The Rick, Week 6 – 2019

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1305-355 overall, .786 winning percentage)

Halfway to heaven….

It’s the halfway point of the season as we approach Week 6 in District 2 High School Football, and The Rick needs to make a few changes. Now don’t get nervous Sid, I am not talking changes to my staff, rather I am speaking of changes to my pre-season predictions.

However, it looks as if there will be only two changes to The Rick’s 13 pre-season picks of division and class winners. And frankly, that is because there wasn’t much competitive football played during the first five weeks of the season.

Eighty-seven games have been played through the first five weeks and 62 of those games (or 71 percent) have been won by an average of more than three touchdowns. That means only 29 percent (or 25) of those games have been somewhat competitive. Only 13 games through the first five weeks have been decided by one touchdown or less. That means only 14 percent of the games played in 2019 have been in doubt going into the fourth quarter.

Those numbers are staggering.

We question declining numbers in attendance. We question declining numbers in participation. Well here is the answer. People do not want to watch bad football and kids don’t want to be part of teams getting peppered every weekend. Football isn’t an easy sport. Not many kids want to get battered and bruised for 12 weeks while not having a chance to win.

Something needs to be done about that. Football is a great sport, and should be a competitive sport. It is time to realign the entire district for the betterment of the entire district. The teams winning 48-0 every weekend need to all get together and play each other.

That means some of those teams – the smaller teams – might not get to go 10-0, 9-1, or 8-2 every year. It may mean they go 6-4. But that 6-4 is going to help them along farther in the playoffs than eight or nine games in which they win by 5-6 touchdowns. It also means the bigger teams will need to sacrifice power rating formula points to play smaller teams who may give them better games.

Will it happen? It’s doubtful. We will see realignment in 2020. But it will probably be a strictly enrollment based two-division LFC and a two-division WVC.  The Rick has a few three-division proposals that combine all 33 schools and throw classifications out the window. We’ll discuss those next week.

As for the changes to the original predictions, only Wilkes-Barre Area and Wallenpaupack replace any of The Rick’s original guesses. WBA will win WVC 1 (instead of Hazleton) and Wallenpaupack will defend its D2 5A title (instead of losing it to Valley West). The Wolfpack has really surprised The Rick in its first season. If The Rick gets a WVC Coach of the Year vote, it goes to Ciro Cinti.

 

Let’s make the weekly picks!

THE RICK’S PICKS

(70-17 Overall, 51-36 ABPI)

 May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 4-1 Overall, 3-2 ABPI

Dallas at Wilkes-Barre Area (+13 ½)

So just how good is Wilkes-Barre Area? Check with The Rick on Saturday afternoon. The Wolfpack – ranked No. 4 on The Ricktor Scale – host No. 3 Dallas in the biggest game at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium in a long time. This game was moved from Friday to Saturday to accommodate what is expected to be a large crowd. The Mountaineers are unbeaten and are out to prove they are the best team not only in the WVC and in Class 4A, but in all of District 2. Delaware Valley and Valley View will have something to say about that, but this could be the first game Dallas has been challenged all season. WBA is 3-2 and could easily be 4-1. Not many pundits – including The Rick – gave the Wolfpack much of a chance to win three games this year, but here they are, scratchin’ and clawin’. The Rick still likes Dallas in this one.

Dallas 33, Wilkes-Barre Area 20

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 4-1 Overall, 4-1 ABPI

Valley West at Wallenpaupack (-8 ½)

The only two Class 5A teams in District 2 meet on Friday night in what may be a preview to a de facto championship tilt. Only four teams qualify for the D2/11 Subregional in Class 5A. No district is awarded an automatic berth. The Buckhorns are currently in. The Spartans are currently out. Should both qualify or both not qualify, they will play again in Week 11 for D2 Gold. Should only one of the teams qualify, they will be named the D2 champ.

Wallenpaupack 9, Valley West 0

 

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

Berwick at Valley View (-4 ½)

After cruising through the first five weeks of the season, Valley View faces a three-week gauntlet that should they survive, will easily give them a top-seed in the upcoming Class 4A playoffs, and maybe more importantly, give their fans social-media bragging rights for a few weeks. The Cougars host WVC rival Berwick on Friday night in the premier matchup of the season to date. The undefeated Dawgs are playing a mauling style of defense. They will need the defense to stop the high-powered offense of undefeated Valley View. The Cougars face unbeaten Western Wayne and unbeaten Dallas in the following two weeks, so Berwick is just the first of a three-chapter test.  It’s a big test, but one the Cougars will ace.

Valley View 27, Berwick 13

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 5-0 Overall, 5-0 ABPI

Wyoming Area (-17 ½) at Lake-Lehman

If The Rick didn’t know better, I would think Wyoming Area throttled Tunkhannock early and often last week to let The Rick now that hey, the Warriors are for real. While waiting for the Dunmore-Riverside game to start, The Rick watched the live stream of the Warriors beat-down of the Tigers on Friday night. The Rick was impressed. It’s too bad we won’t see WA v. Berwick or Dallas this year, but this game will be as tough as it gets for Wyoming Area in the WVC this year. Lake-Lehman has impressed the last four weeks after getting smashed by Western Wayne in Week 1. But it seems as if the Black Knights start slow every year, so The Rick is going to toss that game aside. Lake-Lehman could very well be a Top 5 team in the WVC and will do its best to give WA all it can handle. But as James Ingram once sang, “I did my best, but I guess my best wasn’t good enough.” The Rick likes to sing.

Wyoming Area 37, Lake-Lehman 14

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 4-1 Overall, 4-1 ABPI

Dunmore at Old Forge (+8)

It could very well be Week 1 for Old Forge – and that’s after a Week 0 last week. The Blue Devils have steamrolled four cupcakes during the first month of the season – two of them without any icing! Then last week, Old Forge had a bye while Dunmore tuned up with Riverside in a 51-7 shellacking of the Vikings. It may as well been a quintuple-bye for Old Forge as they have not been hit or tested since its scrimmage with North Pocono. That all changes this week when the Bucks come to town. It’s a four-game season for the Blue Devils starting Friday night as Trail, Riverside and Northwest dot the schedule after the game with Dunmore. But there is no looking ahead as the Bucks are starting to roll after an un-Dunmore-like 0-2 start. The Bucks are big and bad with a stable of backs the Blue Devils have not seen the likes of since 2018. It should be a great atmosphere in Old Forge on Friday night. The Rick never goes against The Family.

Old Forge 28, Dunmore 20

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 4-1, Overall, 1-4 ABPI

Mid Valley (+11 ½) at Lackawanna Trail

Mid Valley is relevant again. A lot of that has to do with the Spartans upset of Dunmore in Week 2. But the Fighting Rebars gave Lakeland all it could handle last week, and a play here and there would have given the Spartans another big victory. Now it’s on to defending PIAA Class 1A Eastern Champ Lackawanna Trail. The Lions have quietly pounded three of their last four opponents. The odd team out was Dunmore, who Trail was able to score on, but could not stop. That’s the same Bucks team Mid Valley beat. So how does this game go?  The Rick thinks it’s going to go the way most of the Godfather Games will go this week – competitive.

Mid Valley 24, Lackawanna Trail 20

 

Time to settle all family business (46-11 Overall, 29-25 ABPI)

Delaware Valley (-40.5) over Hazleton Area

Scranton (+3) over Williamsport

Scranton Prep (-2) over North Pocono

Abington Heights (+5.5) over Honesdale

West over Pittston Area (+15)

Carbondale (-5.5) over Montrose

Western Wayne (-17) over Lakeland

Northwest (-10.5) over Susquehanna

Academy of the New Church over Riverside (+16.5)

Tunkhannock over Towanda (+15)

Hanover Area (-19) over Holy Redeemer

Crestwood (-26) over Nanticoke Area

 

The Ricktor Rankings

The Ricktor Rankings are starting to fall into place and should come true to form during the next three weeks as some of the better teams begin to play each other. Remember this mathematical formula takes into account wins, strength of those wins and overall strength of schedule. So don’t get all bent out of shape. If your team keeps winning, and the teams they beat win games, your team will climb the polls.

Big School Ricktor (6A, 5A, 4A)
1. Berwick (5-0) 7.37 1
2. Delaware Valley (4-1) 7.30 2
3. Dallas (5-0) 7.12 3
4. Crestwood (3-2) 7.10 6
5. Wilkes-Barre (3-2) 7.05 7
6. Valley View (5-0) 6.65 5
7. Williamsport (3-2) 6.62 4
8. Scranton (3-2) 6.62 8
9. Valley West (1-4) 6.20 10
10. Hazleton Area (1-4) 6.07 9

Small School Ricktor (3A, 2A, 1A)
1. Western Wayne (5-0) 5.75 1
2. Wyoming Area (5-0) 5.10 2
3. Scranton Prep (3-2) 5.02 3
4. Lake-Lehman (4-1) 4.25 4
5. Lakeland (3-2) 4.17 5
6. Old Forge (4-0) 3.55 6
7. Lackawanna Trail (3-2) 3.38 9
8. Mid Valley (2-2) 3.36 7
9. Dunmore (3-2) 3.35 NR
10. Riverside (3-2) 3.20 8