Midseason District 2 analysis

By Tom Robinson, NEPAFootball.com

A half-dozen District 2 teams have made it to the midway point of the high school football season with perfect records, including three teams ranked among the top 10 in Pennsylvania in Class 4A.

Valley View, Dallas and Berwick, the Class 4A contenders, are all 5-0. Wyoming Area and Western Wayne, both Class 3A teams, are also 5-0. Old Forge, a Class A team that had a week off, is 4-0.

In all, seven District 2 teams currently have some type of state ranking, including Old Forge holding the number-one spot in Class A in two of the three most-recognized rankings. Class 3A teams Wyoming Area, Scranton Prep and Lake-Lehman are the others.

There are also five District 2 teams searching for their first wins. That list be reduced by at least two in the sixth week with Carbondale playing at Montrose Sept. 27 and Honesdale at Abington Heights Sept. 28.

Class 4A teams Abington Heights and Honesdale and Class 2A Carbondale are all 0-5. Montrose, a Class 4A team, and Holy Redeemer, a Class 3A team, are 0-4 after taking one week off.

The unbeaten list will come down by at least one with Berwick playing at Valley View.

The number of unbeaten and winless teams – one-third of the teams fit one of those descriptions – is just one sign of the wide disparity among teams.
The average margin of victory so far this season is 26.6 points per game and that is with many second-half running clocks and winning teams putting the brakes on with big leads.

There have, however, been some exciting match-ups and there are interesting games ahead.
A detailed look at each class, recapping the first half and looking ahead to the second half of the regular season.

CLASS 6A
What’s New?
The creation of Wilkes-Barre Area from Coughlin, Meyers and GAR has added another team to this classification.
Playoff Format
The addition of Wilkes-Barre Area means one team will fall short of the four-team District 2-4 Subregional, unlike recent seasons when every team was guaranteed a postseason berth before the season even started.
If the Playoffs Began Today
Fourth-seeded Scranton would be at top-seeded Delaware Valley and Williamsport, the only District 4 team in the field, would be at Wilkes-Barre Area in the semifinals. Hazleton Area would not qualify.
Game of the First Half
The first win in the history of the Wilkes-Barre Area Wolfpack came Aug. 20 with a fourth-quarter rally in a 37-28 home win over Scranton.
Game of the Second Half
Defending champion Delaware Valley (4-1) makes the long trip to Williamsport (3-2) Oct. 11 to go against a Millionaires defense that is allowing just 7.8 points per game. The Warriors average 46.6 points per game.
Notes
Delaware Valley has come back from being shut out, 13-0, by District 1’s Pennridge in the opener to average 58.3 points during its four-game winning streak. … Scranton has won three straight. … Wilkes-Barre Area lost its debut against Crestwood, 28-27.

CLASS 5A
What’s New?
None of the eligible teams were better than 7-3 a year ago, but District 11 members Southern Lehigh and East Stroudsburg South are both 5-0.
Playoff Format
The top four teams out of seven will qualify for the District 2-11 Subregional. The pool of potential teams includes five from District 11 and two from District 2.
If the Playoffs Began Today
Pocono Mountain East would be at top-seeded Southern Lehigh and Wallenpaupack would be at East Stroudsburg South in the semifinals. Wyoming Valley West, Whitehall and East Stroudsburg North would fail to qualify.
Game of the First Half
Wyoming Valley West was looking to start out 2-0 when it took a pair of two-touchdown leads on Hazleton Area only to fall, 35-34.
Game of the Second Half
Wallenpaupack (2-3) is at Wyoming Valley West (1-4) Sept. 27 in the game between the district’s only two teams in the class. Wallenpaupack is the defending champion. Wyoming Valley West won the subregional title the year before when it upset Wallenpaupack in the semifinals.
Notes
District 2 is not guaranteed of any spots in the tournament. Wyoming Valley West and Wallenpaupack, the district’s two teams, need to qualify on their rating to make the field. … Wyoming Valley West has been outscored, 126-8, in three games since the one-point loss to Hazleton Area. … Wallenpaupack suffered the worst loss in school history, 70-0, to Delaware Valley, but is in playoff position because it has pulled out two close games in the fourth quarter, getting its wins by a total of eight points, including 17-16 over rival Honesdale.

CLASS 4A
What’s New?
With Coughlin becoming part of Wilkes-Barre Area, the largest field of teams in District 2 has been reduced by one.
Playoff Format
Eight of the 12 teams will qualify in a three-round District 2 tournament.
If the Playoffs Began Today
Pittston Area would be at top-seeded Dallas and Tunkhannock would be at Crestwood in one half of the bracket. The other half of the bracket would have West Scranton at second-seeded Berwick and North Pocono at defending champion Valley View.
Game of the First Half
Tunkhannock trailed by 25 points before rallying for four touchdowns in the final 9:08 of a 35-32, home victory over Pittston Area Sept. 6. Pittston Area led 414-135 in total offense before Jack Chilson led Tunkhannock on scoring drives of 85, 84 and 73 yards and the Tigers took advantage of a momentum-building, on-side kick recovery. Chilson was 12-for-18 for 193 yards and a touchdown while running for a 23-yard score and breaking up a fourth-down pass during the comeback.
Game of the Second Half
The second half include a round-robin among the three state-ranked and current unbeaten teams. One of those games sends Dallas to defending champion Valley View Oct. 11 in a district championship game rematch.
Notes
Berwick is at Valley View Sept. 27 and at Dallas Oct. 18. … Valley View is ranked third in the state by PAFootballNews.com, PennLive.com and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dallas is fourth, according to PAFootballNews.com and fifth by the other two. Berwick is listed seventh by PennLive.com and eighth by PAFootballNews.com, but is not ranked by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which only lists five teams per class. … The three unbeatens have been dominant, outscoring the opposition, 610-134. Dallas has scored at least 42 in every game while Valley View has scored 37. Berwick is giving up just 4.6 points per game. … Mountain View, which along with Elk Lake supplies players to Montrose as part of a cooperative sponsorship, was only weeks into its first season when its school board voted not to continue the agreement beyond this season.

CLASS 3A
What’s New?
The loss of GAR and Meyers from the field of teams in the middle of a two-year Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association enrollment cycle led District 2 to add two byes (it was forced into at least one) to the tournament rather than give a free spot to every team.
Playoff Format
The only Week 11 byes in the district are on the line for the top two qualifiers out of seven teams chasing six berths in this district tournament. There are three rounds of play total with the third through sixth seeds starting in the quarterfinals.
If the Playoffs Began Today
Current unbeatens Wyoming Area and Western Wayne would have the quarterfinal byes. Lakeland would be at Scranton Prep to see which team traveled to Wyoming Area and Hanover Area would be at Lake-Lehman to determine which went to Western Wayne for the semifinals. Holy Redeemer would not qualify.
Game of the First Half
Wyoming Area made its first appearance in any of the state rankings this season in the aftermath of a 34-0 domination of defending champion Scranton Prep. Sammy Solomon, F.J. Braccini and Dominic DeLuca led a defense that held the Cavaliers to minus-5 yards rushing while forcing five turnovers.
Game of the Second Half
Wyoming Area put the likelihood of a second straight perfect regular season in serious jeopardy when it dropped a game with winless Holy Redeemer and replaced it with nine-time state champion Southern Columbia, the unscored upon team that is ranked first in the state in Class 2A. The Warriors will host the Oct. 11 game.
Notes
Wyoming Area is ranked third in the state by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fourth by PennLive.com and among the Teams to Watch, placing it between 11th and 15th by PAFootballNews.com. Scranton Prep and Lake-Lehman are among the Teams to Watch (11th through 15th), according to PennLive.com. … Lake-Lehman lost the opener to Western Wayne and has won four straight since.

CLASS 2A
What’s New?
The biggest change is that in the first season since the official retirement of Jack Henzes, the second-winningest coach in state history, five-time defending champion Dunmore is no longer the clear favorite.
Playoff Format
Four of the district’s five teams will advance to the two-round tournament.
If the Playoffs Began Today
Susquehanna would be at top-seeded Mid Valley and Riverside would be at defending champion Dunmore. Carbondale would not qualify.
Game of the First Half
There were no signs on Opening Night of what was ahead in Week Two. Dunmore played Scranton Prep tough in a meeting of defending district champions while Mid Valley was falling behind 49-0 at halftime of a 56-13 loss to Wyoming Area. Mid Valley, a one-win team a year ago, came back a week later with a 30-17 upset in what could be regarded as the biggest surprise of the first half. The loss was the first by Dunmore against a District 2 Class 2A team in 51 games.
Game of the Second Half
Mid Valley (2-2) and Riverside (3-2) will meet Oct. 4 at PNC Field in Moosic in the sixth annual RailRiders Bowl. Two of the other three matchups between the three teams fighting for the top seed and other semifinal home-field berth have already taken place. This will be the last of the games between the teams that figure to remain in a tight race.
Notes
Riverside started 2-0. The Vikings have outscored opponents, 135-26, in three wins over teams with a combined 2-13 record, but are 0-2 by an 80-14 margin against the two 3-2 teams they have faced. … Susquehanna (1-4) and Carbondale (0-5) may end up deciding the fourth and final berth when they meet Oct. 19 in Susquehanna.

CLASS 1A
What’s New?
Holy Cross decided to suspend its football program just weeks before the start of the season. The decision left several scheduled opponents unable to replace the Crusaders and stuck with a bye and a nine-game schedule instead of a full, 10-game schedule. It also reduced, by one, the number of teams pursuing a berth in the Class A playoffs, although the Crusaders figured to have virtually no chance to qualifying.
Playoff Format
The three teams, all state-ranked in the class at one point in the season, are fighting for the two championship game berths.
If the Playoffs Began Today
Northwest would be at Old Forge. Lackawanna Trail, a state finalist last season, would not make it.
Game of the First Half
Lackawanna Trail and host Northwest held each other scoreless until the final 3:25 on Opening Night. Lackawanna Trail broke through first, but Northwest answered with its own scoring drive and the Ryan Wassel-to-J.T. Brubaker pass for the winning two-point conversion pass with 45 seconds left in the 8-7 victory.
Game of the Second Half
Lackawanna Trail (3-2) is at Old Forge (4-0) Oct. 4 in the game that will decide the LFC Division 4 title and, depending on how Northwest does, could have a major impact on the championship game qualifiers. The teams split last year with Old Forge winning the game that decided LFC Division 4, but Lackawanna Trail winning the District 2 title game rematch.
Notes
In addition to being ranked first by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive.com, Old Forge is ranked third by PAFootballNews.com. The Blue Devils have scored at least 46 points in each of their four games and have outscored opponents, 190-20.