The Rick, Week 16 – 2019
By Rick Notari, BDFN
(1424-390 overall, .785 winning percentage)
Enjoy the moments….
This is it folks. It’s the final week of the high school football season. And District 2 has two teams playing for gold this week as Wyoming Valley Conference stalwarts Dallas and Wyoming Area earned trips to Hershey with magnificent regular-seasons and dominant playoff performances.
The Mountaineers return to the state title game for the first time since 1993 when they won the PIAA title. The Warriors are making their first trip to the final after years of being dominant locally, but not being able to translate that success at the state level.
Both teams have what it takes to win state championships – and boy wouldn’t it be great if both did. But the players, coaches and fans, in all of their preparation for their respective games, need to make sure they enjoy the process, enjoy the moments. They have reached the pinnacle of their sport. Some will go on to play at the college level, but most are simply high school players. And reaching the state title game means that you have been on one heck of a ride.
So enjoy the final destination. Take in all of the hoopla surrounding the game. Reminisce about the past 15 weeks of games and enjoy it. Sure it will be the best feeling ever if Dallas and/or Wyoming Area players get to hoist the trophy at the end of their game. But it won’t be the worst feeling ever if they lose. All of the commitment, hard work and sacrifice that it has taken to get to this point will be worth it win or lose. After all, it’s moments like this season that will live on in infamy for both programs.
Let’s make THE picks!
THE RICK’S PICKS
(164-44 Overall, 115-93 ABPI)
Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 15-5 Overall, 7-13 ABPI
Dallas (+23) v. Thomas Jefferson
Dallas has a tough test in front of them. The Mounts scored 56 points in its win over Jersey Shore last week. Thomas Jefferson has surrendered only 62 points ALL SEASON! That’s the best in the entire state. The undefeated Jaguars are that good. The WPIAL Class 4A champion also has three state titles on their mantelpiece in 2004, 2007 and 2008. So they don’t only have a dominant defense that shut out six opponents this year, but have some serious tradition in place for the current roster to feed off of. The offense isn’t too shabby either. Senior Shane Stump has thrown for 2,373 yards and 32 touchdowns. He has also run for 492 yards and nine scores. Joining Stump in the backfield is senior running back Dylan Mallozzi. Mallozzi has rushed for over 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns. Wideout Daniel Deabner has 47 catches for 1,053 yards and 19 scores. Ian Hansen, a junior has 32 grabs for 689 yards and eight TDs. That’s a lot of offense for Dallas to stop, but the Mounts are pretty special on defense as well, allowing less than 100 points themselves. Despite all the flashy numbers from both teams, this one will come down to defense. And the Jaguars may just be a little bit better. The Rick takes TJ to win, but is rooting for a Dallas upset.
Thomas Jefferson 19, Dallas 14
Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 15-2 Overall, 10-7 ABPI
Wyoming Area (+8) v. Central Valley
Wyoming Area takes on a Central Valley team that has only one loss this year – to Thomas Jefferson, 28-3. Yes, that Thomas Jefferson you just read about in the previous breakdown. The CV Warriors have some pretty significant wins on their schedule against teams with state championship pedigree, including a dominant win at Aliquippa during the regular season. But the Quips almost upset CV in the WPIAL title game, losing 13-12 in overtime. Lucky to escape, Central Valley pummeled Bald Eagle Area in the Class 3A West Final last week. The CV Warriors are led by quarterback Ameer Dudley. The senior junior has thrown for 1,844 yards and 23 touchdowns, and ran for 584 yards and nine scores. Tailback Jaylen Guy has run for 1,242 yards and 11 TDs, and junior back Stephon Hall has added nine touchdowns on the ground as well. Senior Jawon Hall is the top target for CV with 28 catches for 761 yards (an average of 27 yards per catch) and 11 TDs. Return man Myles Walker has added 627 return yards for Central Valley. What do all those numbers mean? Not much to Wyoming Area. The Warriors have thumbed their noses at all of us this year. They have proved they will not back down from a challenge as evidenced by their mid-season schedule of Southern Columbia. They have proved that they have depth and have shown over and over again, that “next man up” is a standard of the Green and Gold and not just a catchy saying. And they have some star power of their own in Dom DeLuca, Sammy Solomon and Brian Williams, and are not afraid to showcase it. The Rick picked against Dallas, and if using logic, should therefore pick against Wyoming Area. But there is something in the back of my empty head telling me that it’s going to be a Green and Gold afternoon on the West Side, and that the bell will be ringing when the Warriors return home from Hershey on Saturday night.
Wyoming Area 27, Central Valley 23
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.
I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 10-5, Overall, 5-10 ABPI
THE MUSIC STOPPED – Lackawanna Trail (11-3) is the D2 Class 1A champ.
Time to settle all family business (131-32 Overall, 93-61 ABPI)
Class 6A St. Joseph’s Prep (-8) over Central Dauphin
Class 5A Archbishop Wood over Cheltenham (+16)
Class 2A Southern Columbia (-26 ½) over Avonworth
Class 1A Farrell over Bishop Guilfoyle (+21 ½)