NEPA Sports Nation

Tom Robinson’s high school football predictions: Week 4

By Tom Robinson,

Quite simply, I love my job.

Hopefully, that shows through in my work and the effort I put into it.

But, being a sports writer, and in particular, one with a concentration on high school athletics for more than three of my four decades in the business, means replacing much of the time I might normally spend as a sports fan.

I still enjoy making extra time for sports on TV during March Madness, a golf major and National Football League Sundays, but most of the rest has disappeared through the years.

To do my job correctly, it is a necessity to know more about the Hazleton Area and Lakeland football teams than I do about the Philadelphia Eagles or Buffalo Bills. I can tell you much more about the Lake-Lehman golf team and Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball program than about the current New York Mets lineup or recent developments in the Syracuse men’s basketball program.

My two sports worlds are generally separate, but there are times like Sunday when I wish that wasn’t true.

The NFL still holds my interest as a fan because of playoffs like those contested last season and stretches like Sunday when every 1 p.m. game simultaneously came to the exciting kind of conclusion that is difficult to find anywhere in a District 2 football game during recent seasons.

Opening weekend of pro football gave us a tie game, another decided late in overtime, plus two regulation one-point games, a two-pointer, a three-pointer and two more decided by five and six points.

To find a one-point game in the same weekend of local high school football, one would need to count Mid Valley’s 1-0 forfeit over Holy Cross on a shortage of players.

Carbondale’s 14-12 victory over Hanover Area was the only game decided on the field by fewer than eight points.

There were 63-, 56-, 54- and 53-point scoring efforts and victory margins of 57, 49, 49 and 47.

In all, the average game was decided by 25.7 points.

It is not an exaggeration to say when I began covering local high school football in the mid-1980s, 25.7 points was just about the average points in a Big 11 game – not separating two teams, but by two teams combined. The struggle for points alone automatically made games closer.

There are plenty of exciting plays and performances in high school football the way it is played now, but the close games and tight championship races are likely a thing of the past, with too many reasons for the many mismatches for there to be any quick fixes.

I’m not here to offer an elusive solution. That may be beyond my expertise or that of the people responsible for such tasks. Rather, I’ll just observe that I can only hope for local players and fans that they get the chance to more frequently experience the thrill of being part of suspenseful finishes than what has become the norm.

With that said, on to this week’s predictions, where it’s only natural that the trends have been toward more high-scoring and large-margin projections. Home teams are listed in bold italics. We’ll start with those most likely to create a close finish rather than those most meaningful in title races.


For struggling programs like Montrose and Holy Cross, just being on the field can be a victory. Each has had to miss games in recent seasons with a lack of available players. Montrose has dropped out of the Lackawanna Football Conference this season while it tries to rebuild. Holy Cross had to forfeit last week rather than take the field against Mid Valley, a school with which it has a rivalry in other sports. Montrose showed significant progress in its opener. Holy Cross showed progress last season before being unable to duplicate it early this season. If there are any programs that could really use the thrill of being involved in a close, competitive game, it is these two.

Montrose 23, Holy Cross 19


Two Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 games pit teams apparently on the rise, Holy Redeemer (2-1) and Nanticoke (1-2), against those going through uncharacteristic struggles. While Wyoming Area (1-2) and Lake-Lehman (0-3) try to bounce back, they find themselves in games that could be much closer than one might have projected prior to the start of this season.

Holy Redeemer 35, Lake-Lehman 33

Nanticoke 24, Wyoming Area 19


Two games match ranked teams against each other, No. 5 North Pocono at No. 4 Valley View in Big Schools Friday and Big School No. 6 Scranton against Small School No. 2 Scranton Prep Saturday. Those rankings are according to the Gaughan Auto Store Super Six compiled each week by our partners at Look for the higher-ranked teams to live up to their status.

Valley View 31, North Pocono 18

Scranton Prep 40, Scranton 25


The two top-ranked teams, Hazleton Area and Lakeland, put their unbeaten records on the line against 2-1 teams. Both No. 1 teams have been much too strong for any opponent so far this season.

Hazleton Area 52, Wilkes-Barre Area 15

Lakeland 40, Susquehanna 0


Dallas and Lackawanna Trail join Hazleton Area, Lakeland and Scranton among the list of unbeaten teams in District 2. Expect that list will be trimmed down from five this week.

Dallas 54, West Scranton 14

Honesdale 10, Lackawanna Trail 0


Delaware Valley has found its competitive games by scheduling three straight opponents outside the area – one of them out of the state – to begin the season. Now, the Warriors are ready to start finding wins as they take on local opponents the rest of the regular season. They have to beat a rival on the road to get started on the right path.

Delaware Valley 25, Wallenpaupack 19

Western Wayne 35, Abington Heights 7

Tunkhannock 37, Carbondale 22

Dunmore 42, Riverside 3

Old Forge 38, Mid Valley 13

Crestwood 31, Wyoming Valley West 0

Berwick 34, Williamsport 13

Pittston Area 31, Hanover Area 0


Hopefully, the early-season mysteries are a thing of the past and we are on to more accurate predictions. I’d be happy to be wrong about some of the scores and margin-of-victory projections, but will be trying to produce records more like last week’s 14-2 (85.7 percent) than the current season mark of 38-14 (73.1 percent). That 14-2 record, while Rick Notari of The Rick’s Picks on was going 12-4, means that for the second time in three weeks this season, our friendly competition is all tied up at the 38 wins apiece. Another tie is possible with Rick and I on the opposite side of two games this week. See where we differ and read what Rick has to say in this week’s predictions at: 2022 The Rick’s Picks – Week 4 | NEPA Football.

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