By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
Can they do it again?
That’s the question for the Crestwood and Western Wayne football teams as they hit the road for Week Two of the season.
Crestwood opened the season by shutting out defending District 2 Class 4A champion Valley View in the second half of a 20-7 victory at home.
Now, after beating the preseason No. 3 Big School in the Gaughan Auto Store Super Six Power Rankings, the Comets go to Dallas to face the current No. 2 in a game between teams that look like serious threats in District 2 Class 4A as well as Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1.
For Western Wayne, the question of whether the Wildcats can repeat the performance actually is a two-parter.
The Wildcats, a Class 3A school and the third-place team in Division 2 of the Lackawanna Football Conference last season, handled North Pocono, a Class 4A district finalist and the second-place team in LFC Division 1 in the second week of the season, 27-6.
Western Wayne was generally regarded as the favorite on Opening Night, but the Mercy Rule beating the Wildcats put on Lake-Lehman is a bit more than what was expected of the team.
Crestwood faces what may be the toughest back-to-back games within District 2 to begin the season. I say within because nobody is taking on the challenges Delaware Valley is facing.
The Comets won the battle up front against Valley View last week and likely will need to do the same against a more experienced Dallas line to duplicate the success, particularly because the Mountaineers have dangerous athletes on the perimeter.
Western Wayne will go on the road this time to face a North Pocono team that most certainly has to remember its only loss prior to playing Delaware Valley for the LFC Division 1 title in the 10th week.
Beating the Trojans again should be an even bigger task than last time.
To answer the opening question.
Yes, the Comets and Trojans can do it again. Whether they will remains to be seen, but I like both to produce results that many might consider upsets.
This week’s predictions, with home teams in bold italics:
Crestwood 22, Dallas 21
Western Wayne 23, North Pocono 15
There is one other game inside District 2 where both teams won their openers. Hazleton Area hits the road again to face Wallenpaupack, which squeezed out a two-point win over Honesdale in the Wayne-Pike Shrine Bowl. While the Buckhorns were hanging on, the Cougars were finishing strong, scoring the game’s last 32 points and blanking Pittston Area in the second half of a 47-15 win. Expect more of the same. Wallenpaupack may hang in for a while, but Hazleton Area has too much offensive firepower.
Hazleton Area 38, Wallenpaupack 12
Two of the most impressive performances of Opening Night were turned in by teams that will remain on the road this week. Dunmore went to state-ranked Old Forge and surprised the Blue Devils despite not being at full strength. Delaware Valley went to Florida to face one of that state’s top Big School teams and lost a one-point game in which it was threatening in the Red Zone in the closing seconds before a costly fumble. Both teams travel outside District 2 to face state-ranked opposition. It may be a bit too much to ask for wins, but the Bucks and Warriors can still send signals to their future opponents with competitive games.
Mount Carmel 38, Dunmore 23
Harrisburg 26, Delaware Valley 16
Valley View and Old Forge entered the season as the No. 3 Big and Small Schools in the Super Six, but each lost. The Cougars had trouble offensively while it was the Blue Devils defense that struggled. Now, facing opponents that were impressive on Opening Night, each will try to avoid what would be a stunning 0-2 start. Berwick led five-time defending state champion Southern Columbia at halftime. Nanticoke went to Carbondale and pummeled the Chargers into a Mercy Rule beating.
Berwick 16, Valley View 6
Old Forge 22, Nanticoke 17
There were times during the 2021 season and between the end of that season and Friday night when a 2022 Montrose season seemed questionable. The Meteors are no longer an LFC member and they only play once in the first three weeks before taking on a light, independent schedule. But, with a new coach (Steve Hinds), a new schedule and a new plan, Montrose has its first win of the season – the victory in just having a program at this point. Adding a win in the Battle for the Bluestone, which Susquehanna has won in nine of 10 years, may be a bit much to ask. The game, however, will be one of, if not the toughest on the Montrose schedule, so the Meteors can learn from the experience and get ready for what is ahead.
Susquehanna 43, Montrose 6
Jake Manetti at West Scranton and Jason Majiros at Hanover Area each won their head coaching debuts and get to play at home against teams that lost their openers. Those games and a Saturday night rematch of last season’s home-and-home split between Holy Cross and Holy Redeemer are part of the Week Two schedule.
Scranton Prep 30, West Scranton 15
Tunkhannock 44, Hanover Area 21
Holy Cross 38, Holy Redeemer 34
Lakeland 37, Carbondale 10
Wyoming Valley West 23, Scranton 16
Lackawanna Trail 20, Lake-Lehman 10
Riverside 28, Mid Valley 21
Wyoming Area 41, Honesdale 20
Wilkes-Barre Area 27, Abington Heights 21
Williamsport 27, Pittston Area 17
I was wrong more often than I’d like, but that’s always a risk on the opening weekend. Both the picks here at NEPASportsNation.com and The Rick’s Picks, by Rick Notari at NEPAFootball.com, were 12-6 for a very mediocre 66.7 winning percentage. We split on the two games we disagreed upon with West Scranton defeating Riverside as Rick predicted and Susquehanna beating Holy Redeemer as I predicted. Crestwood, Dunmore, Nanticoke, Hanover Area and Scranton were the other teams to prove me wrong last week. One thing I was happy to have gotten right was the prediction that the average Opening Night victory margin would be down from a year ago. It was, dipping all the way from 27.2 to 16.0. Week Two a year ago produced a trio of one-point decisions and a three-point game. But, I’m in agreement with Rick that there are many games to feel uncertain about this week. As difficult as it this target will be to hit, I think the average margin from a year ago goes down again. Look for this week’s games to, as a whole, be just slightly closer than last year’s combination that produced an average margin of 17.3 points.
So many close calls put Rick and I on the opposite side of six games this week. See where we differ by checking out The Rick’s Picks at 2022 The Rick’s Picks – Week 2 | NEPA Football.