The Rick, Week 5 – 2019

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1292-351 overall, .786 winning percentage)

 

Taking care of business….

The Rick had to take care of some business this past weekend.

First off, The Rick’s No.1 parole officer turned his back on The Family. Unbelievable right? Sidney Callahan posted some nonsense on social media regarding The Rick’s favorite college football team and then had the audacity to blame his poor old, senile father. I mean the guy would have to be senile to support the Beaver Cult in the middle of the state. The Rick hates when the youth blame the elderly.

The Rick’s first reaction was to have Sidney wacked. One less sea monster to watch over The Rick would make my life easier for sure. But No. 2 parole officer Garrison – who had accompanied The Rick to Pittsburgh for a meeting with an underboss of the Dalton Family – talked me down. Instead, Sidney is on double secret probation and will act as Uncle June’s concierge for a while. Sidney should think of the job as a cross between Spider and Bobby Bacala. Just don’t tell Uncle June that you’re good Sid because the only thing that comes after double secret probation is expulsion.

So about that meeting in Pittsburgh… The Rick was summoned by the Son of Smokey who resides now in the Northwest part of the country but still represents the Dalton Family. It was a three-hour meeting and lots of family business was discussed. However Son of Smokey didn’t follow through on his commitment to keep the birds out of the Heinz Field end zone on Sunday. The Rick will take care of that at their next meeting. Don’t worry.

Let’s make some picks!

THE RICK’S PICKS

(57-13 Overall, 43-27 ABPI)

 May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 4-0 Overall, 3-1 ABPI

Wilkes-Barre Area at Hazleton Area (-1 ½)

Wilkes-Barre Area is one of the early season surprises of the four-week old high school football season. Surely no one outside the WBA locker room saw The Wolfpack with two wins already at this juncture of the season. And that’s not a knock on their talent or coaching. We all knew WBA would have talent with the combination of the three city schools in Wilkes-Barre. But the logistics of bringing those players together in Year 1 while they all attended different schools would be nothing short of a miracle. Now I am not anointing Head Coach Cito Cinti the Wolfpack Messiah just yet. But WBA could easily be 3-1. Good things are happening in the Diamond City. It’s too bad they are on the road this week. The Rick likes Hazleton Area in a close one. The Cougars have had a tough schedule to start the season and almost pulled off the upset last week in Williamsport.

Hazleton Area 27, Wilkes-Barre Area 21

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 4-0 Overall, 4-0 ABPI

Wallenpaupack at Pittston Area (+8 ½)

It’s been a tough first month for Pittston Area. After starting the season with a victory, the Patriots sandwiched losses against two of the best Class 4A teams in the state around a loss to Tunkhannock in which they blew a 32-7 lead. Wallenpaupack is on the same path as Pittston Area. The Buckhorns have also played two of the top teams in the state in their respective classes in Valley View and Delaware Valley. They didn’t surrender a big lead, but instead came from behind for their only win over Honesdale. These teams are fighting for a win. Overall Pittston Area has played better despite the BPI listing them as an underdog. The Rick knows there is no party like a Yatesville party, so I’ll take the Patriots at Charley Trippi Stadium tomorrow night.

Pittston Area 28, Wallenpaupack 20

 

Don’t ask me about my business (Class 4A) 3-1 Overall, 2-2 ABPI

Tunkhannock (+29 ½) at Wyoming Area

The Game of the Week in District 2 takes place at Jake Sobeski Stadium in West Pittston tomorrow night when upstart Tunkhannock takes on the big, bad Warriors from Wyoming Area. The Warriors are full of themselves this week having replaced its game in Week 8 against winless Holy Redeemer to take on what many feel is the best team in the Commonwealth in Southern Columbia. The Tigers themselves replace Shikellamy that week – although in speaking with the Old Boston Patriot (The Rick’s WVC source) it seems as if Shik was the instigator of this move. The Indians, themselves winless, do not want to play the Tigers and will instead play the Royals in Week 8. The move has generated a buzz in NEPA as it brings Southern into District 2 for game. By all accounts it will be the Tigers first game at a non-neutral field in D2 since it played at Old Forge in 1988 in an Eastern Conference playoff game. (Southern has played in neutral-site state playoff games in District 2 since then.) So what’s this mean for the Warriors and rest of football as we know it? The Rick isn’t sure. But I don’t like it. A precedent has now been set, and it’s not a good one. The Wyoming Valley Conference, District 2 and the PIAA pretty much just said the importance of a league and its divisions do not mean anything in allowing a scheduled league game to be tossed aside for what will surely be a circus atmosphere in Week 8. Sure everyone wants to see this game, and speaking competitively, its best for all four teams. But it should have been scheduled in March, not September. What’s to prevent Dallas from dropping Nanticoke now in Week 7?  What’s to prevent Old Forge from dropping Montrose in Week 10? Are those 4-0 teams going to get anything out of games against winless teams? The landscape of high school football was going to change regardless in 2020, but this may have just signaled its apocalypse. As for the other Tigers in this segment, Tunkhannock is 3-1 and playing well. The schedule has not been the greatest after opening against Dallas; and they did have had to rally for their last two victories. But they have confidence. And when you are dealing with high school kids, confidence is half the battle. However, there is confidence and over-confidence. The Rick doesn’t think Tunkhannock wins this game, but Wyoming Area better check themselves on their over-confidence or this one is going to be closer than everyone thinks. The Rick will pick the WA-SC game in Week 8, but right now the Born Power Index has the defending state champs rated 46 points better.

Wyoming Area 35, Tunkhannock 21

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 4-0 Overall, 4-0 ABPI

Scranton Prep at West Scranton (+13 ½)

Prep is 2-2 and despite having a tough schedule to open the season, the Cavaliers won’t find the road any easier going forward. West Scranton picked up its first victory in Week 4 and is looking to continue that momentum in the coming weeks with some very winnable games that could get them back into the playoff picture. The Rick isn’t sure if the Invaders are ready just yet to step over Prep, but this game has the makings of one you don’t want to miss if you are in the Electric City on Friday night.

Prep 20, West Scranton 14

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 3-1 Overall, 3-1 ABPI

Riverside at Dunmore (-10)

Dunmore has won two in a row after starting the season with two defeats. Riverside bounced back last week after dropping its first game at Lakeland. Lots of questions surround both of these teams but the major one is whether the Riverside Air-Raid offense has just beat up on inferior opponents and defensive schemes. The Vikings will face its second tell-tale test after failing its first at Chapman Lake. Again, Riverside finds itself on the road for one of these exams, and Bucktown isn’t exactly the easiest place to win. Dunmore on the other hand needs to find its identity. Imagine that. The Bucks typically play smash-mouth on both sides of the football, but there have been times in 2019 where that hasn’t been the case. Are these teams ready to turn the corner for the season? We’ll find out tomorrow night. The Rick takes Dunmore.

Dunmore 28, Riverside 12

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 3-1, Overall, 1-3 ABPI

Northwest (+9) at Lake-Lehman

Lake-Lehman has looked like a contender after a Week 1 loss to Western Wayne. The Black Knights have shown versatility on offense and are looking like a team that could get to seven wins this year. Northwest is coming off a bye week in which they would have beaten Holy Cross for their third victory if the Crusaders didn’t cancel its program one week before the season. Even in a loss to Wyoming Area, the Rangers gave the Warriors a handful in the first half, keeping the ball for the first 13 minutes of the game. Many – including The Rick – thought that 2019 could be a down year for Northwest, but Coach Lon Hazlet and the Rangers are proving The Rick wrong. Still, a trip to the Black Hole will be tough. The Rick likes the Black Knights in a close one.

Lake-Lehman 23, Northwest 15

 

Time to settle all family business (37-9 Overall, 27-19 ABPI)

Scranton (-7) over Abington Heights

Delaware Valley (-26) over North Pocono

Valley View (-41) over Honesdale

Montrose (+8) over Susquehanna

Western Wayne (-47 ½) over Hanover

Lakeland over Mid Valley (+13 ½)

Trail over Carbondale (+31)

Williamsport (-18 ½) over Crestwood

Dallas (-35) over Valley West

Nanticoke (-26) over Holy Redeemer

Berwick (-29 ½) over Selinsgrove

 

The Ricktor Rankings

The Rick has come to the conclusion that The Ricktor Rankings need some tweaking in the off-season. But I am not going to just chuck them for this year. Remember, this is a mathematical formula and when the season is over, the rankings will play out as we all think they should be. For now, they are NOT what we thought they are. (Relax Valley View fans. The Cougars get their shot at some of the teams ahead of them in a few weeks.

 

Big School Ricktor (6A, 5A, 4A)

  1. Berwick (4-0) 7.10        3
  2. Delaware Valley (3-1) 7.05        5
  3. Dallas (4-0) 6.72        6
  4. Williamsport (3-1) 6.72        1
  5. Valley View (4-0) 6.63        9
  6. Crestwood (2-2) 6.55        7
  7. Wilkes-Barre (2-2) 6.52        4
  8. Scranton (2-2) 6.35        10
  9. Hazleton Area (1-3) 6.35        2
  10. Valley West (1-3) 6.25        8

 

Small School Ricktor (3A, 2A, 1A)

  1. Western Wayne (4-0) 5.00        1
  2. Wyoming Area (4-0) 4.85        3
  3. Scranton Prep (2-2) 4.75        2
  4. Lake-Lehman (3-1) 4.12        5
  5. Lakeland (2-2) 4.05        4
  6. Old Forge (4-0) 3.63        6
  7. Mid Valley (2-1) 3.41        10
  8. Riverside (3-1) 3.27        NR
  9. Lackawanna Trail (2-2) 3.25   9
  10. Northwest (2-1) 3.22        8