The Rick, Week 5 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1780-489 overall, .783 winning percentage)

My Pittsburgh Connection 

The Rick loves Pittsburgh. I think everyone knows that. The Panthers. The Steelers. The Penguins. The City. The People. Pittsburgh is pretty much NEPA with more people. Ethnic neighborhoods. Great people. The perfect place to spend a weekend with family and friends.

What is there not to like? How about the Steelers offensive game plan!

The Rick saw it first-hand over the weekend and let me tell you, I was more impressed with Mid Valley’s offense on Friday night than the Steelers on Sunday. And that is no slight whatsoever to the Spartans. I thought they did a great job running the West Coast spread against Old Forge. But like the Steelers, they just couldn’t find the end zone more than once.

But the Steelers are a professional team. They get paid to find the end zone. Maybe Coach Tomlin should hire Mid Valley coach Stan Yanoski to call the plays the rest of the way. This way, I could complain to someone who would have to listen. Of course, I complain to referee Yanoski all during basketball season and he doesn’t seem to listen then.

Still, The Rick had a good time in Da Burgh, despite the loss. And we made it home in record time on Sunday. If anyone ever needs a driver to get them somewhere quick, let’s just say, The Rick, knows a guy.

 

In your neighborhood

It seems The Rick has regained his lead on our friend from the neighborhood, Consigliere Tom Robinson. 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. Last week, I lost a two-game lead, but this past week, I regained the lead as Tom went 13-4 and The Rick went 15-2. I could have easily been 17-0 but The Rick didn’t have the guts to take Scranton over Scranton Prep and Holy Redeemer lost a late lead. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Still, The Rick is enjoying his lead this late in the season. Let’s see if I can extend it.

Check out The Consigliere’s picks by clicking HERE.

Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 4:

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (54-16)

May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 3-1

Wilkes-Barre Area at Berwick

As the season goes along, the games get bigger and bigger. Especially for the big school teams and big-time programs that seek to shine in the postseason. Wilkes-Barre Area gave top-cat Hazleton Area its toughest game of the season last week. Despite the loss, the Wolfpack must feel good about itself as it makes its way to legendary Crispin Field in Berwick. The Dawgs on the other hand are starting to roll after two devastating losses to open the season. Berwick could easily be 4-0 but that’s why they play a full 48 minutes of football. The Rick had the Dawgs going to full 48.

Dawgs 27, Wolfpack 22

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 3-1

Scranton at North Pocono

The Rick has been going back and forth in my mind on this matchup. The Luca Brasi features Scranton High at North Pocono this week. The Knights are undefeated and sky-high, coming off a monumental win over Scranton Prep. The Trojans have been dismantled the last two weeks after starting the season 2-0. So why is The Rick so hesitant on this one? Lots of things factoring in. Reports from sources. General feelings of ebb and flow. Ahhhh the heck with it. The Rick is taking North Pocono in what some may call an upset.

Trojans 18, Knights 14

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 3-1

Wallenpaupack at Abington Heights

Both these teams are in desperate need of a victory. Wallenpaupack already has one under its belt. Abington Heights is in search of its first. The Rick would normally flip a coin in a situation like this. Instead, I am using the alphabet. A is for Abington Heights.

Comets 17, Buckhorns 15

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 4-0

Wyoming Valley West at Dallas

The is only one undefeated team facing a winless team this week and you guessed it, it’s Wyoming Valley West at Dallas. The Mountaineers are rolling, and while the Spartans have been playing hard, they have struggled the last two weeks. The only thing that could get in Dallas’ way this week is the fact that they could be eyeballing a showdown with Hazleton Area in Week 6. Still, The Rick doesn’t foresee any Back Mountain Blues this week.

Mountaineers 37, Spartans 13

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 1-3

Valley View at Pittston Area

Valley View makes a rare trip to Charley Trippi Stadium in Yatesville on Friday night to take on upstart Pittston Area. The Patriots are on a two-game winning streak that could easily be three if not for giving up a halftime lead at Williamsport. The Cougars meanwhile do hold a three-game win streak and are playing their best ball of the season as we approach the halfway mark. This matchup originated in the late ’60s when both schools were conceived. PA played in the Big 11 for a few years and allowed for this matchup. Old-school football fans should get to this game as it will be entertaining. The Rick will take the Cougars, but don’t be shocked if the Patriots protect their home turf.

Cougars 38, Patriots 24

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 2-2

Dunmore at Lackawanna Trail

Dunmore visits Tunnel Hill on Friday night and the Bucks have a chip on their shoulders. After years of dominating the matchup with Lackawanna Trail, Dunmore has given up a few yards to the Lions in recent years. The Bucks look to earn some of that respect back this week. The Lions may be in the same boat. Trail started the season 3-0 but lost to Honesdale last week. Was that unbeaten start for real? Do the Lions deserve respect? The Rick thinks both these teams are going to show out the rest of the season, but on this September night, Dunmore will outlast Trail.

Bucks 26, Lions 20

 

Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 2-2

Riverside at Mahanoy Area

For those that know The Rick, there are two words that are not allowed to be uttered in my presence. Despite what you are thinking, those two words are NOT “Riverside Vikings.” Instead, it is the other two words that appear in the subhead of this blurb. You see a long time ago, in the coldest game in the history of Old Forge football, the agony of defeat became something that The Rick still carries with him. So, even though the Vikes are decisive underdogs and are travelling to the Coal Region and a town that time forgot, The Rick forecasts an upset Friday night. Hopefully, it’s a last-minute upset too! Say a screen pass that Reese Gaughan takes 92 yards for a score? The Vikings say, IT WAS YOU FREDO!

Vikings 12, Golden Bears 7

 

Time to settle all Family business (36-6)

Honesdale over Tunkhannock

Wyoming Area over Hanover Area

Crestwood over Williamsport

Delaware Valley over Scranton Prep

Nanticoke Area over Lake-Lehman

Lakeland over Old Forge

Western Wayne over Carbondale Area

Hazleton Area over West Scranton

Cokumbia-Montour Vo-Tech over Holy Cross

Susquehanna over Mid Valley

Milton over Holy Redeemer

Schuyler (NY) over Montrose

 

THE RICK SIX

Well, just went The Rick thought he was ready to move Holy Redeemer into the Small-Six, the Royals were overthrown. But there was still some moving and shaking in the rankings as Dunmore jumped Scranton Prep and Old Forge jumped Lackawanna Trail as both won while the Cavaliers and Lions lost. In the Big-Six, the Top 3 remained in place, but Valley View passed Scranton into fourth despite the Knights beating the Cavaliers convincingly. Remember, this poll is nothing fancy. Just my opinion of who are the best Big School teams and the best Small School teams. I typically look at who I think can beat who. Nothing else. Remember, it’s where you finish at the end – not the beginning or the middle. Included with the list are each team’s record and where they were ranked last week.

Here it is….

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Hazleton Area (4-0) 1
  2. Dallas (4-0) 2
  3. Crestwood (3-1) 3
  4. Valley View (3-1) 5
  5. Scranton (4-0) 4
  6. Delaware Valley (1-3) 6

Just Missed Out: Berwick (2-2)

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Lakeland (4-0) 1
  2. Western Wayne (3-1) 2
  3. Dunmore (3-1) 4
  4. Scranton Prep (2-2) 3
  5. Old Forge (2-2) 6
  6. Lackawanna Trail (3-1) 5

Just Missed Out: Carbondale (2-2)