The Rick, Week 12 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1883-513 overall, .786 winning percentage)
The Cold November Rain
“Nothing lasts forever…. in the cold November rain.” — Axl Rose
The cold November rain – much like Winter – is coming. And it’s coming Friday night. So, all the local games have been moved up to Thursday or pushed to Saturday. It will be the first Friday night of the season that has been unplayable. We were blessed with great weather for high school football through the first 11 weeks, so let’s not get upset that our weekly pilgrimage to the gridiron has been rescheduled.
For many senior players this week – as was the case last week and the week before – nothing last forever, so whether you are playing Thursday or Saturday, be thankful you are still playing. Maybe student-athletes have already moved on to winter sports such as basketball and wrestling.
The Rick hasn’t moved on quite yet. And even though I know nothing lasts forever, not calling a Week 12 game for The Family is tough to take. Maybe a trip to visit my Pittsburgh connection this weekend will lessen the hurt. Well, at least until Sunday football is played.
OK! Let’s get to the picks for Week 12!
THE RICK’S PICKS (159-39)
District 2-4-11 Class 6A Subregional
No. 4 Bethlehem Freedom (9-2) at No. 1 Emmaus (10-1)
No. 5 Parkland (7-4) at No. 2 Northampton (11-0)
Both Freedom and Emmaus took care of their District 2 opponents last week and now get the chance to face off against each other. Emmaus beat Freedom, 19-13, to start the season and will have to the opportunity to confirm that victory this weekend. Freedom’s other loss this season was at the hands of Parkland, 21-13, one of the other teams remaining in the field. The Trojans upset Nazareth last week, a team they had lost to 28-10 earlier in the season. This week, Parkland travels to Northampton to take on the second-seeded Konkrete Kids. The teams have three common opponents with both teams beating Bethlehem Catholic and East Stroudsburg South, and Northampton beating Whitehall while Parkland lost to the Zephyrs. These two games will go a long way to proving if The Rick’s selection of the Konkrete Kids can win the subregional. And who better to face Northampton in the final than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s school – Bethlehem Freedom.
Patriots 23, Green Hornets 20
Konkrete Kids 27, Parkland 23
District 2 Class 5A
No. 3 Delaware Valley (6-5) at No. 1 Scranton High (8-3)
Well, The Class 5A tournament cost The Rick his season pick ‘em series with The Consigliere Tom Robinson. I picked the two losers last week in the classification, selecting Pittston Area and Abington Heights – who were both blown away by Delaware Valley and Scranton High respectively. So, here I am. I guess the yearly confidence has won out over the seasonal disappointment this year at Delaware Valley. The Warriors suffered two curious defeats at home that provided some head scratching. But last week’s dominating performance over the Patriots has returned everything to normal. Scranton has had a great season. They surely exceeded The Rick’s expectations. They had a curious loss in the second half of the season as well, but they erased that defeat with a dominating win over the Comets. This game is a rematch in which DV doubled up the Knights, 28-14, at Scranton Memorial Stadium. The Rick predicts a repeat of that matchup.
Warriors 28, Knights 14
District 2 Class 4A
No. 4 Berwick (5-6) at No. 1 Crestwood (10-1)
No. 3 Dallas (9-2) at No. 2 Valley View (9-2)
The Rick had proclaimed this the toughest classification to predict throughout most of the season – and it was. But the playoffs have changed things and dominating victories by Crestwood and Valley View have separated the top two seeds from the remaining two seeds headed into this weekend’s semifinals. Berwick was propelled by big defensive and special teams plays early in its victory over North Pocono last week. The Dawgs are the only team to beat Dallas of the four remaining. (The Mounts and Cougars did not meet.) But Berwick lost to the Cougars in Week 2 and allowed the Comets to put up 56 points in Week 9. The Mountaineers let Wyoming Area hang around in the first half before winning convincingly last week. They are the only team to beat Crestwood all season. That happened in Week 2. The Rick is banking on a rematch from Week 1 when the Comets beat the Cougars, and that’s how the predictions this week will go.
Comets 47, Dawgs 17
Cougars 27, Mountaineers 23
District 2 Class 3A2
at No. 2 Scranton Prep (8-3) at No. 1 Western Wayne (9-2)
It’s been an adverse season for Scranton Prep, yet the Cavaliers never wavered. Coming into 2022, Ignatian Nation was slotted to play big-boy football, despite being only Class 3A. Prep’s success the past decade outweighed its classification, and the Cavaliers were placed in LFC-1 (or Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1) after realignment in the offseason. That was all well and good except the week before the season, Prep lost all-world running back London Montgomery for the season due to injury. The Cavs were then smacked by Lakeland to open the season. But here we are, and Prep will be the favorite of a lot of pundits when they head to the Shark Tank to take on the surprise team of the LFC, Western Wayne. The Wildcats convinced The Rick they were for real when they smacked Old Forge in Week 3. I think they convinced everyone else when the smacked Dunmore in Week 8 and the lost only by a score on the road at Lakeland in Week 9. Western Wayne lost its premiere player – Luke Janiszewski – to injury that night, but that didn’t stop them as other have stepped up for Coach Randy Wolff and his dominating offensive and defensive fronts. The Rick has been burned all season doubting the Wildcats. I won’t be burned again.
Wildcats 22, Cavaliers 21
District 2 Class 2A
No. 2 Dunmore (8-3) at No. 1 Lakeland (11-0)
The best team in District 2 all season has been Lakeland. The Chiefs have cruised in 10 of their 11 games, including an impressive victory at Dunmore where they harvested a 55-point Buck in Week 7. The Rick doesn’t have a great memory, but I sure can’t remember any team going into Bucktown and lighting up the scoreboard like that on Dunmore. The Bucks on the other hand really do not have an impressive win on the slate. Maybe it’s victory at Lackawanna Trail, or in the opening week at Old Forge? The Rick just doesn’t see a win that could convince him that this may be a game. Sure, anything can happen, and the Chiefs could read all their press clippings and look ahead to a first round PIAA playoff game. But they have been focused and ready all year. Nothing changes this week.
Chiefs 47, Bucks 13
District 1-2 Class 1A Subregional
Lackawanna Trail (7-4) at Jenkintown (7-4)
They may not be a juggernaut right now. But wait. Lackawanna Trail is about to re-ignite its dynasty. After spending two seasons in Class 2A, the Lions are back to being King of the Jungle among small schools in District 2 after its third straight championship victory over Old Forge in Class 1A. In all three instances, the Blue Devils had won in the regular season only to lose the rematch. Lions Coach Steve Jervis builds his teams to peak for the offseason. And this year was no different. Lackawanna Trail is playing together, playing with emotion, and playing for each other as they seek another PIAA bid this week against District 1 champion Jenkintown. The Drakes travel to Tunnel Hill on the heels of two straight wins over teams that had beaten them earlier in the season. Both Morrisville and Bristol won by three touchdowns in earlier matchups, but Jenkintown had turned the tables on both with convincing victories in weeks 10 and 11. The Drakes are led by sophomore Keegan Eichert, a 1,000-yard tailback with 10 touchdowns and quarterback James Martin, a senior who has thrown for 924 yards and 12 TDs. He has also rushed for four scores. Stats won’t matter in this one. Trail has the late-season magic working. Plus, The Rick hates The Drake.
Lions 27, Drakes 14
In your neighborhood
Typically, concession speeches are done the night of an election loss. The Rick has waited until the day after the election for his concession speech. You see, The Rick and his friend from the neighborhood, Consigliere Tom Robinson, are now separated by three games. 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 held the lead for a week or two and remained within one or two games all year. But this week, despite no “crazy” picks (Ok, maybe there were one or two), The Rick lost two head-to-head matchups with Tom and now trails substantially headed into Week 12. Its doubtful Tom will do anything outlandish, so this may be all moot. But check back next week to see where we are at.
And check out The Consigliere’s picks by clicking HERE.
THE RICK SIX
There is a good chance next week will be the final Rick Six poll of the season as half the teams in both polls will be eliminated. Wilkes-Barre Area and Pittston Area both dropped out of the Big-Six as did Riverside in the Small-Six. Crestwood remained the No. 1 Big School and Lakeland remained the No. 1 Small School. Let’s see where they end up next week.
- Crestwood (10-1) 1
- Valley View (9-2) 3
- Dallas (9-2) 5
- Hazleton Area (8-3) 2
- Delaware Valley (6-5) NR
- Scranton (8-3) NR
Dropped out: Wilkes-Barre (6-5) 4; Pittston Area (7-4) 6
- Lakeland (11-0) 1
- Western Wayne (9-2) 2
- Scranton Prep (8-3) 3
- Dunmore (8-3) 5
- Lackawanna Trail (7-4) NR
- Old Forge (7-4) 4
Dropped out: Riverside (6-5) 6