The Rick, Week 12 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(2041-565 overall, .782 winning percentage)
Eleven down, five to go
We are in the thick of playoff time here in NEPA. Eleven weeks have passed since opening night, and we have crowned two District 2 champions and will crown three more this week, with only the Class 4A title to be decided in Week 13. But for all teams still alive, the dream is to play five more weeks and compete for gold at Cumberland Valley High School on the first weekend of December.
Those dreams will fade for some over the course of the next month. But it is time to cherish all the memories made during this run. So, let’s support all the D2 teams as they set off on a quest for gold.
Here are the picks for Week 12
THE RICK’S PICKS (146-26)
District 2 Class 6A Champions
Wilkes-Barre Area lost in last week’s subregional tournament but are still the District 2 Class 6A Champions. Congrats to the Wolfpack!
District 2 Class 5A
No. 2 Abington Heights (7-4) at No. 1 Delaware Valley (8-3)
The feelgood story of the season in the LFC is Abington Heights. The once dominant big-school program has resurrected itself after a few years of un-Comet-like football. But they run into the behemoth big-school program this week. Delaware Valley once modeled themselves to be just like Abington Heights, but now they are the model of local grid programs in NEPA. If you have lived under a rock for the past 11 weeks, don’t let the three losses fool you, the Warriors own District 2. AH has made strides this year, but probably not enough.
Warriors 27, Comets 14
District 2 Class 4A
No. 5 Nanticoke (7-4) at No. 1 Dallas (11-0)
No. 3 Wyoming Area (10-1) at No. 2 Valley View (9-2)
Nanticoke pulled off a major upset last week, beating Crestwood on the road, while Wyoming Area and Valley View both needed to play four quarters against teams with inferior records. Meanwhile, Dallas cruised. Does that make the Mountaineers the prohibited favorite to win the title? It sure does. But Dallas won’t look past the Trojans and their punishing running game. The Mountaineers are too seasoned for that. In the other D2 Class 4A semifinal, it’s a game of goliaths as Wyoming Area visits Peckville to take on Valley View. This game looks evenly matched on paper. Two teams that want to physically beat you up and beat you on the ground. The winner will be the team that gets defensive stops and makes a big play in the passing game. The Cougars looked a little bored last week and the Warriors had to gut one out while battling injuries. This is The Rick’s Game of the Week!
Mountaineers 35, Trojans 13
Cougars 26, Warriors 19
District 2 Class 3A
No. 2 Western Wayne (8-3) at No. 1 Scranton Prep (10-1)
The steamroller, Scranton Prep scored 54 points in the first 24 minutes last week. The Rick isn’t even sure the Cavaliers basketball team can do that. Prep is playing better and better each week, and that spells trouble for anyone in its way. Western Wayne has had another great season, but unfortunately, they run into the Cavaliers again. The Wildcats struggled last week, but they battled injuries in their win over a spirited Lake-Lehman squad who was obviously offended by The Rick’s comments last week. They get offended a lot at The Black Hole, but The Rick likes to help some teams in the motivation department each week. Still, Western Wayne will bring all they have this Saturday against the Cavaliers. Let’s hope they can give Prep some competition.
Cavaliers 33, Wildcats 13
District 2 Class 2A
No. 3 Riverside (8-3) at No. 1 Dunmore (9-2)
Here is the game that has given The Rick much angst. About Week 5, I thought to myself, Riverside is going to finish the season as District 2 champs. They are going to reverse losses to Mid Valley and Dunmore in the playoffs and get to the PIAA tournament. They have proven The Rick half right so far. It’s now Week 12, and The Rick didn’t expect the Bucks to turn it around. But Dunmore has done exactly that. The Bucks started to play more like the Bucks usually play about Week 6. They started dominating on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They started running at will. And they started acting like Dunmore being Dunmore. So where does that put The Rick? Well, I typically pick the wrong register at the grocery store, so I may as well stick with my gut instead of my head.
Vikings 22, Bucks 21
District 1-2 Class 1A Subregional
No. 1 Lackawanna Trail (11-0) vs. No. 2 Morrisville (6-5) at Bristol HS
District 2 champion Lackawanna Trail will travel to suburban Philadelphia to take on District 1 champion Morrisville, a 20-0 winner over Jenkintown (3-8) last week. Traditionally, the District 2 champion, whether it be the Lions or Old Forge, has had no trouble with the D1 winner in what can be classified as the opening round of the PIAA state playoffs in Class 1A. This game should be no different. However, the Lions may think they are looking in a mirror – especially on offense. According to MaxPreps.com, the Bulldogs rarely throw the football. Quarterback Ky’iere Rankings has only 17 completions on 38 attempts for 213 yards and two TDs. That means Morrisville gets it done on the ground. Running back Ray Holman has rushed 1,770 yards and 18 TDs, and Rankins has rushed for 563 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both average more than 8.5 yards per carry. Sophomore Alex Brown is the leading receiver with six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Morrisville is going to need long possessions and cash in on those possessions if they want to pull out the victory. The Rick has seen lots of teams want this year against Trail, but none have had those wants satisfied.
Lions 42, Bulldogs 12
Time to settle all Family Business (83-21)
D11/5A: Southern Lehigh over Whitehall
D11/2A: Schuylkill Haven over Williams Valley
D11/1A: Minersville over Marian Catholic
Only two of the 12 teams in the Rick-Six had their seasons come to an end last week. So, we push on. Abington Heights moved up one spot in The Big-Six, while Riverside moved up one spot in The Small-Six. Both teams went from No. 6 to No. 5. You all know who the best teams are. Keep checking here to find out who The Rick thinks the best team is when the season ends. The Rick-Six will continue until the majority of teams have been eliminated.
- Delaware Valley (8-3) 1
- Dallas (11-0) 2
- Valley View (9-2) 3
- Wyoming Area (10-1) 4
- Abington Heights (7-4) 6
- Wilkes-Barre (6-5) 5
- Lackawanna Trail (11-0) 1
- Scranton Prep (10-1) 2
- Dunmore (9-2) 3
- Western Wayne (8-3) 4
- Riverside (8-3) 5
- Mid Valley (7-4) 6