OK, it is Thursday and a special day at my house.
My youngest daughter, Grace, is celebrating her 10th birthday!
And my favorite NFL team the St. Louis Rams (Please stop laughing) play the San Francisco 49ers tonight on NFL Network.
So, as I began to put together the information for this week’s blog post, Grace says, “Dad, can’t you put down that computer for just one day?”
Quickly, I jumped up out of my seat, stared off into the sky and replied in my best deep, booming Superman voice. … “No! We must have a breakdown of the Top 4 games in the Lackawanna Football Conference this week!”
Her reply, while shaking her head into her palm “Oh, brother.”
So here we go. …
It was a real toss-up over what game would be the Game of the Week, but after that, there is more intrigue than anything.
Scranton Knights (2-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
- This game is extremely interesting because both teams have been very successful since 2010. They shared the LFC Division I crown in 2011 when both had very talented teams and both captured District 2 championships, Scranton in Class AAAA and Valley View in Class AAA. Scranton also won the Division crown in 2012 and Valley View reached the District 2 Class AAA playoffs again last season. So there is definitely some interest when these two teams clash.
- It seems the teams are headed in opposite directions. After getting bowled over in Week 1 of the season by Wallenpaupack, Valley View more resembles the team everyone expected it would be this season. The Cougars have won three straight games on the field, but are 2-2 because of a forfeit in Week 2. Still, they are riding a wave of momentum into this game. Scranton, meanwhile, has endured a powerful body blow from a 28-14 loss to Wyoming Valley West and a swift uppercut to the jaw from a 41-6 loss to Scranton Prep. With their legs wobbly, they can not absorb a hook to the jaw this week, or the season may be headed to the mat.
- If you like old-time football that is what you are going to get here. Both teams run the football. Valley View has developed a two-back attack with sophomore Scot Wasilchak and senior newcomer Rob Nardelli. That could be a problem for Scranton, which has been gouged for 609 rushing yards in four weeks. Scranton has Jake McCarthy, who is the leading rusher in Division I with 705 yards on 99 carries. That’s 705 of his team’s 765 rushing yards this season and 1,235 total.
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Friday, 7 p.m.
- Now isn’t this interesting? At the start of the season, many coaches felt that Mid Valley was the team ready to be ranked among the top 10 in the LFC and Lackawanna Trail would be rebuilding after back-to-back District 2 Class A playoff appearances. Not so, yet. The Spartans have a pair of wins over Wyoming Area (1-3) and last week against Holy Cross (0-4). Lackawanna Trail has defeated three WVC Class AA opponents with a combined record of 4-8 and Western Wayne (1-3). So, this game will tell a great deal about both teams as they get ready to start Divisional play next week.
- Mid Valley has had Lackawanna Trail’s number. The Spartans have won five straight games in the series, including the last two when Lackawanna Trail was the clear favorite in the game. Sometimes a program just gives another program trouble regardless of the circumstances. This year, fans only have one common opponent to try and gauge which is the better team. Mid Valley lost to Hanover Area, 12-7, in Week 1. Lackawanna Trail won a wild game against Hanover Area, 54-40, in Week 2. So once, again, I offer that the Lions might be favored. But that might mean very little in this one.
- Lackawanna Trail boasts the No. 1 offense in the entire LFC. The Lions are averaging 418 yards a game, which is impressive regardless of who you are playing. What is important to point out also is that they have the No. 1 passing team in the entire conference as well with 570 yards. So, what do you defend? They have had three backs run for at least 100 yards in a game this season and Vic Mallory is a big, strong, accurate passer. Tough to do. Mid Valley, interestingly enough, ranks second in the LFC Division II in total defense, giving up 225.8 yards per game. What has derailed the Spartans most have been turnovers.
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Saturday, 1 p.m.
- Both teams enter this LFC Division I game at 1-0 in the division and both are competing for what would be a well-earned District 2 Class AAA playoff spot. This matchup has been dominated by Abington Heights, which is 11-1 all-time in the series, but it did add some juice when the Buckhorns finally broke through with a win in 2011.
- Abington Heights survived its first scare of the season by rallying to beat Delaware Valley last week. Head coach Joe Repshis will tell you that is exactly the kind of game he would like to be coaching in every week. The old West Scranton and Holy Cross star is a stickler for “old school” football. But in his career, however, the Comets have dominated most of their opponents and had shut out their first three opponents before last week’s game. This is a typical Abington Heights team that is improving each week, in particular on offense, where J.C. Show is the captain. But his crew is starting to gain confidence, as well. Nate Hollander and Joe Carroll (No relation to former NBA star Joe Barry Carroll) are play makers and Sean Rock and Quinn Karam are quality backs.
- Wallenpaupack had confidence at the start of the season after a 35-0 win over Valley View and a thriller over rival Honesdale. Then came a dreaded trip to District 11 to face Allentown Dieruff and things have started to spin out of control. Jovaughn Marshall continues to be the breakout star of the early season with his 698 yards rushing in four games. However, he may find the going tough against an Abington Heights defense that has yielded 459 yards in four games and most of that came last week. The Buckhorns can not afford another loss if they hope to reach the postseason in either District 2 or the Eastern Conference Class AAA.
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Saturday, 4 p.m.
- At first glance, one might think why is this a good game? And really? Delaware Valley, again? And my answers would be: Yes. Yes. And Yes. Who am I, WWE star Daniel Bryan?
- But I digress. This is a huge game for both programs and here’s why. West Scranton at 3-1 knows it has games ahead against Class AAA opponents, Abington Heights, Scranton Prep and Valley View. With the one loss to top-ranked Dunmore against its record, any stumble along the way could be lethal to the team’s playoff chances and make each week, a must-win scenario. Delaware Valley is already in must-win mode. The Warriors have lost to Parkland (3-1) and state ranked in Class AAAA, Wyo. Valley West (3-1) and Abington Heights (4-0). That’s a pretty daunting schedule, if I do say so. The Warriors want to play in the postseason, even if it has to be the Eastern Conference playoffs. but more importantly, that loss to Parkland stings when comparing to Scranton as they battle for the other District 2-4-11 Class AAAA subregional playoffs.
- West Scranton wants to make a statement. The Invaders are 3-1 again this season, but last year once the LFC Division I schedule started, they finished 1-5. The Invaders have three wins against opponents who are a combined 3-9 overall. Last season, Delaware Valley (a much more powerful Delaware Valley) crushed West Scranton, 41-7, and sent it careening. The Invaders want to avoid that this season and continue on with high expectations of this veteran team that features a solid offensive and defensive line. Colin Lipowitch is a guy who has stood out all season and he will need to come up big again against the Warriors.
- Delaware Valley is not happy. Last week, the Warriors were ready to show the LFC that the 1-2 start to the season was a product of tough scheduling and an inexperienced group searching for an identity. They led mighty Abington Heights with 3 minutes to play, but the roof caved in. In addition, Delaware Valley committed 5 — count them — 5 turnovers. Can’t win that way at any level of football. So at 1-3 and home to host Warrior Days, Delaware Valley will be looking again to prove something. Lex Rosario emerged as a big-play back and the offensive line is beginning to look like a force. This is a critical game for the Warriors, who will get their chance against Scranton later in the year.