The Rick, Week 9 – 2022
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1838-503 overall, .784 winning percentage)

The Witching Hour is upon us

It may not be Halloween just yet, but for many teams it is The Witching Hour on the gridiron. If you are an NFL fan like The Rick, you know, The Witching Hour is the last hour of play during the afternoon games on Sundays. It has been dubbed this by the host of the NFL Network’s RedZone. Something crazy always seems to happen during that hour, or more likely, that is when a multitude of games are decided – during The Witching Hour.

This week’s slate of games in District 2 has that kind of feel. Winning records, division titles, playoff seedings and pride can all be achieved this week – the penultimate week of the 2022 season.

Scranton Prep (4-1), Valley View (3-1) and Delaware Valley (3-1) – yes Delaware Valley – are all in the mix for the LFC Division 1 title. The Cavaliers and Cougars play each other next week, so if Valley View follows the script this week and the Warriors beat Scranton on Friday, two of the three teams will share the crown. In LFC Division 2 and Division 3, the titles will be decided this week if the script is followed in Week 10. Lakeland (3-0) hosts Western Wayne (3-0) and Old Forge (3-0) hosts Riverside (3-0) respectively. The Chiefs and Wildcats have been on a collision course all season. The Blue Devils have beaten back early disappointment to face a Vikings squad that sees themselves bound for glory. The winners will still need to clinch their respective titles in the final week, but all four teams will face opponents they will be favored against.

In the WVC, Division 1 has the possibility of five teams ending the season 4-2 in the division. Crestwood and Dallas are tied for the lead at 4-1 with Berwick at 3-1 and Hazleton Area and Wilkes-Barre Area each 2-2. Four games will pit all five against each other in the next two weeks. There is a very likely scenario this could happen. The only game needed for a five-way tie that would be considered an upset would be the Wolfpack beating the Mountaineers on Friday night. Past the division title, the Comets, Dawgs and Dallas are all fighting for playoff positioning in the Class 4A bracket. In WVC Division 2, Pittston Area needs only to get by Holy Redeemer this week to set up the annual game for The Bridge as a title matchup with Wyoming Area. Both the Patriots and Warriors are currently unbeaten in the division.

Here’s the current District 2 playoff matchups:

Current Week 11 Playoff Matchups

6A: No. 8 Wilkes-Barre Area at No. 1 Emmaus; No. 6 Hazleton Area at No. 3 Northampton

(Subregional tournament with D4 and D11)

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

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

No. 6 Honesdale 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

Well, it took eight weeks, but The Rick’s friend from the neighborhood, Consigliere Tom Robinson finally took the lead. It’s been a proud eight weeks for The Rick. 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. This week Tom bested The Rick by one game to take a one-game lead heading into Week 9. There are a few games that may go either way. Let’s see if I can get the lead back.

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

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (102-30)

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

Delaware Valley at Scranton

Delaware Valley has won three straight to get back to even after a woeful start to the year. Still, at 4-4 the Warriors are likely to be favored to win another division title and another district title. Scranton has slumped after winning its first six of the season. The Knights lost handily to Valley View before being upset on the road last week at Abington Heights. Scranton can still get back on its horse and hold on to the top seed in Class 5A, but The Rick is not sure that horse can still be ridden.

Warriors 43, Knights 20

 

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

Western Wayne at Lakeland

We have two Luca Brasi games this week. The first is the Western Wayne at Lakeland. How come it always seems as if the big games are always AT Lakeland? Do the Chiefs ever play on the road? I kid of course. Lakeland kicked the stuffing out of both Old Forge and Dunmore on the road, and Prep at home. Can they do the same to the Wildcats? Western Wayne is big and strong in the trenches much like Lakeland. The Wildcats will need to control the ball and control the clock to keep the explosive Chiefs off the field. Still it’s going to be a monumental task, and The Rick is not sure the proper tools are available.

Chiefs 33, Wildcats 31

 

Crestwood at Berwick

Here is the other Luca Brasi game. Crestwood visits Berwick. The Comets have used a punishing running game to win seven of their eight games this season. Not to mention a solid defense as well, one that can punish any offense. Ha! The Rick may have just given Crestwood a new nickname – The Punishers. Berwick on the other hand cannot be figured out. First, the Dawgs couldn’t close games out. Then they went on a run and upset Dallas at home, giving the Mountaineers their only loss of the season. But then Berwick went to Danville last week and got hammered by the Ironmen. Maybe this game isn’t that tough to pick after all. After looking at both teams schedules, Dallas is the only team with a winning record that the Dawgs have beaten. The Rick sees it in the stars.

Comets 20, Dawgs 15

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 7-1

Honesdale at Dunmore

Everything in The Rick’s soul is telling him to pick Honesdale. This game is an upset waiting to happen. The Hornets are playing well. Winners of four of five. Rival Western Wayne coming to town next week for a showdown. Dunmore with two devastating losses in the last two weeks. EVERYTHING is pointing to Honesdale. These are the times that The Rick usually embraces emotion over intelligence. But not this week. I am behind in the race for superiority in The Neighborhood. So, The Rick is using his head. Afterall, it’s all I have left after losing my credibility last week.

Bucks 28, Hornets 14

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 8-0

Pittston Area at Holy Redeemer

Sure, Pittston Area may be looking ahead to next week’s Cross River Rivalry with Wyoming Area. But they will take care of business this week against Holy Redeemer. I mean there is probably no place better to find cannoli than in Pittston, right? Mingya! The Rick needs to know where the best Pittston cannoli are! Sabatelle’s on Main Street? Lombardo’s Market in Yatesville? Somebody let Eddie Ackerman know. He’ll shoot The Rick a text!

Patriots 47, Royals 13

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 3-5

Riverside at Old Forge

This. Is. Old School. Riverside is at Old Forge in the 77th meeting of the best rivalry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But there will be nothing old-school about this game. This is not your father’s or grandfather’s rivalry. The Vikings and Blue Devils are about to put on an offensive show like you have never seen. While The Rick fully expects Old Forge to run the ball 60 times, he will not put aside the fact that the Blue Devils have one of the most prolific passers in school history and one of its best wide receivers in the huddle. The Vikings have THE most prolific pass-catcher in Lackawanna League history and a stable of talented playmakers that are ready to get Riverside back on the winning side of this rivalry. This game is going to come down to which defense will be able to get the most stops. The Rick doesn’t go against The Family. Take the Big Blue Wrecking Crew.

Blue Devils 45, Vikings 42

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 6-2

Dallas at Wilkes-Barre Area

Hard to think that a one-loss Dallas team is looking for respect this late in the season, but after a strange loss to Berwick two weeks ago and an uninspiring first half against Wallenpaupack at home last week, the Mountaineers have some questioning their domination during the first six weeks of the season. Wilkes-Barre Area thought it found some respect with a win at Berwick in Week 5. But then the Wolfpack turned around and lost badly to Crestwood at home and to Delaware Valley on the road. Not terrible losses, but just when you think WBA may be turning the corner, they take that wrong turn at Albuquerque. The Rick will give both teams respect after this one ends.

Mountaineers 28, Wolfpack 27

 

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

West Scranton at Mid Valley

The Rick watched some game film this week and let me say, West played Lakeland pretty tough for much of the first half. Still, the Invaders are searching for win No. 2 after seven straight losses. Mid Valley has two wins – one of which is a forfeit. So, maybe this isn’t necessarily an upset special. But The Rick needed a winner this week, and the Invaders will say, IT WAS YOU FREDO! West Scranton upsets Mid Valley.

Invaders 21, Spartans 13

 

Time to settle all Family business (76-10)

North Pocono over Abington Heights

Scranton Prep over Wyoming Valley West

Valley View over Wallenpaupack

Carbondale over Susquehanna

Lackawanna Trail over Holy Cross

Lansing (NY) over Montrose

Hazleton Area over Williamsport

Lake-Lehman over Hanover Area

Shamokin over Nanticoke

Towanda over Tunkhannock

Southern Columbia over Wyoming Area

 

THE RICK SIX

Lost my credibility they said! Well, well, well, glad The Rick was right for once. No, no. Not with the Big-Six rankings. I was totally wrong there. The credibility claim was with the Small-Six, which will go unchanged from last week with five of the six teams dominating games and one not. The Big-Six is a mess. The Rick should really rank three or four of the teams, No. 1 because it seems that five or six of them can beat each other on any given night.

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. Crestwood (7-1) 2
  2. Dallas (7-1) 4
  3. Hazleton Area (6-2) 5
  4. Delaware Valley (4-4) NR
  5. Valley View (6-2) 1
  6. Berwick (4-4) 3

Dropped out: Scranton (6-2) 6

Just missed out: Wilkes-Barre (4-4)

 

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Lakeland (8-0) 1
  2. Western Wayne (7-1) 2
  3. Scranton Prep (6-2) 3
  4. Old Forge (5-3) 4
  5. Dunmore (5-3) 5
  6. Riverside (5-3) 6

Just missed out: Lackawanna Trail (4-4)