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Written by: Bill Engelhardt on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
As we head into week 4, my friend Mike Smoll sent me some of what he thinks will be very good contests in Districts 1, 11, and 12. I really appreciate Mike’s input and his analysis of those games. Mike is a longtime PFN fan and a huge Pennsylvania high school football aficionado. Last week’s picks went 20 correct and 3 incorrect. Let’s see if I can match last week’s picks with a little assistance from Mike.
I will start off this week with some inter-district play. The District 6 Mountain Lions of Altoona are on the road to being competitive in the WPIAL under head coach John Franco. The Mt. Lions sport a 2-1 record as they travel to Penn-Trafford, not an easy assignment. Altoona must find a way to score against the Warriors stifling defense…Penn-Trafford.
Hollidaysburg’s Golden Tigers, who also play in the WPIAL, travel to Bell Vernon. The Golden Tigers pocket a nice win on the road…Hollidaysburg.
State College’s Little Lions opened the season with a win, but followed with two losses to a couple of very good football teams. The Little Lions host the Carlisle Thundering Herd with a 2-1 record. I think the Little Lions are much better than their 1-2 record…St. College.
District 9’s Dubois Beavers travel to Erie where they will face the powerful Cathedral Prep Ramblers. The Ramblers are ranked 4th by PFN in the AAA class. Dubois has an explosive offense led by quarterback Gabe French. Gabe and company may not be able to keep up with the scoring pace of the Ramblers…Cathedral Prep.
In a game that could be one of the best in the state, District 5’s Berlin Brothersvalley journeys to Portage, home of the Mustangs. If you live anywhere near Portage and you are looking for a good game I would suggest this one. The Mountaineers were ranked as high as number 7 by PFN in the pre-season polls while the Mustangs received an honorable mention. The Mustangs have two thoroughbreds in Caleb Kephart and Luke Dividock in the backfield who are capable of breaking a game open. Home field advantage is a huge factor as Portage is one tough town for visitors. If Luke and Caleb get out of the corral it will be all Mustangs…Portage.
A good game can be expected in Johnstown where the Trojans host the Bisons of Bedford. Johnstown has some great speed at the skill positions and I am not sure how well the Bisons will match up. I still believe this game will go to the final whistle. Trojans by a whisker…Johnstown.
In a backyard clash in District 6, the Highlanders of Cambria Heights travel to longtime rival Penn Cambria. Both the Highlanders and the Panthers have struggled early on, so this game is a must win for both teams to get on the winning track. The Highlanders seem to have found their offensive bread and butter in running back Dennis Link. The Panthers get a snoot full of a 190 lb. fullback…Cambria Heights.
In another big time game, Clarion’s Bobcats visit the Gremlins of Karns City. District 9 fans are in for a real barnburner when these two collide. Clarion outscored its first three opponents by a 189-0 margin while the Gremlins racked up a scoring margin of 157-13. This game is one where you buy a ticket for a seat, but you only sit on the edge. I’ll revert to my college old test taking method called the “WAG” in picking this one…Clarion.
Punxsutawney travels to Union-Rimersburg. The Woodchucks opened the season with a loss, but tallied wins in the last two games. Union-Rimersburg might find the Woodchucks looking ahead to the Chucks next opponent their archrival Dubois. Assuming the Woodchucks stay focused on this week’s task…Punxsutawney.
The Flying Dutchman of St. Marys took one on the chin last week. St. Marys welcomes the Keystone Panthers who are also smarting from a loss last week. The Flying Dutchman have the home field advantage…St. Marys.
The Bensalem Twp. Owls travel to Central Bucks South. I have been corrected as to who the head coach is at CB South. Tom Hetrick takes over for Dave Rackovan as the Titans head coach. The Titans under Hetrick will make some noise in the District 1 AAAA race as Racky did not leave the cupboard bare…Central Bucks South.
Neshaminy’s Redskins are off to an uncharacteristic 1-2 start as they prepare for the 3-0 Abington Galloping Ghosts who are 3-0. The Redskins are in a rebuilding year, but I think they are much better than their record shows…Neshaminy.
The North Penn Knights have opened the season with three of the toughest teams from District 12 and won just one of those contests. This week doesn’t get any easier as the Knights have the Pennridge Rams in the annual neighborhood brawl. The Rams are playing their fourth road game of the season and looking for win number four. The Knights are a better team than the 1-2 record indicates, so I’m going out on the limb with my upset special of the week…North Penn.
William Tennant’s Panthers travel to Quakertown Community. The hometown fans will be out in full force as the Quakertown faithful christen their new stadium. William Tennant not only has a huge fan turnout to contend with, but also Quakertown linebacker Hunter Nice will give the visiting Panthers fits. This all adds up to not such a Nice welcoming party…Quakertown Community.
Bayard Rustin attempts to keep its record unblemished as the Golden Knights host the Downingtown East Cougars. Rustin looks like the favorite on paper , but the Cougars will keep it close...Bayard Rustin.
The Souderton Indians have a wealth of good underclassmen as they host the Pennsbury Falcons. Pennsbury might just be the best team in their league. The Indians will have better luck next year…Pennsbury.
Two top quality teams in District 12 meet when Archbishop Wood visits West Catholic. West Catholic is much better than its 1-2 record while Wood might just be one of the best teams in the state. West Catholic will not go down easily…Archbishop Wood.
Imhotep Charter welcomes the District of Columbia’s #5 ranked Friendship Collegiate Academy. I know how good the home town Panthers are, but I know nothing about Friendship Collegiate Academy…Imhotep Charter.
Two contenders in the District 4 AAA title race are the Indians of Shamokin and the Seals of Selinsgrove. The Seals have a high scoring offense to go with a stingy defense. I like…Selinsgrove.
The Wellsboro Hornets look like a contender in the single A class of District 4. This week the Sayre Redskins will find out just how good the Hornets are…Wellsboro.
Last year the Richland Rams rolled through its opponents with the exception of the Somerset Eagles. This year the Eagles host the Rams in what should be a reversal of last year’s outcome. Somerset lights up the Rams this time around…Somerset.
The Juniata Valley Hornets visit the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils. The Blue-Devils have two victories after the opening day loss to Tyrone. Bellwood-Antis has a huge game next week with undefeated Mt. Union. The Blue-Devils should have no trouble with Juniata Valley and long as they don’t get caught looking ahead to next week. No peeking at the schedule boys…Bellwood-Antis.
Turning to District 11, Palmerton’s Blue Bombers are off to a 3-0 start. The Blue Bombers tangle with the Palisades Pirates who are coming off a big win over Catasauqua. …Palmerton.
Bethlehem Liberty’s offense scored 106 points in the first three games. The Hurricanes will face a much different defense when they visit the Zephyrs of Whitehall. Hurricanes’ offense is downgraded to light breeze…Whitehall.
Louis E. Dieruff visits the undefeated Mounties of Stroudsburg. The Mounties feed the Huskies some home cooking…Stroudsburg.
In District 3, Greencastle-Antrim puts an undefeated record on the line against the 2-1 Big Spring Bulldogs. Greencastle-Antrim has too much offense for the Bulldogs…Greencastle-Antrim.
The Eagles of Bermudian Springs posted a 8-2 record last year and look like they could have a repeat this season. The Eagles visit Hanover’s Nighthawks. The Eagles offense will cause nightmares for the Nighthawks…Bermudian Springs.
The Harrisburg Cougars travel to Cumberland Valley. I was impressed by the effort C.V.’s Eagles gave last week in a losing effort to Bishop McDevitt. The Eagles bounce back versus the Cougars…Cumberland Valley.
In District 8, both Carrick and Westinghouse need a win to get the season on the right path. I like the Bulldogs of…Westinghouse.
Perry Traditional Academy’s Commodores host the Millionaires of University Prep. The Commodores are the top dog in District 8…Perry.
The Mars Fightin’ Planets host Greensburg Salem. Both schools have been involved in a couple of very close contests. This week’s game should be just as close as the earlier games. Fightin’ Planets emerge on top…Mars.
The Indians of Indiana take a 2-1 record into Franklin Regional . Indiana looks like a team capable of making the WPIAL playoffs. The Indians take the Panthers right down to the final seconds…Franklin Regional.
Knoch Knights lost for the first time last week. The Knights welcome the Gateway Gators a team that has dropped to AAA from AAAA. The Gators are struggling and the Knights are riding high…Knoch.
Kiski Area hosts the Pine-Richland Rams. The Rams are on a rampage…Pine-Richland.
In other games:
Elk County Catholic over Sheffield
Clearfield over Huntingdon
Curwensville over Cameron County
Olean N.Y. over Bradford
Kane over Port Allegany
Conneaut over Strong Vincent
Sharon over Corry
General McLane over Oil City
Hickory over Warren
Catasauqua over Saucon Valley
Jim Thorpe over Tri-Valley
Pittsburgh Central Catholic over Fox Chapel
Aliquippa over Summit Academy
Northern Cambria over United
Blairsville over Ligonier Valley
Wyalusing over Troy
Montoursville over Jersey Shore
Governor Mifflin over Reading
Williamsport over Hazleton
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