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Sunday, April 21, 2024

High School Football: Results Week 8 Picks and Predictions

EXPLAINING OUR PICKS: It’s Week 8 of the Pennsylvania high school football season, and the 4th Down Magazine team is here to tell you who’s going to win every game involving Mid-Penn Conference teams, as well as Schuylkill-Colonial League games featuring former members of the now-defunct Tri-Valley League.

This year’s group of experts includes veteran reporters Andy Shay and Andy Sandrik, as well as 4th Down owner and manager Adam Kulikowski.

Here’s who we think will win each game this week.

2023 Standings

Picker: Week 8 — Overall — Perfect Picks

Andy Sandrik: 17-5 — 159-45 — 0

Adam Kulikowski: 15-7 — 156-48 — 1

Andy Shay: 15-7 — 150-54 — 1

* Records in parentheses after school name; District and seed in parentheses before school name.

This week’s edition of 4th & Goal with Andy Shay and Jake Adams features Steel-High’s Alex Erby, the new state record holder for career passing yards plus a look back on Northern’s upset of East Pennsboro and a peek at some of the rivalry games on tap in Week 8.


Big Spring 30, Boiling Springs 13

Andy Shay: Big Spring 34, Boiling Springs 7: Brutal three-game stretch for the Bulldogs, playing Steel-High, Trinity and West Perry in consecutive weeks. Big Spring was fully competitive but dropped all three. Opportunity is ripe here for a bounceback victory.

Andy Sandrik: Big Spring 28, Boiling Springs 12: We’ve seen how well Big Spring can play when it is the under(bull)dog, but what will Joe Sinkovich’s team do in a game they’re supposed to win? 

Adam Kulikowski: Big Spring 28, Boiling Springs 6: I know the Bulldogs are in no mood for moral victories, but this club added plenty of props to their résumé last week after taking the Mustangs to the brink. ‘Dogs find the road a little easier this week. 

Steel-High 67, Newport 12

Andy Shay: Steel-High 54, Newport 0: This is just a cruel twist of fate by the scheduling zen master. Buffaloes are the only winless squad in the Mid-Penn while Steel-High is one of three unbeaten squads.

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 55, Newport 0: Congrats to Alex Erby on the state passing record. The passing TDs record is next, and there’s a chance Erby could break that this week with a monster game.

Adam Kulikowski: Steel-High 64, Newport 6: No real analysis needed here. Just a check mark on a bigger path for the Rollers. 


Central Dauphin 48, Altoona 14

Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 31, Altoona 7: Good spot for the Rams after getting upset by Cumberland Valley, although the Mountain Lions are in a better place after snapping their three-game slide with some offensive output a week ago. CD needs this one.

Andy Sandrik: Central Dauphin 29, Altoona 13: There’s no reason why a young, 38-year-old guy like me should have this much gray hair. But here I am in Week 8, still getting headaches trying to size up these Central Dauphin Rams.

Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 27, Altoona 13: How do the Rams respond to adversity? We’re about to find out after Coach Glen McNamee’s club got upset last week. 

Cumberland Valley 30, at Carlisle 8

Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 28, Carlisle 7: Will be interesting to see where the Eagles go at the QB position this week against a Thundering Herd defense that has endured plenty of struggles this season. Big difference here is the CV defense.

Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 33, Carlisle 12: The Eagles took a major step forward against Central Dauphin last week and are now a player in the 6A postseason picture. If CV is truly a playoff team, this is a game it should win decisively. 

Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 35, Carlisle 14: The Eagles found a spark last week on offense. Building on that success against a defense that is yielding an average of 38 points per game should be priority No. 1 Friday night. 

Chambersburg 34, CD East 33

Andy Shay: CD East 35, Chambersburg 7: Couple of 3-4 squads, and the Panthers gave a lot at the office last week to push Harrisburg to the brink before falling. Can they reach that level again? If so, they will cruise. East running game is rolling, and Trojans feel like a team fading into the twilight.

Andy Sandrik: CD East 32, Chambersburg 14: If you didn’t know who Jared Porter was before, you should now. Something clicked for the Panthers last week, and I think that carries over into this week. 

Adam Kulikowski: CD East 45, Chambersburg 13: It’s been an up-and-down season for the Panthers who currently are 3-4 overall. But one silver lining is the emergence of Porter — an absolute stud at running back for the boys from East. 

Harrisburg 20, State College 0

Andy Shay: State College 28, Harrisburg 26: This is a crazy matchup in that I could see this being tight all the way, but I also see scenarios where each team could have a major advantage that controls the game. Defense is in the spotlight for both squads in this one.

Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 35, State College 26: At this point I think State College is the best team in the Commonwealth, but this young Harrisburg team just may be the squad with the highest potential ceiling. I’m expecting a barnburner.

Adam Kulikowski: State College 35, Harrisburg 33: Perhaps the best matchup on the docket in Week 8, I give the Little Lions the edge after the Panthers last week provided the blueprint to success against the Cougars. 

Bishop McDevitt 49, Red Land 0

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 55, Red Land 7: Another standard 2023 Keystone Division result for the Crusaders and their massive talent edge over the rest of the field.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 55, Red Land 7: Picking McDevitt’s Keystone games is stupidly easy. The hard part is trying to provide meaningful analysis for these games the Crusaders routinely win by 50 points. 

Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 58, Red Land 6: Regular season matchups for the Crusaders often feel like a multi-week training camp before bigger challenges await later in the postseason. 

Cedar Cliff 55, Palmyra 18

Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 38, Palmyra 6: Impressed with how the Colts’ defense continues to get better with each passing week and is the power that fuels this squad. Cougars don’t have enough firepower offensively to keep pace in this one.

Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 35, Palmyra 10: Don’t need to overthink this one. Cedar Cliff simply has more in the cupboard than Palmyra, and the Colts will improve to 7-1.

Adam Kulikowski: Cedar Cliff 42, Palmyra 13: The Cougars have made significant strides from a year ago. But finding enough pieces in this one to knock off the Colts is a tall task. 

Hershey 24, Mifflin County 14

Andy Shay: Hershey 31, Mifflin County 20: The Huskies have been a hot-and-cold group offensively, but when they are running warm they provide a full-metal-jacket challenge. Trojans have to show up with their best stuff to ensure the game is played inside their box.

Andy Sandrik: Hershey 28, Mifflin County 21: Gotta love the fight from Mifflin County, but this game has “uphill battle” written all over it for the Huskies.

Adam Kulikowski: Mifflin County 28, Hershey 27: The Huskies have proven to be a tough out and with Deakon Shaeffer’s ability to hit the proverbial home run a milt upset seems fully on the table. 

Milton Hershey 44, Lower Dauphin 41

Andy Shay: Lower Dauphin 35, Milton Hershey 14: Both Falcons losses have been by less than a touchdown. If nothing else, LD has been sneaky consistent all season, and that will pay off here against a streaky Spartans outfit that fell to Mifflin County in a shootout last week.

Andy Sandrik: Lower Dauphin 28, Milton Hershey 13: I absolutely think the Spartans can win this game, but their consistency has been a concern, especially facing a Lower Dauphin squad that has been the definition of consistency. 

Adam Kulikowski: Milton Hershey 35, Lower Dauphin 28: The Spartans are on a three-game skid while Cedar Cliff snapped Lower Dauphin’s four-game winning streak last week. Spartans quietly have an offense capable of applying serious strain on an opponent’s defense.

East Pennsboro 34, Shippensburg 14

Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 21, Shippensburg 7: Falling from the ranks of the unbeaten by losing to a one-win team is a full dose of humble pie for the Panthers. So what is their response? Greyhounds are tough defensively but bring very little offense to the table. This is all about East Penn, though.

Andy Sandrik: East Pennsboro 24, Shippensburg 14: The Northern Polar Bears threw down a blueprint on how to beat previously unbeaten East Penn, but how well can Shippensburg implement that plan?

Adam Kulikowski: East Pennsboro 37, Shippensburg 28: We’re about to find out if the Panthers are still the favorites to win the Colonial Division with the Greyhounds at the plate and Susquehanna Township on deck next week. 

Greencastle-Antrim 37, Gettysburg 20

Andy Shay: Gettysburg 28, Greencastle-Antrim 14: Warriors have ripped off three straight wins to get back in the postseason chase, scoring 40-plus in two of those victories. Blue Devils are capable, but that 5-0 start is starting to fade in the rear view mirror.

Andy Sandrik: Gettysburg 32, Greencastle-Antrim 21: Gettysburg is a team that nobody wants to face right now. During the Warriors’ three-game win streak, QB Brady Heiser has upped his completion percentage while also playing interception-free football. 

Adam Kulikowski: Gettysburg 45, Greencastle-Antrim 28: We all know by this point the Warriors have a dynamic offense. In the last several weeks of the season, can its defense level up? It could be the ticket Gettysburg needs to punch its postseason berth. 

Mechanicsburg 35, Waynesboro 31

Andy Shay: Waynesboro 29, Mechanicsburg 27: Combined, these two-win teams have dropped five straight games with the Wildcats bringing a three-game slide to the table. This is a wildcard game in my book because neither squad has anything beyond pride at stake.

Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 27, Mechanicsburg 24: The wins haven’t been there for Waynesboro, but I’ve seen incremental improvement throughout the season. There’s been enough consistency in this regard to call the Indians the favorites this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Mechanicsburg 21, Waynesboro 20: The contrarian pick in the group, the Wildcats need some good juju and I’m here to deliver. 

Susquehanna Township 42, Northern 16

Andy Shay: Susquehanna Township 27, Northern 14: Huge upset by the Polar Bears a week ago, and that will be a factor here. ‘Hanna Tribe are playing their best football right now but can’t provide any openings for Northern if they want to keep moving the needle forward.

Andy Sandrik: Susquehanna Township 28, Northern 10: Thanks to Northern’s shock-the-world win over East Pennsboro last week, I had to think twice about this one, but it would be flat out disrespectful to pick against ‘Hanna in this spot.

Adam Kulikowski: Susquehanna Township 35, Northern 20: Northern scored a huge upset last week in a season that has not gone according to plan for Bill Miller’s crew. Knocking off another Colonial Division favorite in back-to-back weeks seems improbable. 

Trinity 14, Camp Hill 13

Andy Shay: Trinity 31, Camp Hill 21: It’s been a rocky road for the Shamrocks with a couple gut-wrenching losses and some injury battles. They are quietly putting it back together, and this rivalry game brings some extra juice to the party. Lions have been streaky but are capable of making this a wire job for sure.

Andy Sandrik: Trinity 33, Camp Hill 19: Camp Hill’s ability to compete hinges on whether or not QB Drew Branstetter is 100%. If he is, the Lions could make this rivalry game a fun one. 

Adam Kulikowski: Trinity 43, Camp Hill 28: The Shamrocks are getting back on track just in time to make the most of a season that could be special. 

West Perry 31, Middletown 6

Andy Shay: West Perry 49, Middletown 7: The weight of being undefeated when it’s a novel concept can be a heavy bucket to carry uphill at times. Mustangs are learning what that feels like and found a way to win when pushed to the brink last week by Big Spring. That will show up here against the one-win Blue Raiders.

Andy Sandrik: West Perry 44, Middletown 14: Big Spring was oh-so-close to handing that first L to West Perry last week, but the Mustangs found a way to dig deep and pull out the win. I’m not expecting them to be under as much duress this week as they pursue 8-0.

Adam Kulikowski: West Perry 55, Middletown 7: Mustangs survived a surprise test from the upstart Big Spring Bulldogs. This one will be easier. 

Susquenita 20, Halifax 13:

Andy Shay: Susquenita 28, Halifax 14: This is a box-of-chocolates game for me, because who knows what you are going to get in this one. Offenses have found it easy to get 35-plus points against the Wildcats the last few weeks, but the Blackhawks have only two wins.

Andy Sandrik: Susquenita 21, Halifax 14: The wins haven’t always been there for QB Derek Gibney and the ‘Hawks this fall, but the stats have still been respectable. I’m looking for Gibney and his receiving corps to be the difference-maker this week. 

Adam Kulikowski: Susquenita 34, Halifax 19: ‘Nita has no problem putting up points with the Gibney duo leading the way. Can the Wildcats keep pace? 

Line Mountain 56, James Buchanan 20

Andy Shay: Line Mountain 49, James Buchanan 0: It hasn’t always been easy, but the Eagles have won four straight and are picking up steam. They won’t be tested here, though.

Andy Sandrik: Line Mountain 41, James Buchanan 7: The Rockets haven’t been competitive since the second week of October. I don’t think they have a path to victory against a Line Mountain squad that has hit its stride in recent weeks.

Adam Kulikowski: Line Mountain 52, James Buchanan 14: There are greater tests ahead for the Eagles, who might be tempted to peek ahead at next week’s matchup against Juniata. 

Juniata 33, Upper Dauphin 6

Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 29, Juniata 21: Couple of smoking hot Liberty squads who each bring a four-game winning streak to the table. The slight edge for me in this one goes to the Trojans’ defense, and they will have a say in the final outcome of this one.

Andy Sandrik: Juniata 28, Upper Dauphin 21: Our Fourth Down pick ‘em crew has caught some heat in recent weeks for making the same picks. I’ll go against the grain here and take the Indians, whose strength of schedule has them a little more prepared for this moment.

Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 33, Juniata 28: It’s not often you find two clubs hitting their stride at the exact same time. But both of these clubs are doing just that. I give a tip of the scale to UD’s balanced offensive attack. 

Mahanoy 27, Tri-Valley 20

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 30, Mahanoy 14: Three tough losses for the Bulldogs, each by six or fewer points, including last week. Nice matchup to get back on track against a one-win Golden Bears squad that has dropped four in a row.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 38, Mahanoy 21: The one-win Golden Bears were so close to springing the upset over Williams Valley but fell short, and then they got blown out in a Monday game against Dunmore. The pieces are there for Mahanoy to compete with the Bulldogs, but I’m just not certain the confidence is. 

Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 42, Mahanoy 18: Mahanoy’s record indicates this should be an easy dub for the Bulldogs, but we know what happens when teams overlook their opponents. Tri-Valley’s disciplined squad doesn’t get caught in a trap game. 

Pine Grove 31, Salisbury Townships 0

Andy Shay: Pine Grove 27, Salisbury Township 22: Combined, these clubs have one victory (Pine Grove owns it) and have surrendered nearly 600 points. The offense that has the better outing gets the win.

Andy Sandrik: Pine Grove 24, Salisbury Township 20: I’m sure this game has been circled on the calendar for at least a few weeks now, by both teams. Give me the Cardinals at home.

Adam Kulikowski: Salisbury Township 14, Pine Grove 7: This is a race featuring two low-horsepower clubs … which probably means we’ll see a shootout.

Williams Valley 13, Marian Catholic 6

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 33, Marian Catholic 30: There is very little in this matchup that screams advantage for one team over the other. Vikings have found a way to win those wire-job games this season because they have the most dynamic player on the field. I’ll hang my hat on that happening again.

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 35, Marian Catholic 28: Every opponent knows that Alex Achenbach is getting the ball, but the yards still come nonetheless. Only two opponents have been able to keep him under 200 rushing yards this season. Read that again. 

Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 37, Marian Catholic 33: Until someone shows me they can stop Achebach, I’ll keep punching my ticket for the Vikings. 

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