The Rick, Week 6 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1957-545 overall, .782 winning percentage)
Cloudy, with a chance of Crow
The Rick said things were crystal clear last week. Mainly the fact that Prep was “by far the best team in the LFC.” Well, leave it to Delaware Valley to shove that quote back in my face. The Warriors showed that they are still the Warriors and just because you don’t see The Bear the first few weeks, doesn’t mean The Bear is there and ready to attack.
Also, The Rick must admit, the Lakeland jerseys are not quite navy in color. However, they are also not the powder blue half shirts of the 80s heydays that The Rick remembers. Coach Piwowarczyk asked me on social media, and prior to the game, for a correction. So, here it is. While we may not agree on the color palate, it’s good to know we can have civil conversations about the topic on social media and in person.
Before we get to the regular picks of the week, The Rick would like to revisit some of the preseason picks now that we are halfway home. Some have changed. Most have been the same. Let’s take a look.
WVC Division 1
Pre-Season: 1. Crestwood, 2. Dallas
Half-Season: 1. Dallas, 2. Crestwood
The Rick highlighted earlier how Crestwood is a better team than its record. But the Dallas win on the road against the Comets earlier in the season, plus the way they have man-handled everyone else, shows that the Mounts are the clear favorite.
WVC Division 2
Pre-Season: 1. Wyoming Area, 2. Pittston Area
Half-Season: 1. Wyoming Area, 2. Nanticoke
The Rick thought this could be the year that Wyoming Area would get bored of being successful, but no. The Warriors are locked in and show no signs of slowing down. They face Southern Columbia in a few weeks, but that game has no bearing on the WVC race.
LFC Division 1
Pre-Season: 1. Delaware Valley, 2. Scranton Prep
Half-Season: 1. Abington Heights, 2. Scranton Prep
Whoa! Here’s a change! Yes! The Rick is going out on a limb. Word out of Camelot early in the season was that the Comets were close to being back. Well, it sure looks like Abington Heights has returned. The Rick likes their chances to win the division.
LFC Division 2
Pre-Season: 1. Dunmore, 2. Western Wayne
Half-Season: 1. Western Wayne, 2. West Scranton
The Rick has seen a few of the LFC-2 teams up-close-and-personal, and if they play the way they played when I saw them, I think we have a new lineup of top tier teams. This has always been a division of bully ball, and right now, the Wildcats are the best suited to play that style.
LFC Division 3
Pre-Season: 1. Riverside, 2. Lackawanna Trail
Half-Season: 1. Lackawanna Trail, 2. Riverside
The Rick still thinks this division is a tossup. But Trail made a statement last week at Dunmore and it is tough to ignore that statement. The Lions host Old Forge this week and many think they will make another statement on Friday night. The division will be won next week when Trail travels to Taylor.
District 2 Class 6A
Pre-Season: 1. Hazleton Area, 2. Wilkes-Barre Area
Half-Season: 1. Wilkes-Barre Area, 2. Hazleton Area
The Wolfpack look to be in control to finish as the top D2 team in 6A.
District 2 Class 5A
Pre-Season: 1. Delaware Valley, 2. Scranton
Half-Season: 1. Abington Heights, 2. Delaware Valley
See above with Abington Heights. The Rick just likes the storyline.
District 2 Class 4A
Pre-Season: 1. Crestwood, 2. Dallas
Half-Season: 1. Dallas, 2. Valley View
See above with Dallas. The Rick should have known better to slight Valley View.
District 2 Class 3A
Pre-Season: 1. Scranton Prep, 2. Western Wayne
Half-Season: 1. Scranton Prep, 2. Western Wayne
Western Wayne plays a style to win in November, but Prep, when healthy, is the class of 3A.
District 2 Class 2A
Pre-Season: 1. Dunmore, 2. Riverside
Half-Season: 1. Riverside, 2. Mid Valley
The Rick believes the Vikings will be on a revenge tour in the playoffs.
District 2 Class 1A
Pre-Season: 1. Lackawanna Trail, 2. Old Forge
Half-Season: 1. Lackawanna Trail, 2. Old Forge
Class 1A is the jungle, and the Lions are still the kings.
PLAYOFF MATCHUPS (as of today)
6A: No. 5 Bethlehem Liberty at No. 4 Wilkes-Barre Area
5A: No. 4 Pittston Area at No. 1 Abington Heights; No. 3 Delaware Valley at No. 2 Scranton High
4A: No. 8 Honesdale at No. 1 Dallas; No. 7 Tunkhannock at No. 2 Valley View;
No. 6 Wallenpaupack at No. 3 Wyoming Area; No. 5 North Pocono at No. 4 Crestwood
3A: No. 4 Lake-Lehman at No. 1 Scranton Prep; No. 3 Hanover Area at No. 2 Western Wayne
2A: No. 4 Susquehanna at No. 1 Mid Valley; No. 3 Riverside at No. 2 Dunmore
1A: No. 2 Old Forge at No. 1 Lackawanna Trail
- Time for The Rick to get his head out of the clouds. Here are the picks for Week 6:
THE RICK’S PICKS (62-26)
May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 3-2
Scranton High at Wyoming Area
Two of the best teams from the LFC and the WVC square off in West Pittston on Friday night. Scranton High is coming off an incredible comeback win in a game where practically all had left them for dead. Wyoming Area has rolled the past two weeks and will roll next week and the week after before hosting Southern Columbia. The Warriors do not shy away from challenges, and it is refreshing to see both teams schedule a non-league game this late in the season. The Knights have a stable of athletes that WA will need to contend with while Scranton will have to contend with the power and physicalness of the Warriors.
Warriors 27, Knights 24
The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 3-2
Valley View at Abington Heights
The Rick has had this game circled since the schedule was released this year. This game isn’t a crossroads for either team, but it is more of a litmus test. Abington Heights can easily be unbeaten as they stand 4-1 and have played a schedule against teams with a combined 14-11 record. Valley View stunned The Rick early in the season and are on its way to a very Cougar-like season. But the Cougars opponents so far are only a combined 8-17. The Comets will surely be their toughest opponent to date. The turn in the weather should provide an old-school feeling at The Pit in Clarks Summit on Saturday afternoon. The game will produce an old-school feeling of traditional high school football in NEPA.
Comets 24, Cougars 21
Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 2-3
Wilkes-Barre Area at Crestwood
Both these teams are trending up after slow starts. Wilkes-Barre Area has won three straight games. Crestwood has won two straight. The Wolfpack’s wins have come against bigger – and probably – better competition. Yet, The Rick just has one of those feelings based in analytics. They are double-secret analytics, but none-the-less, there is a trend here.
Comets 27, Wolfpack 24
Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 5-0
Hazleton Area at Dallas
Hazleton Area has some curious homes losses to LFC teams. Dallas has been the best team in the WVC and is surely in the conversation to be the best team in all of District 2. The Mountaineers have Berwick next week but will not be looking ahead. The Rick wants to know where the best place is in the Back Mountain to find Cannoli. I did once work at Grotto Pizza at Harvey’s Lake, but I do not remember if Cannoli was on the menu.
Mountaineers 35, Cougars 13
Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 4-1
Berwick at Wyoming Valley West
A decade or two ago, this game was circled on every calendar in the WVC. It was a battle between upper-echelon teams. There was not a time that Berwick and Valley West did not go to the mattresses. But we are in different times right now. Times that everyone over 40-45 thought they would never see. The Dawgs and Spartans are a combined 2-8. That doesn’t make this game any less important – especially to the teams and their fan bases. The Rick expects a supreme effort on both sides. Let the chips fall where they may.
Dawgs 21, Spartans 20
I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 3-2
Dunmore at Mid Valley
Surely the average NEPA high school football fan would expect to see Mid Valley in this slot at some point. But Dunmore? It’s true! Both the Spartans and Bucks are looking for respect. Dunmore suffered what many have said was an embarrassing loss last week to an ever-dominating Trail team. They need to start playing like a Dunmore team. Mid Valley opened the season with a loss to the Lions, but the Spartans were only down a missed PAT at the half. The Rick isn’t ready to pick Mid Valley. But the Spartans gain the respect of the LFC this Friday night.
Bucks 31, Spartans 27
Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 1-4
Nanticoke at Pittston Area
The Rick had a tough time finding a game that could be considered an upset this week, and this matchup is probably a toss-up. But given the fact that Pittston Area is home and the Patriots have more of a football pedigree than Nanticoke Area does, that makes the Patriots the favorite. So, you all know what that means! The Trojans say, IT WAS YOU FREDO!
Trojans 26, Patriots 24
Time to settle all Family Business (41-13)
Western Wayne over West Scranton
Tunkhannock over Lake-Lehman
Scranton Prep over Wallenpaupack
Lackawanna Trail over Old Forge
Honesdale over Lakeland
Central Mountain over Williamsport
Riverside over Carbondale
Susquehanna over Holy Cross
Delaware Valley over North Pocono
Hanover over Holy Redeemer
So, here we are. The first half of the season is behind us. And while the Big-Six remained the same this week, despite a big win from Delaware Valley, the Small-Six, is all shook up. That DV win over previous Small-Six No. 1 Scranton Prep coupled with Lackawanna Trail’s statement victory at Dunmore moved everything around in The Small-Six. Trail moves to No. 1, Prep drops to No. 2, Western Wayne, Mid Valley, and Riverside all move up a notch, and the Bucks drop to No. 6. 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….
- Valley View (5-0) 1
- Dallas (5-0) 2
- Wyoming Area (5-0) 3
- Abington Heights (4-1) 4
- Scranton (4-1) 5
- Wilkes-Barre Area (3-2) 6
Outside Looking In: Delaware Valley (2-3)
- Lackawanna Trail (5-0) 2
- Scranton Prep (4-1) 1
- Western Wayne (3-2) 4
- Mid Valley (4-1) 5
- Riverside (3-2) 6
- Dunmore (3-2) 3
Outside Looking In: Susquehanna (3-2)
DISTRICT 2 POWER RANKINGS
Here are the District 2 Week 3 Power 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:
- Dallas (5-0) .755
- Trail (5-0) .746
- Valley View (5-0) .739
- Wyoming Area (5-0) .736
- Abington Heights (4-1) .734
- Scranton (4-1) .678
- Mid Valley (4-1) .671
- Prep (4-1) .640
- Wilkes-Barre Area (3-2) .612
- Delaware Valley (2-3) .595