The Rick, Week 9 – 2021
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1658-455 overall, .783 winning percentage)
The Rick Fix
A few weeks back, The Rick promised you he would help fix the “schedule problem” within District 2 football. I haven’t gotten around to creating a schedule yet, but I have figured out a five-division format that will prove competitive for ALL 36 of the teams that play in the Lackawanna Football Conference and the Wyoming Valley Conference.
The Rick began his realignment process by totaling every team’s record over the past three seasons and then listing them by wins. I then factored in each team’s classification AND their enrollment number from the last reporting cycle. Then, The Rick used some common sense. In order to promote competitive games, and allow rebuilding teams a chance to rebuild, I matched up teams accordingly.
Now everyone isn’t going to be happy with The Rick’s divisional split, but four of the divisions will feature six division games and a fifth will have five division games. Then, either The Rick or the schools themselves, can select the remainder of their schedule from schools in the other division or out of the district, should they choose. This way, schools won’t lose rivalries. They won’t lose head-to-head matchups against the better teams in their classifications. But maybe more importantly, they won’t lose. At least not in the capacity they have been losing as of late.
This format can also be adjusted cycle to cycle. If a team dominates a division over two or four years, they can be moved up in exchange for a team that may have struggled in their division over the same period. Keep everything fluid. OK, let’s unveil the divisions. Once, The Rick comes up with a schedule, I’ll have better names for each division. Until then, here is the WyoLacka Football Conference…
WyoLacka 1: Delaware Valley (19-5 (587), Hazleton Area (11-14/1431), Scranton (11-12/615), Wilkes-Barre Area (16-10/822), Williamsport (10-14/577), Wyoming Valley West (8-15/468).
WyoLacka 2: Berwick (15-9/296), Crestwood (16-10/365), Dallas (19-6/294), Scranton Prep (19-3/211), Tunkhannock (10-16/309), Valley View (20-4/312), Wyoming Area (20-5/245).
WyoLacka 3: Abington Heights (4-14/457), Honesdale (4-19/285), North Pocono (14-9/398), Pittston Area (6-17/387), Wallenpaupack (8-16/378), West Scranton (3-21/398), Western Wayne (17-7/214).
WyoLacka 4: Dunmore (12-11/187), Lackawanna Trail (15-5/131), Lake-Lehman (17-9/215), Lakeland (17-6/202), Mid Valley (9-12/217), Old Forge (19-1/114), Riverside (9-18/164).
Wyo/Lacka 5: Carbondale Area (5-12/199), Hanover Area (5-17/245), Holy Cross (3-10/109), Holy Redeemer (2-20/197), Montrose (1-17/173+), Nanticoke (7-19/225), Susquehanna (7-14/95+).
OK, there you have it. Let The Rick know if he’s crazy, or if just maybe, he’s right – as usual.
Let’s clean up a few things from last week.
A. The Rick wasn’t at the Varden Garden when the historical Trail-Dunmore game was played in 1999. I was at The Jake, covering Wyoming Area and Meyers – a game that I just cannot recollect.
B. The Rick had his best week of the season in Week 7, recording a 15-1 record. The only blemish? I picked Dunmore over Trail.
C. If you didn’t figure out the little game The Rick was playing last week, “It’s One Worthy Answer” was IOWA. Although, that answer isn’t worthy this week as The Rick is obviously stricken with what we call the “Black Cat Disease” in the world of The Family.
D. The Rick watched Game of Thrones. I know what penultimate means.
According to the District 2 website, here is what the playoffs look like if we started today:
1A: Old Forge (7-0).
2A: Susquehanna (2-6) at Trail (6-1); Riverside (2-6) at Dunmore (3-4).
3A: Nanticoke (3-5) at Wyoming Area (6-1); Carbondale Area (4-4) at Lakeland (7-1);
Lake-Lehman (3-4) at Scranton Prep (7-0); Western Wayne (4-4) at Mid Valley (6-2).
4A: Honesdale (2-6) at Valley View (8-0); Pittston Area (2-6) at Dallas (5-2);
Crestwood (2-6) at North Pocono (7-1); Wallenpaupack (3-5) at Berwick (5-3).
5A: Valley West (3-5) at ES South (5-3); Southern Lehigh (2-6) at Whitehall (3-4).
6A: Scranton (3-5) at Delaware Valley (5-3); Wilkes-Barre Area (4-4) at Hazleton Area (5-3).
Ok. Time for the picks!
THE RICK’S PICKS (104-34)
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 lost ground again on Mister Robinson as the master of picks went unbeaten in Week 8 with 16 wins. That puts me five games behind entering Week 9. The Rick may have to have some of his Family members “take care” of the master. This way I won’t have to pay the vigorish at the end of the season.
Check out The Consigliere’s picks at www.nepasportsnation.com.
Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 9.
May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 4-4
Abington Heights at West Scranton
Once a game that not too long ago would be a highlight of the Week 9 slate, is currently and after thought. But that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t mean anything. Despite its 1-7 record, Abington Heights still has a mathematical chance to make the District 2-11 Class 5A Subregional. Wins over West and Scranton could extend the season for the Comets. The Invaders on the other hand are playing for pride. It’s been a long, few years for West and a win could certainly ease some of the frustration, but The Rick sees something streaking through the sky.
Abington Heights 26, West Scranton 12
The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 6-2
Lackawanna Trail at Mid Valley
One of these teams proved itself last week in a big win over a perennial power. The other fell short in the same situation. Lackawanna Trail beat Dunmore and Mid Valley lost to Lakeland. Now they face off in what is an important matchup as both look for momentum heading into the next two weeks. The Lions weren’t done any favors by the schedule-makers, ending the season with the Bucks, Spartans, and Old Forge. Mid Valley is on the tail end of its three-game juggernaut having faced Dunmore and Lakeland the previous two weeks. Both teams are capable of winning. The Rick thinks the Spartans are more diverse offensively and that will work in its favor.
Mid Valley 23, Lackawanna Trail 19
Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 6-2
Crestwood at Pittston Area
It’s been a disappointing season for both Crestwood and Pittston Area, but if both can come up with a mini-winning streak to end the regular-season, it’s not out of the realm that they can make some noise in the post-season. Both the Comets and Patriots are in Class 4A where right now, it’s Valley View and everyone else. Crestwood has the better chance of going on that run, but don’t count Pittston Area out just yet. The Pats have played tough for stretches. They just need to figure it out for four quarters.
Crestwood 29, Pittston Area 17
Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 8-0
Riverside at Lakeland
Lakeland has faced every challenge posed to them so what this year. And while most see the final two games on their schedule has walk-throughs, the Chiefs best not look past Riverside this week and Dunmore next. Still, Lakeland shouldn’t have much trouble this week and will fine tune its game as it prepares for the playoffs. The Rick says, leave the Vikes, take the Chiefs!
Lakeland 34, Riverside 16
Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 9-0
Berwick at Dallas
This is a huge game when it comes to the playoff race in D2 Class 4A. Berwick is on a little bit of a roll and is chasing Dallas in the points race. The Dawgs are No. 4, and the Mountaineers are No. 2 currently. A win by Berwick could mean the two meet again in a few weeks. A win by Dallas probably keeps the two teams on the opposite sides of the bracket. The Rick is putting on his cowboy hat and boots in this one!
Dallas 21, Berwick 15
I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 4-4
Williamsport at Wilkes-Barre Area
Talk about a bunch of bandleaders! Just when you think one of these teams is done, they bounce back with a statement win. Then when you think one of these teams is on a roll and ready to rock, they fall short. So where are Williamsport and Wilkes-Barre Area heading? We find out this week. Both are 4-4. The Millionaires are coming off a big win over Valley West while the Wolfpack are coming off a tough loss to Hazleton after winning three in a row. The Rick isn’t sure where to go here. So, let’s flip a coin.
Williamsport 27, Wilkes-Barre Area 26
Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 2-6
Honesdale at Nanticoke
An interesting matchup in Nanticoke this weekend. Both the Trojans and Honesdale are fighting for a playoff spot in their respective classes. The Hornets have lost four in a row. Nanticoke has won three of its last four. That’s what you are two trends in the opposite directions. The Rick smells an upset!
The Hornets say, IT WAS YOU FREDO! You broke Nanticoke’s heart!
Honesdale 28, Nanticoke 24
Time to settle all Family business (57-14)
Delaware Valley over Wallenpaupack
Valley View over Western Wayne
Tunkhannock over Towanda
Carbondale over Montrose
Old Forge over Susquehanna
Wyoming Area over Dunmore
North Pocono over Scranton
Canton over Hanover Area
Hazleton over Valley West
Holy Cross over Holy Redeemer
Prep over Lake-Lehman
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.
It’s almost season’s end. And while the Small-Six remains the same, the Big-Six saw a minor change with Dallas jumping to No. 4 pushing Berwick and North Pocono down a notch.
Here is this week’s Pick-Six….
- Valley View (8-0) 1
- Delaware Valley (5-3) 2
- Hazleton Area (5-3) 3
- Dallas (5-2) 6
- Berwick (5-3) 4
- North Pocono (7-1) 5
*Missed it by that much…. Wilkes-Barre (4-4)
- Wyoming Area (7-1) 1
- Scranton Prep (7-0) 2
- Lakeland (7-1) 3
- Old Forge (7-0) 4
- Lackawanna Trail (6-1) 5
- Mid Valley (6-2) 6
*Missed it by that much…. Western Wayne (4-4)