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Written by: Phil Myers on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
It’s Thanksgiving week and nothing could be better if you are a football fan, especially a high school football fan as this is state semi-finals week. Protime can remember waking up Thanksgiving morning and going through his routine before the annual Turkey Bowl game with Brother Protime. He’d eat a bowl of Fruit Loops or Corn Pops and then head for the TV room to psych himself up by watching cartoons and the big Thanksgiving Day Parade.
After the parade, it was across the street to the empty sandlot for the big game. One rainy Thanksgiving, Protime and Brother Protime had to sneak out to play in the quagmire of mud. Protime will never forget the look on Mother Protime’s face when she met her boys at the door after the game.
Last week, Protime’s picks were a mess as he went 12-9. But the games were some of the best ever for a quarterfinal round and Protime is happy for everyone who have advanced. This week we will preview 6 of the 12 playoff games and predict a Thanksgiving Day game too. The Proud Predictor is 288-73 (.798) for the year and now presents the semifinal prognostications. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Central Dauphin 11-2 vs. Downingtown West 13-1 @ Coatesville – Lots of talent will take the field in this one. Sophomore QB Max Mosey leads the Ram offense. Mosey has 1,886 yards with 13 touchdowns passing. Timmy Smith is the star of the running game with 993 yards and 13 scores. WR Nick Chimienti has 52 snabs for 990 yards and 9 TDs. Paul Clark heads up the tough Ram ‘D’ with 117 tackles. Kansas State recruit Will Howard quarterbacks the West squad and has flung the ball for 2,543 yards and 27 TDs. Howard has crossed the goal line 12 times running the ball. Whippet RB Tyriq Lewis has traversed for 1,724 yards and 32 TDs to date. WR Julian Williams has brought down 33 throws for over 700 yards and 7 TDs. WR Alex Rosano has 39 catches for 713 yards. Sean Pelkisson lost his sister to leukemia earlier this year and has channeled that misery into being the man on defense. He not only leads the team in tackles, but has 10 sacks and 28 tackles for losses this year. The Rams and the Whippets both have been finding ways to win this year and this week will be no exception for one of them. CD 41 West 35.
Cheltenham 13-1 vs. Cocalico 11-2 @ Hershey Park – The Panthers of Cheltenham have a good one at QB in Adonis Hunter. He’s pitched the pigskin for 1,886 yards and 28 TDs. He’s also found the end zone 14 times running the ball. Jamir Barnes is a 1,000-yard rusher with 1,117 markers, scoring 12 times. Wideout TJ Harris has 34 catches for over 600 yards and 8 TDs. TJ has 9 picks on defense and Jon-Marc Foreman along with his cohort, Zachary Gaffin, have 126 and 125 tackles respectively. QB Noah Palm makes the Cocalico Eagles go. Mr. Palm has passed for 1,014 yards and 9 TDs, but has rushed for 1,432 yards and 33 touchdowns. WR Ronald Zahm has hauled down 29 passes for 677 yards and 8 TDs. He has rushed for 630 yards and another 6 scores in averaging 11 yards a carry. Tyler Angstadt is second in tackles behind Palm, who also has 4 picks and 4 fumble recoveries. Neither of these teams have ever been to the finals, but this year one of them will make it. Cocalico 27 Cheltenham 20.
Dallas 14-0 vs. Jersey Shore 11-3 @ Danville – The Mountaineers have plenty of offense and can play a little ‘D’ too. QB Michael Starbuck has 1,808 yards and 23 TDs flinging the pigskin. RB Lenny Kelley has dashed for 2,354 yards and scored 36 TDs. Danny Meuser has chipped in with 10 touchdowns via the ground game. Leading wide receiver, Matt Maransky, has been hurt the past couple of weeks and that has allowed Luke DelGaudio to step in. Luke has 7 TD receptions. Meuser, Kelley, and Taylor Bolesta head up the Dallas defense. Bolesta has 8.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. The Bulldogs are Tanner Lorson’s team offensively. Tanner has 3,090 yards passing and he’s tossed 32 TD passes. He has rushed for 1,141 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. RB Josh Malicky has 1,145 yards with 13 TDs. Wide receivers Stanton Weston (51 catches for 1,078 yards, and 12 TDs) and Cayden Hess (66 catches for 825 yards and 9 scores) show the way. Dawson Sechrist has 171 tackles for the Jersey Shore defense. This game goes down to the wire and it’ll be the Mountaineers 49 and the Bulldogs 42.
Tamaqua 12-2 vs. Wyoming 12-1 @ Wyoming Valley West – Where did the Tamaqua Blue Raiders come from? In successive weeks they’ve knocked off former #1 North Schuylkill by shutting them out, a very good and explosive Pope John Paul II, and #1 Wyomissing limiting them to 10 points. Matt Kistler leads the defense with the most tackles. QB Brayden Knoblauch has thrown for 1,928 yards and 18 scores. He also has 8 TDs rushing. RB Nate Boyle has ground out 1,841 yards and 30 TDs plus 3 more receiving. Kistler has snared 55 passes for 943 yards and 12 TDs. By the way, the Tamaqua offensive line love pancakes. They have 76 of them while blocking. Wyoming’s Warriors have their own dual threat QB. Dom Deluca has passed for 1,409 yards with 18 TDs, while running for 921 yards and 11 TDs. Brian Williams has brought down 30 passes for 687 yards and 10 TDs. Darren Rodney runs behind a big offensive line. He has 871 yards and 16 TDs, but he has been hurt recently. Sam Solomon and F.J. Braccini have combined for for 10 sacks and 27 tackles for loss between them. The crystal ball was consulted for this toss up and Wyoming appears to be the victor 21-17.
Avonworth 14-0 vs. Wilmington 12-0 @ Slippery Rock – This game features 2 undefeated teams. The only other game with 2 unbeatens is the other AA game, So. Columbia and Richland. The Antelopes have a lot of balance and toughness. QB Park Penrod has thrown for 1,834 yards and 27 touchdowns. RB Jax Miller has leapt across the turf for 2,202 yards and 28 TDs. Theo Newhouse-Godine has caught 7 TD tosses as Penrod likes to spread the cheer amongst various receivers, especially with Kyros Thorpe ruled ineligible for the playoffs. Jacob Horigan has brought down 109 opposing ball carriers for the Avonworth defense. Wilmington’s Greyhounds have been throwing a bit more than they usually do. QB Caelan Bender has hurled the rock for 1,288 yards and 20 scores with ZERO interceptions. Darren Miller leads the ground game with 1,394 yards and 18 TDs. Ethan Susen has 835 yards and 12 TDs running the ball. WR Junior McConahy has hauled in 36 passes for 692 yards and 9 TDs. With the Antelopes and Greyhounds racing up and down the field, whoever has the ball last will win. Avonworth 42 Wilmington 38.
Farrell 12-2 vs. Clairton 11-2 @ North Allegheny – The ‘Steel Curtain’ has held opponents scoreless 9 times this year. Taidon Strickland leading the way with 107 tackles, even though he did not play last week against Coudersport. The offense is led by the backfield duo of ‘Thunder and Lightning’. ‘Thunder’ is Anthony Stallworth, who has 1,552 yards and 15 touchdowns. ‘Lightning’ is Jaden Harrison, who’s contributed 976 yards and 13 scores. WR Bryce Butler has 6 TD receptions. Farrell’s QB is Raymond Raver who stepped into the role after the first two games. He’s up to 854 yards passing and 13 TDs. Clairton counters with some gifted athletes in Brendon Parsons, Isaiah Berry, Dontae Sanders, and Kenlein Ogletree. Parsons is the quarterback and he’s hurled the ball for 1,956 yards and 20 TDs. He likes to run too and has accumulated over 1,000 yards and 11 more TDs. Berry and Sanders are the running backs and have 15 TDs apiece. Berry is just shy of 1,000 yards rushing. Ogletree has grabbed 43 passes for 935 yards and 14 scores. He has 19 TDs altogether. A coin flip is needed to determine the winner here. Da Bears win it 36-34.
St. Joseph’s Prep 31 Pittsburgh Central Catholic 17 – With Hawk QB Kyle McCord hurt the Vikings have a chance if their defense can keep it close. Protime still sees the #16 team in the country still winning by two scores.
Archbishop Wood 24 Gateway 21 – Protime envisions a slight upset here as most think the Vikings are down this year. A check of the schedule reveals they have put it together for the playoffs and the Gators are their next victim.
Thomas Jefferson 38 Lampeter-Strasburg 21 – TJ has the #2 scoring offense and the #2 defense in allowing the least amount of points. The Pioneers will have their magical run ended by the Jaguars.
Central Valley 28 Bald Eagle Area 10 – The Bald Eagles have soared into the semis, but the Warriors will cancel their flight and ground the Eagles before they get to Hershey.
Southern Columbia 35 Richland 20 – These are two of the best small high school teams in the country! Southern Columbia is either #1 or #2 in most polls and Richland broke into the top 25 last week. The Rams, featuring WR Caleb Burke and sophomore QB Kellan Stahl, will be the Tigers’ toughest foe to date. SCA has the #1 offense and defense in Pennsylvania regarding points scored and allowed.
Bishop Guilfoyle 21 Lackawanna Trail 19 – The Marauders fight off the Lions and return to the state championship game after a couple year hiatus.
Northampton 28 Catasauqua 7 – This is the 97th meeting between the Koncrete Kids and the Rough Riders with the Kids holding a 59-33-4 advantage including winning 21 in a row from 1945 to 1965. The largest margin was in 1937 when Northampton won 85-0. On only two other occasions did anyone score 50 or more points with each doing it once. With rivalry games, anything can happen, but it appears the Northampton Koncrete Kids are the stronger team this year.
One other Thanksgiving Day game note. The Easton and Phillipsburg, NJ game has to be one of the oldest rivalry games in the country. This Turkey Day will mark the 117th time they’ll meet with Easton’s Red Rovers having the 65-42-5 edge.
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