.
Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 7.
May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 3-4
Wilkes-Barre Area at Hazleton Area
In two weeks, we will know who win the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 5A/6A title as both Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton are 4-3 with Williamsport and Valley West at 3-4. The four schools play each other in the next two weeks. But on Friday night in Hazleton, it’ll be a jungle-like atmosphere when the Wolfpack visit the Cougars in a showdown of the two best teams in the division. Both teams have played well the past month, with Hazleton Area winning four of five, while WBA has taken three straight games. This big-boy matchup will go down to the wire. The Rick expects a great game with a lot of points.
Hazleton Area 40, Wilkes-Barre Area 37
The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 5-2
Lakeland at Mid Valley
This is the matchup of the year so far in the Lackawanna Football Conference as Lakeland travels to Mid Valley in a battle of 6-1 teams. The Chiefs have been in this position before and while they have surprised some of the pundits in the area, The Rick fully expected Lakeland to be in this situation at this point in the season. The Spartans on the other hand haven’t been in this position in a long, long time. How long you say? The Rick is guessing that it’s a spot that Mid Valley fans haven’t seen on the gridiron since the Muppets played in Throop some time in the 20th century. The Rick expects a great atmosphere for high school football on Friday night. So, get there early if you are attending this one. It should be fun!
Lakeland 24, Mid Valley 22
Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 5-2
Carbondale Area at Riverside
When The Rick sat down to do his week-by-week, pre-season predictions, I picked Carbondale to win this matchup. Why? I really don’t remember or have any idea. So, now it’s Week 8 and I need to make a real-time prediction. The Chargers have had some good showings and seem like they can run the football. Riverside hasn’t shown much in stopping the run but had a good effort against Mid Valley two weeks ago, almost producing the upset. The Rick hasn’t seen anything that should alter his pre-season thoughts. Charge it!
Carbondale Area 27, Riverside 20
Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 7-0
Holy Cross at Old Forge
Old Forge has outscored Holy Cross, 170-14, in the last three matchups of this series, a series that the Blue Devils have never seen defeat in 14 meetings. The Crusaders seem to be playing much better in 2021, but The Rick expects history to repeat itself. Leave the Crusaders, take the Blue Devils!
Old Forge 58, Holy Cross 12
Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 8-0
Montrose at Susquehanna
The Battle for the Bluestone doesn’t mean much to those outside of Susquehanna County, but for Montrose and Susquehanna, this game is the one they circle when the schedules come out. The Meteors and the Sabers aren’t having the best of seasons. In fact, this could be the worst matchup in the all-time series with Montrose at 0-6 and Susquehanna at 1-6. Still, both teams will leave their blood and guts on the field when the two teams tussle on Friday night, and The Rick respects that. This is what high school football is all about, regardless of the records.
Susquehanna 21, Montrose 18
I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 3-4
Valley West at Williamsport
Both of these teams are looking for some respect – and a jumpstart to the home stretch as the Witching Hour is at hand here in mid-October. Williamsport has lost three straight after starting 3-1. Valley West has lost two consecutive games after winning two straight. Something has to give here. The Rick sees only dollar signs.
Williamsport 27, Valley West 22
Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 2-5
Dunmore at Lackawanna Trail
Twenty-some years ago, The Rick was on his way back from who-knows-where after covering a game as a stringer for The Big Shamrock. I turned the radio on in the car as word had made its way to who-knows-where, a.k.a The Varden Garden, that Lackawanna Trail was beating Dunmore in what would be considered the major upset of the decade. The Lions were about to burst onto the scene as the top small school in the area, a title they would hold onto for more than a decade. The Bucks were THE BUCKS after all, and no one, and I mean no one saw this coming – not even Touchdown Jesus himself. Lackawanna Trail didn’t win that night – at least I don’t remember them winning – but it was the penultimate to what would be a dynastic era in Lions’ football. So, what is The Rick getting at? I am not sure. Anyway, these two schools meet again on Friday night, and while the level of play may not be up to the standard set that night by both teams, the intensity will be there and so will the upset.
The Bucks say, IT WAS YOU FREDO! You broke Trail’s heart!
Dunmore 28, Lackawanna Trail 24
Time to settle all Family business (48-14)
Berwick over Pittston Area
Delaware Valley over Scranton
Prep over Tunkhannock
Valley View over Honesdale
Western Wayne over West Scranton
North Pocono over Lake-Lehman
Dallas over Crestwood
Wallenpaupack over Abington Heights
Nanticoke over Holy Redeemer
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.
Well, we are getting close to the end, and there was ZERO movement in both of this week’s polls.
Here is this week’s Pick-Six….
- Valley View (7-0) 1
- Delaware Valley (4-3) 2
- Hazleton Area (4-3) 3
- Berwick (4-3) 4
- North Pocono (6-1) 5
- Dallas (4-2) 6
*Missed it by that much…. Wilkes-Barre (4-3)
- Wyoming Area (6-1) 1
- Scranton Prep (6-0) 2
- Lakeland (6-1) 3
- Old Forge (6-0) 4
- Lackawanna Trail (5-1) 5
- Mid Valley (6-1) 6
*Missed it by that much…. Western Wayne (3-4)