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Written by: Bill Engelhardt on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
Sorry I was forced to miss the first week of the 2014 season. All seems to be well again after undergoing a pretty rough August. This ’14 season finds PFN under new management and from what I have seen so far, Pennsylvania High School football should continue to get the absolute best coverage as has been the case for the past couple of decades. So let’s get going with a look at week two’s “Short Picks”.
LaSalle College opened the season with a win over North Penn. LaSalle will be a strong contender for not only district honors but also a state title. The Explorers visit Bergen Catholic, N.J. this week, a team that beat LaSalle last season by a 41-17 margin in 2011. A loss here doesn’t hurt the Explorers in the rankings…Bergen Catholic.
The Coatesville Red Raiders find themselves ranked in PFN’s top ten AAAA. The Red Raiders will travel to Central Bucks South home of the Titans. The Titans have shown major improvement over the past five years with Head Coach Dave Rackovan at the helm. Titans at home could surprise the Red Raiders, but I am not quite ready to call for an early season upset…Coatesville.
5th ranked Parkland rolls out the welcome mat for Northhampton. The welcoming committee at Parkland will not relinquish PFN’s top ten ranking…Parkland.
Altoona’s Mountain Lions opened the season with a win over Butler. The Mountains Lions are desperately trying to rebuild the program to the level of the 1960’s when they were a statewide force. Altoona hosts Mckeesport’s Tigers a team full of football tradition. The Tigers will contend for top honors in District 7, so this week should go in their favor…McKeesport.
Could Peters Township be one of the most overlooked, under respected teams to start the season? This week will be an indication as to just how good the Indians are as they travel to Upper St.Clair. The USC Panthers are always a tough act, but I am going on hunch…Peters Township.
I find it somewhat odd that District 2 does not have one team ranked in any of the four classifications. Right now Crestwood looks like a team that could move into the top ten in AAA. The Comets will be tested this week at home by the Abington Heights Comet. My pick here is simple, I’ll take the Comets of…Crestwood.
In District 3, the top ranked schools in AAAA are Governor Mifflin and Wilson. Surprisingly they played each other in the opener and fans of both schools were treated to a fantastic game won by Wilson by one point, 35-34. They will most likely meet again later in the season. Wilson’s Bulldogs carry over the momentum of week one into week two’s game with Central Dauphin East. Bulldogs bite again…Wilson.
Manheim Central’s Barons long a contender for state titles looks to get back to Hershey this year. The Barons under head coach Mike “Huff” Williams are loaded for a run at the title. The Barons travel to Hempfield where the Black Knight are coming off a win while scoring 38 points with a well-balanced offense. Baron’s defense gets a test and passes…Manheim Central.
In a classic early season showdown, Berks Catholic’s Saints host the Steamrollers of Steelton-Highspire. Steelton-Highspire’s loss last week takes some of the hype off of this week’s fray, but I think it should be a real barn burner. Steemrollers bounce back…Steelton-Highspire.
All of the attention lately in the Williamsport area has been the Little League World Series. That attention now shifts to a couple of Williamsport teams seemingly playoff bound. South Williamsport’s Mountaineers ranked #2 in the state by PFN took one on the chin in the opener losing to Montoursville by a 38-36 score. The Mounties regroup to host Towanda this week in what should be bounce back time…South Williamsport.
In an inter-district showdown of two top rated squads, the Somerset Golden Eagles visit the Rangers of Forest Hills. Ranger Stadium is one tough venue, but the Golden Eagles win by a whisker…Somerset.
District 5’s top ranked team, the Mountaineers of Berlin-Brothersvalley, look to keep their winning ways as the Mounties travel to Conemaugh Township. Township makes it a game early, but the ‘Eers take command…Berlin.
Bellwood-Antis took a loss in the opener to neighboring Tyrone. The Blue Devils get the season going again against the Moshannon Valley Black Knight…Bellwood-Antis.
The Little Lions of State College host the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders. The Crusaders have a potent offense and a punishing defense, all too much for the Little Lions…Bishop McDevitt.
District 8’s Brashear Bulls (AAAA) welcomes the Karns City Gremlins (AA) to Pittsburgh. The Gremlins opened the season with a blowout victory last week. I am not sure how the Gremlins match up against the AAAA Bulls, but my sources tell me the Gremlins are for real…Karns City.
In District 9, Curwensville’s Golden Tide hosts the Otto-Eldred Terrors. The Terrors football program has shown some signs of life lately, so the outcome should not be quite a bad as in years past…Curwensville.
Allegheny-Clarion Valley welcome the Flying Dutchman of St. Marys in a District 9 game. The Flying Dutchman have a shot at a district title this year…St. Marys.
The “Big Dog” in District 10, year in and year out, is the Cathedral Prep Ramblers. Get used to it as I don’t see any challengers to the Ramblers this year. Prep travels to Strong Vincent where the Ramblers roll…Cathedral Prep.
The Golden Bears of Mahanoy Area will find out just how good top ranked Schuylkill Haven is. The Hurricanes sit in the #5 spot in PFN’s single A classification. Hurricanes breeze…Schuylkill Haven.
North Penn is coming off a loss to LaSalle College. The Knights step right back into the fire as they host the West Catholic Burrs. This should be one of the best games in the state this week. The Burrs (AA) jump up in class to take on the AAAA Knights. Gotta give North Penn credit for taking on two tough openers in a row. Burr’s keep the PFN top ten ranking…West Catholic.
One final note, if Mike Smoll is out there somewhere, please drop me a line.
In other games:
Saint Joe’s Prep over Don Bosco Prep.
Bethlehem Catholic over Pleasant Valley
Wilmington over Mercer
Farrell over Reynolds
Oil City over Bradford
Punxsutawney over Keystone
Kane over Smethport
Dubois over Meadville
Mars over Yough
Perry over Taylor-Allderdice
South Fayette over Keystone Oaks
North Hills over Plum
Jeannette over Serra Catholic
Central Valley over Blackhawk
Homer City over Saltsburg
Cambria Heights over Bishop McCort
Tyrone over Central
Portage over North Star
Selinsgrove over Mt.Carmel
Elizabethtown over Hershey
Bermudian Spring over Boiling Spring
Berwick over Pottsville
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