The Rick, Week 14 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(2053-572 overall, .782 winning percentage)

Save room for dessert

You may have a craving for pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving season. But if you can resist the temptation to finish off your turkey dinner, I promise, you can get your sweet tooth a fix on Friday night (or Saturday afternoon) at one of the five local high school football games being played. The games are going to be oh so good.

The matchups of the five games on the slate for District 2 teams may look like an uphill battle for four of the teams, and maybe even a fifth. But don’t expect any of the games to be blowouts. The Rick expects three of our teams to clinch victory, with a strong belief a fourth will win, and I wouldn’t be that surprised if the fifth comes up with an upset.

Which teams are which? Well take a gander below and read about each matchup while you are saving space for some high school football dessert this weekend!

Here are the picks for Week 14:

THE RICK’S PICKS (158-33)

PIAA Class 5A

Imhotep (12-0) at Delaware Valley (10-3)

The stats aren’t gaudy, but make no mistake about it, the Imhotep Charter Panthers are the real deal. Delaware Valley will have their hands full on Saturday afternoon in Milford when PennLive.com’s No. 1 Class 5A team comes to town. The Panthers feature NINE Division 1 prospects/commits on the roster – four of those are in the Top 26 ranked players in Pennsylvania per Rivals.com. Leading the way is Georgia-bound Jabree Wallace-Coleman. The junior running back has 1,300 yards rushing with 24 touchdowns on 168 carries. Quarterback Mikal Davis, who will play at Army next fall, has thrown for 1,783 yards and 13 TDs and rushed for 478 yards and 12 scores. The senior’s top target is senior Tyseer Denmark who has 30 catches for 350 yards. He will attend Penn State. But Imhotep spreads the wealth in the passing game. Five other receivers have double-digit catches, led by senior Johann Hennigan who has 24 receptions for 334 yards. The defense is led by six D1 recruits, Pitt commit defensive lineman Jahsear Whittington and Penn State commit defensive back Kenny Woseley, both seniors, and juniors Zahir Mathis, a defensive lineman who has 31 offers and is the No. 1 defensive lineman in his class; Saimire Locks, a defensive back who has six offers, including Oregon; and Naim Dantzler, a DB with an offer from Boston College. Senior offensive tackle Zafir Stewart is the ninth D1 player on the roster. He is headed to Illinois. So, what does that mean for Delaware Valley? Well, first the Warriors need to control the football. It’s going to be tough running against the Panthers, but Ryder Machado and company have the means to do it. Should Delaware Valley be able to control the time of possession, win the turnover battle, and maybe catch one or two breaks, they have a legitimate shot to shock the state.

Panthers 27, Warriors 21

 

District 2 Class 4A

Bonner-Prendie (9-2) at No. 1 Dallas (13-0)

The Bunch from the Back Mountain surprised The Rick last week. And now they are just one of seven 13-0 football teams in the state. Dallas hosts Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast, aka Bonner-Prendie, the District 12 champion on Friday night. The Friars defeated District 1 champ Pope John Paul II last week and feature Penn State commit Mylachi Williams, a 6-5, 220-pound defensive end/outside linebacker. He leads a defense that gives up only 10 points a game. On offense, Bonner-Prendie has a load of talent and is not afraid to use it. The Friars alternate freshmen quarterbacks with Kenjai Gatling and Noel Campbell. Both can throw the pill and will also use their legs to beat opponents. The running game is the same with Avery Hankey, Mick Johnson and Isaiah Session all carrying the load. This Dallas team has been doubted all season and they have used that as a rallying cry. But there will be no crying in the Back Mountain this week.

Mountaineers 20, Friars 14

 

PIAA Class 3A

Scranton Prep (12-1) at Northwestern Lehigh (13-0)

Scranton Prep may not have the toughest assignment of the remaining District 2 teams, but they may be facing the hottest team remaining in the Class 3A bracket. Northwestern Lehigh has scored 201 points in its past four games, including a, 58-8, bludgeoning of previously unbeaten Palmerton last week. The Tigers have dominated in all but one of their games – a 28-21 win over Blue Mountain in Week 3. The District 11 champion has scored over 50 points four times and has only scored under 40 twice. NWL is giving up just over 10 points per game. Senior running back Dalton Clymer leads the offense with 1,593 yards and 26 touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Shane Leh balances this high-powered offense with 1,479 yards passing and 21 TDs. Three receivers have caught more than 20 passes, starting with senior Devon Hildebrand who has 42 catchers for 525 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore Mason Bollinger has 21 receptions for 396 yards and four TDs, and junior Landon Matsen has 20 catches for 315 tards and four TDs. The Prep defense has been at its best all season, and the Cavaliers offense can put up points as well. The winner faces the Wyomissing-Danville winner. The Ignatian Nation would sure love a shot at a rematch with the Spartans.

Cavaliers 43, Tigers 41

 

PIAA Class 2A

Camp Hill (8-5) at Dunmore (11-2)

Just a month ago, Camp Hill was 4-5. Twenty-eight days later, the Lions have won four straight and may be the most surprising team left in all six classes of the PIAA State Championships. However, what has got them here is no surprise. Camp Hill throws the ball all over the yard. The Lions spread you out with three-, four-, and five-receiver formations and lets quarterback Drew Branstetter air it out. The junior has thrown for 3,151 yards and 35 touchdowns THIS season. He is also the second-leading rusher on the team with 338 yards and six TDs. Juniors Alex Long and Noah Doi are the two leaders on the receiving end of the prolific passing offense. Long has caught 67 passes for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Doi has caught 63 receptions for 885 yards and 11 TDs. But they aren’t the only threats down the field. Seniors Tony Corbin, Kobe Moore and Luke Becker have combined for 104 catches, 1,180 yards and 14 TDs. Moore is also the feature running back and has 450 yards on the ground. The offense will be a challenge for Dunmore to defend. But the Bucks have the athletes on defense to matchup and have a powerful rushing attack on offense to keep the ball away from the Lions. A matchup with Southern Columbia looms next week. Dunmore can’t wait.

Bucks 34, Lions 20

 

PIAA Class 1A First Round

Steel-High (13-0) v. Lackawanna Trail (13-0) at Scranton High

The Top 2 Class 1A teams according to PennLive.com meet at Scranton Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday night. Defending state champion Steel-High and Lackawanna Trail – both undefeated, and two of the four 13-0 teams in Class 1A – will match contrasting styles in what many believe is the true State Championship game in the PIAA’s smallest classification. Steel-High features quarterback Alex Erby. The state’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns committed to Navy just a few weeks ago, meaning local fans can see the future signal-callers in the traditional Army-Navy game playing in District 2 in a 16-hour span. Erby has thrown for over 13,000 yards and 170 touchdowns in his career. His top target this year is Rell Ceaser Jr. The senior has hauled in over 70 passes for over 1,500 yards with 15 TDs this season. The Steamrollers have state playoff experience. They are used to travelling for post-season playoffs games. So many may think they have a decided advantage last week. But Lackawanna Trail proved last week they can stop a high-powered offense. They proved they can be physical and fast when they pounded Dunmore at mid-season. And they have proved in the past that they can win at the state level. This game is going to be fun.

Lions 31, Rollers 27

 

Time to settle all Family Business (86-26)

PIAA 1A: South Williamsport over Cambria Heights

PIAA 2A: Southern Columbia over Bald Eagle Area

PIAA 3A: Wyomissing over Danville

PIAA 4A: Bishop McDevitt over Manheim Central

PIAA 5A: Strath Haven over Chester

 

THE RICK-SIX

District 2 has five teams playing in Week 14 and all five are at the top of the Big-Six and Small-Six. We could have another week or more of this poll. But unless Dallas wins the state title, the Big-Six will probably remain the same. Keep an eye out, there could be some movement after this week. The Rick-Six will continue until the majority of teams have been eliminated.

 

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Delaware Valley (10-3) 1
  2. Dallas (13-0) 2
  3. Valley View (10-3) 3
  4. Wyoming Area (10-2) 4
  5. Abington Heights (7-5) 5
  6. Wilkes-Barre Area (6-5) 6

 

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Lackawanna Trail (13-0) 1
  2. Scranton Prep (12-1) 2
  3. Dunmore (11-2) 3
  4. Western Wayne (8-4) 4
  5. Riverside (8-4) 5
  6. Mid Valley (7-4) 6