The Rick, Week 7 – 2019

By Rick Notari, BDFN

@TheBigBlueDevil

(1320-358 overall, .786 winning percentage)

Heartland = Smartland

So news came on Wednesday afternoon that the Heartland Athletic Conference in District 4 was putting its foot down. It would not allow Southern Columbia to drop a league game in order to play Wyoming Area.

Smart move.

Unfortunately, it may not have been done with the best interest of the teams, players or fans in mind. Reading some of the reports on the situation it seems as if officials at the HAC were only upset because they didn’t find out about the change in schedule first hand. It seems as if Tigers officials didn’t check with the HAC before replacing Shikellamy with Wyoming Area and this made officials hot and bothered.

Boo hoo.

Well, regardless of why it was ultimately done, the best decision was made for the future of football conferences and leagues in District 2 and District 4. Once again, The Rick believes this was a very bad precedent to be set going forward in the Lackawanna Football Conference and Wyoming Valley Conference.

I’ll use Old Forge for an example because that is the team I know best. What prevents the Blue Devils from refusing to play Dunmore three weeks before a scheduled game and replacing them with Bishop Scranton? Sure the teams played a great game last Friday night, but Old Forge didn’t win. In fact, Dunmore has given the Blue Devils its most losses in school history. The Bucks are 40-22 against Old Forge all-time. It is the most losses by the Blue Devils against any school they have played in their 105-year history. So why lose another? Just replace the game with another team, a team they know they can beat.

Is the idea far-fetched? It may be. But it also becomes a possibility when leagues allow teams to change schedules midway through a season. That then begs the ultimate question, and the question Wyoming Area and Southern Columbia tried to answer. How do teams get more competitive games?

The Rick is glad they asked. Here’s my realignment plans:

 

Proposal 1: In this proposal, The Rick is dumping Williamsport. There are no positives in allowing Williamsport to play football in the WVC. They play an independent schedule in basketball let them play an independent schedule in football too. They could schedule Southern Columbia.

So look at this first proposal. Big 11 teams get nine league games with an open week to go find an opponent of like size from District 4 or District 11. The Suburban and WVC teams get 10 league games each. The Big 11 and WVC are balanced. The majority of those teams will all be competitive with each other. And if Berwick doesn’t like it, they can take a hike back to District 4 too.

The Suburban division is a mix of big teams that traditionally struggle and small schools who have had success. Western Wayne is on the upswing, so if they wanted, they could move to the Big 11 at this point. But added to the Suburban are WVC teams Holy Redeemer and Tunkhannock, and LFC-1 teams Honesdale and Wallenpaupack. All four teams can turn their programs around playing in this league. Once that happens then we’ll adjust the leagues once again. It would be minor changes though. Maybe Nanticoke and Hanover Area move over in 4-6 years.

(Current 2019 records are posted next to each team.)

 

Big 11                                                                         

1. Abington Heights (1-5)
2. Delaware Valley (5-1)
3. Dunmore (4-2)
4. Lakeland (3-3)
5. North Pocono (2-4)
6. Riverside (3-3)
7. Scranton (4-2)
8. Scranton Prep (4-2)
9. West Scranton (1-5)
10. Valley View (6-0)

Suburban         

1. Carbondale Area (1-5)
2. Holy Redeemer (0-5)
3. Honesdale (0-6)
4. Lackawanna Trail (4-2)
5. Mid Valley (2-3)
6. Montrose (0-6)
7. Old Forge (4-1)
8. Susquehanna (1-5)
9. Tunkhannock (4-2)
10. Wallenpaupack (3-3)
11. Western Wayne (6-0)

WVC   

1. Berwick (5-1)
2. Crestwood (4-2)
3. Dallas (6-0)
4. Hanover Area (2-4)
5. Hazleton Area (1-5)
6. Lake-Lehman (4-2)
7. Nanticoke (1-5)
8. Pittston Area (2-4)
9. Wilkes-Barre  (3-3)
10. Wyoming Area (6-0)
11. Wyoming Valley West (1-5)

Proposal 2: OK. This is a little crazier and is based on a rumor heard early in the season that Delaware Valley was looking to move to play in District 11 and Pittston Area and Wyoming Area wanted to move to the LFC. I don’t think any of that becomes reality, but if it did, here is what it should look like. Oh, I am also allowing Williamsport to stay in this set up.

 

Big 11   

1. Abington Heights (1-5)
2. Dunmore (4-2)
3. Lakeland (3-3)
4. North Pocono (2-4)
5. Pittston Area (2-4)
6. Riverside (3-3)
7. Scranton (4-2)
8. Scranton Prep (4-2)
9. West Scranton (1-5)
10. Wyoming Area (6-0)
11. Valley View (6-0)

Suburban

1. Carbondale Area (1-5)
2. Holy Redeemer (0-5)
3. Honesdale (0-6)
4. Lackawanna Trail (4-2)
5. Mid Valley (2-3)
6. Montrose (0-6)
7. Old Forge (4-1)
8. Susquehanna (1-5)
9. Wallenpaupack (3-3)
10. Western Wayne (6-0)

WVC

1. Berwick (5-1)
2. Crestwood (4-2)
3. Dallas (6-0)
4. Hanover Area (2-4)
5. Hazleton Area (1-5)
6. Lake-Lehman (4-2)
7. Nanticoke (1-5)
8. Tunkhannock (4-2)
9. Wilkes-Barre (3-3)
10. Williamsport (3-3)
11. Wyoming Valley West (1-5)

 

Proposal 3: This proposal is what is most likely is to happen in 2020. The 33 teams in District 2 will play in four divisions broken up with two in the LFC and two in the WVC. I have them broken up according to this year’s enrollment. If this does indeed happen, it frees up the WVC to play more out of conference games, but it also makes it tougher on the athletic directors to find those slots to fill. Especially since the LFC will have less slots to fill as they have more complete divisions. But hey, now Wyoming Area can schedule a home and home with Southern Columbia since they really want to play them.

 

LFC 1   

1. Abington Heights (1-5)
2. Delaware Valley (6-0)
3. Honesdale (0-6)
4. North Pocono (2-4)
5. Scranton (4-2)
6. Scranton Prep (4-2)
7. Wallenpaupack (3-3)
8. West Scranton (1-5)
9. Western Wayne (6-0)
10. Valley View (6-0)

LFC 2

1. Carbondale (1-5)
2. Dunmore (4-2)
3. Lacka. Trail (4-2)
4. Lakeland (3-3)
5. Mid Valley (2-3)
6. Montrose (0-5)
7. Old Forge (4-1)
8. Susquehanna (1-5)
9. Riverside (3-3)

WVC 1

1. Crestwood (4-2)
2. Dallas (6-0)
3. Hazleton Area (1-5)
4. Pittston Area (2-4)
5. Wilkes-Barre (3-3)
6. Williamsport (3-3)
7. Valley West (1-5)

WVC 2

1. Berwick (5-1)
2. Hanover Area (2-4)
3. Holy Redeemer (0-5)
4. Lake-Lehman (4-2)
5. Nanticoke (1-5)
6. Tunkhannock (4-2)
7. Wyoming Area (6-0)

The Rick can go on with proposals for days. But I like what I have given you so far. I think both the first and second proposals will give us competitive football for the majority of the season. They are both fair in terms of program strength, and should be balanced enough in terms of classifications in allowing the power system to work.

Let’s make the weekly picks!

THE RICK’S PICKS

(85-20 Overall, 62-43 ABPI)

 

May their first child is a masculine child (Class 6A) 5-1 Overall, 3-3 ABPI

West at Scranton (-8.5)

It’s the Battle for the Bell! Why isn’t this game being played in Week 10? Maybe that’s something they can fix with realignment. And if they are having trouble, they can call The Rick who will easily put a schedule together that has all rivalry games played in Week 10. As for the 2019 affair, the Scranton Knights are on a roll and getting healthy at the right time of the season. West has played better of late but has dropped two winnable games in the past two weeks. You throw records out the window in a game like this, but The Rick just doesn’t see West being best. It’s Knight-time on Friday.

Scranton 29, West 20

 

The Luca Brasi (Class 5A) 5-1 Overall, 4-2 ABPI

Wallenpaupack at North Pocono (-9)

Wallenpaupack has won two in a row to get back to .500 with four to play. The victories have put the Buckhorns in position to defend their District 2 Class 5A title.  Starting with North Pocono on Friday night, Wallenpaupack’s remaining schedule is made up of teams with a combined record of 7-17, so the Buckhorns have an opportunity to make a nice run. The Trojans are in somewhat of the same position. They do have Valley View to end the year, but the three-game series in front of them before consisting of Wallenpaupack, Tunkhannock and Honesdale are very winnable games.  It’s a tough pick here for The Rick. I think North Pocono gets in the win column.

North Pocono 21, Wallenpaupack 10

 

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

Tunkhannock (+7) at Crestwood

The Surprise Bowl of Week 6 is Tunkhannock at Crestwood. Both of these teams have surpassed their win totals from last year and are the hunt for playoff spots in Class 4A. Actually, if the season ended today, this would be the exact matchup in Week 11. The Tigers have won games against the lower tiered clubs in NEPA while Crestwood has some notable victories against Wilkes-Barre, Valley West and Williamsport. That alone should put The Rick’s mind in the right state to pick this game, but Tunkhannock QB Jack Chilson and the Tigers spread offense is clicking right now. It’s upset special week in the middle classes.

Tunkhannock 27, Crestwood 23

 

Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Class 3A) 6-0 Overall, 5-1 ABPI

Valley View at Western Wayne (+14)

Simply put, it is the biggest game in Western Wayne football history. And yet, it may just be another game for Valley View. That is why The Rick will pick the major upset this week. The Wildcats are 6-0 for the first time in school history and feature a balance attack on offense and a bullying, old-school style of play on defense. Built in the mold of its old-school style head coach, Western Wayne will be focused and ready to go. But will the Cougars? Valley View is coming off its toughest regular-season game in a while – a win over Berwick last week. And in the minds of the Cougar Crazies, their next toughest game is next week when they host Dallas. This is the consummate trap game for the Cougars. Last week played their tails off in rallying for victory. Next week face what may be their biggest obstacle in winning another district title. While this week, facing a team that hasn’t been in a championship conversation in over two decades. Don’t forget that Western Wayne gave Valley View its toughest regular-season game in 2018. The Rick didn’t forget. This year, they get over the hump.

Western Wayne 22, Valley View 21

 

Going to the mattresses (Class 2A) 4-2 Overall, 5-1 ABPI

Wyoming Area (-11) at Dunmore

The Rick finally got to see a real football game last week. Dunmore came to Old Forge and the teams treated the over 2,500 fans to some old school football. The hitting on both sides was tremendous. Wyoming Area was in a game for the first time last week as well, rallying to beat Lake-Lehman. My guess is the close call wakes the Warriors up a little. The Rick doesn’t think that is a good thing for Dunmore. The Bucks will come to play. And they may be something Wyoming Area will need to adjust to. But once the Warriors make that adjustment they will be fine. It’ll be another good matchup in local high school football. The Rick thinks Wyoming Area has a little more to matchup with.

Wyoming Area 30, Dunmore 17

 

I ain’t no bandleader (Class 1A) 4-2, Overall, 1-5 ABPI

Lackawanna Trail at Old Forge (-2)

It doesn’t get any bigger in D2 Class 1A than it does on Friday night at Old Forge Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Blue Devils and the Trail Lions face off in an unbelievably important Class 1A matchup as all three teams are within striking distance of each other. A win for either team will go a long way to see who MAKES the playoffs as only two teams qualify. You read that right. The Lions won’t lose either of their last two games. A loss to the Blue Devils puts them at 6-3 at the worst, but even that won’t assure them a spot since they already lost to Northwest. Old Forge on the other hand will face Riverside next week and Northwest the week after. So a loss to the Lions and the Blue Devils are possibly looking at a hard road to qualify. Two losses in a row to the only two quality teams you played won’t exude any confidence in a prognosticator. So you can see how The Rick has doubts if the Blue Devils lose again. However, it’s tough to doubt Old Forge’s regular-season success against the Lions – wins in 11 of the past 12 years. Will a dozen be the charm? The Rick thinks so.

Old Forge 16, Lackawanna Trail 13

 

Time to settle all family business (57-12 Overall, 38-28 ABPI)

Delaware Valley over Abington Heights (+44)

Scranton Prep (-23 ½) over Honesdale

Lakeland over Carbondale (+32)

Mid Valley (-3) over Riverside

CMVT over Montrose (+15)

Berwick (-25) over Hazleton Area

Williamsport over Pittston Area (+14)

Wilkes-Barre Area over Valley West (+14 ½)

Dallas over Nanticoke (+58)

Northwest over Hanover Area (+14 ½)

Lake-Lehman over Holy Redeemer (+57 ½)

The Ricktor Rankings
Big School Ricktor (6A, 5A, 4A)
1. Delaware Valley (5-1) 8.04 2
2. Dallas (6-0) 7.80 3
3. Valley View (6-0) 7.62 6
4. Berwick (5-1) 7.50 1
5. Crestwood (4-2) 7.41 4
6. Scranton (4-2) 7.34 8
7. Williamsport (3-3) 7.32 7
8. Wilkes-Barre (3-3) 7.14 5
9. Wallenpaupack (3-3) 6.61 NR
10. Valley West (1-5) 6.26 9

Small School Ricktor (3A, 2A, 1A)
1. Western Wayne (6-0) 6.11 1
2. Wyoming Area (6-0) 5.87 2
3. Scranton Prep (4-2) 5.51 3
4. Lake-Lehman (4-2) 4.30 4
5. Lakeland (3-3) 4.22 5
6. Dunmore (4-2) 3.67 9
7. Old Forge (4-1) 3.65 6
8. Lackawanna Trail (4-2) 3.64 7
9. Mid Valley (2-3) 3.42 8
10. Northwest (3-2) 3.36 NR