The Rick, Week 6 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1795-493 overall, .784 winning percentage)

Halfway Home

Hard to believe it is Week 6 of the high school football season and it’s not even Ricktober yet. A lot has happened in the first five weeks of the season. Some good, some bad, some surprising and some disappointing. Overall, the season has had some exciting moments from some teams that The Rick didn’t expect to be all that exciting this year. That’s a good thing. I can ramble on and on about the first five weeks of the season, but Ramblin’ Rick retired about 15 years ago. Instead, let’s give some halftime awards…

 LFC Coach of the Half-Year: This is an easy one for The Rick. Coach Steve Shumbres at Scranton High is the runaway winner at this point of the year. The Rick didn’t expect anything from the Knights this year, but Shumbres has them squarely as a Top 5 team in District 2. Scranton sent a message the last two weeks with convincing wins over Scranton Prep and North Pocono. They host Wyoming Area on Friday before a showdown with Valley View in two weeks.

WVC Coach of the Half-Year: This selection is a little tougher. The Rick considered Tyson Kelley from Holy Redeemer and Ciro Cinti from Wilkes-Barre Area, but the nod ultimately goes to Ryan Archangeli from Crestwood. The Comets shocked the district on opening night against Valley View and after a loss at Dallas have run off three straight wins. They face Wilkes-Barre Area on Friday night in a WVC showdown and then travel to Hazleton Area for another battle of top D2 teams.

LFC Surprise of the Half-Year: Scranton High is the easy pick here, but looking further into the conference, The Rick sees three Division 2 teams as the bigger surprises. Both Dunmore (4-1) and Western Wayne (4-1) have surprised The Rick with records that he did not predict at this point in the season. Honesdale (3-2) can be labeled a surprise as well as the Hornets are one win from matching last year’s total.

WVC Surprise of the Half-Year: Unfortunately, The Rick does not have many candidates to choose from in the WVC. The first half has pretty much gone how I thought it would. There are more disappointments in the WVC. But I will get to them next. The surprise nod must go to Wilkes-Barre Area (3-2). The Wolfpack are already one win from matching last year’s total and while the remaining schedule isn’t the easiest, The Rick sees a few wins still left to collect.

LFC Disappointment of the Half-Year: The Rick has some options here. Delaware Valley (1-4) has been very un-Warrior-like in the first half of the season; North Pocono (2-3) started undefeated but has since lost three straight; and Scranton Prep’s (3-2) three wins have come against teams that are a combined 3-12. Still, The Rick is disappointed most in his own team – Old Forge. The Blue Devils (2-3) have had a tougher schedule than normal with its three losses coming against teams with a combined 13-2 record. But the overall play just hasn’t been what The Rick expects from the Big Blue Wrecking Crew.

WVC Disappointment of the Half-Year: A lot of the experts would put Berwick into this spot (2-3) however, The Rick didn’t expect much from the Dawgs prior to the opening week of the season. Instead, The Rick is disappointed in a few WVC Division 2 teams. Tunkhannock (1-4) and Lake-Lehman (1-4) for starters. I expected both to at least finish .500. But it is Wyoming Area (3-2) that The Rick is ultimately disappointed in. I know you can’t play for a state title every year – boy do I know. But the Warriors are in jeopardy of going on the road to start the playoffs. And that is something, no one foresaw before the season began.

Predictions revisited

Just before the seasons starts, The Rick makes his predictions for the season. Now that I have some more information on each team, I revisit those predictions, and in some instances, make new selections. Here they are:

WVC Division 1

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Hazleton Area, Dark Horse: Crestwood

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Hazleton Area, Dark Horse: Crestwood

Dallas will have something to say about Hazleton Area being the WVC-1 champ. But The Rick hasn’t changed his opinion from the pre-season.

WVC Division 2

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Wyoming Area, Dark Horse: Pittston Area

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Pittston Area, Dark Horse: Wyoming Area

The Rick has turned this prediction around. It looks like the WVC-2 title will be decided in the final week at Charley Trippi Stadium in Yatesville. The Patriots will raise a banner for the first time in two decades.

LFC Division 1

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Delaware Valley, Dark Horse: Scranton Prep

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Valley View, Dark Horse: Scranton

Well, The Rick had this one all wrong in the preseason. The forecast has dramatically changed. I think all four horses are still in the race, but both Valley View and Scranton have so far stated their case as the favorites.

LFC Division 2

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Lakeland, Dark Horse: Dunmore

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Lakeland, Dark Horse: Western Wayne

Nothing has really changed in LFC-2. Lakeland is in command. However, but Dunmore and Western Wayne have played better than expected and post a threat to the Chiefs.

LFC Division 3

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Old Forge, Dark Horse: Carbondale

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Old Forge, Dark Horse: Riverside

I know you didn’t all think The Rick would change his pick here, but I am at a heightened level of concern halfway through the season. Trail is getting better every week and Riverside is starting to show marked improvement. Don’t be surprised if the Vikes ruin The Rick’s season.

District 2 6A

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Hazleton Area, Runner-up: Wilkes-Barre

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Hazleton Area, Runner-up: Wilkes-Barre

D2 6A is part of a subregional tournament so technically the D2 champ may not be settled on the field. Right now, Hazleton Area and Wilkes-Barre Area are set to open the playoffs against each other. If that happens, we will indeed have a D2 title game.

District 2 5A

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Delaware Valley, Runner-up: Pittston Area

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Scranton, Runner-up: Pittston Area

It is tough to count Delaware Valley out when it comes to D2 5A, but the Warriors are on the verge of not making the four-team tournament. Scranton gets the nod right now, and Pittston Area becomes a threat if they keep improving the next five weeks.

District 2 4A

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Valley View, Runner-up: Dallas

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Dallas, Runner-up: Valley View

The Rick hasn’t upset all his friends in Cougarland yet this year, so let me start now. Using mathematics, The Rick has replaced Valley View with Dallas as the favorite. Dallas beat Crestwood and Crestwood beat Valley View. So, by the transitive property, Dallas will beat Valley View.

District 2 3A

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Scranton Prep, Runner-up: Carbondale

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Western Wayne, Runner-up: Scranton Prep

This is a two-team race at the halfway mark. The Rick promised the Zane Train in Week 3 he would not go against The Family residing in Wayne Manor. So, take the Wildcats over the Scranton Prep for D2 Gold.

District 2 2A

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Lakeland, Runner-up: Dunmore

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Lakeland, Runner-up: Dunmore

Nothing has changed here for The Rick. Chiefs and Bucks will meet in a rematch. Only this time it will be at Chapman Lake.

District 2 1A

PRE-SEASON: Champ: Old Forge, Runner-up: Lackawanna Trail

HALF-SEASON: Champ: Old Forge, Runner-up: Lackawanna Trail

Friday’s game between Old Forge and Lackawanna Trail may very well decided where the D2 1A title game is played. But The Rick isn’t so sure the winner Friday will be the winner in Week 11. Still, The Rick will not go against The Family in this one.

Current Playoff Matchups

6A: No. 6 Wilkes-Barre at No. 3 Hazleton Area (Subregional tournament with D4 and D11)

5A: No. 4 Delaware Valley at No. 1 Scranton; No. 3 West Scranton at No. 2 Pittston Area

4A: No. 8 Nanticoke Area at No. 1 Dallas; No. 7 Berwick at No. 2 Crestwood;

No. 6 Wyoming Area at No. 3 Valley View; No. 5 Honesdale at No. 4 North Pocono

3A: No. 4 Lake-Lehman at No. 1 Western Wayne; No. 3 Carbondale at No. 2 Scranton Prep

2A: No. 4 Riverside at No. 1 Lakeland; No. 3 Susquehanna at No. 2 Dunmore

1A: No. 2 Old Forge at No. 1 Lackawanna Trail

In your neighborhood

The unthinkable happened this week. The Rick MAINTAINED 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. This week both The Rick and The Tom posted 15-4 records – each losing games with Susquehanna, Berwick, and Delaware Valley. The Rick had Riverside and Mr. Robinson had Scranton in games they differed. So, at the halfway mark, The Rick still leads by two games. 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 6:

THE RICK’S PICKS (69-20)

May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 3-2

Crestwood at Wilkes-Barre Area

Crestwood has been impressive since opening the season with a win over Valley View. Wilkes-Barre Area has been equally impressive, winning at Berwick last week. Expect two different styles of play in this game. Crestwood is going to come at you with a punishing ground attack. Wilkes-Barre Area is going to spread it out and create space to run wild. The Rick has slowly accepted that it’s the 21st century.

Wolfpack 30, Crestwood 24

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 3-2

Dallas at Hazleton Area

Hazleton Area has faced some challenges this year, but the Cougars usually pull away and end up dominating the game. Friday night, Hazleton Area will need four quarters to beat Dallas. The Mountaineers come to Cougar Country as the only other unbeaten team in the WVC and only one of four in the entire district. Dallas is going to run the ball and set the pace, working on keeping time of possession in its favor. Hazleton Area wants to run too, but they will mix in some explosiveness to get to the endzone. The Rick forecasts a great game here. Not much separates these teams. It could very well come down to an extra point.

Cougars 21, Mountaineers 20


Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 4-1

Pittston Area at Nanticoke

A big game takes place in Nanticoke on Friday night when Pittston Area visits. The Patriots are on the verge of turning the corner, and a win here could propel them to a major winning streak when Wyoming Area shows up in Yatesville in Week 10. But the Trojans are no pushover. A win can start a nice run of their own and put them in contention for a better playoff spot and a chance to win WVC-2. The Rick is sticking with the favored Patriots in this one. But it’ll be closer than everyone thinks.

Patriots 35, Trojans 27

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 5-0

Mid Valley at Dunmore

Dunmore is rolling. The Bucks will face their toughest stretch starting next week. Normally, The Rick likes to think that high school players look ahead to bigger challenges. But Dunmore and Mid Valley are neighboring schools. Maybe not rivals, but still neighbors. And these neighbors aren’t sharing dessert.

Bucks 43, Spartans 13

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 2-3

Berwick at Wyoming Valley West

There was once a time where Berwick at Valley West would be the featured game of the season for both squads. This year, it’s a game of survival for the Dawgs, and a game of desperation for the Spartans. Berwick is 2-3 and probably feel they should be 5-0, or 4-1 at the worst. Valley West is a disappointing 0-5. A season of promise has turned into a season of pride – playing for pride. The Rick doesn’t expect the Spartans to quit, but Berwick has more to play for.

Dawgs 27, Spartans 21

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 3-2

Delaware Valley at North Pocono

Well, the season sure hasn’t gone how both teams thought it would. Delaware Valley started with three losses, but they played well for the most part against out-of-district powers. The Warriors then rebounded with a win but lost surprisingly to Scranton Prep last week. They have a lot of work to do if they want to have the season they are used to. North Pocono started 2-0 but have suffered through three tough losses as the competition has gotten better. The Trojans are fighting some key injuries, but they also need to get healthy fast before the season is lost. Both teams are in search of some respect right now. The Rick sees DV giving Coach Olsommer a win in his homecoming.

Warriors 13, Trojans 12

 

Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 3-2

Lackawanna Trail at Old Forge

I know, I know. Don’t snicker and laugh. The Rick knows that you know than I know that you knew how he was going to pick this game. But hey, The Rick needs a break every now and then. Sure, this may not be an upset as rivals Old Forge and Lackawanna Trail battle year-in and year-out. Still, the Blue Devils are under .500 at the halfway mark for the first time in what seems like forever. And yes, the Lions are 3-2 after losing two straight games. Still, on paper and in Vegas, Old Forge is an underdog. My high school English teacher once told The Rick, take the home dog. The Blue Devils say, IT WAS YOU FREDO!

Blue Devils 31, Lions 27

 

Time to settle all Family business (46-8)

Holy Redeemer over Hanover Area

Tunkhannock over Lake-Lehman

Lakeland over Honesdale

Riverside over Carbondale

Scranton over Wyoming Area

Valley View over Abington Heights

Western Wayne over West Scranton

Whitney Point (NY) over Montrose

Susquehanna over Holy Cross

Scranton Prep over Wallenpaupack

Williamsport over Central Mountain

 

THE RICK SIX

A lot of football fans in the Electric City have been all over The Rick on social media the last two weeks. I admit, while in my mind I’ve wanted to jump on the Scranton High bandwagon, my fingers have typed the opposite way. Well, they will be happy this week. After a stunning start to the season and a huge win last week, the Knights have jumped two spots to No. 3 in the Big Six. Wilkes-Barre Area is now in at No. 6 while Delaware Valley has finally dropped out. In the Small Six, everything remains the same.

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 (5-0) 1
  2. Dallas (5-0) 2
  3. Scranton (5-0) 5
  4. Crestwood (4-1) 3
  5. Valley View (4-1) 4
  6. Wilkes-Barre Area (3-2) NR

Dropped Out: Delaware Valley (1-4) 6

 

THE SMALL-SIX

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

Just Missed Out: Carbondale (2-3)