The Rick, Week 12 – 2019
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1386-376 overall, .787 winning percentage)
Vote early, vote often
Prognosticating high school football games is a lot like voting on Election Day. You look at the candidates. You analyze their strengths and weaknesses. And then you hope you pick a winner.
Hopefully, everyone who reads this here column got out this past Tuesday and voted. Sure everyone has a favorite candidate and sometimes votes for him or her instead of voting for the person best for the job. Kind of like The Rick. I pick teams. Sometimes I pick them because I just like them more than the other team. But most of the time I am picking the teams who are just better at doing the job.
At this time of the year, it’s still a mix. But The Rick thinks he has more winners than losers this week – as he has had all year.
Let’s make the weekly picks!
THE RICK’S PICKS
(151-38 Overall, 106-83 ABPI)
May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 10-2 Overall, 5-7 ABPI
Wilkes-Barre Area at Delaware Valley (-28)
The cloud of controversy surrounds the Class 6A title game. Wilkes-Barre Area used an ineligible player last week in its win over Scranton. The player had nothing to do with the outcome of the contest as he only played in the waning minutes of a blowout win. But did he play at all during the season when he shouldn’t have had? The District is investigating that fact, but will allow the Wolfpack to play for the title in its inaugural season. Delaware Valley has some controversy on its sideline as well as the Warriors sat four starters last week due to unspecified reasons. So both teams are coming into this game not 100 percent focused on the opponent. Still, DV is the class of the biggest class in District 2 and should have no trouble in this one.
Delaware Valley 48, Wilkes-Barre Area 17
The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 9-3 Overall, 5-7 ABPI
SLEEPS WITH THE FISHES – Wyoming Valley West (3-8) is the D2 Class 5A champs.
Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 10-4 Overall, 4-11 ABPI
Berwick (+3) at Valley View
The top four teams in Class 4A remain for the semifinals and both have the possibilities of being great games. Berwick returns to Peckville to take on Valley View where earlier in the season the Cougars needed to rally late to turn back the Dawgs who led for most of the contest. Since that game, both teams have lost to Dallas as the only other blemish on either of their schedules. Valley View hasn’t necessarily been as sharp since the loss to the Mountaineers but will be ready come Friday night. The Dawgs on the other hand are playing at a top level defensively, and that could be the difference.
Berwick 17, Valley View 16
Crestwood at Dallas (-27)
Crestwood is playing well and has had a fine season in Mountaintop. But Dallas is the class of the WVC right now, and is playing its best football at the right time of the season. This game could be close for the first eight minutes or so, but after what the Mounts did to Abington Heights last week, they clearly want to host the title game in the Back Mountain next week. The Mounts are back on top.
Dallas 47, Crestwood 15
Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 11-1 Overall, 7-5 ABPI
Western Wayne at Scranton Prep (-4 ½)
The Class 3A tournament is just as exciting as the 4A bracket. The top 4 teams have advanced with two rematches slated. First Western Wayne travels to oncoming Scranton Prep. The Wildcats turned the ball over a few weeks ago in a home loss to the Cavaliers otherwise they’d be hosting this game. The Rick has loved what Western Wayne has done the past few seasons still the Wildcats need that signature victory to put them over the top and in the yearly conversation in Class 3A. This would be that win. But not so fast my friend. The Rick predicted last week that The Prep would win the title, and I am not backing off now. The Cavaliers have steadily improved offensively and the Purple Haze defense still patrols the tower on Wyoming Avenue. Plus, they are itching for a rematch with Wyoming Area next week.
Scranton Prep 16, Western Wayne 9
Lake-Lehman at Wyoming Area (-21)
Earlier this season Lake-Lehman gave Wyoming Area all it could handle. And while the Black-Knights have had a solid season, there will be no upsets at The Jake this week. The Warriors have been singularly focused after their exhibition with Southern Columbia. They want to prove they are the best team in Class 3A with the best chance for a local team to advance in the state playoffs. Expect Wyoming Area to come out quickly in this one. Lake-Lehman won’t roll over. The Black Knights will make a fight of it, but WA is on a mission.
Wyoming Area 42, Lake-Lehman 20
Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 10-2 Overall, 8-4 ABPI
Mid Valley (+25) at Dunmore
Dunmore has waited 10 weeks for this game. After being upset by Mid Valley in Week 2, the Bucks had to listen to 10 weeks of, “I can’t believe Dunmore lost to Mid Valley,” and “How in the heck did Mid Valley beat Dunmore?” Well, in another surprise, the Spartans are here in the Class 2A final knowing the recipe it takes to beat the Bucks. Mid Valley will keep it simple. Run the ball and keep the Bucks offense off the field. Dunmore wants to play the same way, and has gotten better each week. Both these teams have something to prove. Mid Valley wants to prove that Week 2 wasn’t a fluke, and Dunmore wants to prove, well, that it is still Dunmore! It’s the time of year when The Rick gets on the Buck Truck.
Dunmore 27, Mid Valley 21
I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 8-3, Overall, 4-7 ABPI
Lackawanna Trail at Morrisville (+41)
It may take another week or so for it to set in, but the fact that Lackawanna Trail beat The Rick’s team on its home turf for the Class 1A title isn’t reality. I haven’t even cancelled my rooms in Hershey yet! (Editor’s Note: If any Trail fan needs two rooms in Hershey, contact The Rick this week and he will transfer his to you – at your cost.) So the Lions did what they seemingly do now. They get revenge. They make adjustments from the regular-season to the post-season and they make adjustments in game to get the required result – a victory. Credit to the Lions and Coach Steve Jervis as they found a way to continue their post-season success, one they look to duplicate in 2019. Lackawanna Trail must travel this year to Suburban Philadelphia to take on Morrisville – upset winners themselves – as they begin another quest to taste chocolate. Last year the Lions made it all the way to Hershey, and it seems they have the magic to do it again this year. The Rick sees LT getting to Week 13 with no issue.
Lackawanna Trail 35, Morrisville 6
Time to settle all family business (99-22 Overall, 72-46 ABPI)
Class 6A #1 St. Joseph’s Prep (-13) over La Salle College
Class 5A #1 Penn-Trafford (-12 ½) over Upper St. Clair
Class 4A #1 Thomas Jefferson over Blackhawk (+34 ½)
Class 3A #1 Central Valley (-27) over Derry Area
Class 2A #1 Southern Columbia over North Penn Mansfield (+73)
Class 1A #1 Clairton (-26) over Cornell