Good morning.

Well, it’s raining again! But, if you believe or trust meteorologists, and the only one I do anymore is Devon Rinaldi who you can follow at @WxmanDevon on Twittter, I think we are going to make it through Week 11 with dry weather. That should make for a good opening weekend of what turned out to be a football equivalent of an open tournament. More on that later.

OK, so it’s playoff week which meant I had no patience for anything and aggravated my entire family. On a break from writing, I noticed a postcard I received in the mail Tuesday from Lafayette College lying on my computer. I usually just toss them aside because, honestly, I don’t make the kind of money most Lafayette College graduates do and donations are few and far between. Had I known my niece and my daughter would both love the picturesque campus on the top of College Hill, maybe I would have been a more active alum. However, the only time I return to campus now is for the annual Lafayette-Lehigh game which is coming up very soon.

ReunionThis time, though, the weight of the postcard captured my attention. (Great marketing tool guys) So, I took a second look. It read in white letters across a maroon background the word REUNION. Of course, I have received these reminders before, but this one indicated the school is celebrating all the classes that end in 7 or 2. I chuckled and got ready to discard it like I had the hundreds of correspondence that came before it. But alas, I graduated in a year that ended in 2. (I knew that education would be valuable some day). And then it hit me like a piano falling on the top of Wile E. Coyote’s head. I have been a college graduate (you all stop laughing) for 25 years! This can’t be. Simply by receiving this item, which ended up being a save the date refrigerator magnet, confirmed I had actually graduated and there is a record of it, since of course I have misplaced that “hard-earned” diploma, one which most frame and display prominently in their studies.

So, I have been out of college for a quarter century. Where has the time gone I wondered? I sat on my couch, as I did so many times while I attended school there, and just gazed at the television in disbelief. The reality is, I am old now. And here I was taking in an episode of Matlock from 1990, one I probably watched with piercing attention while I should have been studying when it first aired. Back then, I used to picture myself coming home each day, tie undone, after some mundane 9 to 5 job, wearing a pinstripe suit, and carrying a briefcase, which I would place carefully on the foyer when greeted by my children. See in those days, I wanted to be a lawyer, or at least I attended classes enough to earn me a degree in Government and Law. Funny, after pomp and circumstance and the turning of the tassel, I took a road less traveled, and found my GamefaceWk11real passion as a sportswriter. I rarely wear suits, probably only own two, with several colored shirts and multiple different ties to accompany on a rotating basis. I drink endless pots of coffee, sit around in shorts and a T-shirt all day, my hair disheveled more resembling Peter Falk than attorney Jack McCoy and I write. I type away on this laptop which is rarely at rest (that should make IT happy) on my kitchen table, a former place where my family ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, turned into a makeshift office without the mahogany bookcases and leather chair, just trying to find words to put into sentences, many of which make little sense to anyone but me. There are long days and long nights, especially this time of the year. Conor Foley and I had a tight deadline on gameface Week 11, and edition which required patience and some volume writing and statistical compiling, and an artistic design created with outside the box thinking. Hours upon hours passed and the work kept coming like a tidal wave. Hearing the voices of the players I interviewed about having the opportunity to play in the postseason, to compete for championships just kept invigorating me. We survived and the edition got completed and hits newsstands Friday.

See, it’s hectic at times and in April as I reach my 20th year with Times-Shamrock and my 25th Lafayette Class Reunion is celebrated in June, I have come to realize, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world. Well, maybe a Jaguar and a bigger house, but you get the idea. This job, covering high school athletes and telling their stories, is pretty rewarding at this time of the year. So much so, I am even considering attending that class reunion so I can tell all my chums. But, before I do, I must churn out this blog post and get you all ready for a playoff where almost everybody is taking part.

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PLAYOFFS

OK, there are 13 teams from the Lackawanna Football Conference participating in the District 2 playoffs. With the addition of two classifications by the PIAA, that is an increase from nine district playoff teams in 2015.

With that, several teams are returning as they usually do, while others are back in the fold after a hiatus.

Here are the LFC qualifiers and how many times they have reached the District 2 postseason which began in 1992, but really didn’t become the main path to the state playoffs until 1994:

Abington Heights senior QB  Colin McCreary (Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer)

Abington Heights senior QB
Colin McCreary
(Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer)

Abington Heights (14): 

  • Class AAAA – 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2006
  • Class AAA – 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
  • Class 5A – 2016

Delaware Valley (10):

  • Class AAAA – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
  • Class 6A  2016

Dunmore (19):

  • Class 2A – 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Class A – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Lackawanna Trail senior FB Thomas Huffsmith

Lackawanna Trail senior FB Thomas Huffsmith

Lackawanna Trail (17):

  • Class A – 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Lakeland (18):

  • Class A – 1994
  • Class 2A – 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

Mid Valley (6):

  • Class A – 1996, 1997, 2006
  • Class 2A – 2009, 2011, 2016

North Pocono (5):

  • Class AAA – 1993, 1994, 2009, 2010, 2016
Riverside senior  Nick Sottile

Riverside senior
Nick Sottile

Riverside (15):

  • Class 2A – 2004, 2006, 2007, 2016
  • Class A – 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Scranton (8):

  • Class AAAA – 1993, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Class 6A  2016

Scranton Prep (9):

  • Class AAA – 1992, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Class AA – 1998, 2001, 2005
Valley View senior  Jake Osborne.

Valley View senior
Jake Osborne.

Valley View (14):

  • Class AAA – 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2011, 2012,
  • Class AA – 2000, 2001, 2006, 2008
  • Class 4A – 2016

Wallenpaupack (5):

  • Class AAA – 1992, 1993, 1995
  • Class AAAA – 2009
  • Class 5A – 2016

West Scranton (10):

  • Class 4A – 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2016
  • Class AAA – 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2010

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REMATCHES

Each year, I can’t help but think of that scene at the end of Rocky. You know the one, where a battered and bruised Apollo Creed, the boisterous heavyweight champion with the bombastic personality, telling the underdog, humble Rocky Balboa, there wasn’t going to be a rematch. And Rocky famously responds, “Don’t want one.” We all know how that worked out.

 

 

Everybody wants a rematch. And we have a couple involving LFC teams which should pique a little interest.

CLASS 6A

Scrantonnewdelaware_valleyScranton (4-6) at

Delaware Valley (8-2)

Warrior Stadium

Friday, 7 p.m.

First meeting: Delaware Valley, 43-7.

Beginning in 2012, this rivalry took shape as one where the two big boys would duke it out just like Apollo and Rocky. Each took turns beating the other. Scranton won the regular-season game in 2012, Delaware Valley won the District 2 title game. Scranton won again in 2013, but Delaware Valley has won the last three and in wild fashion. At the beginning of the year, Delaware Valley earned the preseason No. 1 and has lived up to the hype, especially offensively. Scranton started No. 4, but injuries have really been the Knights’ worst enemy. This has the potential to be a much better game the second time around.

– – –

CLASS 2A

MVnew1dunmore_flipMid Valley (5-5) at

Dunmore (10-0)

Dunmore Veterans Memorial Stadium

Friday, 7 p.m.

First meeting: Dunmore, 47-3.

Ok, I know what you are all thinking, :Do we need this rematch?” Well, of course we do. Look, Dunmore crunches everybody. It’s a way of life at this point. But look, Mid Valley has had a nice season and coach Dave Rebar has done a good job of getting these kids to believe that hard work pays off. Now, they have a playoff game to prove it. That being said, this is Dunmore’s battlefield. Since 2007, the Bucks have a record of 15-3 in the District 2 playoffs while not having lost in the District 2 Class 2A playoffs since 2006.

– – –

CLASS 2A

riverside2lakerightRiverside (7-3) at

Lakeland (9-1)

Lakeland Stadium

Friday, 7 p.m.

First meeting: Lakeland, 42-14

This is one where I think everybody will have at least one eye on. Yes, Lakeland won the first meeting, but Riverside is a talented team and one which believed it played much better than the score indicated. It is interesting, this is a rematch where the venue has changed. Back when the two teams played, it was clear because they both had already lost to Dunmore, it would determine the No. 2 seed. So, here we are at Lakeland Stadium where believe it or not, the Chiefs suffered their only loss of the season. This is the best of the rematches and should be a very competitive game.

– – –

CLASS 1A

lackawanna_trailnorthwest_luzerne_flipLackawanna Trail (7-3) at

Northwest Area (7-3)

Northwest Area High School, Shickshinny

Friday 7 p.m.

First meeting: Lackawanna Trail, 35-19.

Will play at Northwest Area (7-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. for the District 2 Class 1A championship. You have to feel good for head coach Steve Jervis. He has 23 players on his roster. That’s right, 23. And the Lions have only three losses. Those just happened to come against Dunmore (27-7), Lakeland (27-7) and Riverside (21-18). Yeah, those three teams are pretty good. Lackawanna Trail won seven District 2 Class 1A championships from 1999 to 2007 under the guidance of Lakeland head coach Jeff Wasilchak.

– – –

CLASS 5A

wallenpaupackmvnewWallenpaupack (3-7) at

Abington Heights (6-4)

Comets Stadium

Saturday, 2 p.m.

First meeting: Abington Heights, 38-0.

Yes, I know, this one was lopsided the first time around, but again, you never know in the playoffs. Wallenpaupack didn’t have its starting tailback, Joe Ingulli, the first time and has been working hard since that game. This is a Wallenpaupack team which starts underclassmen at just about every position, so this will also be a good experience. Abington Heights is in the playoffs for the first time since losing to Berwick in the District 2 Class 3A final in 2013. Saturday games are tough, and please note the start time. It’s 2 p.m.

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OTHER TEAMS TO WATCH

So with the rematches, that accounts for nine of the 13 LFC qualifiers. The LFC will also be represented by North Pocono, Valley View and West Scranton in Class 4A, and Scranton Prep in Class 3A.

Here is a look at the LFC qualifiers:

npnewNorth Pocono (7-3)

  • Will host Crestwood (3-7) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Trojans began the year with five straight wins, including an impressive win over Delaware Valley. But the offense had a tough time against Valley View and Scranton Prep in the regular season. However, this is a senior-oriented team and that is important in the playoffs. This is the first playoff appearance for the Trojans since 2010.

– – –

valley_viewValley View (6-4)

  • Will host Coughlin (5-5) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Cougars are one of the hottest teams in District 2. The defense has two straight shutouts and the offense is scoring at will. They started the season 0-3 and finished with a made dash to the finish to earn a home playoff game. This is a dangerous team in Class 4A.

– – –

west2002-09West Scranton (5-5)

  • Will play at Berwick (6-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. Coach Brian Fahey has done a masterful job while also playing the role of Hawkeye Pierce from MASH. This team has had a rash of injuries, but he never makes an excuse. The Invaders had a signature win over North Pocono and will play tough defense.

– – –

scranton_prep_flipScranton Prep (9-1)

  • Will host Nanticoke (5-5) on Friday at 7 p.m. OK, I am saying it right now, the Cavaliers are a team that should be getting more attention statewide. When the state reclassified the schools into six classes, this program at the time a Class 3A which is clearly on the upswing, fell into Class 3A with mostly programs which competed as Class 2A teams. I know it looks odd, but this is a team that blasted Berwick last year, and now will play teams used to playing in Class 2A. This is a team to watch.

SCHEDULE

Ok, so here is the full District 2 schedule for the weekend.

HS FOOTBALL

Delaware Valley QB Matt Cavallaro

Delaware Valley QB
Matt Cavallaro

DISTRICT 2-4 SUBREGIONAL
CLASS 6A
Friday’s semifinals
3-Scranton (4-6) at 2-Delaware Valley (8-2), 7 p.m.
4-Hazleton Area (3-7) at 1-Williamsport (9-1), 7 p.m.
Final
Semifinal winners, Nov. 11

– – –

DISTRICT 2-11 SUBREGIONAL
CLASS 5A
Saturday’s District 2 first round
3-Wallenpaupack (3-7) at 2-Abington Heights (6-4), 2 p.m.
District 2 final
Wallenpaupack/Abington Heights winner at 1-Wyoming Valley West (8-2), Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
Friday’s District 11 semifinals
3-East Stroudsburg South (5-5) at 2-Southern Lehigh (8-2), 7 p.m.
4-East Stroudsburg North (3-7) at 1-Whitehall (6-4), 7 p.m.
District 11 final
Semifinal winners, Nov. 11
Subregional final
District 11 winner at District 2 winner, Nov. 18 or Nov. 19

– – –

Matt Craig

Matt Craig

DISTRICT 2
CLASS 4A
Friday’s quarterfinals
6-Coughlin (5-5) at 3-Valley View (6-4), 7 p.m.
7-Crestwood (3-7) at 2-North Pocono (7-3), 7 p.m.
5-West Scranton (5-5) at 4-Berwick (6-4), 7 p.m.
8-Dallas (2-8) at 1-Wyoming Area (8-2), 7 p.m.
Semifinals
Quarterfinal winners, Nov. 11
Final
Semifinal winners, Nov. 18

– – –

Scranton Prep QB Jake Ryan

Scranton Prep QB
Jake Ryan

DISTRICT 2
CLASS 3A
Friday’s semifinals
4-Nanticoke (5-5) at 1-Scranton Prep (9-1), 7 p.m.
3-Lake-Lehman (5-5) at 2-GAR (5-5), 7 p.m.
Final
Semifinal winners, Nov. 11

– – –

DISTRICT 2
CLASS 2A
Friday’s semifinals
4-Mid Valley (5-5) at 1-Dunmore (10-0), 7 p.m.
3-Riverside (7-3) at 2-Lakeland (9-1), 7 p.m.
Final
Semifinals winners, Nov. 11

– – –

DISTRICT 1-2 SUBREGIONAL
CLASS 1A
Friday’s District 2 final
2-Lackawanna Trail (7-3) at 1-Northwest Area (7-3), 7 p.m.
Friday’s District 1 final
2-Delco Christian (3-6) at 1-Jenkintown (6-2), 7:30 p.m.
Subregional final
District 2 winner vs. District 1 winner, Nov. 11

– – –

NOTE: There are also a pair of Eastern Conference championship games involving LFC teams.

ECCLASS 3A

Meyers (5-5) at Western Wayne (5-5), Friday, 7 p.m.

CLASS 2A-1A

Susquehanna (4-6) at Old Forge (4-6), Friday, 7 p.m.

 

 

 

 

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INTO THE FUTURE

Yes, the playoffs give us an opportunity to cherish the present, but why not take a look at the future. And, to be honest, it doesn’t look like too much is going to change.

This week, the LFC concluded its freshman football schedule and crowned division champions. Here they are:

DIVISION I – Delaware Valley Warriors (7-2 overall, 3-0 in Division I)

Valley View, L 28-18

Scranton Prep, W 38-22

West Scranton, W 38-28

North Pocono, W, 44-8

Don Bosco Prep, L 37-6

Wallenpaupack, W 36-0

Scranton, W 40-20

Wallenpaupack, W 30-8

Abington Heights, W 58-0

DV freshman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DIVISION II – Valley View Cougars (10-0 overall, 5-0 in Division II)

Lakeland, W 22-7

Delaware Valley, W 28-18

Scranton, W 40-6

Western Wayne, W 48-18

Abington Heights, W 46-8

Scranton Prep, W 14-6

West Scranton, W 40-28

North Pocono, W 50-6

Western Wayne, W 42-6

Honesdale, W 51-8

VVfreshmen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DIVISION III – Lakeland Chiefs (8-1 overall, 7-0 in Division II)

Valley View, L 22-7

Scranton Prep, W 20-18

Dunmore, W 26-12

Carbondale Area, W 44-6

Lackawanna Trail, W 26-14

Susquehanna, W 58-12

Riverside, W 53-6

Old Forge, W 60-20

Montrose, W 42-8

LakelandFreshmen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OK, that is it for today.

We will have a lot more information for you next week for championship weekend.

Good luck to all the teams.

As always. … ENJOY!