The Rick, Week 16 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(2069-578 overall, .781 winning percentage)

 The Bunch from the Back Mountain

Five weeks ago, The Rick saw a video clip on social media of Dallas coach Rich Mannello addressing his team following a semi-final victory in the District 2 playoffs. Coach referred to his next opponent, not by name, but by location. So, The Rick ran with it.

Now, the Bunch from the Back Mountain is playing for the state title.

And after reading an article in a Pittsburgh newspaper regarding the Mountaineers matchup with perennial state Aliquippa, The Rick is now an even bigger fan of Mannello. The Public School Posse is fully behind the Mountaineers!

Dallas has another monumental task ahead of them this week at Cumberland Valley HS (Do you know how hard it is to type “Cumberland Valley HS” when you have typed “Hershey” for the past 15 years in this column?). But Coach Mannello and the Mounts have been up to the challenge so far and another conquest may just deserve a monument of its own.

The Mountaineers, who sport one of District 2’s Top 5 helmets, have won two straight games in overtime, turning away opponents that many believed would easily get past the Bunch from the Back Mountain. Dallas last played for a state title in 2019 when they lost to Thomas Jefferson. The Mounts won the state title in 1993. Thirty years later, let’s see if they can win it again.

Here are the picks for Week 16:

THE RICK’S PICKS (169-39)

PIAA Class 4A Championship

Aliquippa (13-0) v. Dallas (15-0) at Cumberland Valley HS

Dallas faces undefeated state power Aliquippa for the PIAA Class 4A crown on Thursday night. The home of Mike Ditka, Ty Law, and Darrelle Revis, the Quips will play in their third straight title game. They expected to play Bishop McDevitt for the third straight time as well. Aliquippa beat McDevitt in 2021 and lost to them last season. They have won four PIAA titles and have appeared in 16 consecutive WPIAL title games. This year’s version of the Quips is led by junior running back Tikey Hayes, a Penn State recruit. Hayes is the school’s all-time leading rusher with 5,665 yards and has rushed for 1,915 yards and 23 touchdowns. His backup, senior John Tracy has rushed for 647 yards and 10 TDs, including 270 yards and three TDs in a win over Selinsgrove last week when Hayes went down before halftime with an injury. Aliquippa can also throw it. Junior quarterback Quentin Goode, the Quips all-time leading passer, has over 5,500 career yards and has thrown for 1,822 yards with 25 touchdowns and five interceptions. Brandon Banks is the leading pass catcher with 19 receptions for 451 yards and five TDs. DeMarkus Walker has 20 catches for 367 yards and seven touchdowns and Arison Walker has 18 catches for 222 yards and two scores. Linebacker Cam Lindsey, who is headed to Pitt, leads the defense. There will be a lot of high-profile talent wearing the black and red on Thursday afternoon, but The Rick knows, if the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the best substitute for it. And hard work is just what blue collar District 2 brings to the table.

Mountaineers 24, Quips 22

 

Time to settle all Family Business (99-28)

PIAA 1A

Fort Cherry over Steel-High

PIAA 2A

Westinghouse over Southern Columbia

PIAA 3A

Belle Vernon over Northwestern Lehigh

PIAA 5A

Imhotep over Peters Twp.

PIAA 6A

St. Joseph’s Prep over North Allegheny