Standings through Week 11:
Andy Shay: Week 11: 17-3, Overall: 215-45
Geoff Morrow: Week 11: 19-1, Overall: 215-45
Jake Adams: Week 11: 18-2, Overall: 207-53
Andy Sandrik: Week 11: 18-2, Overall: 206-54
No. 1 Middletown 49, No. 2 Wyomissing 0
Andy Shay: Middletown 31, Wyomissing 7: To me this is different week but the same problem for Wyomissing in this match-up. How in the world can it score enough points to win this game? The Blue Raiders are a big-play offense in the running game and can score quickly. Defense for the Spartans could make it tough, though.
Jake Adams: Middletown 42, Wyomissing 7: The Spartans’ lone loss this season was two weeks ago against Class 4A top seed Berks Catholic. The Blue Raiders have a MUCH better offense.
Andy Sandrik: Middletown 35, Wyomissing 14: I have no reason to believe Middletown won't be returning home with a district title.
Geoff Morrow: Middletown 44, Wyomissing 14: It was a four-touchdown spread last year, and there's no reason to think the Blue Raiders will surrender their district crown. Spartans' defense is solid, so maybe they can force a few turnovers, get a few stops and make a game of it. But that seems unlikely.
Friday, November 17
No. 4 Hempfield at No. 1 Cumberland Valley, 7
Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 38, Hempfield 14: I'm going to ride the Eagles' defense in this one. You give this CV unit a singular focus like the Black Knights are going to present, and I find it hard to imagine that defense not being fully prepared for what's going to be thrown at them.
Jake Adams: Cumberland Valley 42, Hempfield 14: The Eagles’ Wing-T was on point last week against CD East. CV is going to roll to yet another District 3 Class 6A championship game.
Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 28, Hempfield 14: Eagles have the horses to take control early and the defense to hold on late.
Geoff Morrow: Cumberland Valley 38, Hempfield 20: Always had a great deal of respect for the Black Knights, but the task here is quite tall. That CV defense is making things happen, and if the Wing-T plays ball control, it's tough to imagine Hempfield having enough opportunities to keep pace.
No. 3 Wilson at No. 2 Manheim Twp., 7
Andy Shay: Wilson 21, Manheim Twp. 17: Blue Streaks won the first meeting and ended Wilson's Lancaster-Lebanon League Section I winning streak. You don't think THAT isn't part of the equation for this game? MT did not play its best football last week in the playoff opener. This is a toss-up for sure. Wilson plays its best football in November.
Jake Adams: Manheim Twp. 35, Wilson 21: I’m sure there will be some adjustments, but the Blue Streaks held the Bulldogs to 69 yards on 31 carries in a 38-14 win a few weeks ago. That caught my attention. The 50 yards Iggy Reynoso was held to was his lowest in five games.
Andy Sandrik: Manheim Twp. 30, Wilson 13: You can't judge a team on one game, rather on the resume of an entire season. The Blue Streaks have dismantled plenty of really good teams, including Central Dauphin by a 28-0 score last week.
Geoff Morrow: Manheim Twp. 30, Wilson 14: Because of the Bulldogs' rich history, there's a brief thought about calling for an upset. But the Blue Streaks have simply been too good this year, including in a thorough takedown that ended Wilson's incredible L-L win streak last month. Number that sticks out to me from that game: Wilson RB Iggy Reynoso averaging just 2.5 yards per carry on 20 attempts.
District 3 Class 5A semifinal
No. 3 Cocalico at No. 2 Manheim Central, 7
Andy Shay: Manheim Central 17, Cocalico 14: I'm going to make a bold prediction and say the Barons have to rally late to win this one. This is the best game in District 3. How much hay can Cocalico make with their running game? The answer to that question is the root of where you find the winner of this one. It was 17-7 the first time around. Strap 'em tight for this one.
Jake Adams: Manheim Central 24, Cocalico 14: Another mighty defense from the Manheim area. Held Cocalico to less than 4 yards per carry in the last meeting, stuffing sophomore back Noah Palm for just 64 yards on 26 touches.
Andy Sandrik: Cocalico 27, Manheim Central 24: Very few teams have been able to keep pace with the undefeated Barons. Cocalico is one of those squads.
Geoff Morrow: Manheim Central 17, Cocalico 14: This was an evenly played game when they first met in late September, with a couple of fumbles proving costly for the Eagles in a 17-7 loss. Mistakes again will prove to be crucial, and whichever team makes fewer mistakes should advance to the finals.
District 3 Class 4A semifinals
No. 5 East Pennsboro at No. 1 Berks Catholic, 7
Andy Shay: Berks Catholic 42, East Pennsboro 14: I'm very well aware the Panthers' defense is playing extremely well. And somehow I'm not sure that will matter. This is a tall order for the Panthers, but they know exactly what they are up against. The Saints' defense is the single most dominant unit on the field.
Jake Adams: Berks Catholic 28, East Pennsboro 24: Going to see this one firsthand. BC has not faced a back like Onasis Neely, and any football fan should be excited to see the clash of great RB vs. great defense. The Saints have allowed just seven points per game (the win over Kutztown was a forfeit). If Neely gets on a roll, I really think East Penn could win this one.
Andy Sandrik: Berks Catholic 28, East Pennsboro 21: BC has a stout defense, so I'm as curious as anyone to see how EP's skill players hold up. Key for Panthers is to not let this game turn into a shootout.
Geoff Morrow: Berks Catholic 41, East Pennsboro 28: Saints have eight guys with at least 130 rushing yards this season, as they've buried every dang foe they've met. Panthers have one guy with a gazillion yards and a heck of a supporting cast around him. This could be a highly entertaining game, especially if the East Penn defense finds a way to get a few stops and/or turnovers.
No. 6 Lampeter-Strasburg at No. 2 Bishop McDevitt, 7
Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 42, Lampeter-Strasburg 22: All I know is if McDevitt makes as many mistakes as it did in the opening-round game, the Crusaders are going down. They have all the offense they need. Just can't stop yourself with turnovers and penalties. I'm still a little leery of McD's defense on the edge and in space. Pioneers can get some there.
Jake Adams: Bishop McDevitt 42, Lampeter-Strasburg 14: I think the Crusaders clean up some of the sloppy play this week and coast to the title game.
Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 28, Lampeter-Strasburg 7: The Crusaders are favored in this game, deservedly so, but they can't afford to make the same mistakes they did against Shippensburg last week.
Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 47, Lampeter-Strasburg 20: Nothing for the Pioneers to lose here except, well, a football game. They're decided underdogs against the red-hot Crusaders, who have a brief playoff history against L-S with three straight wins from 2010-12. If you're a McD fan, you just don't want to look past L-S, because these L-L teams are good enough to make more talented teams pay if they slack off.
PIAA Class 6A first round
State College vs. Delaware Valley, at Danville High School, 7
Andy Shay: State College 37, Delaware Valley 20: I'm searching for more quality wins out of Delaware Valley to have the horses to keep up with the Little Lions, and I'm not seeing it. State College trained in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth this season, and that will show up in this match-up. Little Lions are doing a great job of spreading the ball around and that's the key.
Jake Adams: State College 27, Delaware Valley 21: Don’t know much about the unbeaten Warriors out of District 2. But they have a good back in Ryan Obiso who has more than 1,600 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Little Lions are used to quality teams. Maybe it’s being a homer, but I’ll roll with SC in this one because I know the quality of its schedule.
Andy Sandrik: Delaware Valley 21, State College 20: Delaware Valley is 12-0, but I'm wondering if the Little Lions can't secure the upset here. Flipped a coin on this one.
Geoff Morrow: Delaware Valley 28, State College 23: These Warriors from District 2 are one of four big-school teams still unbeaten, and they've been throttling foes over the last two-thirds of the season. Little Lions out of the Mid-Penn Commonwealth will undoubtedly provide the stiffest test in weeks. Some outstanding talent on the Danville field this week, including freshman linebacker Jason Henderson, who leads DelVal with 112 tackles.
PIAA Class 2A first round
Newport vs. Dunmore, at Susquehanna Twp. High School, 7
Andy Shay: Dunmore 20, Newport 14: The powerhouse out of District 2 once again has a defense to be aware of. Dunmore has allowed only 65 points this season, so it will ride that 'D' train as far it can. Newport won't want to throw the ball, but it is capable and might have to go that route to get moving.
Jake Adams: Dunmore 35, Newport 14: Another Lackawanna team, the Bucks have played impressive defense (5.5 ppg allowed) this season. This is a squad that has made the PIAA quarterfinals each of the past three seasons. Don’t see that ending here.
Andy Sandrik: Dunmore 24, Newport 14: Buffaloes have a very good defense, but can they contain Dunmore QB Gavin Darcy?
Geoff Morrow: Dunmore 37, Newport 21: All 12 victories by the District 2 Bucks have been by double digits. Yes, the Buffaloes are coming off a fantastic District 3 championship victory over York Catholic, a decisive turnaround from last year's loss to the same Fighting Irish. And, yes, it's close to home at Roscoe Warner Field. But we like the Bucks' versatility and QB Gavin Darcy (25 passing TDs).
PIAA Class 1A first round
Williams Valley vs. Old Forge at Lehighton High School, 7
Andy Shay: Williams Valley 36, Old Forge 7: There is nothing that tells me Old Forge is equipped to slow down the Vikings' train. And the added bonus is WV has its leading tackler back from last year. Just what the doctor ordered for the playoffs, right? As if this defense wasn't already a difference maker.
Jake Adams: Williams Valley 35, Old Forge 14: Both programs have recent experience winning PIAA playoff games, WV last year and Old Forge in 2015 to the state semis. Just can’t pick against the destructive force that is the Rabuck brothers just yet.
Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 21, Old Forge 20: I've never had any doubts picking Williams Valley's games. Until this week.
Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 33, Old Forge 19: The Devils' only loss was a decisive setback vs. Newport's foe, Dunmore. So, interestingly, there are two PIAA first-round playoff matchups pitting Tri-Valley League vs. Lackawanna 3, a pair of outstanding small-school divisions. Old Forge won just four games last year, so this has been an outstanding turnaround. But Vikings have been crushing foes.
Saturday, November 18
No.4 Governor Mifflin at No. 1 Harrisburg, 1
Andy Shay: Harrisburg 40, Governor Mifflin 17: I have a ton of respect for the GM squad. I think it is equipped in most areas to give Harrisburg fits. If the Mustangs were on the other side of the bracket, I would put them in the final. The problem is the Cougars' passing game. I'm not sure GM can cover all those wideouts over 48 minutes.
Jake Adams: Harrisburg 49, Governor Mifflin 7: I believe I said this last week — moving on.
Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 35, Governor Mifflin 0: This is my auto-reply for all Harrisburg picks.
Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 44, Governor Mifflin 20: Mustangs, coming off an annihilation of York in last week's quarterfinals, are grooving and won't be intimidated ... at first, anyway. Will be interesting to see their reaction, though, once Micah Parsons bullrushes his way to a long touchdown, or Yahmir Wilkerson slings a picture-perfect TD pass. Cougars will be tested eventually. Just not sure that deep-into-the-fourth-quarter contest happens this weekend.
PIAA Class 1A first round
Steel-High vs. Wyalusing Valley, at Williamsport High School, 1
Andy Shay: Steel-High 46, Wyalusing Valley 16: The Rollers present several match-up nightmares for the squad from District 4. Speed in open space is at the top of the list. The playmakers for Steel-High are poised for another big day.
Jake Adams: Steel-High 49, Wyalusing Valley 14: The Rams don’t put a ton of points on the board and face a Rollers program that made a run in states a year ago. Not a good blend for the District 4 unit.
Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 45, Wyalusing Valley 14: Last week the Rollers piled up 68 points in a playoff win over Fairfield. Expecting more from Steel-High against a Wyalusing Valley team with a losing record.
Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 49, Wyalusing Valley 13: Consider Wyalusing lost 53-0 to Wellsboro last month, and Line Mountain just took out Wellsboro in the District 4 playoffs a couple of weeks ago. The Rollers would likely be at least two-TD favorites vs. Line Mountain, so that logic says they should be HEAVY favorites this week vs. the Rams. Tough to stop Steel-High offense when it's carrying this much confidence.