The Rick, Week 1 – 2018

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1031-291 overall, .779 winning percentage)

The Rick has come back to NPF Football!

So it was quite an offseason for The Rick and his Family. Unfortunately, I must reveal, that some members of The Family did not make it through the offseason. Now I won’t say whether they were whacked or whether they went away upstate to school. But I will say that The Rick has joined the program and is now also known as Paul Richards…. from Yuma.

Now don’t worry about The Rick, err I mean Paul Richards. Las Vegas is a quick drive from Yuma, and with my past experience, The Rick can continue his work on predicting games and ranking teams. After all, there is no better place than the home of Ace Rothstein and Moe Greene to do some prognostication. Plus Fredo stops by occasionally and boy can he throw a party!

This year we are going to debut The Rickter Scale. The Rick figured since District 2 has gone to a new rating system, and since everyone and their brother has their own rating and ranking systems, then why not have one of his own! The Rickter Scale is somewhat complicated yet somewhat simple, and will rank the Top 13 teams every so often because The Rick likes the number 13.

First off, The Rick did his preseason predictions, picking every game on the District 2 High School Football schedule for the 2018 season. I then gave each team a rating between 0-1 depending on how many games The Rick predicted them to win. The Rick calls it a “strength rating” (or SR) and each team has one. If you win 10 games, your SR is 1.0. If you win 7 to 9 games, your rating is 0.75; 5-6 games is 0.50; 3-4 wins is 0.25; and 0-2 wins is 0.0. You then take the teams on your schedule, assign each SR and total it.

You then add that SR to your Size-Winning total (or SZW). Your SZW is determined by the games you win and the size of the team you beat. So if Valley View beats Abington Heights, the Cougars get four points for beating a 4A school. If VV beats Scranton Prep they get three points for beating a 3A school. A team’s own classification does not factor into The Rickter Scale.

So now take your SR and add it to your SZW. That number is a team’s power rating.

Let’s use Valley View again for our example. The Cougars schedule has an SR of 4.0. Then take their SZW number, which is 30 according to The Rick’s prediction of seven wins and add it to the SR. Valley’s View’s Rickter Scale Rating is 34.00 – good for sixth in District 2.

It’s a simple mathematics formula that The Rick thought was easy enough, made the most sense, and passed the eye test. Again, these pre-season Rickter Scale Ratings are based on pre-season predictions. Let’s see how close I get to being right at the end of the season.

Alright, the explanations are over. Let’s get to some predictions! The Rick will tackle the BIG PICTURE before we get to guessing the games of Week 1. Notice (Again): The Rick is the only prognosticator who does this!

THE PRESEASON RICKTER SCALE….
1. Delaware Valley (10-0) 54.00
2. Williamsport (8-2) 44.75
3. North Pocono (9-1) 40.75
4. Berwick (8-2) 40.25
5. Valley West (7-3) 37.50
6. Valley View (7-3) 34.00
7. Hazleton Area (6-4) 33.00
8. Dallas Area (7-3) 31.25
9. Scranton Prep (7-3) 30.50
10. Pittston Area (6-4) 27.25
11. Dunmore (9-1) 26.00
12. Wyoming Area (8-2) 25.50
13. Lakeland (7-3) 22.00

 

THE DIVISIONS….  

WVC Division 1:

Champion: Williamsport; Dark Horse: Hazleton

The Millionaires lose some talent on offense, but also welcome back a top-dollar tailback. The Willies have laid a solid foundation for a winning program the past few seasons, and it will continue this year. It may not be as easy as last season however as Hazleton Area continues to improve and it’s not likely Valley West experiences back-to-back down years. If there is a dark horse in this three-team division, it is Hazleton Area. The Cougars played better overall last year, and the trend is moving upward again in 2018.

 

WVC Division 2:

Champion: Berwick; Dark Horse: Coughlin

A young Dallas team continues to get better and will challenge Berwick once again. But the Dawgs are the Dawgs and until someone consistently can prove otherwise, they are still the pick. They are the Dunmore of the WVC! (We’ll get into that more later). The dark horse is Coughlin. It its last season of existence, the Crusaders are seemingly always on the fence. They’ll play respectable ball but just can’t get over the hump some years. Maybe the motivation of being the last team in school history will push it to be its best.

 

WVC Division 3:

Champion: Wyoming Area; Dark Horse: Meyers

Wyoming Area should finish just ahead of Lake-Lehman and Northwest for WVC 3 honors as the Warriors drop down to 3A and will see a significant drop in competition compared to the last two seasons competing in WVC 2. A lot of prognosticators are pumping up Meyers in its last season of existence – and they looked good against Carbondale in its scrimmage. But The Rick sees the Mohawks more of a dark horse with Lake-Lehman and Northwest Area challenging Wyoming Area for the division crown.

 

LFC Division I:

Champion: Delaware Valley; Dark Horse: Wallenpaupack

The LFC has gone back to four, five-team divisions, and while The Rick isn’t really happy with that set-up, he still had to come up with predictions. So here goes, yawn. Delaware Valley will once again reign supreme in the top division. North Pocono will challenge the Warriors for the top spot but The Rick’s dark horse is Wallenpaupack. Many are touting the Buckhorns experience, but unless that experience has won in the past, the only experience they have is losing experience.  Mark Watson is an excellent football coach and the Buckhorns do have some size. Let’s see if they can put it together.

 

LFC Division II:

Champion: Valley View; Dark Horse: West Scranton

Valley View looks to be in a battle with Scranton Prep for division honors, and The Rick likes the Cougars to earn those honors on the field. The Cavaliers will give them quite a run for their money, but the Blue & Gold will take the title. The Rick’s dark horse is West Scranton. Injuries set them back a year ago. If they could stay healthy, they can make a run at the top.

 

LFC Division III:

Champion: Dunmore; Dark Horse: Riverside

The Rick might as well get this out now. Dunmore belongs playing in Division 2. They are just plain good. I don’t have the stats, but I can’t remember the last time they have had more than three competitive games in one regular-season. It is obvious The Rick doesn’t like the new realignment. I would have been happier with any of these division setups for the Bucks:

 

  1. A) Dunmore, Lakeland, Old Forge, Prep, Riverside, Valley View, West;
  2. B) Abington Heights, Delaware Valley, Dunmore, Honesdale, North Pocono, Prep, Scranton, Valley View, Wallenpaupack, West;
  3. C) Dunmore, Lakeland, North Pocono, Old Forge, Pittston Area, Prep, Riverside, Valley View, West Scranton, Wyoming Area; or
  4. D) Dunmore, Abington Heights, Lakeland, Mid Valley, North Pocono, Old Forge, Prep, Scranton, Valley View, West Scranton.

 

Find me one Dunmore football fan that wouldn’t like to see any of those division schedules played out on the field. And notice I have Old Forge in three of those divisions! OK Rant over! So Dunmore wins another division crown.

 

But look at The Rick’s dark horse. Harry’s baaaaaack! That’s right, Riverside will be back to onside kicks, not punting, and going for two-point conversions every chance they get as Coach Armstrong returns. It may or may not happen this year, but the Taylor Gunslinger will make the Vikes a threat once again.

 

LFC Division IV:

Champion: Old Forge; Dark Horse: Montrose

(Yawn) Old Forge again. (See Dunmore above) Now don’t get me wrong. Old Forge is in the division they are supposed to be in terms of classification. The smallest football-playing school in the entire district should be matched up against teams of their own size.

 

But as a fan and a broadcaster it gets boring some weeks. Hey, I am just being honest. You say winning is never boring. And yes I agree. But how about some competition! Will some of these teams ever get better for more than a year? I mean how many times can the Old Forge-Trail matchup be the deciding factor for a division championship or the top seed in the playoffs?

 

The Lions will challenge again this year and Susquehanna will be as good or better than last year, so that leaves Montrose or Holy Cross as a pick ‘em for a dark horse. I guess I’ll go with the Meteors.

 

THE DISTRICTS….

D2 Class 6A:

Champion: Delaware Valley, Runner-up: Hazleton Area

All four D2 teams make the tournament in this classification which sets up three rematches of games played earlier in the season. According to The Rickter Scale, top-seed Delaware Valley will meet Scranton in one semifinal with No. 2 seed Williamsport taking on Hazleton Area. The Rick is calling an upset in the second semi, and Delaware Valley will beat Hazleton Area for the title.

 

D2 Class 5A:

Champion: Valley West, Runner-up: Wallenpaupack

There are only two teams in Class 5A in District 2, and neither one are guaranteed to make the four-team Subregional with District 11. District 2 likes to have its own champion so if neither team makes the tournament, The Rick would expect the Spartans and Buckhorns to meet in Week 11 for the title.

 

D2 Class 4A:

Champion: North Pocono, Runner-up: Valley View

This tournament is a full three-week playoff. Eight teams make the post-season and The Rickter Scale has forecasted the first-round games as such: North Pocono v. Abington Heights; Berwick v. West Scranton; Valley View v. Coughlin; and Dallas v. Pittston Area. The Trojans, Dawgs and Cougars are probably the three most even teams in any classification, with all three having the talent to win this thing. But The Rick has to pick someone, and he’s going with the Trojans

 

D2 Class 3A: Champion: Scranton Prep, Runner-up: Lakeland

This tournament is also eight teams for three weeks of playoff action. On The Rickter Scale, first-round games will feature:  Scranton Prep v Hanover Area; Wyoming Area v. GAR; Lakeland v. Meyers; and Lake-Lehman v. Western Wayne.  Expect one minor upset in the semis with Lakeland beating Wyoming Area. But other than that, this is Scranton Prep’s classification to win once again. Ignation Nation, Rejoice!

 

D2 Class 2A:

Champion: Dunmore, Runner-up: Riverside

The Dunmore classification – uh, I mean Class 2A – features a four-team tournament. The Rickter Scale prognosticates Dunmore hosting Susquehanna and Riverside hosting Mid Valley in the semis. The return of HC Harry Armstrong should make Riverside fun to watch on offense, but the size and physicality of Dunmore will be too much for any of the LFC small schools to match.

 

D2 Class 1A:

Champion: Old Forge, Runner-up: Northwest

The crown in the smallest classification is decided by one game. More than likely whoever wins the regular-season matchups will host the title game, giving that school the advantage. Northwest, Lackawanna Trail and Old Forge all face each other this year. The Lions have the regular-season advantage hosting both opponents while the Blue Devils are at a disadvantage, facing both opponents on the road. The Rickter Scale has the Rangers as the top-seed, but that would mean Northwest would have to beat Old Forge twice in one season. It’s been at least a decade since a team has done that to the Blue Devils.

 

THE RICK’S PICKS

May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A)

Hazleton Area v. Pottsville

Hazleton Area has a chance to surprise this year, and Week 1 will give them the perfect opportunity to begin the party. Pottsville comes to town and the Tide has traditionally been a tough matchup for D2 teams. The Rick likes the Cougars to turn the corner this year and they will start fast.

Hazleton Area 24, Pottsville 21

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A)

Wallenpaupack at Valley View

Just like Hazleton Area, Wallenpaupack has big plans for 2018. Returning a core of starters, the Buckhorns will need a huge upset in Week 1 if they want to make believers out of their doubters in District 2. The Cougars have big plans of their own as they return their entire offensive line. This game is at John “Papa Bear” Henzes Memorial Stadium. That in itself will make a big difference. The Rick is going Cougars again!

Valley View 33, Wallenpaupack 16

 

Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A)

North Pocono at West Scranton

The Rick has North Pocono has one if his top teams in the district – No. 3 on The Rickter Scale. The Trojans are big and have skill. West Scranton is a bit of an enigma, a mystery. Yet if they are healthy and hungry to get back to their winning ways, the Invaders could surprise in Week 1. A win here for West is probably a must as games at Delaware Valley and then home with Valley View in the next two weeks could have them staring at 0-3. For the Trojans, a win in the opener has them potentially looking at being 4-0 when Delaware Valley comes to town in Week 5. The Rick believes that has a better shot of happening.

North Pocono 34, West 20

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A)

Scranton Prep at Dunmore

These two teams share Green Ridge. These two teams once even shared a home field. (Yes, I am old enough to remember both teams playing at VJ Gatto Stadium on the campus of the Dunmore School District.) This week they meet on that same field – now field turf – in a battle of defending and future district champions. Prep is led by 6-foot-8 QB Leo O’Boyle, a two-sport standout with a deadly jump shot and an even deadlier cannon for an arm. The Cavaliers need to replace some key pieces, but their depth over the past few years has been unmatched. Dunmore will play without  legendary HC Jack Henzes who is recovering from health issues (Get well coach!), but his staff has been together for some time now and shouldn’t miss a beat. This has the potential to be a classic.

Prep 20, Dunmore 19

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A)

Meyers at Riverside

There is a little juice running through the Meyers football team. It’s an optimistic group in South Wilkes-Barre as they approach what will be the final year of a storied program. The Mohawks look like they will spread things out and take advantage of matchups with athletic skill players in space. It will almost be looking into a mirror for Riverside who has some juices flowing of their own has HC Harry Armstrong and his high-scoring brand of offense returns to Taylor-Moosic. The question will be if the Vikes have the physical tools to put the swagger back on the ship.

Riverside 24, Meyers 23

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A)

Northwest at Lackawanna Trail

Northwest has been a program on the rise in the district’s smallest classification. The Rangers have won a good amount of games in the regular-season the past few years but have yet to make an impact in the post-season. Friday night’s matchup on the road against Lackawanna Trail could be a big step in making that impact in Week 11. It is also a big step for the Lions as a win puts them in the early lead of what should be a neck-and-neck race all season long as both teams – along with Old Forge – position themselves for the only two playoff spots in the D2 Class 1A tournament.

Trail 26, Northwest 22

 

Time to settle all family business

Berwick over Abington Heights

Delaware Valley over Pennridge (FLA)

Lakeland over Honesdale

Valley West over Scranton

Western Wayne over Lake-Lehman

Old Forge over Carbondale

Holy Redeemer over Holy Cross

Wyoming Area over Mid Valley

Wyalusing over Montrose

Susquehanna over GAR

Coughlin over Crestwood

Dallas over Tunkhannock

Athens over Hanover Area

Pittston Area over Nanticoke

Williamsport over Central Mountain