Good Thursday to you all!

Yes, you are reading that headline correctly. LFC teams are ready for Week 0. I know it is nonsensical, but that is what the PIAA calls this weekend of regular-season games. Why, you ask? Well, it’s actually more simple than the conundrum it creates. When the PIAA expanded to six classifications, another goal was to move the season back a week on the calendar, so not to invade the Christmas holiday too much. By doing that, the PIAA removed a week in the season and essentially created a calendar that offers 9 weeks for a regular season. Well, realistically, 9 games is a really short season when you think about the commitment of high school athletes, and there is just something mythical about playing double-digit games. So, the PIAA offered districts the opportunity to use the 5-day heat acclimatization period as the first week of preseason practice, but not to have a scrimmage. The second week, which is the first “official” day of fall sports practice remained the same with a scrimmage on the Saturday. If districts agreed, their member schools could then play in what is now considered Week 0. I guess, I may have muddied the waters even more. Any way, all you as fans need to know is the games count this weekend. High School football is back.

I always laugh when people think because Steve Bennett, my colleague at The Citizens’ Voice, and I cover high school sports, that we have the entire summer off. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Just ask our families. Beginning on July 10, I essentially have been full steam ahead with football coverage. That’s when I began doing stories on the Dream Game. During that time, the actual execution of GameFace 2017 really got in motion. There were many nights, just ask my pals in the office, where I plugged in my earbuds and shut myself off to the world. I was in a trance it seemed, churning out preview story after preview story, stat rails, capsules, the kind of grind that, from what I am told, can make your eyes bleed. It’s not Pulitzer Prize prose, but it’s functional. It provides the readers insight and analysis of the season ahead. I did take a break to go to Rehoboth Beach for a week, but all that meant was I needed to get more work done in a shorter period of time. Somehow, as it all comes together, thanks to the great staff led by Chris Imperiale, the powerful design by Conor Foley, the emotional photos by Jason Farmer and the grunt work done by Herb Smith, I remain calm during the actual production of the 48-page edition. While those guys are burning the midnight oil, I visited all 20 schools to do short vignettes on players in the LFC. So, essentially, we give you the fans, 56 pages of coverage leading into the season. And I finish this summer rush of coverage knowing, imitation is the greatest form of flattery!

Then comes, GameFace in the regular season. That debuts tomorrow, but I can tell you all that outlining of the edition and work began last Thursday. Look, we sign up for this detail. It takes time and energy, but we all get charged up once the season kicks off. Trust me fans, you are all going to want to get a copy of this week’s edition.

GAMEFACE WEEK 0

Coming in Friday’s Times-Tribune

 

 


 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS FOR WEEK 0

 

So, today is the first Thursday Blog Post of the season. I hope I can keep the pace all season, and I must warn you all that, as I grow older, it is tougher and tougher to do so.

It’s Opening Weekend. I don’t care what number falls after the word “Week” in the schedule. So, I thought, I would give you all a little data to chew on heading into the season. Will I have enough time to do this type of research every week? We shall see.

Records on Opening Weekend

 

I like to only dial these types of stat packages back to 1998 because that was the beginning of the LFC-era of the game in NEPA. There were two years in there with the NEPFC, but we will lump those in for historical reference points.

Wasilchak

Jeff Wasilchak, Lakeland (18-1)

Since 1998, Wasilchak’s teams has only lost one time on opening week. That came against Scranton Prep in 2011. Wasilchak started his career in 1997 with a loss to Northwest and is 18-2 overall in 20 opening week games. Lakeland hosts rival Valley View on Friday at 7 p.m.

 

 

Repshis

Joe Repshis, Abington Heights (11-1)

Beginning in his first season of 2005, Resphis has only one loss on opening weekend and that came in 2008 against Hazleton Area. Last season, the Comets handed Scranton Prep its only loss of the regular season on the first Saturday. Abington Heights will host Scranton Prep on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

 

 

Best of the best

 

Here is a look at the best programs since the 2000 season in the Lackawanna Football Conference.

 

Nick Shoemaker

 

No. 1

Dunmore Bucks

Wins

Losses

2000

8

3

2001

6

5

2002

8

4

2003

9

3

2004

10

2

2005

4

6

2006

10

2

2007

14

2

2008

11

2

2009

12

1

2010

7

5

2011

10

1

2012

14

2

2013

11

1

2014

14

2

2015

12

2

2016

13

1

Total

173

44

 

 

Evan Kraky led Lakeland to 22 wins in 2000 and 2001.

No. 2

Lakeland Chiefs

Wins

Losses

2000

12

1

2001

10

1

2002

11

2

2003

13

1

2004

12

1

2005

8

4

2006

12

2

2007

8

4

2008

8

4

2009

8

4

2010

10

2

2011

5

6

2012

8

4

2013

7

5

2014

4

6

2015

7

4

2016

10

2

Total

153

53

 

 

Shane Schuback helped Blue Devils reach the PIAA Class 1A final in 2013.

 

 

No. 3

Old Forge Blue Devils

Wins

Losses

2000

5

5

2001

7

4

2002

7

5

2003

5

6

2004

6

5

2005

8

4

2006

9

4

2007

7

4

2008

9

3

2009

10

1

2010

7

4

2011

10

3

2012

11

1

2013

14

2

2014

12

1

2015

13

2

2016

4

7

Total

144

61

 

Dave Keisling was a two-way star for the Comets in 2005-2006.

 

No. 4

Abington Heights Comets

Wins

Losses

2000

8

4

2001

8

3

2002

8

3

2003

4

6

2004

5

5

2005

10

1

2006

10

2

2007

6

5

2008

10

2

2009

11

2

2010

12

1

2011

3

7

2012

10

3

2013

10

2

2014

4

6

2015

5

5

2016

8

5

Totals

132

62

 

 

Lackawanna Trail’s Richard Jackson ran for 4,546 yards from 1999 to 2001.

 

No. 5

Lackawanna Trail Lions

Wins

Losses

2000

12

2

2001

10

2

2002

10

3

2003

11

3

2004

8

4

2005

9

3

2006

6

5

2007

9

4

2008

1

9

2009

1

9

2010

4

6

2011

8

3

2012

8

3

2013

6

5

2014

7

4

2015

6

6

2016

9

4

Total

125

75

 

 

Bryan Schor led Delaware Valley to District 2 Class 4A title in 2012.

 

No. 6

Delaware Valley

Warriors

Wins

Losses

2000

0

10

2001

3

8

2002

7

4

2003

5

5

2004

9

2

2005

8

3

2006

9

2

2007

9

2

2008

7

4

2009

5

6

2010

6

5

2011

7

4

2012

11

2

2013

7

5

2014

10

2

2015

7

4

2016

9

3

Total

119

71

 

 

Scranton Prep’s Thor Balavage was the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year.

 

 

No. 7

Scranton Prep Cavaliers

Wins

Losses

2000

7

5

2001

8

3

2002

7

3

2003

5

5

2004

5

5

2005

7

4

2006

2

8

2007

3

7

2008

6

6

2009

7

4

2010

3

7

2011

7

4

2012

8

4

2013

10

1

2014

8

3

2015

11

2

2016

12

2

Total

116

73

 

 


 

WEEK 0

 

Here is a look at the schedule:

 

Lakeland defeated Valley View, 13-12, in overtime last season.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 25
Division III
Mid Valley at Lackawanna Trail
Nonleague
Wyoming Valley West at Scranton
Delaware Valley vs. Central, Fort Pierce, Fla. in Orlando
Wyoming Area at Wallenpaupack
West Scranton at Dunmore
North Pocono at Riverside
Valley View at Lakeland
Carbondale Area at Western Wayne
Hanover Area at Old Forge
GAR at Honesdale

 

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26

Abington Heights beat Scranton Prep, 21-14, last season.

Division III
Montrose at Susquehanna, 2
Nonleague
Holy Cross vs. Holy Redeemer at Lake-Lehman, 2
Scranton Prep at Abington Heights, 2:30

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

TIMES-TRIBUNE TOP 10

 

Here is the preseason poll, which Conor Foley designed for GameFace 2017.

 

 

 

 


 

A WRAP

 

That is all or today.

Hope this helps. Remember to look for GameFace in The Times-Tribune on Friday.

I will be covering games this week:

Friday

West Scranton at Dunmore

 

Saturday

Scranton Prep at Abington Heights

 

 

See you at the games!

ENJOY!