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Thursday, February 29, 2024

4th Down Magazine’s Picks and Predictions (Oct 23-26)


Andy Shay: Week 4: 16-2 Overall: 59-17

Andy Sandrik: Week 4: 15-3  Overall: 56-20

Jake Adams: Week 4: 17-1    Overall: 56-20  

Geoff Morrow: Week 4: 16-2 Overall: 54-22  

District 6 Class 6A Championship:

Friday, Oct. 23

Altoona 22, State College 21

Andy Shay: State College 34, Altoona 28: I see plenty of offense in this District 6 gem with a couple of squads who are comfortable and confident moving the ball on the ground. Key is which defense makes that key one or two stops. Expect the entertainment factor to be high.

Jake Adams: State College 38, Altoona 30: I didn’t expect to see this game be so close, but that’s what it appears like we’re headed for. Mountain Lions’ offensive line has given Mid-Penn Commonwealth teams fits all year. 

Andy Sandrik: State College 33, Altoona 20: The Mountain Lions have made strides, no doubt about it, but I’m going to have to see an Altoona win over State College before I can believe it.

Geoff Morrow: Altoona 24, State College 21: Even in what was eventually a lopsided loss to Central Dauphin last weekend, I was impressed with the heart and skills of the Mountain Lions. With the Little Lions on a short week and Altoona getting to host, let’s predict Altoona’s first victory over its rival in 13 seasons. Would be a huge step for the program.

Week 5 Mid-Penn Schedule: 

Friday, Oct. 23

Bishop McDevitt 42, Red Land 3

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 40, Red Land 7: The way Lek Powell has been rolling, the over-under for TD passes in this one is 4.5.

Jake Adams: Bishop McDevitt 38, Red Land 6: Let’s just skip the rest of the Keystone season until we get to McDevitt-Hershey.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 33, Red Land 7: Red Land hasn’t been shut out just yet, but there’s a real possibility of that happening at Rocco Ortenzio Stadium on Friday night. 

Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 30, Red Land 14: In three meetings since a stunning takedown of the Crusaders in 2016, the Patriots have been outscored by McDevitt 119-2.

Boiling Springs 35, Camp Hill 0

Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 33, Camp Hill 28: You give the Bubblers’ Wing-T 300-plus rushing yards and give Lions QB Daniel Shuster 300-plus passing. This comes down to Boiling Springs being the more physical team.

Jake Adams: Boiling Springs 35, Camp Hill 30: Two diametrically different offenses. High school football at its finest. And this will be on the turf of Seibert Park. Does the added speed help the Lions’ passing game or the Bubblers’ rushing attack?

Andy Sandrik: Camp Hill 28, Boiling Springs 21: I can’t remember the last time a Lions-Bubblers game was so, well, relevant. So many different matchups to consider. I’m just as curious as you are to see what happens next.

Geoff Morrow: Camp Hill 30, Boiling Springs 27: Six straight losses in this series must eat at the Bubblers, so I expect they’ll be fired up. But the Lions showed us something last week in their battle with Steel-High. Potential to be one of the best games of the week.

Central Dauphin 41, CD East 0

Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 38, CD East 0: What the Panthers’ defense has done is keep CD East in games all season. That won’t be the case here.

Jake Adams: Central Dauphin 42, CD East 3: I don’t think there are any games left on their schedule where I’m not going to pick the Rams by at least 25. (He says before forgetting next week what he wrote and picks them by 24.)

Andy Sandrik: Central Dauphin 40, CD East 13: I feel for the Panthers, who have scratched and clawed, but have lost three straight close games, including two that went into overtime. Not exactly the way you want to enter a game against state power and intra-district rival CD.

Geoff Morrow: Central Dauphin 35, CD East 6: At least no one will get lost on their way to the stadium.

Chambersburg 20, Cumberland Valley 10

Andy Shay: Chambersburg 13, Cumberland Valley 10: Combined, these teams have scored a total of 58 points this season in eight games. If you are in the Commonwealth Division, beating CV — no matter what its record is — matters. That’s my tipping point.

Jake Adams: Chambersburg 23, Cumberland Valley 14: Just haven’t seen enough from an Eagles offense clearly going through identity growing pains. Trojans, while not as good as 2019, at least know who they are right now.

Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 14, Chambersburg 9: How much “want to” does Cumberland Valley have left in its legs after back-to-back whippings to State College and Bishop McDevitt? The good news for the Eagles is they are undefeated at home, which is exactly where they’ll be playing the Trojans in this coin-flip game.

Geoff Morrow: Cumberland Valley 17, Chambersburg 13: Can the Trojans make it three straight wins against the Eagles? I’m taking a wild guess here and saying “no.”

Shippensburg 25, East Pennsboro 22

Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 34, Shippensburg 20: You can throw on the Panthers a bit and make some hay that route. Running the ball against this EP defense is tough sledding. Just not sure the Greyhounds are built to be pass-first to win.

Jake Adams: East Pennsboro 35, Shippensburg 27: After that beatdown the Panthers took in Week 1 against Northern, I don’t think I would’ve dared pick them to win this game. But here we are. Panthers have strung together three straight impressive victories.

Andy Sandrik: East Pennsboro 42, Shippensburg 21: Like the Homer Simpson meme, I find myself backing into the bush and re-emerging, this time wearing an East Penn shirt. I had my doubts before, but the Panthers are looking more and more like a Colonial contender.

Geoff Morrow: East Pennsboro 28, Shippensburg 26: OK, color me impressed by the Panthers’ triumph at Waynesboro last week. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that the Greyhounds are about to break free. So I expect this one to come down to the wire.

Juniata 40, James Buchanan 6

Andy Shay: Juniata 41, James Buchanan 7: A break from those overtime wins for the Indians, but still they have the firepower to easily make it three straight.

Jake Adams: Juniata 35, James Buchanan 7: Hello, Yaniel Ortiz! The junior is averaging 8.8 yards per carry. Yeah, that’s pretty good. 

Andy Sandrik: Juniata 42, James Buchanan 7: Juniata fans will need a blood pressure check after two straight weeks of overtime. Something tells me the Indians breathe a little bit easier this week.

Geoff Morrow: Juniata 31, James Buchanan 12: These schools are separated by pretty much the entirety of PA Route 75. It makes this extremely rare trip very simple for the Rockets.

Line Mountain 44, Newport 21

Andy Shay: Line Mountain 35, Newport 26: Two weeks off is too big of a gap for the Buffaloes to overcome in 48 minutes against the Eagles and their surging offense.

Jake Adams: Line Mountain 38, Newport 24: I hear that Garret Laudenslager kid is kinda good. Eagles have scored 46 or more points in each of the last three games, all wins.

Andy Sandrik: Line Mountain 36, Newport 21: In a perfect world, we’d see a solid Newport defense give the Buffaloes a fighting chance against an LM offense that’s loaded for bear. It could still happen, but this is a huge ask from a Newport team just returning to practice two days before game day.

Geoff Morrow: Line Mountain 42, Newport 21: Eagles, having lost four of their last five to the Buffaloes, exact some revenge in what has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

Carlisle 35, Cedar Cliff 28

Andy Shay: Carlisle 30, Cedar Cliff 21: As long as the Thundering Herd play at the same level as they’ve performed the last eight quarters, it will be rewarded with a W instead of an L. Short week is a factor, but running plays don’t need much more drilling at this point. Colts have to knock Carlisle off its game to nab this one.

Jake Adams: Carlisle 28, Cedar Cliff 24: I’m really intrigued by this one, actually. The Herd have the best o-line I’ve seen from them in seven years, which could play a role. But they’re coming off a Monday nighter, and the Colts have been one of the best teams in the Mid-Penn the last few years despite a sluggish start so far. Toss up.

Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 28, Carlisle 21: Credit to Jake for seeing the potential of this Carlisle team long before me, even though Ken Millen Stadium is less than a half-mile away from my house. I don’t doubt that the Herd can win here, but it seems like the Colts just need this game a little bit more.

Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 33, Carlisle 20: Again, my colleagues seem to be a bit too dismissive of the Colts, whose two losses have been in competitive battles against a pair of 4-0 teams. I’m glad the Herd have shown promise in losses to CD and State College, but Cedar Cliff remains a solid favorite in my eyes.

Hershey 20, Lower Dauphin 3

Andy Shay: Hershey 31, Lower Dauphin 7: At stake for the Trojans is a 5-0 record and a potential berth in the District 3 Class 5A playoffs. That’s enough motivation against the winless Falcons.

Jake Adams: Hershey 37, Lower Dauphin 7: I’ll repeat … let’s just skip to the part where the Trojans play the Crusaders to decide the division.

Andy Sandrik: Hershey 28, Lower Dauphin 6: I’m keeping my eye on Jackson Bouslough. The Hershey QB is already having a fine season, but if he can get into a great rhythm this week, the Trojans will really like their chances against McDevitt next week. 

Geoff Morrow: Hershey 40, Lower Dauphin 13: It’s a rivalry, but Hershey seems miles ahead of LD this season. Falcons, though, have winnable games the next two weeks. A few positives here would inspire confidence moving forward.

Mechanicsburg 35, Waynesboro 7

Andy Shay: Mechanicsburg 40, Waynesboro 14: Winner earns an invite to the District 3 Class 5A playoffs. Wildcats have been fast starters the last three weeks, and the Indians are coming off loss No. 1.

Jake Adams: Mechanicsburg 38, Waynesboro 13: I think the only flaw in the Wildcats’ dismantling of Susquehanna last week was that they didn’t trip the mercy rule clock before halftime. The game wound up running 2:45.

Andy Sandrik: Mechanicsburg 27, Waynesboro 25: Smart money is on the Wildcats, who are pumping out nearly 38 points per game. But if the Indians’ defense — which isn’t as bad as the 40 points it allowed to East Penn last week — can hold the Wildcats to, say, 24 points, I think they’ve got more than a puncher’s chance.

Geoff Morrow: Mechanicsburg 41, Waynesboro 20: Wildcats are loving life in the Colonial. Would really be interesting to see what they could have done in the Keystone this season.

Palmyra 34, Mifflin County 25

Andy Shay: Mifflin County 27, Palmyra 7: Huskies have taken a step or two forward moving the ball and, in this matchup, that’s enough. The Cougars’ offense has struggled big-time.

Jake Adams: Mifflin County 20, Palmyra 14: Both quarterbacks are a bit turnover prone, each averaging about one per game. And Mifflin County’s defense has been slightly better at forcing said turnovers.

Andy Sandrik: Palmyra 28, Mifflin County 21: Both teams know they are facing a winless opponent, and I’m expecting each squad to empty the playbook to pursue that first victory. I’m not putting a ton of stock in Palmyra’s losses to Hershey and Cedar Cliff and believe the Cougars have more bite than people think. 

Geoff Morrow: Mifflin County 22, Palmyra 15: Huskies played Hershey tougher than the Cougars did. Funny note: MaxPreps lists Palmyra’s 42-0 loss to Cedar Cliff last week as being an overtime game. That’s one heck of an OT by the Colts.

Northern 30, Susquehanna Twp. 24

Andy Shay: Northern 30, Susquehanna Township 20: On paper this looks like an easy pick with the 4-0 Polar Bears hosting the 0-2 Indians. Be careful, and know it’s a fine line for Northern with a defense that has been roughed up a bit lately. Still think the Northern offense steals the show.

Jake Adams: Northern 30, Susquehanna Township 14: Going into the year, I wasn’t sure which of our 12 teams in The Sentinel area would make the halved playoff fields. I just looked, and the Bubblers, Polar Bears and Wildcats are all in the running. I’m not sure I would’ve picked all three in the preseason. Impressive.

Andy Sandrik: Northern 28, Susquehanna Township 23: Northern is unbeaten, yes, but the Polar Bears have been playing with fire this season, letting opponents hang around. With Waynesboro and Mechanicsburg coming up on the docket, this has “trap game” written all over it.

Geoff Morrow: Northern 33, Susquehanna Township 25: You know how the Lakers are called the Lakers because they originated in Minneapolis (near lakes) before eventually moving to Los Angeles? I’m starting to wonder if the Polar Bears relocated from Manitoba to Dillsburg sometime before I was born.

Susquenita 29, Halifax 0

Andy Shay: Halifax 33, Susquenita 26: When an offense has the playmakers to strike for a big play on any snap, I’ll take that advantage when everything else feels equal.

Jake Adams: Halifax 35, Susquenita 25: Micah Dietrich and Ryan Stahl hook up for 100 yards and two scores. That’s my “bold” prediction today.

Andy Sandrik: Susquenita 38, Halifax 34: I feel bad for picking ‘Nita to lose to James Buchanan last week. … OK, I graduated from West Perry so I don’t feel THAT bad. All jokes aside, Halifax has a defense that’s way too leaky for me to pick against the Blackhawks at home.

Geoff Morrow: Susquenita 38, Halifax 35: Wildcats might eventually outscore somebody, because they have no problem finding the end zone. The question is whether they can keep an opposing offense from setting up shop in the other end zone.

Middletown 49, Trinity 14

Andy Shay: Middletown 42, Trinity 0: Been this kind of season for Trinity. Middletown knows how to take care of its business and move on.

Jake Adams: Middletown 55, Trinity 0: Oh, no. This isn’t going to be pretty. Feel bad for the Shamrocks, who were a fun rebound team a year ago.

Andy Sandrik: Middletown 45, Trinity 7: It’s been a challenging and physically taxing past few weeks for Middletown, so I’m expecting the Blue Raiders starters to be resting by halftime.

Geoff Morrow: Middletown 42, Trinity 6: Six points in three weeks for the Shamrocks. Basketball season can’t come soon enough.

Fleetwood 43, Upper Dauphin 42

Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 33, Fleetwood 27: Neither defense has done much to slow down the opposition, so playing an up-and-down offensive game suits each offense just fine. Turnovers will play a major role.

Jake Adams: Upper Dauphin 38, Fleetwood 32: Up until a few years ago, my grandpa used to attend almost every alumni boys soccer game. He played for the Tigers many, many years ago.

Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 35, Fleetwood 21: There’s a certain mental edge that comes with winning a close game, like Upper Dauphin did last week, and a certain lingering misery that comes with losing a close game, like the Tigers did in four overtimes last week. I think that makes all the difference in the world for this contest.

Geoff Morrow: Fleetwood 40, Upper Dauphin 33: If four OTs tells me anything, it’s that both participants have a will to win. So even though the Tigers dropped last week’s game to rival Hamburg, I like their chances.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Steel-High 65, Big Spring 30

Andy Shay: Steel-High 53, Big Spring 20: Remember the Rollers are a running team first, and then when Odell Greene gets rolling, that crazy big-strike pass game lights up. Tough spot for the Bulldogs.

Jake Adams: Steel-High 55, Big Spring 14: Is there a more dominant team in relation to the size of their competition than the Rollers? My guess is no. Capital is their division to lose. And they won’t blow this lead.

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 52, Big Spring 14: The Rollers and Bulldogs share a common opponent in Trinity. Big Spring was 15 points better than the Shamrocks, while Steel-High was 77 points stronger. 

Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 50, Big Spring 20: These programs haven’t met in a long time — if ever — and I’m not sure the Bulldogs will be in a hurry to meet again after this weekend.

West Perry 27, Greencastle-Antrim 20

Andy Shay: Greencastle-Antrim 21, West Perry 14: Neither team has been a model of consistency offensively, but the Blue Devils showed some nice pop last week putting up 27 against Northern. Recent form, give them the edge.

Jake Adams: Greencastle-Antrim 28, West Perry 14: Mustangs just haven’t had enough offensive consistency to be competitive against the Colonial’s top teams.

Andy Sandrik: West Perry 28, Greencastle-Antrim 14: West Perry is 0-4, but there’s only one team that has really blown the Mustangs out. WP has been battling hard for that first win, so why not a home victory for the ‘Stangs?

Geoff Morrow: West Perry 27, Greencastle-Antrim 26. I have NO CLUE how to pick these teams right now. In fact, I darn near picked Greencastle-Perry to edge West Antrim on a last-second safety.

Monday, Oct. 26

Susquehanna Township at Newport

Andy Shay: Susquehanna Township 20, Newport 14: Both these teams are scheduled to play on October 23, correct? Just checking to see how far the COVID-19 rubber band will stretch. Stay safe, gents.

Jake Adams: Susquehanna Township 17, Newport 10: I mean, what are we doing here? All I heard in the summer was “health and safety,” and we’re gonna have teams play two games in four days? Yeah … seems smart. 

Andy Sandrik: Susquehanna Township 21, Newport 17: Both of these programs have had their seasons temporarily shut down because of COVID-19, and both are grateful to be on the field. It’s a weird season — take and play games when you can — and I don’t know if we’ll ever have another fall like this again, so take it for what it’s worth. 

Geoff Morrow: Susquehanna Township 29, Newport 15: And Harrisburg can’t find a dang opponent. I bet if Carson Long still had a program, they’d offer to take on the Cougars.

Harrisburg at State College

Andy Shay: Harrisburg 47, State College 20: Makes sense to play this game after Little Lions were bumped out of the playoffs. Remember SC was very close to having zero games this year so helping Harrisburg reach four games makes sense. Crazy year.

Jake Adams: Harrisburg 35, State College 14: So, I guess in two weeks we’ll have Harrisburg vs. Central Dauphin in the District 3 final for the second year in a row. 

Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 52, State College 28: The Little Lions have already been eliminated from the postseason, but have scheduled their third game in eight days with a Super Bowl of sorts against the Cougars, who desperately need to play another game to squeeze into those same playoffs. Have I mentioned this has been an odd year? 

Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 42, State College 20: Good news for the Cougars. Good look for the Little Lions. Tough news for Wilson. Difficult situation for all.

*Not playing Week 5: Harrisburg

Week 7 Schuylkill League Schedule: 

Friday, Oct. 23

Tri-Valley at Williams Valley

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 34, Tri-Valley 30: I know the Bulldogs’ defense has surrendered only 14 points in three games this season. But we all also know they haven’t faced an offense with the punch and power of the Vikings. A true 50-50 game for me.

Jake Adams: Williams Valley 42, Tri-Valley 38: Herb vs. Herb. Except one Herb, Vikings QB Bryce, has dynamic target Jesse Engle, who has connected with Herb for 556 yards and 12 touchdowns. It’s been six games, mind you.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 38, Williams Valley 17: The Vikings always seem to find a way to win, even when they’re up against the ropes. But this week, I think TV is the team that finally deals a decisive blow to the WV machine.

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 37, Williams Valley 28: Bulldogs have been a machine thus far. And while the Vikings are (as usual) churning out wins like Facebook churns out voting reminders, I like Tri-Valley to get its first regular-season win over its arch rival since 2015.

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