The Rick, Week 8 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1823-500 overall, .784 winning percentage)

Football is funny sometimes

The Rick feels a little bit like the Dodgers right now. 50 games above the .500 mark for the season but still nervous about the postseason despite being the most dominant team in baseball. Baseball is a funny sport and sometimes strange things happen. High school football is the same way. See Week 7

Dallas throttled previously unbeaten and the No. 1 team in District 2 in Week 6, but a trip to Crispin Field last week proved a different outcome against an inconsistent Berwick team. The Dawgs could have easily been 5-1 or 6-0 heading into last week’s game, but instead were a pedestrian 3-3. Yet, Berwick looked like the team that should have beat Southern Columbia and should have beat Valley View early in the season. Like The Rick said last week, the D2 Class 4A playoffs are going to be a dogfight.

While Riverside is starting to hum on offense, no one expected the Vikings to take Lackawanna Trail behind the woodshed like they did last week. Not even The Rick. Did I pick Riverside to win? Sure did. But to tame the Lions like they did at Tunnel Hill, the Norsemen have the ships engines ready to roar.

One more surprise, which maybe wasn’t a surprise at all – the thrashing Dunmore took at the hands of Lakeland. The Chiefs can do it all. Run, pass, defend, special teams. They are a rare team that is firing on all cylinders. They have Western Wayne in two weeks and that could be a preview of two future D2 champs. But the Wildcats are the only thing that stand in the way of a perfect season on Chapman Lake.

So, what will the next three weeks have in store for us as Halloween approaches? It is going to be fun to find out.

Current Week 11 Playoff Matchups

6A: No. 8 Williamsport at No. 1 Emmaus; No. 5 Hazleton Area at No. 4 Freedom

(Subregional tournament with D4 and D11)

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

4A: No. 8 Nanticoke Area at No. 1 Valley View; No. 7 Honesdale at No. 2 Crestwood;

No. 6 North Pocono at No. 3 Dallas; No. 5 Berwick at No. 4 Wyoming Area

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

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

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

 

In your neighborhood

The inevitable has happened The Rick has been caught. Pinched. Busted. Consigliere Tom Robinson has evened the score. 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 Tom bested The Rick by two games to get even heading into Week 8. There are a lot of chalk games this week, so I may not have a chance to retake the lead, but The Rick can dream. Let’s see if I can prevent a late-season collapse or Tom takes the lead

Check out The Consigliere’s picks by clicking HERE. Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 8:

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (97-27)

May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 4-3

Valley View at Delaware Valley

If Delaware Valley wants to keep its stranglehold on the big school division, it’s going to have to put everything together the next two weeks and it starts with a home matchup with the top cat in the division, Valley View. The Cougars have gotten better each week since opening the season on the road with a loss to Crestwood. This is the last road game of the season for Valley View, and if they want to spend a few weeks at home during the D2 Class 4A playoffs, this is a game they need to win. The Cougars played their best game in a win over Scranton last week. They need to keep that trajectory moving upward. Call me crazy, The Rick thinks they will.

Cougars 31, Warriors 22

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 3-4

Dunmore at Western Wayne

Dunmore learned last week what six opponents learned ahead of them – Lakeland is good, VERY GOOD. The Bucks were beaten like a rented mule in Week 6, but there is still a lot of season left for them to get back on track. But it won’t be easy as a trip to Wayne Manor is on tap for this weekend. Western Wayne may not be as dominant as Lakeland has been, but the Wildcats are winning with different facets of the game each week. One week its offense, another its defense, and even special teams has played an important role in Western Wayne’s ascent to the top of the standings. The Rick likes the ‘Cats in this one. They just better not get caught looking ahead to Lakeland.

Wildcats 28, Bucks 24

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 6-1

Holy Redeemer at Nanticoke

First glance at this game and The Rick immediately thought Holy Redeemer. But further analysis has The Rick thinking otherwise. And still, I am not yet confident. The Trojans have done a great job running the ball this season, and seemingly, that is something the Royals have had trouble defending. The Rick wouldn’t be surprised if Holy Redeemer won this game, but I am just not ready to give them the nod.

Trojans 31, Royals 28

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 7-0

Wallenpaupack at Dallas

The Rick expects Dallas to play angry this week. Wallenpaupack won’t like it that the Mountaineers are angry. The Buckhorns have Berwick to thank for that. The Rick will enjoy the Back Mountain cannoli this weekend.

Mountaineers 47, Buckhorns 6

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 3-4

Scranton at Abington Heights

The Rick couldn’t find a true rivalry game on the schedule this week. The closest I came was this one. Scranton was throttled by Valley View last week and look to get back on track with a victory over sometimes rival Abington Heights. The Knights were undefeated headed into last week, and if they get caught looking ahead to Delaware Valley next week, they might just suffer the same result. The Comets have played decent at times, playing with some of the top programs for stretches of games. But they just can’t put it all together. A win this week can be a nice springboard into next week’s game with North Pocono. However, The Rick knows swim season isn’t until the winter.

Knights 28, Comets 19

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 5-2

North Pocono at Scranton Prep

An interesting matchup takes place on Saturday afternoon in Scranton. North Pocono travels to face Scranton Prep in a matchup of teams seemingly going in different directions. The Trojans got a win last week after losing four straight, but it has been a rough month in Moscow. North Pocono can rebound if it gets a win this week, and then possibly make some noise. The Cavaliers on the other hand are kind of the forgotten star. Prep started 2-2 but have rebounded with three solid wins. Another puts them in position to win five straight heading to Peckville in Week 10 with a chance to win a league title. Both these teams are seeking respect. The Rick sees a battle in this one, but Ignatian Nation just has too much at stake to lose.

Cavaliers 34, Trojans 21

 

Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 4-3

Carbondale at Lackawanna Trail

Again, there were not too many games to pick from when The Rick was looking for an upset special. I mean, sure, The Rick could have gone out on a crazy limb but it’s too late in the season for that! Instead, I am looking at Tunnel Hill again where Trail welcomes Carbondale. The Lions have lost four in a row, while the Chargers just snapped a losing streak with a win over Holy Cross. So, how does this set up as an upset? Trail really needs this win if they want a shot at hosting the D2 Class 1A title game. Carbondale would like to build some momentum to end the season. In only a way The Rick can justify, the Chargers will say, IT WAS YOU FREDO! Carbondale upsets Trail

Chargers 27, Lions 26

 

Time to settle all Family business (65-10)

Honesdale over Mid Valley

Lakeland over West Scranton

Old Forge over Holy Cross

Montrose over CMVT

Riverside over Susquehanna

Danville over Berwick

Hazleton Area over Wyoming Valley West

Pittston Area over Tunkhannock

Wilkes-Barre Area over Williamsport

Crestwood over Hanover Area

Wyoming Area over Lake-Lehman

 

THE RICK SIX

Just when The Rick thought he had things figured out, the Big-Six upsets were both stunning and expected. Most stunning was Berwick’s convincing win over previous No. 1 Dallas. The win moves the Dawgs back into the poll, and all the way up to No. 3. The loss moves the Mountaineers to No. 4. Valley View stunned some – not all – with his win over previously undefeated Scranton. The Cougars move up to No. 1 with the victory, while the Knights drop from No. 3 to No. 6. In the Small-Six, No. 1 Lakeland continues to cruise. The Chiefs hammered previous No. 3 Dunmore. The loss dropped the Bucks to No. 5 while No. 3 Prep and No. 4 Old Forge each moved up a slot with big victories.

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

Just missed out: Delaware Valley (3-4)

 

THE SMALL-SIX

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

Just missed out: Lackawanna Trail (3-4)