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Thursday, October 6, 2022
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4th Down Magazine’s Picks and Predictions (Nov. 6-7)

Standings: 

Andy Shay: Last week 18-3; Overall 92-26

 Jake Adams: Last week 18-3; Overall 89-29

Andy Sandrik: Last week 18-3; Overall 88-30

 Geoff Morrow: Last week 17-4; Overall 86-32

PIAA Playoffs 

Class 6A First Round: Altoona vs. Delaware Valley, at Danville HS, 7

Andy Shay: Delaware Valley 28, Altoona 20: Great run by the Mountain Lions, and they have a crack here. Del Val has battled a start-stop with COVID-19 this season, but also played LaSalle College and was in that game all the way. Not sure Altoona is at that level.

Jake Adams: Delaware Valley 27, Altoona 14: This is a much longer run than I expected the Mountain Lions to embark on when this season began, but it feels like this is where the journey ends. 

Andy Sandrik: Altoona 24, Delaware Valley 21: To me, this game comes down to how well Altoona’s run defense can slow down Jason Henderson, who is averaging more than 9 yards a pop.

Geoff Morrow: Delaware Valley 40, Altoona 21: Warriors have been putting up some serious points lately, including a season-high 55 last week vs. Hazleton. Mountain Lions have proven toughness, but they’ll need to find a next gear to prevail here.

District 3 Playoffs

Class 6A Championship: No. 4 York at No. 3 Central York, 7

Andy Shay: Central York 49, York 7: Whatever it takes to get this team to a title, QB Beau Pribula will make it happen. No letdown after a HUGE win last week, and the Panthers will cruise in style. They have more weapons.

Jake Adams: Central York 45, York 14: It is perfectly fitting our 2020 Class 6A championship guarantees a York County champion. Perfectly fitting. And I’m all for embracing the anarchy. The Panthers, riding high, win this one emphatically. 

Andy Sandrik: Central York 42, York 25: An all-York 6A final. Who had that on their 2020 bingo card?  

Geoff Morrow: Central York 49, York 14: I know the Bearcats received a forfeit into this game, but it’s kind of refreshing to see York County – long the laughingstock of big-school District 3 football – so viciously turn a corner this year. Congrats, Panthers!

Class 5A Semifinal: No. 4 Mechanicsburg at No. 1 Governor Mifflin, 7

Andy Shay: Governor Mifflin 40, Mechanicsburg 27: I know this Wildcats team has plenty of moxy and chops, and Mechanicsburg will take its shots. The Mustangs have an elite FBS recruit at running back and have been killing teams all season. Up front on both sides of the ball is pivotal for Mechanicsburg.

Jake Adams: Governor Mifflin 40, Mechanicsburg 38: This is potentially the worst possible first-round matchup for the Wildcats. A great run team with a top-tier defense could spell disaster. But Micah Brubaker and the ‘Cats will be in this with a chance to win late in the game. 

Andy Sandrik: Mechanicsburg 28, Governor Mifflin 27 (OT): Consider this a low-scoring game for two unbeaten teams that both possess explosive offenses and lock-down defenses. 

Geoff Morrow: Governor Mifflin 38, Mechanicsburg 31: Neither team has truly been tested – all 12 combined victories have been by at least two touchdowns – but it feels like the Mustangs deserve to be called favorites. The pressure here is on the Wildcats’ defense.

Class 5A Semifinal: No. 3 New Oxford at No. 2 Warwick, 7

Andy Shay: Warwick 49, New Oxford 7: In terms of next level as a playoff team, Warwick has something to prove. They have all the elements to win it all. Time to make it so. Colonials won’t be on the same level physically, and that will show up eventually.

Jake Adams: Warwick 42, New Oxford 14: Hempfield became the first team last week to score more than 15 points against the Warriors, and they lost 34-20. Doesn’t bode well for New Oxford.

Andy Sandrik: Warwick 38, New Oxford 21: You don’t go 6-0 by being a bad team, but I’m not sure if the Colonials have dealt with a QB/RB combo as dangerous as Warwick’s Joey McCracken and Colton Miller this season. 

Geoff Morrow: Warwick 33, New Oxford 13: I would like to point out that the Colonials have wins this year by scores of 24-2 (Susquehannock) and 5-0 (Gettysburg). Warriors, though, seem to be on a different level this season.

Class 4A Semifinal: No. 4 Conrad Weiser at No. 1 Lampeter-Strasburg, 7

Andy Shay: Lampeter-Strasburg 35, Conrad Weiser 14: Nobody has slowed down the Pioneers this season, but, for a while, I think the Scouts will keep this game very interesting.

Jake Adams: Lampeter-Strasburg 45, Conrad Weiser 17: The Pioneers have scored 40 or more points in all seven games this season. No reason to think that trend doesn’t continue here.

Andy Sandrik: Lampeter-Strasburg 42, Conrad Weiser 28: The Scouts aren’t used to playing the underdog role, but they’ll be just that against the heavy-hitting Pioneers.

Geoff Morrow: Lampeter-Strasburg 50, Conrad Weiser 15: I just don’t trust the level of competition the Scouts have faced this season, whereas the Pioneers are very clearly a complete team with at least a small handful of quality wins.

Class 4A Semifinal: No. 3 Northern at No. 2 Elco, 7

Andy Shay: Elco 27, Northern 24: A week ago I probably would have picked the Polar Bears by a similar score. Too many red flags in that loss to Waynesboro. Hard to get “it” back. Elco QB Braden Bohannon has not been stopped this year on the ground.

Jake Adams: Elco 27, Northern 20: The Polar Bears’ scoring has been trending downward since a Week 1 high of 37 points. Not a good sign. And the run defense, stout all season, finally showed some cracks in a surprising 22-0 loss to Waynesboro, allowing 222 yards on 48 carries.

Andy Sandrik: Elco 28, Northern 17: The Polar Bears were an imperfect team fighting to protect a perfect record, and it finally caught up to them in a thumping against Waynesboro. This seems like a winnable game for Northern, but do the P-Bears have enough left in the tank to bounce back?

Geoff Morrow: Northern 23, Elco 18: I have no idea how to explain last week’s egg-laying by the Polar Bears – who knew Bears laid eggs? – but this is about the best chance possible to bounce back and regain some swagger against a solid but mostly untested Lebanon County entry.

Class 3A Championship: No. 2 Wyomissing at No. 1 Middletown, 7

Andy Shay: Wyomissing 28, Middletown 21: The combination of the run in the Wing-T and the passing of QB Zach Zechman makes the Spartans extremely tough to handle. Blue Raiders have to take something away to pull off the upset. Will the size advantage for Wyomissing in the trenches play a role?

Jake Adams: Wyomissing 28, Middletown 24: Gauging this on how each team beat common opponent Boiling Springs, and the Bubblers had a tougher time against Wyomissing. So that’s how I’m making my expert pick. 

Andy Sandrik: Wyomissing 35, Middletown 14: Maybe this week the Wyomissing folks will tweet about how great of a picker I am. 

Geoff Morrow: Wyomissing 38, Middletown 28: Until last week’s dismantling of a very good Boiling Springs team, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this year’s Spartans. Amazingly, this is the fifth straight November these programs have met, with the Blue Raiders winning the first three before Wyo claimed victory last year.

Class 2A Championship: No. 2 Camp Hill at No. 1 York Catholic, 7

Andy Shay: York Catholic 35, Camp Hill 21: Stopping the Fighting Irish’s De’Kzeon Wyche and his 6.9 yards per carry is a big issue for the Lions. In order to spring the upset, Camp Hill has to get a lead and make YC chase the game. Falling behind by two or more scores would be a huge body blow to Camp Hill.

Jake Adams: York Catholic 35, Camp Hill 28: The Lions rested this week and had just 18 bodies available the week before. They’ve lost two straight (to playoff teams Steel-High and Boiling Springs). They could certainly prove me wrong, but I wonder if there’s enough left in the tank.

Andy Sandrik: York Catholic 28, Camp Hill 14: There seems to be a few more paths to victory for York Catholic than Camp Hill, which is limping into this one.

Geoff Morrow: York Catholic 25, Camp Hill 21: These teams met somewhat regularly in the postseasons of yesteryear, always entertaining and high-scoring games, always won by the Lions. This year I expect a lower score and a Fighting Irish victory.

District 11 Playoffs 

Class 1A Semifinal: No. 4 Mahanoy at No. 1 Williams Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 41, Mahanoy 20: The first meeting between these squads was a one-score game. It won’t be that way this time around.

Jake Adams: Williams Valley 35, Mahanoy 18: The Golden Bears gave the Vikings a scare four weeks ago, losing a tighter-than-expected 28-20 ballgame. Unfortunately, Williams Valley looks much improved since then.

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 42, Mahanoy 21: When Williams Valley finds its groove, like it certainly has on its six-game winning streak, it’s awfully hard to stop the Vikings.

Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 34, Mahanoy 21: It’s almost as if the closeness of this game served as a midseason wakeup call for the Vikings, but it’s still not an easy task to put a quality opponent away twice in the same season.

Class 1A Semifinal: No. 3 Nativity BVM vs. No. 2 Tri-Valley, at North Schuylkill HS, 7

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 35, Nativity BVM 20: The Bulldogs have too much bark and bite in the way they lean on a team and make it a grind.

Jake Adams: Tri-Valley 35, Nativity BVM 28: Oh, look. It’s Tri-Valley vs. Williams Valley playing for the Tri-Valley Lea … I mean, the District 11 championship. What a surprise.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 32, Nativity BVM 21: Nice bounce-back win for T-V last week after a closely contested loss to Williams Valley. A win here likely gets the Bulldogs a rematch with the Vikings. 

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 27, Nativity BVM 25: Nativity has been a tough out this year, and nothing would particularly surprise me here. But, so long as the Bulldogs don’t look too far ahead at a possible rematch with Williams Valley next weekend, they should take care of business here.

Regular Season

Penns Valley at Line Mountain, 7

Andy Shay: Penns Valley 31, Line Mountain 28: Lose a game and grab a game and play 24-48 hours later. Welcome to COVID-19 football. And why not play, right? Penns Valley has played some heady teams, and the Eagles running game will provide them a full test. Toss-up game in my book.

Jake Adams: Penns Valley 28, Line Mountain 24: Decent passing game the Rams got going for them. Might be able to create some separation in this one. 

Andy Sandrik: Line Mountain 21, Penns Valley 14: Take away last week’s loss to Southern Columbia, a team which could beat some college programs, and the Eagles are on a four-game winning streak with a powerful running attack. I like the Eagles’ chances.

Geoff Morrow: Penns Valley 28, Line Mountain 21: COVID-19 with Boiling Springs forced the Eagles to find a last-minute foe, and the Rams obliged in what has the potential to be an entertaining contest. Penns Valley has played some tough foes competitively this season, but the most interesting aspect here is extremely limited preparation by each coaching staff. Adds a fairly unusual dynamic.

Carlisle at Cumberland Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Carlisle 28, Cumberland Valley 14: Hey, the Eagles were much better against Spring-Ford, but right now the Thundering Herd are invested, moving the ball how they want and have a chance to beat Cumberland Valley at home. Gotta take advantage of that. Being a road favorite at Chapman Field is rare.

Jake Adams: Carlisle 21, Cumberland Valley 14: My introduction to football in this area seven years ago was covering Josh Oswalt at Carlisle for three years while he tried unsuccessfully to slay the Eagles. They only got close once. And now … it is truly bizarre to see his former team with the better offense while now at CV, where the Eagles are averaging just 11 points a game. 

Andy Sandrik: Carlisle 28, Cumberland Valley 14: I’m tired of blaming everything on 2020, but seriously, a Carlisle win over CV sounds exactly like something that would happen in 2020.

Geoff Morrow: Carlisle 22, Cumberland Valley 13: Eagles haven’t scored more than 14 points in any game this year. Is this the Herd’s first triumph over CV since 2004?

Cedar Cliff at Red Land, 7

Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 21, Red Land 14: The key matchup is the Cedar Cliff offense against the Red Land defense. If the Patriots prevail, flip the score and script on this game. Colts’ defense has struggled.

Jake Adams: Cedar Cliff 21, Red Land 16: Boldly predicting (this went well last week) the Patriots have a lead into the fourth quarter. 

Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 21, Red Land 18: I didn’t flip a coin to make this pick, but I’d say this most certainly qualifies as a coin-flip type of game.

Geoff Morrow: Red Land 23, Cedar Cliff 20: I found myself defending the Colts earlier this season after some narrow early losses to quality opponents, but it’s starting to look like the Colts aren’t entirely sure WHO they are. Patriots might not be a playoff-caliber team, but it seems they at least know their strengths and weaknesses. Red Land hasn’t beaten its WSSD rival since 2012, by the way.

East Pennsboro at Greencastle-Antrim, 7

Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 42, Greencastle-Antrim 14: Even with a couple losses in as many weeks, the Panthers keep putting points on the board. That will serve them well here.

Jake Adams: East Pennsboro 35, Greencastle-Antrim 21: Got to watch this Panthers run game, and it is solid. Not easy to compete against the likes of Mechanicsburg, but plenty good against these Blue Devils.

Andy Sandrik: East Pennsboro 42, Greencastle-Antrim 21: Stock in the Panthers has fallen a bit with two straight losses, but East Penn still has the firepower to run away for a big road victory. 

Geoff Morrow: East Pennsboro 34, Greencastle-Antrim 16: Surely the last two weeks have been frustrating for the Panthers, but the Blue Devils have been in a freefall since a season-opening win over Susquehanna Township.

Mifflin County at Lower Dauphin, 7

Andy Shay: Mifflin County 21, Lower Dauphin 14: Just a wee bit more offensive pop for a couple of struggling teams is the difference-maker in my book. The gap isn’t huge, though.

Jake Adams: Mifflin County 28, Lower Dauphin 27: The Huskies are just a bit more successful on the ground. And sometimes in games between two teams struggling to pick up wins, that can be the difference.

Andy Sandrik: Mifflin County 20, Lower Dauphin 17: I’m giving Mifflin County the edge because the Huskies have been more consistent on offense, but LD, which scored a season-high 21 points last week, has to like its chances to win this one. 

Geoff Morrow: Lower Dauphin 22, Mifflin County 19: The Falcons’ defense will need stops and/or turnovers against a solid Huskies offense to snap a 16-game losing streak. MiffCo keeps getting close, but they’ve been unable to finish games and currently carry a six-game slide into this one.

Northern Lebanon at James Buchanan, 7

Andy Shay: Northern Lebanon 28, James Buchanan 21: Each of these clubs has given up their fair share of points. I think seeing more competition on the same level will make points a little harder to come by for the offenses. Just a guess!

Jake Adams: James Buchanan 17, Northern Lebanon 11: Someone’s gotta come away with a victory, and I’m picking the Rockets. Why? Because I can. Who doesn’t like rockets?

Andy Sandrik: Northern Lebanon 35, James Buchanan 28: Both teams allow a ton of points. I’ve already been burned on JB once this season, so I’m taking the Vikes.

Geoff Morrow: Northern Lebanon 19, James Buchanan 17: So long as the Vikings’ six-and-a-half days on Route 81 doesn’t put them to sleep on the way to Mercersburg, I expect a competitive game and a NorLeb ‘W.’

Palmyra at Bishop McDevitt, 7

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 42, Palmyra 0: Crusaders are itching to get back on the field after missing out on the playoffs TWO weeks ago. That’s a long time to chew on an antacid tablet laced with disappointment. Time to move on.

Jake Adams: Bishop McDevitt 42, Palmyra 7: Smarting from missing the district playoffs for the first time in 17 years, the Crusaders take out their frustrations on poor Palmyra, a team that didn’t ask for any of this.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 49, Palmyra 0: When I was 4 years old, the West Perry football team — a program I’d eventually play for — went 10-0 and missed the playoffs despite having one of the best teams in the district. It’s been decades, and those dudes are still talking about what could have been. I feel terrible for McDevitt; this situation is going to sting for LONG time, but the good news for the Crusaders is they still have Friday.

Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 54, Palmyra 14: Cougars found some offense last week, but Crusaders are a bitter and relentless foe. Beware.

Pequea Valley at Pine Grove, 7

Andy Shay: Pine Grove 34, Pequea Valley 19: It’s been a rough ride this season for PG, but this matchup is right in its wheelhouse.

Jake Adams: Pine Grove 33, Pequea Valley 22: The Cardinals haven’t had much to cheer for this year, but the Josh Leinginger-to-Shea Morgan connection has paid off handsomely with 47 hook-ups, 819 yards and 11 TDs.

Andy Sandrik: Pine Grove 32, Pequea Valley 21: It’s weird to call a losing streak momentum, but the Cards have put up consistent points in their last two losses. I think that streak ends this week.

Geoff Morrow: Pequea Valley 37, Pine Grove 31: Braves have just one win but have played most foes at least somewhat tough. Cardinals, too, have been in most of the games they’ve lost. Both offenses know how to move it. Could be lots of action here.

Shippensburg at Susquehanna Township, 7

Andy Shay: Shippensburg 20, Susquehanna Township 14: ‘Hanna Tribe have turned a corner and are in a good spot right now. Greyhounds have found their sea legs as well. Could be very interesting.

Jake Adams: Shippensburg 28, Susquehanna Township 21: The Greyhounds’ young defense is rounding the corner, but this is the toughest challenge they’ve had in a while facing a QB who can run and throw well. 

Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 21, Susquehanna Township 13: Thanks to my old sports editor at The Sentinel, Brett Smith, I’ve learned that these teams haven’t played since 2001. Shippensburg lost that game 49-20, but I have a feeling the Greyhounds bounce back to avenge their fallen 36-year-old brethren. 

Geoff Morrow: Susquehanna Township 25, Shippensburg 20: Two programs that have made vast improvements throughout the season clash in what could be a very entertaining contest. 

State College at Chambersburg, 7

Andy Shay: State College 31, Chambersburg 14: It’s been an interesting journey for the LIttle Lions this year, and they are still grateful to just be playing. Trojans are rebuilding as well. Difference is SC has a wee bit more talent.

Jake Adams: State College 26, Chambersburg 18: I don’t wanna imagine what the drive to and from this game must feel like for the Little Lions. Hard pass.

Andy Sandrik: State College 30, Chambersburg 17: Who would have thought we’d have a two-win Little Lions squad at this point in the season? Also, who would have thought those two wins would put SC above Penn State’s current win total? Make it three wins for the Little Lions. 

Geoff Morrow: State College 35, Chambersburg 21: Little Lions haven’t lost three in a row inside a season since 2014, and I don’t expect they’ll lose their third straight here.

Susquenita at Big Spring, 7

Andy Shay: Big Spring 33, Susquenita 13: Bulldogs’ defense has a say in this one, and Dillon Wakefield is super consistent running the ball.

Jake Adams: Big Spring 28, Susquenita 10: Steady as he goes, RB Dillon Wakefield seems to be good for 100 yards and 1.5 touchdowns every week. There’s your over/under in this game. 

Andy Sandrik: Susquenita 28, Big Spring 21: After starting 0-3, the Blackhawks have been red hot. Looking for a closely contested game that won’t be over until the final whistle. 

Geoff Morrow: Big Spring 27, Susquenita 14: Interestingly, each team has three wins, all of them against the same opponents. Bulldogs have been a bit more emphatic in their respective victories and have the home-field advantage as well.

Trinity at Halifax, 7

Andy Shay: Halifax 21, Trinity 20: The T-Rocks turn the ball over a lot. To have a shot at grabbing a ‘W,’ they have to take care of the ball in this one.

Jake Adams: Trinity 21, Halifax 13: If the Shamrocks can just cut down on the turnovers, they can finally get in the win column this year. 

Andy Sandrik: Trinity 28, Halifax 20: The Shamrocks could be in for a season-high with points scored. The question is, can Halifax keep pace and influence the outcome of this game.

Geoff Morrow: Trinity 16, Halifax 8: While the Shamrocks have made noticeable gains after a horrendous start, the Wildcats’ once-promising offense has fallen flat. Somebody gets a first win!

Waynesboro at West Perry, 7

Andy Shay: Waynesboro 28, West Perry 14: The best way to describe the Indians is inconsistent. They can be kick-your-tail good or have no say in the outcome of a game.

Jake Adams: Waynesboro 24, West Perry 19: No shame in going 1-2 against East Pennsboro, Mechanicsburg and Northern the last three weeks. Now the Indians get a feisty but struggling Mustangs team to pick up win No. 5.

Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 27, West Perry 14: Sometimes you’re only as good as your last game, and, if that’s the case, Waynesboro is going to be a buzzsaw after demolishing previously unbeaten Northern. 

Geoff Morrow: West Perry 26, Waynesboro 24: I realize the Indians are coming off a whitewashing of Northern, but the Mustangs have been very competitive throughout the season and are due for a righteous takedown.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

PIAA Playoffs

Class 4A First Round: Juniata vs. Oil City, at Altoona HS, 1

Andy Shay: Oil City 55, Juniata 7: This crew from District 10 has a big-time weapon in the rushing game and attacks relentlessly on defense with nearly 100 combined TFLs and sacks this season. Indians’ run has been impressive.

Jake Adams: Oil City 57, Juniata 10: The Oilers just blew the doors off state-ranked Harbor Creek last week, 51-14. Creek was ranked ninth before the matchup. Sorry, Juniata.

Andy Sandrik: Oil City 44, Juniata 14: I can’t criticize the Panther Valley Panthers for having a lazily chosen mascot without also calling out the Oil City Oilers. C’mon, why be the Oilers when you could be the Operators, Drillers, Engineers or Motormen? That’s my only criticism of OC. They have a VERY good football team.

Geoff Morrow: Oil City 52, Juniata 20: Oilers have scored 50-plus points in six of their eight wins, including five straight. Tough task for the Indians’ defense.

Class 1A First Round: Muncy at Steel-High, 1

Andy Shay: Steel-High 42, Muncy 20: Rollers are comfortable at Cottage Hill on a Saturday but will need to control Muncy’s 1-2 punch of RBs Ty Nixon and Ethan Gush. Defense and the running game set Steel-High up for a big afternoon offensively.

Jake Adams: Steel-High 35, Muncy 27: So, we know the Rollers can win a rock fight now. But the real challenges begin this week, with a Top 10 team in the state on deck. Muncy’s only loss came to a Canton team it just beat in the second meeting in three weeks. And Canton was fifth in the state according to PennLive last week.

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 31, Muncy 21: I’m picking the Rollers, but the more I go through this with a fine-tooth comb, the more I feel like this is anybody’s game. 

Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 38, Muncy 25: While I don’t think this is a repeat of the 2016 blowout victory for the Rollers, it still feels like a game they should win.

Regular Season

Hershey at Manheim Central, noon

Andy Shay: Manheim Central 31, Hershey 24: I know the Barons are struggling and the Trojans are not. I need to see Hershey win a game on this level before I pick them to win a game like this. Trojans are capable, but the Barons won’t be overmatched.
Jake Adams: Manheim Central 28, Hershey 26: The Barons have lost to some very good teams. Might be one of the better 2-5 teams in the state. I don’t want to pick against the Trojans, who have been an awesome story, but man … 

Andy Sandrik: Hershey 28, Manheim Central 20: The Barons have a tougher schedule, yes, but I feel like a well-rested and confident Hershey squad is fully capable of making a statement here.

Geoff Morrow: Manheim Central 35, Hershey 24: Credit the playoff-starved and still unbeaten Trojans for adding some late-season games against proud programs. But even at just 2-5, the Barons are a beast and won’t be terribly welcoming.


Not playing this week: CD East, Central Dauphin, Harrisburg, Newport, Upper Dauphin

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