The Rick, Week 14 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1892-518 overall, .786 winning percentage)
There can be only one!
One of The Rick’s most underrated movies of all times is The Highlander. It’s an iconic movie where the hero in the movie is an immortal who proclaims, “There can be only one!” every time defeats a fellow immortal. This year District 2 has the same plot.
The Crestwood Comets are D2’s immortal team as the Big Red Machine are the last men standing this high school football season. Coach Ryan Arcangeli – who’s video proclaiming thanks to The Rick went viral last weekend – has his team playing its best football at the right time of the season. Should the Comets win again this week, (see below for The Rick’s prediction) The Rick would like Coach A to proclaim in his post-game interview, “There can be only one!”
Let’s look at some 2023 awards from The Rick before we get to Rick’s Pick:
LFC Coach of the Year: At the half-way mark, The Rick selected Steve Shumbres at Scranton High as the runaway winner. And while Shumbres remained in the mix for the award the rest of the way, The Rick is going with coach Terry Gallagher from Scranton Prep. Gallagher lost his best player – and the best player in the conference – six days before his first game. His team then got smashed in the opening week before rebounding by winning seven of their next eight to put the Cavaliers in position to win the LFC-1 title. Only a miracle-catch in a late-second loss to Valley View prevented Prep from winning the division before it went on the road to win the District 2 Class 3A title. Others receiving consideration for the award were Western Wayne’s Randy Wolff and Lackawanna Trail’s Steve Jervis.
WVC Coach of the Year: After watching some video on Twitter this weekend, The Rick was almost ready to name himself the WVC COY. But joking aside, the nod goes to Ryan Arcangeli of Crestwood. Arcangeli is the only coach still working in Week 14 and is the only one to credit The Rick this year for contributing to his team’s success! Thanks for reading coach! The Comets are rolling, winners of 11 straight and are in the PIAA Class 4A Quarterfinals. Don’t be surprised if Coach A gets them into the Final Four. Others receiving consideration were Dallas’s Rich Mannello, Pittston Area’s Nick Barbieri, and Holy Redeemer’s Tyson Kelley.
LFC Surprise of the Year: The Rick had many surprises throughout the season in the LFC. Riverside, Lackawanna Trail, Dunmore, and Western Wayne all surprised The Rick during the season. Prep even surprised The Rick after losing its all-state running back to injury just before the start of the season. However, for the entire season, the nod goes to Scranton High. The Knights were outstanding for a majority of the season in which The Rick didn’t think they were going to be very good.
WVC Surprise of the Year: The Rick doesn’t know how many times he will have to say this in this week’s column, but Crestwood is my surprise WVC team of the season. As I have said already, I didn’t expect the Comets to get this far or even challenge for the WVC Division 1 crown, let alone the D2 title. Nanticoke and Wilkes-Barre Area were also considered surprise teams by The Rick.
OK! Let’s get to the PICK for Week 14!
THE RICK’S PICK (168-44)
PIAA Class 4A Quarterfinal
Crestwood (12-1) v. Bonner-Prendie (11-1) at Northeast Super Site
The Crestwood Comets have proven The Rick wrong all season. Let’s hope Coach Ryan Archangeli’s Big Red Machine changes that this week and proves me right. The Comets, led by a rushing attack featuring Noah Schultz, has done it on the ground exclusively on offense. Schultz as 2,200-plus yards and 35 touchdowns during Crestwood’s run to greatness. Quarterback Jaden Shedlock has only thrown 54 passes this season but has completed 33 for 390 yards – that’s a first down on every completion. But the FRESHMAN signal caller has rushed for over 1,000 yards on the year with 15 touchdowns, giving Crestwood a rushing attack that has produced almost 5,000 yards of offense on 524 carries. The Comets AVERAGE 9 yards per rush. The defense has been outstanding as well, giving up no more than two touchdowns per game in 10 of its 13 games. The task at hand this week for that defense will be the District 12 and Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division champions, Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast Friars – or Bonner-Prendie for short. The Friars rallied twice last week from two TD deficits against Interboro as tailback Avery Hankey surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He ran for 136 yards and two TDs and fellow running back Isaiah Session added 81 yards. Quarterback Justin Shepherd threw for 91 yards and a score as the Friars’ tied a 28-year-old school record for wins in a season with 11. Bonner-Prendie will feel at home as the game is in Philly. It won’t matter though as The Rick is riding the Big Red Machine down the Northeast Extension.
Comets 20, Friars 18
A New Cougar King
At the beginning of the season The Rick put a list together of who I predicted to replace outgoing Valley View coach George Howanitz. Seeing that The Rick has such a big effect on the minds of coaches and players during the preparation process each week, I thought it best I didn’t publish it until after the season was over. After all, I am the King Prognosticator in District 2. So why not take a stab at the next Cougar King. It will not be an easy thing to do. Coach Howanitz won 116 games in his tenue as the Boss of the Cougar Crazies. The Rick has five worthy candidates to fill the shoes. Here are The Rick’s Top 5 picks to replace Coach Howanitz….
- Scott Wasilchak. Currently a Valley View assistant and the right-hand man of Coach Howanitz. Wasilchak, who served under his brother Jeff at Lackawanna Trail and Lakeland for many years, has earned the right to head a program himself. This hire probably keeps most of the current staff in place and provides a smooth transition for the players returning.
- Jeff Wasilchak. Should the VV School Board require its next coach to possess head coaching experience, they can look no further than another member of the current staff. The former Trail and Lakeland boss is the seventh winningest coach in Lackawanna County history, sporting a career record of 179-85 with numerous league and district championships.
- Frank Pazzaglia. That’s right. The original Cougar King personally told The Rick if I would join his staff, he would come back. So, here is my recommendation to the Valley View board. The Rick would make a great get-back coach or a team stat man on the legend’s staff. Coach Pazzaglia and The Rick also share a love of the Los Angeles Dodgers for what it’s worth. And there are also Coach Pazzaglia’s 344 career victories to consider.
- Joe Zabielski. The Rick’s favorite former quarterback. As Terrell Owens once said, “That’s my quarterback.” Young Joey Z was a sophomore when I was a senior center for the 1988 Old Forge Blue Devils Suburban Conference Champions. Besides that, Zabielski has head coaching experience on the high school level and is currently an assistant coach at Misericordia University. He is also a teacher in the Valley View School District.
- Scott Mackinder. On the heels of the Indianapolis Colts hiring Jeff Saturday as their head coach with no high-level coaching experience whatsoever, the VVSB goes the same way and takes Mackinder out of the Cougar Sports Network booth and gives him the keys to the Cadillac. He is a former Cougar and played for Coach Pazzaglia, so he knows the foundation for success.
In your neighborhood
The season-long competition remains status quo. The Rick and his friend from the neighborhood, Consigliere Tom Robinson, are still separated by two 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 easily handled The Rick the first two years, but not this year. Yes, The Rick is two games back with only one game on the schedule. But if we pick opposite teams and my team is the District 2 team and wins, then I still have a chance. Both of us went 3-3 last week. Let’s hope I can go 1-0 this week and Tom goes 0-1.
Check out The Consigliere’s pick at by clicking HERE!
THE RICK SIX
Well, the season is over for all but one team – the Big-Six No. 1 Crestwood Comets. So, this is the last Rick Six Poll of the season. The Comets defeated No. 2 Valley View last week to claim the District 2 Class 4A crown and the top spot in the poll. All three Small-Six ranked teams lost in the playoffs last week, so there was no movement, and the top-ranked Lakeland Chiefs remained in the No. 1 spot. Overall, The Rick had four of the top six in the Big-Six in the poll when the season started. Crestwood and Scranton were the teams that did not appear in the preseason poll. In the Small-Six, The Rick had all six finishing teams in the preseason poll. The preseason rankings of each team in the final poll appear after their record.
- Crestwood (12-1) 7
- Valley View (10-3) 3
- Delaware Valley (7-6) 2
- Dallas (9-3) 4
- Hazleton Area (8-3) 1
- Scranton (8-4) 18
- Lakeland (12-1) 2
- Scranton Prep (9-4) 1
- Western Wayne (9-3) 4
- Dunmore (8-4) 5
- Lackawanna Trail (8-5) 6
- Old Forge (7-4) 3