The Rick, Week 15 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(2060-575 overall, .782 winning percentage)

 And then there were two

The District 2 representation in the PIAA playoffs has gone from five to two. Delaware Valley, Lackawanna Trail, and Scranton Prep were all unceremoniously dispatched from the post-season last week after turning-in super seasons in the Lackawanna Football Conference.

So, now we are down to Dallas and Dunmore. Two teams that have been opening the season up against each other in a scrimmage as of late. And possibly the best bets for D2 to have a rep at Cumberland Valley when the PIAA playoffs started in each class. Wouldn’t it be great for the LFC and the Wyoming Valley Conference to each have a representative next week in Central PA? The Rick would get another column out of it too!

Here are the picks for Week 15:

THE RICK’S PICKS (160-36)

PIAA Class 4A

Bishop McDevitt (13-0) v. Dallas (14-0) at Northern Lehigh HS

The Bunch from the Back Mountain are in the midst of something special right now. An overtime victory last week to protect its unblemished record has them on track to reach the PIAA Class 4A Championships game with a victory this week. This Final Four matchup will be Dallas’ toughest game to date. Bishop McDevitt from Harrisburg remained undefeated last week after a fourth-quarter rally that saw them rally from a two-score deficit to advance. The Crusaders are led by Kentucky commit, Stone Sauders. The junior quarterback is the son of former Baltimore Ravens strength and condition coach Steve Saunders and has passed for 3,347 yards and 54 touchdowns THIS SEASON. The three-year starter is 33 yards from eclipsing the 10,000-yard mark for his career and has tossed 154 TDs in his career. Saunders has a pair or 1,000-yard receivers in seniors Rico Scott and Chase Regan. Scott has caught 80 balls for 1,281 yards and 22 touchdowns. Regan has 41 receptions for 1,035 yards and 14 scores. Freshman Jontai Quick has 30 catches for 365 yards and seven TDs. McDevitt can also run the ball. Nasir Jones-Davis has rushed for 867 yards and 9 TDs in 11 games while Maurice Barnes has 969 yards and seven TDs. The Crusaders defense isn’t too bad either, giving up one score or less in six of its games. It’s a tall task for Dallas, but as The Rick said earlier, it’s been a special season. Fans can’t throw Hershey Kisses any more, maybe the student body can dress up in tuxedos and throw their cummerbunds when they punch their ticket to Cumberland Valley.

Mountaineers 24, Crusaders 21

 

PIAA Class 2A

Southern Columbia (13-1) v. Dunmore (12-2) at Hazleton Area

A familiar opponent stands in the way of a District 2 small-school team trying to reach the pinnacle of high school football. And that opponent also happens to be the greatest small-school football program of the state championship era – Southern Columbia. The Tiger Kings are back again – to no one’s surprise – and stand in the way of our own greatest small-school football program in Dunmore. What may be of surprise is that Southern has a loss this season. That loss was in the middle of the season to Mt Carmel, a team that also beat Dunmore this year. But Southern got their revenge in the post-season when they smashed the Red Tornadoes in the District 4 playoffs. Unlike the Bucks’ previous opponent Camp Hill, the Tigers want to run the ball. SCA sports two 1,000-yard rushers in seniors Garrett Garcia and Louden Murphy. Garcia has rushed for 1,504 yards and 25 touchdowns and Murphy has logged 1,356 yards and 22 TDs. He also has 12 catches for 338 yards and six TDs. Wingback Carter Madden has 734 yards and eight TDs. But the Tigers are not just run heavy. Quarterback Blake Wise has thrown for 1,177 yards and 10 TDs. Kyle Christman is the leading receiver with 21 catches for 338 yards and three TDs, and Jacob Hoy has 18 catches for 347 yards a score. Dunmore is playing its best football of the season. The Bucks versatility on offense will help them slay the beast this week.

Bucks 29, Tigers 28

 

Time to settle all Family Business (91-26)

PIAA 1A

Steel-High over South Williamsport

Fort Cherry over Redbank Valley

PIAA 2A

Westinghouse over Beaver Falls

PIAA 3A

Wyomissing over Northwestern Lehigh

Belle Vernon over Hickory

PIAA 4A

Aliquippa over Selinsgrove

PIAA 5A

Imhotep over Strath Haven

Peters Township over Cocalico

PIAA 6A

St. Joseph’s Prep over Central Bucks South

Harrisburg over North Allegheny

 

THE RICK-SIX

The Rick Six is complete for the season. The two polls have not changed since last week. Delaware Valley’s four losses are all to non-District 2 teams. And while Big-Six No. 2 Dallas is one step from playing for it all, The Rick thinks the Mountaineers would have to take the title to jump over the Warriors. It is close. In the Small-Six, No. 3 Dunmore is still alive, and as good as the Bucks are playing, The Rick can’t look past the drubbing Trail put on them at mid-season. So here are your final polls. I hope you enjoyed the process this year. The Rick did!

 

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Delaware Valley (10-4) 1
  2. Dallas (14-0) 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 (13-1) 1
  2. Scranton Prep (12-2) 2
  3. Dunmore (12-2) 3
  4. Western Wayne (8-4) 4
  5. Riverside (8-4) 5
  6. Mid Valley (7-4) 6