The Rick, Week 15 – 2019
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1415-387 overall, .785S winning percentage)
Thrice as nice….
It’s Year Eight for The Rick’s Picks, and for the first time during this era District 2 has three teams playing in the PIAA Semi-Finals, with two of those teams being from the Wyoming Valley Conference. Another first!
Dallas and Wyoming Area become the first pair of WVC teams to be playing this deep into the season since The Rick became the Santino of Speculation. Since this column started in 2012, 10 teams have reached this point of the season. Berwick was the only WVC team before this year to get to Week 15.
The usual suspects from the Lackawanna Football Conference represent who has gotten to this point in the last eight years: Dunmore twice, Old Forge twice, Lackawanna Trail twice, and Scranton Prep once.
So where does District 2 go from here? Well it would be great for all three to reach Hersheypark Stadium next week. Should that happen, Trail and Dallas would play in a doubleheader on Thursday, Dec. 5 and Wyoming Area would play Saturday, Dec. 7 at noon. But even if they don’t get there, the LFC and WVC have put their stamp on the state tournament in 2019.
Let’s make the picks!
THE RICK’S PICKS
(162-43 Overall, 113-92 ABPI)
Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 14-5 Overall, 6-13 ABPI
Dallas (-6 ½) v. Jersey Shore at Danville HS
When The Rick heard that Dallas High’s next opponent was Jersey Shore, I got excited. I mean everyone knows how big of a Bruce Springsteen fan The Rick is. This was definitely a game I would not miss. Bruce. Little Steven. Snooki. Who in NEPA wouldn’t want to be at this game? I mean GTL right! But then The Rick was told Jersey Shore was located somewhere off Route 80. What a disappointment. However, the Bulldogs are no slouch. They have won seven straight since losing to Southern Columbia, including a 42-0 win over Bald Eagle Area who is playing in the Class 3A Western Final on Friday. This matchup is going to be the Dallas defense against the Jersey Shore offense. The Bulldogs have eye-popping numbers from all of its star skill players. Quarterback Tanner Lorson has thrown 403 passes, completing 219 for 3,090 yards and 32 touchdowns!!! Receivers Stanton Westlin and Cayden Hess have caught 51 for 1,078 and 12 TDs, and 66 for 825 and nine touchdowns respectively. On the ground, the Bulldogs have two 1,000-yard rushers, one of which is Lorson. The senior has 1,141 yards rushing with 22 TDs. The other, is senior running back Josh Malicky with 1,145 yards and 13 scores. That’s a whole lot of offense and a multitude of weapons to stop. But Dallas has already beat the most athletic team it has seen this year – and will see the remaining part of the season. The Rick likes the Mountaineers to get to Hershey, and that means a win on Friday.
Dallas 27, Jersey Shore 20.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 14-2 Overall, 9-7 ABPI
Wyoming Area (-1 ½)v. Tamaqua at Wyoming Valley West HS
A long time ago when The Rick was simply, “Ramblin’ Rick” – a young guy who wrote a column and worked at The Sunday Dispatch in Pittston – I was introduced to an overzealous “soccer” mom who loved her family, loved her school and loved her community. Well, that “soccer” mom is now a football mom, and through the power of social media, she has asked me to once again pick against Wyoming Area so the Warriors can get to Hershey. She, like many, view The Rick as a modern-day Schleprock. And I really cannot argue with her. According to the Born Power Index and MaxPreps.com though, Wyoming Area is a favorite this week. So it is going to be hard for me to grant her wish. But the Blue Raiders have a heck of an offense. After last week’s offensive showing by the Warriors, The Rick expects this to be a wild one. Tamaqua is led by three-sport star Brayden Knoblauch. The senior quarterback has thrown for 1,928 yards and 18 TDs in 14 games this year. He has also rushed for eight touchdowns. But the Blue Raiders are not just pass happy. Senior running back Nick Boyle has rushed for 1,841 yards and an astonishing 30 touchdowns. He also has 24 catches and three TDs receiving. Senior wideout Matt Kistler is the top target with 55 catches for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Rick has been back and forth on this one all Thanksgiving Day. This is a great matchup. The Rick is going with the home team. Wyoming Area is playing in its own backyard and that is going to be a major advantage. Sorry Ree Ree.
Wyoming Area 32, Tamaqua 30
I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 10-4, Overall, 5-9 ABPI
Lackawanna Trail (+15) v. Bishop Guilfoyle at Danvile HS
Lackawanna Trail returns to Week 15 for the second straight year. Last year the Lions beat back District 6 champ Juniata Valley in the Eastern Final, holding an explosive offense to just 14 points. This year Trail takes on D6 titleist Bishop Guilfoyle, who won three straight state championships from 2014-2016. The Marauders look to be a mirror image of Lackawanna Trail. They want to run the ball and play defense. Junior tailback Keegan Myrick has run for 1,595 yards and 22 TDs to lead a rushing offense that has amassed 3,559 yards total on the season. BG has only passed for 864 yards in 13 games so don’t expect them to air things out. That will play to the Lions benefit. But the Marauders defense is even more impressive. Junior defensive end – and three-sport athlete – Andrew Yanoshak has 119 total tackles, including 26 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, 31 quarterback hurries, and three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. And he’s not even the team’s leading tackler. Junior linebacker Zach McCloskey leads the way with 121 stops, and junior LB Cameron Maloney has 109 tackles. The Rick was ready to give this game to Bishop Guilfoyle, but when I looked at the stats and the style of play it changed my mind. This game will be a battle of attrition and the way things have gone for Lackawanna Trail, The Rick is going with the Lions.
Lackawanna Trail 20, Bishop Guilfoyle 18
May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 12-2 Overall, 6-8 ABPI
ALL FAVORS REFUSED – Delaware Valley (11-2) is the D2 Class 6A champ.
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 champ.
Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 11-3 Overall, 8-6 ABPI
THE TOLL BOOTH IS CLOSED – Dunmore (8-5) is the D2 Class 2A champ.
Time to settle all family business (117-28 Overall, 87-58 ABPI)
Class 6A St. Joseph’s Prep (-6 ½) over Central Catholic
Class 6A Central Dauphin (-6 ½)over Downington West
Class 5A Cocalico over Cheltenham (+19 ½)
Class 5A Archbishop Wood (+1 ½) over Gateway
Class 4A Thomas Jefferson over Lampeter-Stasburg (+39)
Class 3A Central Valley over Bald Eagle Area (+27 ½)
Class 2A Southern Columbia (-11 ½) over Richland Twp.
Class 2A Wilmington (-6 ½) over Avonworth
Class 1A Farrell (-5) over Clairton