The Rick, Week 11 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1869-509 overall, .786 winning percentage)

November’s Nostradamus

Well, here we are. It is November and your resident Nostradamus, The Rick, is ready for the postseason. When we kicked off the 2022 season way back when it was 90 degrees out, The Rick started by giving you a few prognostications. Let’s see if any of them held up.

The Rick picked the exact record for nine of the 34 teams. I was right on the mark with Prep, Abington Heights, Lakeland, Mid Valley, Lackawanna Trail, Dallas, Berwick, Holy Redeemer, and Hanover Area. Two other teams, Valley View and Wallenpaupack, The Rick was within one game of predicting their exact regular-season record. I was within two games on nine other teams. So, for more than half the teams, The Rick was in the ballpark picking records. The other 14 teams? The Rick was three games or worse on predicted records, including Scranton, Western Wayne, Crestwood, and Wyoming Area.

As far as The Rick predictions for division champions, I had at some point picked the winner in four of the five divisions. In August, The Rick selected Hazleton Area, Wyoming Area, Delaware Valley, Lakeland, and Old Forge to win their respective divisions. At the halfway mark, I again picked Hazleton Area, Lakeland, and Old Forge, but replaced both Warriors teams with Pittston Area and Valley View respectively. And if I wanted to stretch it a little, The Rick also picked Crestwood as a dark horse in the division they ended up winning.

Not bad, huh?

So, what about the District 2 playoffs? Well, during the preseason, The Rick had Hazleton Area, Delaware Valley, Valley View, Scranton Prep, Lakeland, and Old Forge. At the halfway mark, the Cougars, Chiefs and Blue Devils all remained intact, but I flipped to Scranton, Dallas, and Western Wayne instead of the Warriors, Cougars and Cavaliers. Read below to find out how The Rick sees the playoffs going now that we have completed another great regular season of high school football.

As for the weekly Godfather Games and The Rick’s Picks. I finished 143-35 this year and was .500 or better in each category with the Cannoli Game (10-0) and the Business Game (9-1) being the best. The Fredo Upset Game (5-5) and the Mattress Game (5-5) were the worst.

OK! Let’s get to the picks for Week 11!

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (143-35)

District 2-4-11 Class 6A Subregional

No. 5 Hazleton Area (8-2) at No. 4 Bethlehem Freedom (8-2)

No. 8 Wilkes-Barre Area (6-4) at No. 1 Emmaus (9-1)

The Rick is only going to feature the two games in the District 2-4-11 Class 6A Subregional that involves our District 2 teams. The other two games will be listed below. It’s been an odd season for Hazleton Area in that the Cougars dominated the first five weeks of the season and were hands-down the best team in D2. But then Dallas found the recipe and Crestwood baked the cake in giving Hazleton Area back-to-back losses and sending questions up-and-down the valley. The Cougars rebounded with three wins to end the season, but the shine has come off a little bit. Wilkes-Barre Area has been inconsistent all season, but do have some impressive wins, including two weeks ago against Dallas. As the eighth seed, the Wolfpack have a daunting task in facing top-seed Emmaus. Both the Green Hornets and Patriots play much tougher schedules that the big-school teams in D2 and The Rick thinks that experience will carry the District 11 teams past the locals. Don’t count the Cougs and Pack out, but wins would be upsets. Looking ahead, The Rick is taking the Konkrete Kids of Northampton to win the subregion. One of my favorite nicknames.

Patriots 27, Cougars 10

Green Hornets 35, Wolfpack 14

 

District 2 Class 5A

No. 4 Abington Heights (3-7) at No. 1 Scranton High (7-3)

No. 3 Delaware Valley (5-5) at No. 2 Pittston Area (7-3)

The D2 Class 5A tournament sure looks interesting. No. 4 Abington Heights shocked the valley last week with its win on the road against No. 3 Delaware Valley. The outcome cost the Warriors a home game. The Comets also have a victory over Scranton on their resume. The Knights were overthrowing warlords the first six weeks of the season, including a signature win over Scranton Prep. But after a resounding loss to Valley View, Scranton lost at The Pit and then to DV at home. A win over Wallenpaupack last week ended the three-game slide. The Warriors are this year’s Jekyll and Hyde. DV started 1-4, topped off by a home loss to the Cavaliers. They bounced back with four wins, including Valley View’s only LFC loss of the year, but then laid an egg last week against the Comets. That leaves second-seed Pittston Area. The Patriots played a much easier schedule than Delaware Valley and Abington Heights, but it was similar to Scranton’s. PA might also possess some inside knowledge this week as Head Coach Nick Barbieri coached as an assistant at Delaware Valley for quite some time before taking over the Patriots. The Rick said he wasn’t going to make any crazy picks this week, but I am going with what most pundits will consider upsets.

Comets 21, Knights 17

Patriots 27, Warriors 25

 

District 2 Class 4A

No. 8 Nanticoke (5-5) at No. 1 Crestwood (9-1)

No. 7 Honesdale (5-5) at No. 2 Valley View (8-2)

No. 6 Wyoming Area (5-5) at No. 3 Dallas (8-2)

No. 5 North Pocono (4-6) at No. 4 Berwick (4-6)

Midway through the season, The Rick thought Class 4A would be the toughest to navigate to win a champion. As the season progressed though, the cream rose to the top. This week’s games should be a formality, and possibility even next week’s games. But we will get to next week, next week. The week, The Rick is going with chalk. The top three seeds are among the best in the entire district, and who knows about Berwick. If they can put all the good stuff they did this year into the next three weeks, the Dawgs could come out on top. Crestwood has to be the favorite despite losing to Dallas early in the season. The Comets have steamrolled everyone since Week 3 – including scoring a combined 103 points against Berwick and North Pocono the past two weeks. Valley View shouldn’t be considered too much of an underdog despite some moments where they didn’t play very well and a loss to open the season to Crestwood. But when the Cougars are right, they can play with anyone. Dallas is the dark horse right now, but don’t count them out.

Comets 56, Trojans 0

Cougars 41, Hornets 14

Mountaineers 45, Warriors 21

Dawgs 27, Trojans 12

 

District 2 Class 3A

No. 4 Carbondale (3-7) at No. 1 Western Wayne (8-2)

No. 3 Lake-Lehman (3-7) at No. 2 Scranton Prep (7-3)

Western Wayne showed last week that they are far from a one-man team. The Wildcats victory and Scranton Prep’s last-minute loss to Valley View gave the wards of Wayne Manor the right to host the title game at the Shark Tank should they get there – which they will. The Cavaliers entertain third-seeded Lake-Lehman on Friday at North Pocono. Earlier in the year, Prep hung 63 on the Black Knights.  Expect the same welcome this week. That sets up the matchup everyone has been waiting for. The Rick got another call from The Family this week, questioning my loyalty even though said Family relative was missing last week. The call won’t need to be made again. Wildcats are winning the title next week.

Wildcats 42, Chargers 12

Cavaliers 52, Black Knights 13

 

District 2 Class 2A

No. 4 Holy Redeemer (4-6) at No. 1 Lakeland (10-0)

No. 3 Riverside (6-4) at No. 2 Dunmore (7-3)

Holy Redeemer, Welcome to the District 2 Class 2A playoffs!!! Congrats! For your first-ever trip to the post-season, you get to face Lakeland – the best team in District 2! Ugh! The Royals have had a successful season with four wins, the best of which came last week against three-win Montrose to clinch a post-season berth. But a trip to Chapman Lake will not be a cherry on top of an exciting season for the parochial school in Wilkes-Barre. The other semifinal should prove to be much better. Since losing to Dunmore in Week 4, Riverside has gone 5-1 and put up more than 41 points in each of its victories. The Bucks, who beat the Vikings, 40-22, earlier this year, have struggled to stop opposing offenses in the last month in losses to Lakeland and Western Wayne, and in wins over Honesdale and West Scranton. The more The Rick types, the more I am thinking upset here! But I did promise I wouldn’t do anything crazy this week. And since, I already broke that promise with the Class 5A games, I better stick to the script.

Chiefs 72, Royals 7

Bucks 45, Vikings 42

 

District 2 Class 1A

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

You all know who The Rick is going to pick in this one. But it isn’t an easy pick. Picking Old Forge over Lackawanna Trail never is. That’s because the Lions are like a fine wine – they get better with age. And they always show up in the playoffs against the Blue Devils. Seven of the Lions 20 all-time wins against Old Forge have come in the playoffs, including the last two times they met in the post season. Both of those times, the Blue Devils won during the regular season only to lose the district title. This is a legacy-defining game for this group of Blue Devils, and a game that could create future Lackawanna Trail legends. The Rick expects his faith to be rewarded.

Blue Devils 23, Lions 21

 

Time to settle all Family business (95-12)

Northampton over Stroudsburg

Nazareth over Parkland

Jenkintown over Morrisville

Pen Argyl over Susquehanna

Boyertown over Williamsport

In your neighborhood

Another even week as The Rick and his friend from the neighborhood, Consigliere Tom Robinson, matched records with 14 wins each. As you know, for the past two years, Tom and I keep score in a friendly showdown that is featured here at the NPF Network and at our sister site, NEPA Sports Nation. Tom has easily handled The Rick the first two years, but not this year. The Rick still trails by one game headed into the postseason. But don’t expect any crazy picks from The Rick. It’s serious business right now. The Rick wants The Chip!

Check out The Consigliere’s picks by clicking HERE. Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 11:

 

THE RICK SIX

As you will see below, The Big-Six had some changes – again. Crestwood and Hazleton remained in the two top spots, but the rest of the poll underwent significant changes. Valley View, Wilkes-Barre Area, and Dallas all move up one spot from last week and Pittston Area joined The Rick Six for the first time ever after his lopsided victory over arch-rival Wyoming Area. Delaware Valley dropped out after being upset at home to two-win Abington Heights.

There was no movement in the small six despite Scranton Prep’s loss to Valley View. Lakeland remains No. 1 and Riverside once again held off Lackawanna Trail for the sixth spot on the heels of its victory over the Lions a few weeks ago. Dunmore had to hold off a late rally from West Scranton last week to remain behind Old Forge. But the Bucks are close to overtaking the Blue Devils. We will see what transpires this weekend.

The Big-Six will continue to be posted as long as there are a majority of the ranked teams still playing. So, expect maybe two or three more instillations of this segment. Here it is….

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Crestwood (9-1) 1
  2. Hazleton Area (8-2) 2
  3. Valley View (8-2) 4
  4. Wilkes-Barre (6-4) 5
  5. Dallas (8-2) 6
  6. Pittston Area (7-3) NR

Just Missed Out: Scranton (7-3)

Dropped out: Delaware Valley (5-5) 3

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Lakeland (10-0) 1
  2. Western Wayne (7-3) 2
  3. Scranton Prep (7-3) 3
  4. Old Forge (7-3) 4
  5. Dunmore (7-3) 5
  6. Riverside (6-4) 6

Just missed out: Lackawanna Trail (6-4)