RECORDS (Week 8 — Overall — Perfect Picks):
Andy Shay: 20-1 — 154-34 — 0
Andy Sandrik: 18-3 — 140-48 — 0
Geoff Morrow: 18-3 — 139-49 — 3
Adam Kulikowski: 18-3 — 134-54 — 1
Altoona at Carlisle, 7
Andy Shay: Carlisle 34, Altoona 14: Notice the last few Carlisle games and the points their opponents have scored: 7, 24 and 14. Defense!! Defense!!
Geoff Morrow: Carlisle 28, Altoona 20: Congratulations to the Thundering Herd, who finally bagged a win against Commonwealth royalty by beating State College last weekend. That’s the good news. Now all they need? Two more wins to close out the season and give themselves a chance at the playoffs. CD East awaits next week.
Andy Sandrik: Carlisle 33, Altoona 17: You never want to use the phrase “must-win,” but that’s exactly what Carlisle faces this week, sitting at No. 9 in the District 3 Class 6A power rankings. Only eight teams advance to the postseason.
Adam Kulikowski: Altoona 28, Carlisle 24: My place in the standings calls for a bit of chance-taking. If I were a betting man, I’d have the odds of an Altoona win at something like +160. Not a longshot, but certainly not the probable outcome.
Bishop McDevitt at Red Land, 7
Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 56, Red Land 7: This is my standard points total for the Crusaders against Keystone opponents, because they aren’t having much trouble getting there.
Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 65, Red Land 7: Look, it’s a rather blunt way to put it, but the Keystone Division is (relatively) terrible this year. However, Bishop McDevitt is clearly NOT terrible. But we really won’t know just how good the Crusaders are until we get to the playoffs. It really would have been nice to see McD vs. Harrisburg this year.
Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 49, Red Land 0: Pretty much every play from Week 2 to present has been a highlight for the explosive Crusaders, who are also looking post their third consecutive shutout.
Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 55, Red Land 6: Freshman Bishop McDevitt QB Stone Saunders has yet to throw an interception through seven games and 111 attempts. Yeah, this kid is pretty good.
Camp Hill at Boiling Springs, 7
Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 41, Camp Hill 14: There was a lesson in that narrow victory over Middletown by the Bubblers: Show up each week in the Capital with your best stuff or you can go down. There’s depth to this division, but the Lions are struggling.
Geoff Morrow: Boiling Springs 49, Camp Hill 13: Bubblers will take care of business to set up next weekend’s potential winner-take-all clash for the Capital crown. The question is, will Steel-High do its part?
Andy Sandrik: Boiling Springs 44, Camp Hill 7: The Bubblers aren’t allowed to look ahead to Steel-High, but I sure can, and man, I can’t wait.
Adam Kulikowski: Boiling Springs 55, Camp Hill 21: Don’t blame us for all looking ahead to the must-see matchup next week between Steel-High and Boiling Springs. We’re all just fans of the game at heart.
CD East at Central Dauphin, 7
Andy Shay: CD East 27, Central Dauphin 24: The Central Dauphin School District rivalry game has more meat on the bone than normal. Rams have the offense, while Panthers bring some big-time defense to the table. Wondering what gives. If CD quarterback Max Mosey gets rolling, the Rams will win. Panthers have a more solid foundation all around.
Geoff Morrow: CD East 30, Central Dauphin 26: The Rams remain unbeaten in the Commonwealth and need to win to feel like they have a chance to share the division title with Harrisburg, whom they won’t play this regular season. The Panthers have been more consistent on both sides of the ball this year, though, and could snag just their third win vs. CD in a decade-plus (2012, 2017). This one should be fun.
Andy Sandrik: CD East 43, Central Dauphin 28: I don’t feel great about predicting the No. 3 team in the District 3 Class 6A power rankings to give up this many points, but the Rams’ defense has surrendered at least three scores during each one of its five consecutive wins. CD can also put up points, but turnovers against the scrappy Panthers defense could blow this game wide open for East.
Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 35, CD East 34: It’s taken come-from-behind wins the last few weeks for the Rams to keep rolling, but that moxie Coach Mac’s crew exhibited should come in handy this week against a disciplined Panthers club.
Cedar Cliff at Milton Hershey, 7
Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 38, Milton Hershey 14: Very impressed with the way the Colts rebounded from that loss to McDevitt and went right back to doing it their way. Expect more of the same here.
Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 46, Milton Hershey 13: The three teams the Spartans have beaten have a combined record of 1-23. They’re not built to pull a stunner against the Colts.
Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 44, Milton Hershey 14: A big congrats to Cliff’s Jontae Morris, who eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the season with a monstrous 219-stripe effort against Palmyra. More of the same this week?
Adam Kulikowski: Cedar Cliff 45, Milton Hershey 14: Last week, Jontae Morris and his cronies had a little wager with Coach Gillen — drop 40 on the board, and the coach would sport a sparkling durag after the game. Colts hit the remix this week.
Cumberland Valley at Chambersburg, 7
Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 28, Chambersburg 14: I know the Eagles are in a bit of a tailspin right now and, at 3-5 overall, don’t have much light on the horizon. Pride matters, though, and CV will put some on display in this one.
Geoff Morrow: Cumberland Valley 27, Chambersburg 14: While the wheels have wobbled off the Trojan horse over the last month or so, the Eagles still have an impressive early-season, three-game win streak on which to cling. Playoffs aren’t an option, but win here and stun CD next week, and CV goes 5-5 at least.
Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 35, Chambersburg 21: Two teams on losing streaks, and I guarantee both squads see this matchup as a “can win” game. I see the Trojans keeping within striking distance for two, maybe three quarters before the Eagles put on the finishing touches.
Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 28, Chambersburg 21: Eagles are another team looking to add building blocks to the foundation of their ‘22 campaign. Finishing strong is important.
East Pennsboro at Shippensburg, 7
Andy Shay: Shippensburg 35, East Pennsboro 14: The Greyhounds carve up good teams with a thousand paper cuts over 48 minutes. The Panthers are up-and-down, and Ship has the pieces to exploit any weakness.
Geoff Morrow: Shippensburg 44, East Pennsboro 6: It’s not every year you can say this about the Colonial champ, but this year the Greyhounds have earned the right to be called a legit District 3 playoff contender. The top four teams in the Class 5A power rankings are loaded.
Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 34, East Pennsboro 7: In the preseason, I always like to predict a two-loss team taking the Colonial because this division has a tendency to beat itself up. But Ship has answered the bell with authority in every game this season, and, at this point, I believe the ‘Hounds are going to run the table.
Adam Kulikowski: Shippensburg 45, East Pennsboro 7: The only team the Greyhounds are looking up at in the District 3 Class 5A playoff field is Governor Mifflin. That should speak volumes.
Juniata at James Buchanan, 7
Andy Shay: Juniata 38, James Buchanan 0: Indians are on a four-game winning streak and have surrendered a meager 13 points over their last 16 quarters of football. Rockets are 1-6 and up against a stone wall in this one.
Geoff Morrow: Juniata 51, James Buchanan 0: Wins this week vs. JB and next week vs. ‘Nita will complete Juniata’s impressive and unbeaten run through the Mid-Penn Liberty.
Andy Sandrik: Juniata 44, James Buchanan 0: Believe it or not, the struggling Rockets have yet to get shut out this year. Juniata could very well be the team that bucks that trend.
Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 38, James Buchanan 6: The Indians control their own destiny in the Liberty Division with just the Rockets and ‘Nita left on the docket.
Line Mountain at Newport, 7
Andy Shay: Newport 17, Line Mountain 7: Both squads have struggled to score points this season, and defense has been an issue as well. Buffaloes find a way to keep the Eagles winless.
Geoff Morrow: Line Mountain 22, Newport 21: A long time ago (Week 1), the Eagles played first-place Juniata within 6-3. It’s often not been pretty since then, but the offense finally showed some life in last week’s loss. I’m calling on a road victory for the Mountain of Lines.
Andy Sandrik: Line Mountain 21, Newport 17: How many different ways can the winless Eagles have their hearts broken this year? They’ve been competitive at times but have finished on the losing side of one-, two-, and three-point games this year. I’ve got a feeling LM finally breaks the streak this week.
Adam Kulikowski: Newport 7, Line Mountain 6: Take away a victory against James Buchanan, and the Buffaloes haven’t scored more than a touchdown since Week 1. That one score still may be enough to get a victory against an Eagles team that also has struggled mightily to put points on the board.
Lower Dauphin at Hershey, 7
Andy Shay: Lower Dauphin 21, Hershey 7: The Concrete Palace Bowl pits the squads that call Hersheypark Stadium home. The Falcons have some postseason skin in the game here. Win the games you should. Still don’t think this will be easy.
Geoff Morrow: Lower Dauphin 24, Hershey 14: However they’re doing it, the Falcons are finding a way to get it done against slightly inferior foes. Despite pocketing their first ‘W’ last weekend, the Trojans fit that description.
Andy Sandrik: Lower Dauphin 28, Hershey 14: It took everything Hershey had to outlast winless Mifflin County. But for some reason, I think this could be a close game. Lower Dauphin has outperformed expectations all season and certainly deserves to be the favorite.
Adam Kulikowski: Lower Dauphin 34, Hershey 17: Gotta hand it to the Falcons. I’m not sure any of us saw this team achieving what they have this year. But isn’t that the beauty of high school sports?
Mahanoy Area at Pine Grove, 7
Andy Shay: Pine Grove 20, Mahanoy Area 15: This one is going to be a tight one all the way. It’s a coin flip game for sure. The struggle is real for both clubs with a combined three wins in 16 games. Taking a flyer on the Cardinals.
Geoff Morrow: Mahanoy Area 25, Pine Grove 14: Neither team is lighting it up this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an exciting game in Schuylkill County. Golden Bears pull away late.
Andy Sandrik: Mahanoy Area 21, Pine Grove 12: I’m basing my pick off common opponents, with Minersville tipping the scales for me. The Battling Miners are 6-2, with a win over Pine Grove and a loss to the Golden Bears.
Adam Kulikowski: Pine Grove 24, Mahanoy Area 17: Both teams have faced their own set of challenges this year. Taking a flyer on the Cardinals to put the ball in freshman gunslinger Carson Lengle’s hands and let it fly against the Golden Bears.
Mechanicsburg at Waynesboro, 7
Andy Shay: Waynesboro 27, Mechanicsburg 14: Jumping on the Waynesboro defensive train for this one. The Indians’ D has surrendered only 24 points over the last three games. And it likes to stop the run, while the Wildcats make hay on the ground.
Geoff Morrow: Waynesboro 30, Mechanicburg 16: The only two losses for the ‘Boro this year are against Spring Grove and Shippensburg, two of the top teams in District 3 Class 5A. Wildcats will need to find a gear they’ve lacked for over a month to pull this upset, but it’s definitely possible.
Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 26, Mechanicsburg 12: Waynesboro has been solid against the run, but that’s probably your best path to paydirt against this defensive unit, which has racked up 12 interceptions in eight games.
Adam Kulikowski: Waynesboro 38, Mechanicsburg 21: Aidan Mencia posted back-to-back Player of the Week performances to help the Indians extend their winning streak to three games. He’ll be a key to keeping the Wildcats from breaking that run in Week 9.
Mifflin County at Palmyra, 7
Andy Shay: Palmyra 28, Mifflin County 7: Too much struggle for the Huskies to see the Cougars NOT coming out on top, even if it’s not their very best. Big plays find their way into the Cougars’ half of the box score. Opportunity will knock on that front in this one.
Geoff Morrow: Palmyra 40, Mifflin County 14: I really thought the Huskies might pull out a victory vs. Hershey last week, but it wasn’t meant to be. I do NOT think they have another chance this season.
Andy Sandrik: Palmyra 38, Mifflin County 12: OK, maybe I got a little overzealous taking Palmyra over Cedar Cliff last week, but the Cougars still have plenty to fight for — like a winning season — and there’s still wind in Palmyra’s sails.
Adam Kulikowski: Palmyra 35, Mifflin County 7: Sometimes steps forward aren’t measured in wins and losses. That’s the case in Mifflin County. Finding things to build upon for ‘22 over the last two weeks should be the Huskies’ main focus.
Northern York at Susquehanna Twp., 7
Andy Shay: Northern York 32, Susquehanna Twp. 7: The team picked with 32 points is having a good season, and the team picked with 7 is winless. Sometimes results make themselves apparent.
Geoff Morrow: Northern York 24, Susquehanna Twp. 13: Young ‘Hanna has hung tough against decent foes in two of its last three games. Not enough for me to pick an upset, though I don’t think the P-Bears control Roscoe Warner as easily as my mates think.
Andy Sandrik: Northern York 40, Susquehanna Twp. 12: Remember when we were calling the Polar Bears a rebuilding team? A victory here gives Northern its sixth win and sets the stage for an epic showdown with Waynesboro to end the regular season.
Adam Kulikowski: Northern York 42, Susquehanna Twp. 14: Polar Bears should be tuning up for a postseason berth against a squad that has yet to put a slash in the win column.
Steel-High at Big Spring, 7
Andy Shay: Steel-High 48, Big Spring 38: Something tells me defense is going to have a rough night in Newville, and both teams will take their shots. Rollers land more haymakers than the Bulldogs, but it’s a scrap all the way.
Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 43, Big Spring 29: Honestly, this is one of those games where I think program history and pride factor into it. I don’t think there’s a big-enough gap in talent for the Rollers to be so casually picked to win by double digits on the road; however, I think Steel-High enters this game expecting to win, while the Bulldogs expect to pull an upset. Read that last sentence carefully. It’s a different mindset, and I think that matters. However, this is one of those that if we’re all wrong, we legit owe the Big Spring faithful an apology for not believing.
Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 49, Big Spring 38: Sitting eighth in the 10-team district playoff picture, the postseason kind of starts here for Big Spring with a home opportunity against a state champ.
Adam Kulikowski: Steel-High 55, Big Spring 42: This is a big game for both clubs. For the Rollers, it keeps them in the driver’s seat for the division title — just one of many goals this club has for ‘21. For Big Spring, the Bulldogs are clinging to an elusive playoff berth.
Susquenita at Halifax, 7
Andy Shay: Susquenita 42, Halifax 7: Another struggling squad for the ‘Hawks to pick up valuable playoff points against. ‘Nita beats the teams it should, and there’s merit in that.
Geoff Morrow: Susquenita 45, Halifax 14: It’s the Wildcats’ first game since Oct. 1. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are suddenly in playoff position, and their postseason chances could come down to who wins the game listed directly below (Trinity at Middletown).
Andy Sandrik: Susquenita 35, Halifax 12: The ‘Hawks are clinging on to a playoff spot. Thankfully, this should be a comfortable must-win for ‘Nita.
Adam Kulikowski: Susquenita 45, Halifax 20: Tip of the cap to the Wildcats for fighting through all sorts of injuries, illnesses and a limited roster to get to Week No. 9. Enjoy homecoming, Wildcats.
Trinity at Middletown, 7
Andy Shay: Middletown 28, Trinity 21: Blue Raiders took a step forward last week against Boiling Springs despite the loss. That should help them against a Trinity team that is in almost every game but can’t get across the finish line when the stakes get high. That’s not a knock on the T-Rocks. Learning to win is a process. They are capable, though.
Geoff Morrow: Middletown 25, Trinity 21: Quietly but steadily, the Blue Raiders have made strides this season and have become a pretty good team. In fact, if the playoffs started today, they’d face Boiling Springs again, and I know the Bubblers want to avoid that rematch at all costs. The rebuilding Shamrocks, meanwhile, need a win to keep playoff hopes alive but haven’t yet shown they can beat a quality team on the road.
Andy Sandrik: Trinity 33, Middletown 28: Coin flip game for me. The ‘Rocks have had Steel-High on the ropes this season, while Middletown just gave Boiling Springs all it could handle.
Adam Kulikowski: Trinity 35, Middletown 28: The Shamrocks have shown plenty of fight through this season but haven’t always been able to put the final nail in the coffin. Is this the week they notch a signature victory?
Tri-Valley at Shenandoah Valley, 7
Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 44, Shenandoah Valley 14: Bulldogs average more than 230 yards a game on the ground and use two or three backs who get a defense coming and going. And for fun they pop a big pass play into the equation every now and then. That grinds on a struggling team.
Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 33, Shenandoah Valley 16: While the Blue Devils have been playing significantly better football over the last month, attempting to take down the growling Bulldogs is another level they aren’t likely to reach. TV vs. WV next weekend.
Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 28, Shenandoah Valley 0: The Bulldogs have already pitched four shutouts this season. I have no qualms picking them to get a fifth.
Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 27, Shenandoah Valley 6: Tri-Valley’s stingy defense — yielding just 60 points all season — plus a power rushing attack equals a long night for Shenandoah.
Upper Dauphin at Fleetwood, 7
Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 35, Fleetwood 21: One of the few matchups this week where each squad has a winning record. Trojans have more meat on the bone of their 6-1 mark than Fleetwood does on its 5-3 record.
Geoff Morrow: Fleetwood 28, Upper Dauphin 26: While my colleagues might not agree, I think this is among the more intriguing games on the Week 9 schedule. Trojans’ victory over Executive Education Academy last week is impressive because it was vs. a last-minute foe — one of decent quality, too — and UDA took ‘em out. The Tigers of Berks County, meanwhile, have won three straight and, with some high-quality opponents (like Wyomissing) on their schedule, won’t be intimidated by UDA’s 6-1 mark. Who makes a stop when it matters? When in doubt, go with the home side.
Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 36, Fleetwood 16: Wow, the Trojans are averaging over 300 rushing yards per game, yet don’t have a single rusher who averages 100 yards. Fifteen different players have carried the ball for UD. Talk about a team effort.
Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 42, Fleetwood 14: The Trojans have held each of their opponents over the last five weeks to 14 points or less. Make that six weeks.
West Perry at Greencastle-Antrim, 7
Andy Shay: West Perry 26, Greencastle-Antrim 21: This is a tricky spot for the Mustangs. They have to bring their best to the table because anything short of it, and the Blue Devils will snatch this one no problem.
Geoff Morrow: West Perry 30, Greencastle-Antrim 19: Believe it or not, the Mustangs have won four straight in this series and have been the more reliable team throughout 2021. The Blue Devils have lost three in a row, though they’re never blown out. In a week short on interesting games, this one qualifies.
Andy Sandrik: West Perry 28, Greencastle-Antrim 24: Did you know that West Perry is 3-0 when coming off a loss? Last week the Mustangs held a lead against a state-ranked team before momentum eventually shifted. I think they learn from that and win an important road game.
Adam Kulikowski: West Perry 35, Greencastle-Antrim 14: Could the Mustangs host a home playoff berth in Elliottsburg? A strong finish down the stretch for a West Perry club, which currently sits fourth in the District 3 Class 3A field, would get the job done.
Williams Valley at Nativity BVM, 7
Andy Shay: Williams Valley 28, Nativity BVM 7: Sophomore RB Alex Achenbach is already over 1,100 yards in only seven games and is hitting for 150 on the ground per outing. Balance is key, and the Vikings have it. Plus only one team, Minersville, has scored more than 14 on WV.
Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 32, Nativity BVM 13: While the Vikings stayed home after a last-minute cancellation last week, the Hilltoppers fell to .500 with a stunning OT loss to previously winless Marian Catholic. That’s not how you want to enter Williams Valley week. Plus I think WV will be hungry, with Tri-Valley awaiting in Week 10.
Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 39, Nativity BVM 14: The Hilltoppers would really like to end their losing streak before it reaches three games, but it’s going to be a challenge finding a groove against a Vikings defense that has allowed an average of nine points over the last three games.
Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 37, Nativity BVM 6: The one-two punch the Vikings throw each week with QB Isaac Whiteash and RB Alex Achenbach will keep any opponent guessing. That balanced attack should be more than enough to keep the root beer flowing in Tower City Friday night.
State College at Harrisburg, 1
Andy Shay: Harrisburg 33, State College 14: The Little Lions have dropped three of their last four, and you don’t march into Severance Field looking to right the ship and expect positive results. That almost never ends well. Cougars have the ingredients to keep a squad on the “struggle bus,” and SC is on that bus.
Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 45, State College 20: The Little Lions certainly aren’t as dangerous as we’ve come to expect. Are they capable of putting everything together and battling for 48? Maybe. But I don’t think the Cougars allow it. Not on a Saturday. Not at Severance. Not in Week 9.
Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 48, State College 21: If you were an out-of-stater watching this game, would you favor the team with 80-plus rostered players or the one with 30ish? As folks have learned this season, it’s awfully hard to just “wear down” the Cougars.
Adam Kulikowski: Harrisburg 35, State College 24: The Cougars don’t have a ton of flash this year, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a dangerous team as we edge toward the postseason.