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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Picks and Predictions for Week 7

RECORDS (Week 6 — Overall — Perfect Picks):

Andy Shay: 19-1 — 113-32 — 0

Andy Sandrik: 19-1 — 105-40 — 0

Geoff Morrow: 17-3 — 102-43 — 3

Adam Kulikowski: 17-3 — 97-48 — 1


Lower Dauphin at Milton Hershey, 7

Andy Shay: Lower Dauphin 24, Milton Hershey 21: The best player on the field plays for the Spartans, but the ask of Dion Bryant each week is a lot. He’s answered the bell at every turn, and you have to admire and respect that. Falcons know how to grind and get the max out of what they have, and there are a lot more pieces with which to work.

Geoff Morrow: Lower Dauphin 23, Milton Hershey 14: An interesting off-day matchup of neighbors who never really play against each other. Falcons’ defense has been blistered for 114 points in two straight losses to the Keystone elite, but, if the last two weeks haven’t killed confidence, LD has a realistic chance to win out its slate.

Andy Sandrik: Milton Hershey 20, Lower Dauphin 16: I don’t know if this is the correct pick, but having Dion Bryant on Milton Hershey’s side gives the Spartans at least a puncher’s chance, no?

Adam Kulikowski: Milton Hershey 27, Lower Dauphin 24: The X-factor in this game, Dion Bryant, has the ability to hit a home run any time he touches the ball. It’s likely he’ll start at QB this week. Can the Falcons’ defense limit his damage?


Altoona at Chambersburg, 7

Andy Shay: Altoona 21, Chambersburg 17: I know Altoona has struggled to score points the last couple of games, and its offense is very one-dimensional. Chambersburg has a little more variety and pop, but I like the Mountain Lions’ defense in this one.

Geoff Morrow: Altoona 25, Chambersburg 17: The two last-place teams in one of the toughest big-school divisions in the state meet in Franklin County. Mountain Lions couldn’t get anything going last week against Harrisburg, but I think they’re the better team and should find a way to snap a three-game skid.

Andy Sandrik: Altoona 24, Chambersburg 13: My understanding is that the Trojans have a few injuries in the trenches. It’s going to take a big effort from the next men up to keep this game competitive.

Adam Kulikowski: Altoona 31, Chambersburg 20: Mrs. 4th Down, who hails from Mountain Lion country, says ‘Toona snaps their skid this week. You know what they say about wives always being right…

This week, we’re chatting with Big Spring’s Eli Hasco on The Spotlight with Andy Shay.

Boiling Springs at Big Spring, 7

Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 34, Big Spring 27: The “Battle of the Spring(s)” goes to the Bubblers for the second straight year. This game has massive curb appeal, though, on so many levels. For the record: A Bulldogs win is NOT an upset. This is a 50-50 call all the way.

Geoff Morrow: Big Spring 33, Boiling Springs 31: Two offenses that haven’t been stopped. Two programs vying to challenge Steel-High for a Capital crown. The rivals have split the last four meetings. I don’t know who wins; my guess is pure toss-up. But just know that Cumberland County will be rocking.

Andy Sandrik: Big Spring 30, Boiling Springs 26: When’s the last time Big Spring and Boiling Springs were BOTH this good? Just going on a hunch with this pick and hoping I can get off my landscaping job in time to watch the game in person.

Adam Kulikowski: Boiling Springs 28, Big Spring 24: This should be a wonderful battle between two Wing-T clubs who know each other’s styles inside and out. Giving the Bubblers a slight edge to make it two straight over the Bulldogs.

Carlisle at Central Dauphin, 7

Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 31, Carlisle 21: Something tells me this will be a competitive game into the fourth quarter. I think Carlisle can have that expectation. This Rams offense has found its mojo, and slowing down the machine won’t be easy.

Geoff Morrow: Central Dauphin 45, Carlisle 20: Again, as stated a few weeks ago about the Thundering Herd, until they can step up and knock off one of the Commonwealth kings, they’ll retain status as nuisance but not true contender. Going on the road and slowing a cooking-with-gas, Max Mosey-led offense isn’t a pleasant task, even for contenders.

Andy Sandrik: Central Dauphin 35, Carlisle 18: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Herd can keep this game within reach. I also wouldn’t be surprised if CD does what CD usually does. I’ve already used a couple of my “flyer” picks on Carlisle this season and have gotten burned, so I’m going with the Rams in a comfortable road victory.

Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 41, Carlisle 20: I’m not sure I see this as close as my esteemed colleagues, but that’s more a testament to what the Rams have done since returning from their COVID-induced respite than a reflection of what the Thundering Herd have been able to accomplish in ‘21.

Cedar Cliff at Bishop McDevitt, 7

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 35, Cedar Cliff 14: The talent level and depth at the skill positions for the Crusaders is such an advantage, it’s hard to see the Colts having enough firepower to keep up over the course of 48 minutes. McD hasn’t had its feet in the fire for weeks; I’m interested to see how that plays out.

Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 30, Bishop McDevitt 27: With victories over the Crusaders in 2018 and ‘19, the Colts aren’t hampered by that “McDevitt mystique syndrome” that seems to put 90% of regular-season opponents in a 21-0 hole even before they step off the bus. Cedar Cliff is tough and tested; McDevitt hasn’t been tested since Week 1. It’s a tough spot for a freshman QB, too, but I fully expect a firefight with, essentially, the Keystone crown up for grabs. Top-notch entertainment value at Rocco.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 42, Cedar Cliff 13: This matchup looks much sexier on paper than I think it will actually turn out. Curious to see if the Colts can make any headway against a McDevitt defense allowing 5.25 points per game during its four-game win streak.

Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 35, Cedar Cliff 28: The Crusaders have been in tune-up mode for the last few weeks battling clubs that were missing a few ingredients needed to keep up with the likes of McD. Can they turn it back on with the division title essentially on the line?

East Pennsboro at West Perry, 7

Andy Shay: West Perry 27, East Pennsboro 21: I have no idea which East Pennsboro team will show up from week to week. They are a high-wire act. The Mustangs have been more consistent, and that matters. If the Panthers put together a complete game over four quarters, though, they win.

Geoff Morrow: West Perry 37, East Pennsboro 21: Impossible to predict what you’re gonna get from the Panthers, but it’s fairly easy to predict the Mustangs won’t exactly be accommodating hosts, having tossed aside tough eggs Juniata and Mechanicsburg in their 2021 visits to Elliottsburg (sadly not named after former P-N motorhead scribe Jeremy Elliott).

Andy Sandrik: West Perry 35, East Pennsboro 21: In my unenviable quest to catch Shay in the pick ‘em standings, I see this as one of those games that could potentially turn the corner for me. But here’s the thing, I can’t pull the trigger. I know what I’m going to get from West Perry, but I can’t quite say the same for the Panthers.

Adam Kulikowski: West Perry 34, East Pennsboro 28: Mustangs sport the more balanced attack, and that matters in this one with the Panthers struggling to put the ball in the air. That just adds more pressure to Sy Burgos and his running mates to hit home runs to keep pace.

Mechanicsburg at Greencastle-Antrim, 7

Andy Shay: Greencastle-Antrim 28, Mechanicsburg 24: This is all about the Wildcats being able to get the game into a comfortable box for them offensively. If that happens, they win. The Blue Devils’ defense is solid against the run, and they have some variety on offense. Taking the home team.

Geoff Morrow: Mechanicsburg 21, Greencastle-Antrim 20: I’m losing faith in the Wildcats, who’ve dropped back-to-back games by double digits to start their Colonial slate. There’s something to salvage if they can find a way to win on the road here. Blue Devils are good but haven’t quite been good enough to consistently claim victory when it’s been available.

Andy Sandrik: Mechanicsburg 24, Greencastle-Antrim 20: This week we have the team picked to win the Colonial vs. the team that was picked to finish last. And it’s a 50-50 game! This division is, was, and always will be, nuts.

Adam Kulikowski: Mechanicsburg 28, Greencastle-Antrim 27: The Wildcats struggled to defend the pass last week against Shippensburg, but thankfully there is no Erby Weller-esque player sporting the Blue Devils kit on Friday.

Midd-West at Juniata, 7

Andy Shay: Juniata 21, Midd-West 6: Been a tough year for the winless Mustangs, and they have had trouble scoring points. Defense is a HUGE factor for the Indians and gives them a clear matchup advantage in my book.

Geoff Morrow: Juniata 40, Midd-West 7: Unlike Week 6, there aren’t too many gimmees among this week’s picks. Here’s an exception. Mustangs are NOT having a good season.

Andy Sandrik: Juniata 30, Midd-West 0: It wasn’t all that long ago that we were writing Juniata’s obituary after they lost their QB in Week 3, yet here the Indians are with a really good chance of improving to 5-2.

Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 30, Midd-West 10: The Indians’ defense will keep them in any game this year. That gives backup-turned-starting QB Aaron Kanagy plenty of time to find his footing under center.

Mifflin County at Red Land, 7

Andy Shay: Red Land 28, Mifflin County 20: I do think the Patriots are better than their 1-5 record, and that shows up in this one. Red Land has to make sure the Huskies don’t get the upper hand and end up chasing the game down.

Geoff Morrow: Red Land 26, Mifflin County 15: Huskies woofed up some offense last week! Patriots, meanwhile, yielded 48 points to Palmyra a week after the defense pitched a shutout. I’m betting the MiffCo offense and Red Land defense level out a bit this week, but one thing I can declare with confidence: The Keystone Division, outside the top two teams, is not very strong this year.

Andy Sandrik: Red Land 24, Mifflin County 14: I don’t know if the Patriots have been a clear favorite in any game this year, but I think they’re just that this week against MiffCo, and I think things go as scheduled with a relatively comfortable Red Land win at West Shore Stadium.

Adam Kulikowski: Red Land 31, Mifflin County 24: The Huskies showed some good signs on offense last week. Can they build on that success? I keep laying my stake on the Patriots — if I martingale long enough, I’m sure Frank Gay’s crew will bring one home. This should be the week.

Nativity BVM at Tri-Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 28, Nativity BVM 14: Scoring points hasn’t been a problem for Nativity BVM, which brings some offense to the table. Bulldogs have a formula that limits those chances, and they finish drives that slow the game down. The lower scoring the better for T-V, which possesses the defense to back it up.

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 28, Nativity BVM 14: Definitely won’t be as easy as it was last weekend for the Bulldogs, as the Hilltoppers bring a 4-2 mark into the mix. But this is one of those games T-V should, and very likely will, win.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 21, Nativity BVM 7: The Hilltoppers have grinded their way to being a competitive football team, but points will not come easy against T-V, which, if you take away a loss to Hamburg, has only given up seven points this year.

Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 21, Nativity BVM 14: The Bulldogs got their swagger back on D last week, pitching their third shutout in five games. The stinginess should propel Jeff Sampson’s crew to a round of root beers Friday night.

Newport at James Buchanan, 7

Andy Shay: Newport 33, James Buchanan 28: Buffaloes have taken some lumps from quality programs and paid the price. This is a more level playing field, and it’s a clear 50-50 game in my book. Taking the Buffs for no particular reason other than they have been pushed so hard, this level of competition will be a welcome change.

Geoff Morrow: Newport 30, James Buchanan 8: Neither team played last weekend, but here’s the thing about Newport: Assuming this game is played and the Buffaloes win on the road, they’ll actually go into Week 8’s contest with Juniata with both teams unbeaten in the Liberty. Pretty remarkable considering their substantial struggles this year.

Andy Sandrik: Newport 44, James Buchanan 12: Does Newport have a bad record because of a brutal schedule, or because it’s a struggling football team? I think I know what the correct answer is here, but we’ll see how the Buffs fare against the Rockets first.

Adam Kulikowski: Newport 35, James Buchanan 14: The Buffaloes’ skid is currently four games yielding at least 42 points while scoring no more than 7. The Rockets have faced their own lumps during this circuit. But for a week, at least, one of these clubs should get some positive vibes going their way.

Northern York at Shippensburg, 7

Andy Shay: Shippensburg 28, Northern York 21: What you give the Greyhounds, they have the ability to take. They aren’t a shove-it-down-your-throat offense this season. And that will serve them very well in this tilt.

Geoff Morrow: Shippensburg 27, Northern York 16: Two things I’ve learned this season: 1. It’s not wise to pick against the Greyhounds, even if you have a dumb “feeling” that they might be due for a hiccup game; 2. If you say or write anything remotely negative about the Colonial front-runners, Ship superfan Jay Rotz appears like Candyman to haunt you.

Andy Sandrik: Northern York 29, Shippensburg 26 (OT): I just have a feeling we’re in for a barn-burner at Memorial Field this weekend. Every time I pick Northern to lose, the Polar Bears make me look like a fool, so we’ll see what they do when I take them in a big game.

Adam Kulikowski: Shippensburg 30, Northern York 28: If anyone is going to knock off the Greyhounds in the Colonial Division this year, it is the Polar Bears. So no shock if Bill Miller’s crew gets it down Friday night. Stopping that Chamberlin-to-Weller connection would be one tall feat.

Palmerton at Pine Grove, 7

Andy Shay: Palmerton 35, Pine Grove 7: The Bombers are on a four-game winning streak and have scored plenty of points in each of those games. PG has struggled and now gets a team on a roll. That’s a tough combo in my book.

Geoff Morrow: Palmerton 29, Pine Grove 15: Rare chance for us to write something about the Blue Bombers from Carbon County. And, hey, they’re pretty good and chasing their first winning season since 2017! Hasn’t been the most rugged slate, though, and the Cardinals have hung tough in all but one of their five losses. So this isn’t automatic.

Andy Sandrik: Palmerton 25, Pine Grove 21: If there’s any silver lining to Pine Grove’s 1-5 start, it’s that the Cards can take a punch without folding. I think this game could be closer than the records indicate.

Adam Kulikowski: Palmerton 28, Pine Grove 14: These are two teams trending in opposite directions. Give credit to the Cards, though; they continue to battle each week.

Palmyra at Hershey, 7

Andy Shay: Palmyra 27, Hershey 14: Cougars are the biggest surprise in the MPC this season, and it’s important for them at this point to win the games they are supposed to win. This is one of those, as the Trojans are winless.

Geoff Morrow: Palmyra 29, Hershey 20: Cougars are writing a playbook on how to take a young, inexperienced team, weather the early-season struggles, keep improving, and then start winning games most don’t expect you to win. Kudos to Chris Pope and crew. Why not keep it going?

Andy Sandrik: Palmyra 30, Hershey 7: After a slow start, Palmyra has won three of its last four. Maybe Hershey’s defense can slow down the Cougars a little bit, but I still don’t see the Trojans scoring enough points to come out with the win.

Adam Kulikowski: Palmyra 35, Hershey 14: Raise your hand if you saw the Cougars’ streak coming. Me neither. But that’s one of the best things about high school sports. Chris Pope’s crew keeps the good times rolling against Hershey.

State College at Cumberland Valley, 7

Andy Shay: State College 24, Cumberland Valley 21: Wow, this is the toughest pick on the board for me this week. I like where the Eagles are headed, but I also think State College brings a wee bit more offensively to the table.

Geoff Morrow: Cumberland Valley 28, State College 24: A loss here would be the Little Lions’ third straight, and they haven’t lost three in a row within a single season since Matt Lintal’s first year in 2014. But CV has been pretty darn tough this fall and, even with last week’s loss, is only getting tougher.

Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 20, State College 13: I really like where the Eagles are at right now, especially defensively. They may or may not win, but I can almost guarantee the game will be within reach for the full 48 minutes.

Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 30, State College 28: With the status of quarterback Finn Furmanek uncertain and the Eagles trending up, CV scores its best victory of the season.

Steel-High at Trinity, 7

Andy Shay: Steel-High 42, Trinity 14: There is more to this game than two teams playing, but when Friday night at 7 o’clock rolls around, it will be all about the T-Rocks and Rollers on the field. Rollers showed some patience last week, and that will serve them well.

Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 37, Trinity 14: First-year Shamrocks coach Jordan Hill — and many of his assistants — have Roller blood running through their veins. So this could go many different ways. Trinity has been significantly better at home than on the road, but the state’s No. 1 Class A team has barely been tested this year. So if the hosts find a way to make noise early, an upset is possible. But my pick is based mostly on the Shamrocks showcasing the expected inconsistencies of starting over, and a championship-caliber team like Steel-High knowing how to take advantage of that.

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 44, Trinity 10: This will be a fun reunion for all coaches involved, but I’m not sure it’s going to be all that close with the players on the field. Steel-High can, and should, win this game big.

Adam Kulikowski: Steel-High 45, Trinity 7: One team is battle-tested, the other is looking to build that experience. Right now, experience and a stocked cupboard make all the difference.

Upper Dauphin at Susquenita, 7

Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 28, Susquenita 14: I like the fact the Trojans have shown the ability to play more balanced and complementary football on a more consistent basis. When it gets crazy, they have that to fall back on.

Geoff Morrow: Upper Dauphin 41, Susquenita 21: It’s been an impressive last month for the Trojans since a Week 2 setback to Liberty-leading Juniata. And I would bet dollars to doughnuts they’d LOVE another crack at the Indians. Also, I have no idea why “dollars to doughnuts” is a phrase I just used.

Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 38, Susquenita 7: The Blackhawks’ defense has been a liability in recent weeks, while Upper Dauphin has been thumping teams over the same stretch. Not a good combination for a competitive game.

Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 35, Susquenita 21: Trojans are finding their stride after playing several weeks with a limited crew due to injuries and illness. Not sure we’ve seen the best of what UD can be yet, either.

Waynesboro at Susquehanna Township, 7

Andy Shay: Waynesboro 35, Susquehanna Township 7: Nice to have a struggling opponent on the schedule the week after a big rivalry game. Indians (Waynesboro variety) are still hunting in the “Crazy Colonial” but also should have an eye on the bigger picture — playoffs. Win the games you should, right? The rest takes care of itself.

Geoff Morrow: Waynesboro 27, Susquehanna Township 20: I still think the ‘Hanna is a dangerous squad over this second half. Joe Headen’s crew has nothing to lose, the young talent continues to get useful reps, and this isn’t a program used to losing. Not necessarily ready to dial up the upset pick, but I do think foes need to be wary.

Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 24, Susquehanna Township 13: After giving up a touchdown per minute over the first half of the season, the Township defense seems to have finally settled down in recent weeks. Getting that first win, though, is going to be difficult against a Waynesboro side that comes in as a clear road favorite.

Adam Kulikowski: Waynesboro 38, Susquehanna Township 20: Township provided a bit of a scare to East Pennsboro last week before fading. For a young group of lads, that’s a meaningful building block. Waynesboro, however, provides a more balanced attack.


CD East at Harrisburg, 1

Andy Shay: Harrisburg 20, CD East 14: This one has everybody’s attention for all the right reasons. This game will be played in a sandbox for the most part. So limiting mistakes and taking full advantage of opportunities will be critical. Enjoy this one!

Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 22, CD East 21: I was SO CLOSE to picking East High to post its first victory over the Cougars since 2015, but, in the end, I was unable to convince myself it’ll happen on a Saturday afternoon at Severance, where the Cougars haven’t lost since a 15-14 decision vs. CD in 2019. I fully expect magical moments from both teams.

Andy Sandrik: CD East 24, Harrisburg 13: The No. 1 thing you need to spring an upset in a hard road game is a strong defense. CD East, which hasn’t allowed an opponent to score multiple touchdowns since Week 2, has just that.

Adam Kulikowski: CD East 28, Harrisburg 21: Save a Lincoln for your entry into this stellar matchup on Saturday. Injuries have the Cougars shuffling a bit on offense — but Kyle Williams is healthy and ready to carry a load. Panthers have a few more weapons available and a defense that is capable of shutting down the run.

Camp Hill at Middletown, 7

Andy Shay: Middletown 21, Camp Hill 14: Blue Raiders have been the more consistent of the two squads defensively this season, and that’s my difference-maker in this one. Lions could present some problems, though.

Geoff Morrow: Middletown 23, Camp Hill 13: Honestly, even though they’ve lost two in a row to division-leading programs, the Blue Raiders’ defense has been solid all year. When that offense catches up, this is a pretty darn good team.

Andy Sandrik: Middletown 28, Camp Hill 7: This very well might be Camp Hill’s best shot to take its first win in the series since 2014, but I just don’t see it happening.

Adam Kulikowski: Middletown 34, Camp Hill 14: To me, the edge is in the Blue Raiders’ defense. It has the chops to slow the Lions’ aerial attack enough to give the offense plenty of opportunities to get on track.

Line Mountain vs. Executive Education Academy, at Muhlenberg College, 7

Andy Shay: Executive Education Academy 34, Line Mountain 7: You never know what’s going to happen in these last-minute COVID-19 drop-in games. The lads from Herndon have struggled mightily to stay competitive, and that is a fact that will be a factor in this one as well.

Geoff Morrow: Executive Education Academy 32, Line Mountain 8: The Raptors’ schedule reads like a random collection of schools, including Berks Catholic, Interboro and Shikellamy. This week they were supposed to host a team from Canada, but COVID-19 restrictions meant the Ontario-based team couldn’t cross the border. So, they’ll instead battle the Eagles, whose schedule opened up last minute when Halifax had to cancel. Enjoy!

Andy Sandrik: Executive Education Academy 28, Line Mountain 14: I was thinking about picking Line Mountain, but I don’t want to risk one of these Executive Education kids growing up to become my boss and firing me.

Adam Kulikowski: Executive Education Academy 35, Line Mountain 7: Finding a spark has been a struggle for the boys from Herndon all season. Swapping in the charter school from Allentown for Halifax, which bowed out due to COVID issues, didn’t make the task any easier.

Williams Valley at Marian Catholic, 7

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 35, Marian Catholic 0: Vikings should cruise to 6-1 with little or no problem. Marian Catholic has scored only three touchdowns all season and hasn’t tasted victory yet in 2021.

Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 44, Marian Catholic 0: Of the four “Valley” schools Marian plays during this current five-week stretch, the best — and realistically ONLY — chance to win is in two weeks at fellow winless team Panther Valley. Vikings roll in this one.

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 52, Marion Catholic 7: I’m not sure if this is the spot where Marian Catholic snaps its 11-game losing streak.

Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 45, Marian Catholic 7: The Vikings appear to be hitting their stride after battling a rash of injuries earlier in the season, while Marian Catholic has struggled to put points on the board.  

CANCELED: Line Mountain at Halifax.POSTPONED: None.

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