The Rick, Week 3 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1919-531 overall, .785 winning percentage)

Dog Days are Done

The Dog Days of August are officially over. Even though Mother Nature gave us a dose of climate change on September 1, The Rick is forecasting more football-like weather starting this Friday. The heat and humidity that has been gracing our presence this week will leave us until next year – or until at least later in the month when we will get one more smack of heat.

The change in temperature will be a welcome one for athletes and coaches who will not have to adjust on the fly when losing an athlete to muscle cramps or dehydration. It will also help us broadcasters and media types who are stuck in the un-air-conditioned press boxes of District 2. Don’t get The Rick wrong, I would much rather the heat than putting on multiple layers of Under Armour during the cold weather.

So, get out to your local high school stadium this weekend and enjoy the cool down this Friday, but bring an umbrella as Mother Nature has a strange sense of humor.

Here are The Rick’s picks for Week 3:


THE RICK’S PICKS (24-12)

May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 2-0

Scranton at West Scranton

The Battle for the Bell has been dominated as of late by Scranton High – and there is no reason this year to think it will reside elsewhere come Saturday night. But don’t tell that to West Scranton. The Invaders have this game circled on the schedule and believe they can win. And after a tough loss to Riverside and a forgettable performance against Prep, it could be a game the NEED to win. The schedule doesn’t get easier the next two weeks for West, and they certainly don’t want to start 0-5 despite having a much easier stretch of games on the back end of the slate. The Knights are looking at starting the season 3-0 for the second straight year and have shown to this point that they are a team to be reckoned with. The Rick expects a game worth the rivalry on Saturday afternoon, but I need to lean on the odds in this one.

Knights 27, Invaders 22

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 1-1

Hazleton Area at North Pocono

Who are these two teams playing in Moscow on Friday night? Hazleton Area started the season with a solid win over Pittston Area but then lost at home to Wallenpaupack. North Pocono lost to Valley West in Week 1, snapping the Spartans 16-game losing streak, then upset Western Wayne on the road last week. Well, it was a slight upset in The Rick’s mind. So, who wins this game? It’s the toughest pick of the week. Let’s have Luca Brasi toss a coin.

Cougars 21, Trojans 20

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 0-2

Wilkes-Barre Area at Wallenpaupack

Wallenpaupack is the surprise team of the season so far at 2-0. The Buckhorns have two road victories over Honesdale and Hazleton Area. Wilkes-Barre Area is 0-2, but both are one-score losses. The Rick sees the Wolfpack turning its season around tonight although it will not be easy against Wallenpaupack who are playing with confidence so far. Make no mistake, this game will be close at the lake. But The Rick is done swimming for the summer.

Wolfpack 24, Buckhorns 13

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 2-0

Scranton Prep at Lake-Lehman

The Prep looks like a juggernaut right now. The Ignatian Nation has put up 112 points in two weeks, including hanging 70 on Lakeland in Week 1. The Rick had a former Cavalier tell me it’s time for the Purple People Eaters to start playing out-of-district teams much like Delaware Valley does instead of playing small-school crossovers. The Rick is starting to believe he may be right.

Cavaliers 45, Lake-Lehman 15

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 1-1

Abington Heights at Berwick

Abington Heights is on the way back. The Comets could easily be 2-0 with wins over two of the top programs in the WVC. Instead, a tough loss to Dallas followed by a close win over WBA has Abington Heights even facing a trip to Crispin Field. But as The Rick said last week, a trip to Crispin Field isn’t the same as it used to be. And that’s because the Berwick Bulldogs are seemingly in disarray. The late helmet head Eddie Walker is up in football heaven wondering, “What the heck is going on down there!” The Dawgs can turn the season around with a win. And they will go to the mattresses to do so on Friday night. But a loss may lead to something that us old-timers have never seen or even dreamed of – a winless season in Berwick. Yes, The Rick said it.

Comets 14, Dawgs 13

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 2-0

Western Wayne at Old Forge

Western Wayne may just be the Rodney Dangerfield of the LFC – they never get any respect. The last few seasons as the Wildcats have gotten better and better, they have slowly started to gain some respect. However, last week’s loss at home to a North Pocono team was a bitter one, and one that leads to that overall feeling of a lack of respect when it comes to the Wildcats. Last year they hammered Old Forge on their way to an 8-2 record and a spot in the D2 Class 3A Final. This year, they need a win to get back on track as they enter a tough stretch of games. The Blue Devils are in the middle of a rebuild like they have not experienced in the last dozen years or so years. They got a much-needed win last week at Nanticoke, and this week look to beat the Wildcats in what many see as a statement game for this year’s team. The Rick likes statements. Here’s one…

Blue Devils 24, Wildcats 21 

 

Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 1-1

Crestwood at Wyoming Area

Here is another game between 2-0 and 0-2 teams. But you can probably guarantee that Crestwood is the best 0-2 team in District 2. Wyoming Area is no slouch either, but like Judge Smails, its opponents have been incredible slouches so far in 2023. One thing The Rick can guarantee about this game is that it will be over by 9 p.m. as both teams LOVE to run the football. The Rick is also calling the upset. The Comets say, IT WAS YOU FREDO!

Comets 28, Warriors 27

 

Time to settle all Family Business (16-6)

Valley View over Honesdale

Carbondale over Hanover Area

Valley West over Pittston Area

Mid Valley over Holy Cross

Trail over Nanticoke

Dallas over Williamsport

Riverside over Lakeland

Downingtown East over Delaware Valley

Dunmore over Susquehanna

Tunkhannock over Holy Redeemer

Montrose over Sheffield

 

THAT’S SIX

Man, how The Jump caused major changes in The Rick’s Six this week. Only the top teams in the Big-Six and Small-Six didn’t move in the rankings. The other 10 teams and two more all moved up or down in the weekly rankings. Valley View and Prep stayed on top with Dallas and Lackawanna Trail moving into the No. 2 spots, respectively. Abington Heights and Mid Valley are newcomers to the poll after impressive victories on the road. Remember, it’s where you finish at the end – not the beginning or the middle. Included in the list are each team’s regular season record and where they were ranked last week.

 

Here it is….

 

THE BIG-SIX

  1. Valley View (2-0) 1
  2. Dallas (2-0) 3
  3. Scranton (2-0) 4
  4. Wyoming Area (2-0) 6
  5. Abington Heights (1-1) NR
  6. Crestwood (0-2) 5

Just missed it: Delaware Valley (0-2) 2

 

THE SMALL-SIX

  1. Scranton Prep (2-0) 1
  2. Lackawanna Trail (2-0) 5
  3. Dunmore (1-1) 2
  4. Western Wayne (1-1) 4
  5. Mid Valley (1-1) NR
  6. Riverside (1-1) 3

Outside looking in: Susquehanna (2-0) 6

 

DISTRICT RANKINGS

The Rick was looking at the power rankings this week and thought it would be fun to give you the rankings according to the number assigned to them by the formula designed by District 2 to seed teams for the playoffs. Here is the Top 10 overall, regardless of class, according to their D2 power ranking:

 

  1. Dallas (2-0) .715
  2. Scranton (2-0) .709
  3. Wallenpaupack (2-0) .707
  4. Wyoming Area (2-0) .692
  5. Prep (2-0) .682
  6. Trail (2-0) .669
  7. Valley West (1-1) .653
  8. Tunkhannock (1-1) .605
  9. Valley View (2-0) .590
  10. Susquehanna (2-0) .590