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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Picks and Predictions for Week 8

RECORDS (Week 7 — Overall — Perfect Picks):

Andy Shay: 21-1 — 134-33 — 0

Andy Sandrik: 17-5 — 122-45 — 0

Geoff Morrow: 19-3 — 121-46 — 3

Adam Kulikowski: 19-3 — 116-51 — 1

Andy Shay provides his analysis and predictions for three of the top matchups across our coverage area in Week 8.

Friday’s Games

Big Spring at Trinity, 7

Andy Shay: Big Spring 34, Trinity 21: Couple of squads coming off tough losses to quality teams. “Bounce back” is the theme this week for both. The Bulldogs’ offense has a bit more explosiveness with the deep threat, and that could be the difference maker.

Geoff Morrow: Big Spring 33, Trinity 27: I think this game is huge for the Bulldogs, one of their biggest in years. I say that because last week’s loss to the rival Bubblers undoubtedly stung. The strongest programs have innate ability to harness that frustration and use it to their advantage the next week, while weaker programs sulk and struggle. THIS game — not last week’s — will more accurately define Big Spring and determine its 2021 future.

Andy Sandrik: Trinity 26, Big Spring 21: Nobody else wants to take Trinity at home after the ‘Rocks pushed Steel-High to the limit? OK, I will.

Adam Kulikowski: Big Spring 35, Trinity 33: Bulldogs beware: Trinity has shown that it has the ability to pull off an upset — just ask Delone Catholic. Big Spring missed some opportunities down field last week against Boiling Springs that it had connected on throughout the season. If their vertical passing game gets back on track, it should bode well for the Bulldogs Friday night.

Bishop McDevitt at Milton Hershey, 7

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 56, Milton Hershey 7: Holding teams down defensively has been a trouble spot at times for the Spartans, and this McDevitt offense finds a way to get seven or eight touchdowns a game.

Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 62, Milton Hershey 7: I hang my head in shame that, last week, I actually predicted McDevitt to lose in a game the Crusaders ended up winning 56-0. I’m not religious, but I’m pretty sure that’s a sin.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 54, Milton Hershey 14: The Crusaders have been averaging 63 points per game since their season-opening shutout loss to La Salle College. I think Milton Hershey holds them below that average, but still, this is an awfully tough assignment for the Spartans.

Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 54, Milton Hershey 7: Can anyone test McDevitt before we get into the district playoffs? Just asking for a friend.

Carlisle at State College, 7

Andy Shay: Carlisle 28, State College 24: Couple of 4-3 squads looking to avoid falling to .500. Good matchup on fairly equal terms. Thundering Herd have been close to winning one of these get-over-the-hump games with a couple of losses by a field goal. Taking Carlisle to get that win.

Geoff Morrow: State College 26, Carlisle 21: Arguably the most intriguing game on the schedule. Inarguably, the outcome matters a whole lot more to the Herd because they’re currently outside the playoff bubble in the latest District 3 power rankings. But, as I’ve written before, Carlisle just doesn’t have a track record of winning games against upper-tier Commonwealth foes. Until they do, it’s tough to pick the Herd, especially on the road. Playing teams tight is one thing; the next step is actually winning those games. 

Andy Sandrik: State College 28, Carlisle 21: We keep waiting for Carlisle, an obviously talented team, to get that signature win. The Herd almost got it done against CD. They almost came back against CV. And something tells me they almost get a road win against the Little Lions.

Adam Kulikowski: State College 33, Carlisle 27: The status of Little Lions QB Finn Furmanek makes a difference in this one. Give the Herd the edge if State College’s QB1 is a no go again. But, right now, I’ll go with the team with a history of success against stiff competition.

Central Dauphin at Altoona, 7

Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 31, Altoona 14: That was a clutch win by the Rams against a Carlisle team that showed up to win, not just play well. Altoona’s offense and that ground game fit right into the CD defense’s wheelhouse.

Geoff Morrow: Central Dauphin 34, Altoona 19: A nice feel-good win on the road for the Mountain Lions last week to snap a three-game skid, while CD survived a fight from Carlisle. But I noticed on Twitter the Rams are irked about not being ranked in the state, so maybe they’ll play angry and win decisively.

Andy Sandrik: Central Dauphin 33, Altoona 17: The Commonwealth seems a lot more balanced than in recent years, so much so that Altoona, near the bottom of the standings, has at least a puncher’s chance against the contending Rams.

Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 45, Altoona 7: Mountain Lions have struggled to move the ball through the air while the Rams have to be riding high after that game-winning field goal last week against Carlisle. Rams check all the boxes here to find themselves on the winning side of the ledger.

Chambersburg at CD East, 7

Andy Shay: CD East 28, Chambersburg 14: How do the Panthers respond to a big loss at Harrisburg? When they lost in Week 1, they had an impressive response. Expect more of the same here.

Geoff Morrow: CD East 38, Chambersburg 13: You have to take every Commonwealth foe seriously or you’ll get smacked. But let’s just say this is good timing for the Panthers after last week’s tough loss at Harrisburg. It’s my opinion that it’s better for everybody involved (teams, but mostly fans) that CD vs. East is NEXT weekend and not this weekend.

Andy Sandrik: CD East 28, Chambersburg 0: This seems like a good spot for an angry CD East squad to pitch its first shutout of the season.

Adam Kulikowski: CD East 35, Chambersburg 14: The Commonwealth Division can be a meat grinder — just ask the Trojans who, after opening the season winning two out of three, have dropped their first four division battles.

Executive Education Academy at Upper Dauphin, 7

Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 28, Executive Education Academy 14: Trojans offense will provide EEA a bit more of a test that it has faced the last couple weeks with those back-to-back shutouts. Raptors’ offense won’t be able to keep pace. 

Geoff Morrow: Upper Dauphin 22, Executive Education Academy 14: Trojans have ably handled all comers since a Week 2 loss vs. Juniata. This late-addition opponent won’t be a pushover, but I expect UDA to survive. 

Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 14, Executive Education Academy 7: Smart money seems to be on the Trojans here, but don’t sleep on that Raptors defense, which has pitched back to back shutouts.

Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 28, Executive Education Academy 14: After losing its game against Halifax, Upper Dauphin quickly picked up the Allentown charter school to fill the void in its schedule. It’s EEA’s second straight week facing off against a Mid-Penn Liberty opponent, but this one provides a much bigger test than the boys from Herndon could muster.  

Greencastle-Antrim at Northern York, 7

Andy Shay: Northern York 27, Greencastle-Antrim 21: Blue Devils have come close a few times to scoring big wins and have found ways to take the L instead of the W. That’s a big hurdle to clear. Polar Bears are coming off a loss to Ship and will be in rebound mode.

Geoff Morrow: Northern York 28, Greencastle-Antrim 21: It’s a good week for the Polar Bears to claw up the competition, and I say that because former Northern standout and current assistant coach Kyle Goss hand-delivered new business cards to my office in the Capitol this week. That’s good karma, folks!

Andy Sandrik: Northern York 33, Greencastle-Antrim 10: If Ship only managed 21 points against the Polar Bears, who am I to predict the Blue Devils putting up more than 10? Northern bounces back this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Northern York 35, Greencastle-Antrim 27: Battling the Blue Devils is like playing Russian roulette. Someone is going to get stung by this team. It’s just a matter of who because they are knocking on the door each week.

Harrisburg at Cumberland Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Harrisburg 27, Cumberland Valley 16: Eagles will make this game sticky in spots for the Cougars. Harrisburg is patient, doesn’t panic and sticks to its guns no matter what is happening. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of confidence. The results speak for themselves.

Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 32, Cumberland Valley 17: With Harrisburg and CD still on their schedule, the Eagles really, REALLY needed to beat State College last week to have a good chance at the playoffs. It’s not impossible, but the path to the postseason is packed with poisonous snakes and spiders now. Cougars, meanwhile, are confidently rounding into playoff form.

Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 23, Cumberland Valley 19: I’m done playing the pick-against-Harrisburg game. Love what the Eagles are doing, but the Cougars sure seem like a squad that can complete its run on the Commonwealth.

Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 28, Harrisburg 27: The Eagles nearly toppled State College last week. Can they parlay that effort into a win against the Cougars? It’s a tall feat against a physical club, but it’s one Cumberland Valley could be ready for.

Hershey at Mifflin County, 7

Andy Shay: Hershey 14, Mifflin County 7: Trojans find a way to erase that zero under the win column. It will be a struggle and might be something crazy. Hershey’s defense will be a difference maker.

Geoff Morrow: Mifflin County 20, Hershey 14: No fibbing, but I think after Carlisle vs. State College, this is the most intriguing game of the week. Look, sometimes programs have bad seasons. Sometimes they have bad decades. These two are a combined 0-14 this year, but each has made waves at times. The Huskies’ best game came two weeks earlier when they nearly knocked off Milton Hershey; at home, I’m banking MiffCo can put another big effort together and secure that first W.

Andy Sandrik: Hershey 24, Mifflin County 14: The Trojans have been struggling to put up points, just like MiffCo, but their defense seems a couple notches better than that of the Huskies.

Adam Kulikowski: Hershey 21, Mifflin County 7: Both of these clubs have struggled to find their footing in this campaign, but the Trojans seem to have more pieces in place to get into the win column.

James Buchanan at Susquenita, 7

Andy Shay: Susquenita 40, James Buchanan 19: Been a rough October for the Blackhawks, who are riding a three-game slide. I think they pick up the pieces in this one and get a little confidence back with a W.

Geoff Morrow: Susquenita 49, James Buchanan 8: With blowout losses against top-tier Big Spring, Boiling Springs and Upper Dauphin over its last three games, ‘Nita welcomes the opportunity to exact some level of misplaced revenge.

Andy Sandrik: Susquenita 38, James Buchanan 12: The ‘Hawks are on a three-game losing streak, but a win here puts ‘Nita at .500 and back in the thick of things in the Liberty.

Adam Kulikowski: Susquenita 45, James Buchanan 7: This is just what the ‘Hawks need to get their season back on track.

Line Mountain at North Penn-Mansfield, 7

Andy Shay: North Penn-Mansfield 28, Line Mountain 7: The Panthers have shown more pop on offense by scoring 28 or more in their three victories. The Eagles have scored only 35 points in six games.

Geoff Morrow: North Penn-Mansfield 26, Line Mountain 6: When you can’t trust a team to score points, it’s tough to pick them to win ball games. Eagles, unfortunately, have desperately struggled to find paydirt this year.

Andy Sandrik: North Penn-Mansfield 28, Line Mountain 7: Three games remain for the Eagles to nail down that first win. Panthers will be a tough out, though, especially if Line Mountain struggles to put up points.

Adam Kulikowski: North Penn-Mansfield 25, Line Mountain 7: Points will be at a premium when these two clubs square off Friday night. Give an edge to the Panthers, who will sport the best weapon on the field in Kohen Lehman, a junior running back with over 500 yards on the ground.

Middletown at Boiling Springs, 7

Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 31, Middletown 13: The Blue Raiders don’t offer much variety on offense, and the Bubblers’ defensive front and linebackers are rock solid against the run. There’s a lean factor from the Boiling Springs offense that will be in play as well. It hogs the rock.

Geoff Morrow: Boiling Springs 23, Middletown 16: Bubblers are deservedly heavy favorites to claim their first victory over the Blue Raiders since 2014, but take note of what the Middletown defense has done lately. I doubt this will be as easy as my mates predict it to be.

Andy Sandrik: Boiling Springs 38, Middletown 14: Playing at Bubbletown has been like taking a one-way ticket to blowout city. At home, Boiling Springs is 3-0 and outscoring opponents 147-15.

Adam Kulikowski: Boiling Springs 45, Middletown 17: The Bubblers haven’t scored fewer than 35 points all season. Combine that with a defense that has plenty of chops to shut down the run, and you have a Mt. Everest-like climb for the Blue Raiders.

Newport at Juniata, 7

Andy Shay: Juniata 28, Newport 7: The Indians have surrendered only two touchdowns over the last 12 quarters, including a shutout. Can you say “winning with defense?” That doesn’t change here.

Geoff Morrow: Juniata 30, Newport 6: While the Buffaloes have won four of the last five in this series, this year is playing out much differently than previous seasons. I fully expect Juniata to be 8-2 and entering the playoffs on a six-game winning streak come November.

Andy Sandrik: Juniata 22, Newport 0: Every time I drive to work near Mechanicsburg, I see the Juniata College billboard teaching passers-by how to pronounce JOO-NEE-AT-UH. Didn’t realize it was that hard to say, but I digress. Indians’ defense throws down a shutout this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 35, Newport 14: Juniata’s defense has carried this team for weeks, but the offense — post Jacob Condo — has quietly started to find its groove (see 400+ yards of firepower last week against Midd-West).

Palmyra at Cedar Cliff, 7

Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 31, Palmyra 20: There’s a McDevitt PTSD the Colts have to deal with in order to move forward. Leave last week in the past and focus on the task at hand. Otherwise these Cougars will gladly take over the game. Counting on the Cliff defense to bounce back and show some grit here. It will be required.

Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 33, Palmyra 26: Cougars have rattled off three in a row against sub-.500 competition, so this would be heavier than a feather in a cap for the visitors. Having picked the Colts to actually beat McDevitt last week, I’m stunned at how quickly and decisively they were routed, and that concerns me moving forward. But Cliff is a virtual lock to make the playoffs, and now’s the time to start getting things right. But this one should be a battle.

Andy Sandrik: Palmyra 48, Cedar Cliff 39: I’ll probably regret this pick, but I love this hot streak the Cougars are on. 

Adam Kulikowski: Cedar Cliff 35, Palmyra 26: The Cougars have shown plenty of positive signs during this three-game winning streak. But knocking off a Cedar Cliff team that is sure to respond well after taking a licking against Bishop McDevitt would take their season to another level. Just not sure Chris Pope’s crew is ready to take that step.

Panther Valley at Tri-Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 42, Panther Valley 7: The Panthers are winless and have scored only 41 points. The T-V defense surrenders only 10 points a game and has scored 215 points in six outings. All Bulldogs in this one.

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 43, Panther Valley 0: It wasn’t close last year, and it won’t be close this year. Only family, cheerleaders and band should watch.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 39, Panther Valley 14: Oh hey, it’s time for me to go on my once-a-year rant on how the Panther Valley Panthers have the most lazily named mascot in the state of Pennsylvania.

Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 35, Panther Valley 7: Bulldogs should have no trouble handling the winless Panthers, especially with a defense that has yielded just 60 points all season. 

Pine Grove at Catasauqua, 7

Andy Shay: Catasauqua 30, Pine Grove 7: The Rough Riders have a couple of quality wins in tight, low-scoring affairs and are tested. PG is struggling with only one win.

Geoff Morrow: Catasauqua 37, Pine Grove 14: Writing about the Rough Riders reminds me of a 1990s standup routine from comedian John Caponera in which he amusingly pointed out that, at the time, the Canadian Football League was home to TWO teams with the same nickname: the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the now-defunct Ottawa Rough Riders.

Andy Sandrik: Catasauqua 28, Pine Grove 6: Catasauqua lost two of its last three, but this seems like a good spot for the Rough Riders to regain traction.

Adam Kulikowski: Catasauqua 45, Pine Grove 7: The Rough Riders enter this fray with an effective two-quarterback system which has produced nearly 1,000 passing yards and plenty of effective ball carriers to make this a tough nut to crack for the Cardinals.

Red Land at Lower Dauphin, 7

Andy Shay: Red Land 28, Lower Dauphin 24: Nobody has run away from the Patriots all season, and they could easily have one or two more wins. Will require a full 48 minutes against the Falcons, which has been a problem for Red Land. This game could go either way. Confidence favors the Falcons.

Geoff Morrow: Red Land 23, Lower Dauphin 20: I was leaning toward LD when I sat down, but closer inspection now has me believing that, despite an unimpressive record coupled with LD’s feel-good rebuild, the Patriots have been slightly more dangerous throughout most of the season. Coming off last week’s blowout victory of Mifflin County, I expect a confident RL squad can — and will — post a narrow road win.

Andy Sandrik: Lower Dauphin 23, Red Land 21: This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Lower Dauphin, but the Falcons aren’t all that far from knocking on the door to the district tournament. 

Adam Kulikowski: Red Land 34, Lower Dauphin 28: Can the Patriots find a way to seal the deal in the fourth quarter? Frank Gay’s crew let several wins slip away late over the last few weeks. Week 8 is as good a time as any to break that habit. 

Shenandoah Valley at Williams Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 38, Shenandoah Valley 13: With each passing week, the Vikings take another step forward. This is a squad that has grown into its 6-1 record, and that makes it very dangerous.

Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 39, Shenandoah Valley 7: This is all just window dressing until we get to WV vs. Tri-Valley in Week 9. 

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 42, Shenandoah Valley 14: We were wondering about the legitimacy of the Vikings earlier this season. Then we turn around for two seconds, and WV is suddenly 6-1 and getting it done with a balanced offense. Make it 7-1 for the Vikings.

Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley, Shenandoah Valley 10: The Vikings seem to be playing their best ball of the season right as we enter the home stretch of the regular season. Just how you draw it up, right?

Steel-High at Camp Hill, 7

Andy Shay: Steel-High 49, Camp Hill 7: Rollers were given a full scare by Trinity, but, in the end, the result was the same. Lions just don’t have the horses to run with this group, and that will be evident.

Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 49, Camp Hill 13: There’s a false sense that this is a rivalry that has provided a bunch of entertaining games in recent years. But I just checked, and only one of the last 14 meetings has been played within single digits. When one team is good, the other isn’t. And right now the Rollers are pretty darn good.

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 55, Camp Hill 0: Man, I’ve still got goosebumps from the Rollers’ win over Trinity last week. I think Steel-High builds from that and comes out sharp this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Steel-High 56, Camp Hill 14: Anyone think the boys from Cottage Hill were a little upset after nearly dropping one to Trinity last week? My guess is yes. But don’t expect another matchup up for grabs in the fourth quarter when the Rollers kick off against Camp Hill Friday evening.

Susquehanna Twp. at Mechanicsburg, 7

Andy Shay: Mechanicsburg 42, Susquehanna Twp. 7: The struggles for ‘Hanna continue as this Wildcats team will run the ball and control the clock most of the way. Mechanicsburg wins the games it should.

Geoff Morrow: Mechanicsburg 35, Susquehanna Twp. 14: Despite its up-and-down season, Mechanicsburg is in playoff position with two tougher games coming up. So this is a must-have against a dangerous but winless bunch. Just take care of business, as simple as that sounds.

Andy Sandrik: Mechanicsburg 44, Susquehanna Twp. 14: The Wildcats haven’t had an opportunity to breathe easy all season. If they punch in and do their job here, there could be a running clock by the second half.

Adam Kulikowski: Mechanicsburg 37, Susquehanna Twp. 14: Yes, the Indians have taken their lumps this season. But it’s important to remember that Joe Headen’s crew is largely freshmen and sophomores, which should pay dividends next year. But until then…

Waynesboro at East Pennsboro, 7

Andy Shay: Waynesboro 35, East Pennsboro 13: Something went sideways for this Panthers team, and they can’t get the train back on the tracks. Waynesboro is not a squad against whom you fix what’s broken.

Geoff Morrow: Waynesboro 33, East Pennsboro 14: One team has been consistently tough throughout the season; the other has produced more wild swings than an amusement park. That it’s a home game means the Panthers have a fighter’s chance, but not enough for me to pick them.

Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 44, East Pennsboro 12: Was anyone else surprised to see EP fall behind 38-0 to West Perry last week? Panthers need to get back to the drawing board, and fast, because Waynesboro can absolutely do the same thing this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Waynesboro 37, East Pennsboro 14: Never quite seem to know what Panthers squad is going to show up each Friday night. That’s not the case with the Indians at all. We know exactly what Aiden Mencia and his punch-you-in-the-mouth crew bring to the table each week.

West Perry at Shippensburg, 7

Andy Shay: Shippensburg 42, West Perry 14: The Greyhounds just frustrate teams like crazy with their offensive balance and that lockdown defense. West Perry has evolved into a better-than-anticipated squad, but this is next-level stuff.

Geoff Morrow: Shippensburg 30, West Perry 14: Much credit to the Greyhounds, who’ve handled every challenge this season with aplomb. This will be a fun outfit to watch come playoff time. So, too, will the Mustangs. But this is a tough spot for them.

Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 44, West Perry 21: There’s absolutely no pressure on the Mustangs here against the state-ranked ‘Hounds. Look for WP to pull out all the stops to put points on the board.

Adam Kulikowski: Shippensburg 35, West Perry 21: Mustangs are next in line to try to stop the Tucker Chamberlin-to-Erby Weller connection. That’s one tall task.

POSTPONED: None.CANCELED: Upper Dauphin at Halifax.

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