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4th Down Magazine’s Picks and Predictions for the Week of November 19-21

Standings: 

Andy Shay: Last week 11-3; Overall 123-35

Jake Adams: Last week 8-6; Overall 117-41

Geoff Morrow: Last week 12-2; Overall 115-43

Andy Sandrik: Last week 12-2; Overall 114-44

THURSDAY’S GAMES

Regular Season

Northern at Mechanicsburg, 6

Andy Shay: Mechanicsburg 41, Northern 14: Wildcats are still a hungry team soaking in every chance to play and have a purpose. The Polar Bears are struggling.

Jake Adams: Mechanicsburg 42, Northern 14: This game won’t be as dramatic as it appeared to be at midseason. 

Andy Sandrik: Mechanicsburg 33, Northern 10: Rivalry games never go quite according to prediction, but Mechanicsburg has certainly earned the right to be called the favorite over Northern, which is stumbling in on a three-game losing skid. 

Geoff Morrow: Mechanicsburg 32, Northern 20: The Wildcats are clearly in a better position entering this rivalry contest, though I expect the Polar Bears will come out with a fire in their white, furry bellies.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

PIAA Playoffs

Class 4A Semifinal: 4-1 Jersey Shore at 3-1 Lampeter-Strasburg, 7

Andy Shay: Jersey Shore 27, Lampeter-Strasburg 21: The Bulldogs boast a 1,500-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher with plenty of options at receivers. Elco slowed the Pioneers offense last week, and that blueprint will be what Jersey Shore works off. Pioneers will have a say in the outcome, though.

Jake Adams: Jersey Shore 35, Lampeter-Strasburg 17: The Bulldogs can run. They can throw. They can get to the quarterback. They can force turnovers. They don’t have many holes. 

Andy Sandrik: Jersey Shore 28, Lampeter-Strasburg 20: Gotta believe Jersey Shore is scouring that Elco film from last week and looking to perfect the blueprint the Raiders used for holding L-S to a season-low 20 points. 

Geoff Morrow: Lampeter-Strasburg 29, Jersey Shore 26: I realize the Bulldogs from District 4 are the No. 1 team in the Class 4A state rankings, and the Pioneers (No. 2) are coming off a lackluster performance. But I choose to believe what happened with Elco last week was a challenge the Pioneers needed to face. Kudos to the Raiders, by the way. L-S, I believe, has what it takes, especially at home.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

PIAA Playoffs

Class 6A Semifinal: 10-1 McDowell vs. 3-1 Central York, at Altoona HS, 1

Andy Shay: Central York 42, McDowell 21: Having Beau Pribula at quarterback always helps, but, in these big games, it takes more to clear the hurdle. McDowell is gonna be rusty after back-to-back COVID-19 forfeits and could be overwhelmed by the pace of the CY offense.

Jake Adams: Central York 45, McDowell 20: Guys. The Panthers might just win the whole enchilada. How many enchiladas are there in York City? I hope it’s a lot. 

Andy Sandrik: Central York 45, McDowell 24: Because 2020 is being 2020, McDowell is one win away from a spot in the state championship game … without having yet played a single postseason snap. If CY can avoid COVID-19 (unlike McDowell’s last two opponents), the Panthers have a really good chance of carrying that York County flag into a PIAA title tilt. 

Geoff Morrow: Central York 38, McDowell 24: If 2020 is the year when big-school York County football emerges from the hinterlands, why not just march right to the finish line? Panthers are obviously a fantastic group, and, yes, the Trojans will likely be affected by the fact they haven’t played a legitimate down of football since before Halloween.

Class 5A Semifinal: 7-1 Pine-Richland vs. 3-1 Governor Mifflin, at Hollidaysburg HS, 1

Andy Shay: Pine-Richland 40, Governor Mifflin 38: This will be all about pass defense vs. run defense. And I’m not sure the defenses will have a whole lot of impact on the outcome. Offense steals the show.

Jake Adams: Pine-Richland 38, Governor Mifflin 21: This could fall on Ayden Martin and Eden Johnson anticipating some routes, jumping them and adding to their four and three interceptions, respectively, if the Mustangs hope to contain the Rams. 

Andy Sandrik: Pine-Richland 28, Governor Mifflin 21: How well can GM defend the pass? We’re going to find out really soon against P-R superstar slinger Cole Spencer, a Penn wrestling commit who has thrown 28 TD passes in nine games this season.

Geoff Morrow: Pine-Richland 43, Governor Mifflin 27: The Rams have been — and obviously still are — a fascinatingly dominant program. The Mustangs, meanwhile, potentially have the best team in rock-solid program history. So this is an outstanding matchup. I just think P-R has a bit more juice, but nothing would surprise me.

Class 3A Semifinal: 4-1 Danville at 3-1 Wyomissing, 1

Andy Shay: Wyomissing 35, Danville 7: They call it the football lean, and this Spartans team is exceptional at using that football lean to suck the life out of an opponent. I’m a big fan of the Wyo defense.

Jake Adams: Wyomissing 41, Danville 28: Wyo has allowed just 32 points all season. So, this score will be a win in its own right for Danville, which has a potent passing game. 

Andy Sandrik: Wyomissing 43, Danville 17: The Spartans have been surgical in the way they’ve handled their postseason competition. Wyomissing is a team you don’t want to pick against right now. 

Geoff Morrow: Wyomissing 48, Danville 14: The Ironmen are stars of one of those feel-good stories, a program uniting a community during difficult times, making dramatic strides on the field and sparking excitement off it. In fact, this is Danville’s best run since 2012 — when the Ironmen ran into Wyomissing and lost 52-0 in the state playoffs. Even happy stories end.

Class 1A Semifinal: 6-1 Bishop Guilfoyle at 3-1 Steel-High, 1

Andy Shay: Bishop Guilfoyle 30, Steel-High 28: In back-to-back playoff games, the Rollers needed a big lead and a final-play minor miracle to pull out shootout victories. They can’t keep winning like that. BG is a physical challenge, and, in order to pull the upset, the Rollers have to match them in the trenches. If that happens, the Rollers pull away.

Jake Adams: Steel-High 41, Bishop Guilfoyle 35: What’s it gonna be this time? A blocked punt return TD in the last 30 seconds to win it? Sure, why not?

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 33, Bishop Guilfoyle 22: The Marauders, led by QB Konner Kiesewetter, have the weapons to turn this game into a touchdown-a-minute affair. That style of game seems to suit the Rollers just fine. 

Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 44, Bishop Guilfoyle 28: I’ve seen both of these programs in playoff games over the years. Picking against the Marauders feels weird because the kids in this program are always tough and know how to win. But if the previous two weeks taught us anything, it’s that the Rollers have something special brewing. Questions include IF the Rollers can put four solid quarters together and IF they can manage to not give head coach Andrew Erby heart palpitations every stinkin’ minute of the contest.

Regular Season

Newport at West Perry, 7

Andy Shay: West Perry 32, Newport 15: Each team is in peak form this season, and this matchup comes at a good time for both clubs. Mustangs have been pushed harder to get where they are in terms of competition, and that will be a key factor.

Jake Adams: West Perry 29, Newport 14: A sluggish start has given way to a nice couple of wins in recent weeks. These Mustangs … are a pain in the rear. It’s a good group Bob Boden continues to coach up. 

Andy Sandrik: West Perry 30, Newport 12: An old rivalry will resume Friday, and if the Mustangs can maintain the strides they’ve made, they’ll complete their season as Perry County’s best team. 

Geoff Morrow: West Perry 32, Newport 21: Buffaloes have put up a ton of points (as the Buffaloes tend to do) in two recent wins. But I like where the Mustangs are. Not geographically, though. Going to Elliottsburg sometimes feels like going to Neptune with endless hills and winding roads. Wait. Why do I think Neptune has hills and winding roads? I’ll shut up now.

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