The Rick, Week 7 – 2023
By Rick Notari, BDFN
@TheBigBlueDevil
(1971-548 overall, .782 winning percentage)

 

The High School Football Playoff

The Rick has always prided himself on being an innovator. Whether it be realignment suggestions or scheduling suggestions, The Rick sees the need for being pro-active. That said, I have come up with a new District 2 playoff format that would have fan interest at an all-time high.

Following the lead of College Football, The Rick proposes two eight-team tournaments at the end of the season based on the District 2 power rating. One will be a big school tourney, the other a small-school tourney. For some schools, it will provide great matchups of teams that normally don’t play each other. For others, it will be a chance at redemption.

I know what you are all asking… “What about the PIAA playoffs?” Well, the winners of these tournaments get the automatic bid to the PIAA tournament in their respective classifications. And the remaining four classes will be determined by a one-game playoff among the top two teams defined by the power rating, or the top-rated team receives the automatic berth. No more of these meaningless first round playoff games.

So, check the space at the bottom of the column each week to see how the fictitious High School Football Playoff would play out if it were real.

Now, let’s look at the real D2 playoff matchups if they were to happen today.

PLAYOFF MATCHUPS (as of today)

6A: No. 5 Emmaus (3-3) at No. 4 Wilkes-Barre Area (4-2)

5A: No. 4 Pittston Area (2-4) at No. 1 Abington Heights (4-2);

No. 3 Delaware Valley (3-3) at No. 2 Scranton High (4-2)

4A: No. 8 Honesdale (2-4) at No. 1 Wyoming Area (6-0); No. 7 Nanticoke (3-3) at No. 2 Valley View (6-0);

No. 6 Berwick (2-4) at No. 3 Dallas (6-0); No. 5 Tunkhannock (4-2) at No. 4 Crestwood (2-4)

3A: No. 4 Lake-Lehman (1-5) at No. 1 Scranton Prep (5-1);

No. 3 Hanover Area (2-4) at No. 2 Western Wayne (4-2)

2A: No. 4 Susquehanna (4-2) at No. 1 Dunmore (4-2); No. 3 Riverside (4-2) at No. 2 Mid Valley (4-2)

1A: No. 2 Old Forge (2-4) at No. 1 Lackawanna Trail (6-0)

 

Time to get back to the regular season. Here are the picks for Week 7:

 

THE RICK’S PICKS (76-29)

May their first child be a masculine child (The Big Boys) 4-2

Delaware Valley at Wilkes-Barre Area

Outside the unbeatens, the two hottest teams in District 2 are Delaware Valley and Wilkes-Barre Area – and they meet on Friday night at the home of the Wolfpack. Both teams have been lights out during their streaks, scoring well over 30 points per game. Delaware Valley has displayed a stout defense since the schedule has returned to the LFC, including holding Scranton Prep to a season-low in scoring. That defense will have its hands full as Wilkes-Barre Area can score from anywhere on the field. The Rick has doubted DV too much this year, there will be no doubt this week.

Warriors 38, Wolfpack 31

 

The Luca Brasi (Toughest Pick of The Week) 3-3

Lackawanna Trail at Riverside

There will be two different styles of play on Friday night in Taylor. Lackawanna Trail will pound you on the ground from all different angles. The power running attack. The quick hitters. And the misdirection. They do it all – and they do it well – with a stable of backs that you cannot just key on one. Riverside is more diversified. Particularly in the pass game. Three different players can play quarterback. Multiple backs and receivers make plays. But the Vikings offense goes through the best player in District 2, Reese Gaughan. Gaughan is the LFC’s all-time leading pass catcher, but he is no one trick pony. He is a tough runner and can also throw the pigskin. Expect Riverside to throw the kitchen sink at Trail, and after two emotional wins for the Lions, the question The Rick has, is can they get up for one more big-game battle?

Vikings 39, Lions 34

 

Don’t ask me about my business (No Rhyme or Reason) 2-4

Scranton at Valley View

Valley View had six – SIX – quarterbacks take snaps in last week’s win over Abington Heights. The Cougars turned a non-descript first-half into a dominating second-half in which they showed there is more substance to their unblemished record than flash. Although, all those QBs showed some flash last week against the Comets. Scranton on the other hand, has one QB – Billy Maloney. And Maloney can arguably be described as the best player in the LFC not named Reese Gaughan. So, while the Cougars defense will basically have one assignment – although a hard one – to stop Maloney, the Knights will have to figure out how to stop the stable of playmakers that Valley View lines up at QB. The Rick has to figure out how to stop all the annoying responses when he picks against the Cougars. I’ll start here.

Cougars 34, Knights 21

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (No-Brainer Pick of The Week) 6-0

Wyoming Area at Holy Redeemer

The Rick was watching Ron do the highlights on WNEP-16 while enjoying a beverage and some pizza at Revello’s Café on Friday night. At the end of the highlight of Wyoming Area beating Scranton for two touchdowns, Ron mentioned that the Warriors would take on winless Holy Redeemer this week. The Rick almost choked. Let’s hope the Warriors keep in mind that everyone needs a friend late Saturday afternoon.

Warriors 71, Royals 0

 

Going to the mattresses (A Rivalry-type Game) 5-1

Abington Heights at Scranton Prep

Fans on the outside of the Lackawanna Football Conference may not realize it, but this game is one of the top rivalries in District 2. Every year when Abington Heights and Scranton Prep face off, expect some extra effort on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The Cavaliers responded to their only loss of the season with a thorough stopping of Wallenpaupack. The Comets suffered a tough loss to unbeaten Valley View after leading at the half. Abington Heights will have to find a way to slow down The Prep. If not, it could be a long night.

Cavaliers 31, Comets 17

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Give Some Respect) 4-2

Tunkhannock at Nanticoke

Time to give some respect to both Tunkhannock and Nanticoke. But which deserves more? This game will decide it. The Trojans return home after being on the road for the past three weeks, winning their last two. The Tigers on the other hand have struggled in their last two games – one of them a 13-12 win over Lake-Lehman last week, a team Nanticoke beat, 42-0. The Rick gives respect to Nanticoke this week.

Trojans 28, Tigers 22

 

Fredo, You broke my heart (Upset Special) 2-4

Susquehanna at Old Forge

One of the surprise teams so far this season has been the Susquehanna Sabers. Under new leadership, the Sabers have put up over 30 points per game. Old Forge has struggled in a noted rebuilding season. The Blue Devils have struggled to run the ball and stop the run – two things they are traditionally known for. Make no mistake, Old Forge is the underdog in this game. However, The Rick thinks this is the week they turn things around. The Blue Devils say, IT WAS YOU FREDO!

Old Forge 30, Susquehanna 18

 

Time to settle all Family Business (50-14)

Western Wayne over Mid Valley

Pittston Area over Lake-Lehman

Wallenpaupack over North Pocono

Hanover Area over Montrose

Dunmore over Lakeland

Dallas over Berwick

Williamsport over Valley West

Crestwood over Hazleton Area

Carbondale over Holy Cross

West Scranton over Honesdale

 

THE RICK-SIX

We are getting to the final turn of the regular-season race. Down the stretch they come, and here comes the Delaware Valley Warriors. Winners of three straight, the Warriors have moved back into the Big-Six as the No. 5 team. The top three remain the same, and Wilkes-Barre Area moves to No. 4 on the heels of the Wolfpack’s four straight wins. Other than the four undefeated teams in D2, WBA is the hottest team in the area. The top three also remain the same in the Small-Six. But The Rick has moved No. 4 Riverside and No. 5 Dunmore ahead of No. 6. Mid Valley. We are past the halfway mark, so if you are upset by your ranking, let me know! 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 (6-0) 1
  2. Dallas (6-0) 2
  3. Wyoming Area (6-0) 3
  4. Wilkes-Barre Area (4-2) 6
  5. Delaware Valley (3-3) NR
  6. Abington Heights (4-2) 4

Outside Looking In: Scranton (4-2) 5

THE SMALL-SIX

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

Outside Looking In: Susquehanna (4-2) NR

 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:

  1. Wyoming Area (6-0) .786
  2. Valley View (6-0) .766
  3. Trail (6-0) .750
  4. Dallas (6-0) .733
  5. Abington Heights (4-2) .700
  6. Prep (5-1) .651
  7. Scranton (4-2) .642
  8. Delaware Valley (3-3) .636
  9. Wilkes-Barre Area (4-2) .619
  10. Dunmore (4-2) .588

 

THE RICK’S HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYOFF (Fictional)

Big-School

No. 8 Crestwood (2-4) at No. 1 Wyoming Area (6-0)

No. 7 Wilkes-Barre Area (4-2) at No. 2 Valley View (6-0)

No. 6 Delaware Valley (3-3) at No. 3 Dallas (6-0)

No. 5 Scranton (4-2) at No. 4 Abington Heights (4-2)

 

Small-School

No. 8 Old Forge (2-4) at No. 1 Lackawanna Trail (6-0)

No. 7 Susquehanna (4-2) at No. 2 Scranton Prep (6-0)

No. 6 Riverside (4-2) at No. 3 Dunmore (4-2)

No. 5 Western Wayne (4-2) at No. 4 Mid Valley (4-2)