NEPA Sports Nation

Tom Robinson’s high school football predictions: Week 9

By Tom Robinson,

There is no mistaking that in the 21st century, northeastern Pennsylvania football fans – and most teams – place far more emphasis on the pursuit of playoff qualification, then seeds, then the playoffs themselves.

The playoffs arrive soon enough. They are just two weeks away.

The suggestion here, however, is not to forget to enjoy the regular-season title races that, while losing some significance through the years with constant changes and smaller groups of teams chasing titles in divisions, are still a sign of accomplishment.

The predictions will start early in this column.

The first is that more than one of those titles will be decided this week before we get around to deciding the remainder in Week 10 finales.

Championships will be won beginning Friday night, even if they can’t be declared official.

Sure, technically, the Lakeland-Western Wayne and Old Forge-Riverside winners can only clinch a tie for first place, not the outright Lackawanna Football Conference division titles.

Of the four finales for potential winners, one could argue that Honesdale would present a difficult road test in a rivalry game if Western Wayne were to emerge from back-to-back wins over Dunmore and Lakeland with the division lead.

As you can see by reading just a little further, that is not a scenario that I am about to predict.

Time for this week’s picks, with home teams in bold italics:


Small Schools that are ranked in the Gaughan Auto Store Super Six Power Rankings square off in the two games for LFC division championships. Old Forge and Riverside come in with identical credentials – 3-0 division records and 5-3 overall marks. The division title is a bonus for a rivalry that is plenty fierce without it. Lakeland hosts a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 game for the second time this season. The Chiefs have been No. 1 since winning the first, 41-14, over Scranton Prep Opening Night. Lakeland may be coming off the least impressive of its eight straight wins while outscoring opponents, 376-76, as District 2’s only unbeaten team. I see no cause for alarm in the 42-12 victory over West Scranton by a team that has beaten every opponent by at least 27 points. The bigger issue is that Lakeland catches No. 2 Western Wayne when it is hot. The Wildcats have won six straight, including a four-week stretch in which they have outscored opponents, 167-13. Most recently that includes a 44-0 rout of Dunmore, a game in which I foolishly predicted an upset by the Bucks. The Chiefs may face their biggest challenge, but they will make sure that I won’t be fooled again.

Old Forge 31, Riverside 24

Lakeland 35, Western Wayne 17


Those who like chaos can root for Wilkes-Barre Area and Berwick Friday night. The Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 race, which once seemed to hinge entirely on the Hazleton Area-Dallas game in Week 6, could end Friday or it could never end. With the WVC using a head-to-head tiebreaker to declare a champion in two-way ties, current co-leaders Dallas or Crestwood could take the title Friday night while facing challenging games in their division finales. Dallas wants that tie at the top to remain because it has the tiebreaker on Crestwood, so a Dallas victory at Wilkes-Barre Area and a Crestwood win at Berwick would make the Mountaineers champions. Crestwood could become champ if it wins, but Dallas loses. In the event that both Wilkes-Barre Area and Berwick pull off wins in clearly attainable upsets, a five-way tie at the top with 4-2 records becomes the most likely outcome. That would be interesting and it is possible, but I don’t think WVC officials will have to worry about sorting out there five-way tie through district power rankings, as conference by-laws require. One week after the schedule was dominated by mismatches, the Crestwood-Berwick game between ranked Big Schools has the potential to be the best of an interesting bunch.

Crestwood 31, Berwick 30

Dallas 31, Wilkes-Barre Area 25

Hazleton Area 39, Williamsport 17


Delaware Valley’s Friday night victory over previous sole LFC Division 1 leader Valley View last week created a situation where Scranton had an opportunity to force a four-way tie at the top of the division, for about a half hour, until Scranton Prep’s victory was complete. Instead, the once 6-0 Knights dropped their second straight in one of the season’s most significant upsets, falling at Abington Heights, 14-13. Now, the Knights are essentially relegated to spoiler role. They can keep Delaware Valley from ultimately sharing the title it is defending. There are miniscule scenarios of a solo title by the Warriors or a multi-way tie at 4-2, but the chances are so remote that they do not warrant further explanation. Delaware Valley has to beat both Scranton and suddenly dangerous Abington Heights to ultimately share the title with the Week 10 winner of the Valley View-Scranton Prep game. That is all assuming Valley View suffer its second straight loss in an upset by Wallenpaupack. I’m ready to make that assumption.

Delaware Valley 31, Scranton 20

Valley View 40, Wallenpaupack 3


Wins could be hard to find when four District 2 teams face opponents from outside the area. The Wyoming Area-Southern Columbia series began when both teams were on the way to 2019 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state championships. Southern Columbia’s record streak of state titles could end this year, but, as Berwick learned in the opener, the Tigers remain a formidable opponent.

Southern Columbia 42, Wyoming Area 16

Shamokin 20, Nanticoke 9

Towanda 35, Tunkhannock 23

Lansing (N.Y.) 42, Montrose 19


Pittston Area’s biggest games in years awaits next week against Wyoming Area for the WVC Division 2 title. Scranton Prep plays a winless opponent in a non-leaguer while waiting to play yet another title-deciding game at Valley View. Concentration may be tested, but don’t expect either to slip now.

Pittston Area 45, Holy Redeemer 25

Scranton Prep 42, Wyoming Valley West 0

Dunmore 36, Honesdale 20

Lake-Lehman 25, Hanover Area 6

West Scranton 25, Mid Valley 21

Abington Heights 23, North Pocono 16

Lackawanna Trail 49, Holy Cross 6

Susquehanna 26, Carbondale 15


A late-season push has created my first lead of the season in a friendly competition with The Rick’s Picks on With a 16-2 (88.9 percent) record last week, the picks here are 46-7 (86.8 percent) over the past three weeks to raise the season mark to 112-29, a season-high percentage of 79.4. The Rick’s Picks were 15-3 (83.3 percent) for the week and are 111-30 (78.7 percent) for the season. See where Rick and I differ and read what Rick has to say in this week’s predictions at: 2022 The Rick’s Picks – Week 8 | NEPA Football.

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