EXPLAINING OUR PICKS: The 4th Down Magazine crew picks all games involving Mid-Penn Conference teams, as well as Schuylkill-Colonial League games featuring former members of the now-defunct Twin Valley Conference. Come playoff time, they’ll expand to include all District 3 teams, as well as the local District 4, District 6 and District 11 programs. Then they’ll get really bold in the state semifinals and start picking games across the state. The predictions are meant for entertainment purposes only because, truth be told, these guys aren’t very bright. Three of them are former full-time sportswriters (dummies), and the other decided to start a high school football magazine despite the fact he already works a full-time job. But, dangit, they like to watch football, think about football, write about football, and eat. That last one isn’t related to picking football games unless you count the mustard on the keyboard. As always, enjoy, and don’t take it too seriously. Nobody here hates any program. Any perceived disrespect is a figment of your imagination. Except Sandrik, who absolutely DESPISES … (transmission interrupted) …
2022 STANDINGS AFTER WEEK 6
Picker: Week 6 – Overall – Perfect Picks
Adam Kulikowski: 18-3 — 112-41 — 0
Andy Sandrik: 17-4 — 109-44 — 0
Andy Shay: 17-4 — 108-45 — 2
Geoff Morrow: 17-4 — 108-45 — 0
WEEK 6 SCHEDULE
* In scorelines, home team in all caps
Thursday, Sept. 29
Central Dauphin 42, CARLISLE 14:
Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 20, Carlisle 17: There is not a lick of football analysis in this pick. This is an “I got a feeling” pick all the way. The Rams seem like they are ready to win a toss-up game.
Geoff Morrow: Carlisle 24, Central Dauphin 20: Thundering Herd haven’t beaten CD in forever and a day. Last year’s game was close (24-21), so is THIS the year Carlisle finally solves the Ram Jam?
Andy Sandrik: Carlisle 23, Central Dauphin 22: If Carlisle plays a clean game, it has a 50-50 shot or better to take this. If history has any say, it’s been decades since CD has lost to the Herd.
Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 24, Carlisle 21: In a reload year, the Rams have battled State College, Chambersburg, Coatesville and Wilson tough. Coach Glen McNamee’s crew gets a much needed win.
CUMBERLAND VALLEY 38, Chambersburg 14
Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 24, Chambersburg 7: As long as the Eagles don’t hang their heads about loss No. 1 last week, they should be fine here. The Trojans’ offense doesn’t have enough consistent punch for this matchup.
Geoff Morrow: Cumberland Valley 28, Chambersburg 14: Bounce-back time for the Eagles, and I expect they’ll get the job done.
Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 36, Chambersburg 14: Chambersburg has been a thorn in CV’s side with three wins over the last four meetings. Not sure the Trojans have enough giddyup to stay with the Eagles this year, though.
Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 35, Chambersburg 14: Yes, the Eagles fell from the ranks of the undefeated last week against Harrisburg. But don’t expect a hangover here.
Friday, Sept. 30
Harrisburg 48, ALTOONA 0
Andy Shay: Harrisburg 26, Altoona 14: Friendly reminder the Mountain Lions are a 4-1 squad, so they aren’t going to be an easy out. Cougars have a long road trip on their plate and have struggled early in games to get traction.
Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 40, Altoona 20: Weird things sometimes happen out in Blair County for Harrisburg-area teams, but an upset here would be even weirder. Not because the Mountain Lions aren’t good (they are), but because the Cougars seem to be rounding into playoff form already. Also, it says it’ll be in the 50s on Friday evening, but, knowing Altoona like I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s -18 at kickoff.
Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 32, Altoona 14: Most programs are fearful of Harrisburg. I know I am. I’m still having nightmares about that “Lucky Chucky” doll that gained notoriety on the Cougars’ sidelines last fall. But Altoona isn’t scared, and I think the Mountain Lions give Harrisburg a game, at least for a few quarters.
Adam Kulikowski: Harrisburg 35, Altoona 7: The Kyle Williams show should travel well in this one. Book me for a share of Cougars.
State College 42, CENTRAL DAUPHIN EAST 14
Andy Shay: State College 35, CD East 14: When the Little Lions get rolling downhill, they are hard to slow down. And the Panthers have surrendered 10 touchdowns to CV and Altoona the last eight quarters. Numbers sometimes tell a story.
Geoff Morrow: State College 44, CD East 13: Little Lions are on a collision course for an enormous Week 8 Saturday afternoon showdown at Harrisburg. The other Commonwealth foes cannot be overlooked, but State High appears to be all business right now, and East is still figuring things out.
Andy Sandrik: State College 42, CD East 12: Punch in. Punch out. Don’t do anything stupid. If the Little Lions follow these guidelines, they will be 6-0 at the end of the night.
Adam Kulikowski: State College 45, CD East 14: The Little Lions have given up more than 14 points just once this season. If the Panthers are to pull off the upset, they will need to find another offensive gear.
Bishop McDevitt 68, MILTON HERSHEY 22
Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 49, Milton Hershey 14: This sort of “not anywhere near the same level opponent” is what the Crusaders are pretty much going to see the rest of the regular season.
Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 53, Milton Hershey 7: Again, McDevitt should be in the Commonwealth. Crusaders are probably four touchdowns better than every other team in the Keystone this year.
Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 55, Milton Hershey 16: Has anyone thought about letting two Keystone teams play McDevitt on the same night?
Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 45, Milton Hershey 21: The Spartans enter this fray as heavy underdogs, but MH QB1 Kenneth Emile is one of those underappreciated athletes who could create a little havoc for the Crusaders.
Lower Dauphin 42, PALMYRA 7
Andy Shay: Lower Dauphin 27, Palmyra 7: So Palmyra hasn’t scored a touchdown in its last two games, and while Lower Dauphin isn’t a superpower offensively, they did ring up 49 on Red Land last week.
Geoff Morrow: Lower Dauphin 30, Palmyra 8: Coming off two straight disappointing losses, the Falcons brought the claws out last week and absolutely shredded Red Land. If LD plays like that again, I don’t see the Cougars hanging in beyond halftime. However, with some of these inconsistent Keystone teams, you just never know.
Andy Sandrik: Lower Dauphin 23, Palmyra 13: Points have been just a little easier to come by for the Falcons. Cougars are averaging 7.4 points per contest.
Adam Kulikowski: Lower Dauphin 33, Palmyra 13: I’m siding with the team with fewer unanswered questions and a touch more balance in their offense. That’s the Falcons.
CEDAR CLIFF 28, Mifflin County 14
Andy Shay: Mifflin County 20, Cedar Cliff 17: Going with the chalk here and taking the Huskies. Colts are on a two-game slide and looking to find answers offensively against another tough defense.
Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 28, Mifflin County 21: Huskies have never beaten the Colts (0-4 all time), and this year provides a great chance for the crew from Lewistown. But I have a feeling Cedar Cliff will bring a little extra something to the table this weekend.
Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 23, Mifflin County 20: I honestly think smart money is on the Huskies, but I took the Colts second in the Keystone, and I’m not ready to eat my words just yet.
Adam Kulikowski: Mifflin County 30, Cedar Cliff 24: It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to pick the Huskies to knock off a quality program. As a high school football fan in general, it’s nice to see different programs step into the spotlight.
HERSHEY 27, Red Land 7
Andy Shay: Hershey 28, Red Land 7: When it comes to this Hershey team, I see their strength as defense, and the Patriots’ offense has to come alive and somehow flip the script. Trojans are full of confidence, and that matters.
Geoff Morrow: Hershey 27, Red Land 10: Not sure what happened to the Patriots last week, but the 49-3 implosion vs. LD does not bode well entering a road game in Derry Township against a Trojans team coming off back-to-back quality victories.
Andy Sandrik: Hershey 33, Red Land 14: The Trojans seem to have found the next gear and have a pep in their step now that they’ve tasted a few wins.
Adam Kulikowski: Hershey 45, Red Land 13: Watching Hershey’s Angel Cabera run over every opponent in sight gave me secondary soreness. He is one force I just don’t know that the Patriots can stop.
MECHANICSBURG 10, East Pennsboro 7
Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 14, Mechanicsburg 7: This has all the ingredients for an old-school defensive battle. I fully expect points to be hard to come by, and the Wildcats’ offense has to find a way to get at least two scores to have any chance of grabbing a victory.
Geoff Morrow: East Pennsboro 23, Mechanicsburg 20: With the exception of the Week 4 victory over Susquehanna Township, the Wildcats have really struggled to put up points this season. That’ll have to change to pull the upset here, though I think this is a tricky spot for the Panthers.
Andy Sandrik: East Pennsboro 21, Mechanicsburg 7: Thanks in part to the Panthers taking out unbeaten Greencastle-Antrim, the Colonial is back up for grabs. EP Nation has to be wondering, “Why not us?”
Adam Kulikowski: East Pennsboro 28, Mechanicsburg 14: Made the mistake of underestimating the Panthers last week. I will not do the same two weeks in a row!
NORTHERN YORK 29, Greencastle-Antrim 18
Andy Shay: Greencastle-Antrim 20, Northern 13: Blue Devils are coming off their first loss, and their response here will be critical. Polar Bears are up-and-down and are 1-3 in their four games decided by 10 or fewer points.
Geoff Morrow: Northern 22, Greencastle-Antrim 21: Nothing makes sense anymore. Up is down. Down is left. Right is wrong. And the Polar Bears are about as predictable as Kyrie Irving. So, truly, this is a guess. And I’m guessing home field is a factor.
Andy Sandrik: Northern 28, Greencastle-Antrim 17: This group of Bears is anything but a “celebration” right now after a gut-punch loss to Waynesboro last week. Northern will be mad, but will that be enough against the Blue Devils? I think it will.
Adam Kulikowski: Greencastle-Antrim 24, Northern 23: I really don’t know what to make of the Polar Bears. One week they knock off Shippensburg, the next they fall to Waynesboro. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde.
GETTYSBURG 17, Shippensburg 14
Andy Shay: Gettysburg 21, Shippensburg 14: Warriors will look to pound the rock and keep this game simple and basic. Greyhounds don’t make a lot of mistakes, so fundamentals and mistakes are in the spotlight.
Geoff Morrow: Gettysburg 20, Shippensburg 13: Warriors have allowed just one touchdown over their last two games, and that defensive prowess is enough to convince me they’re favorites at home against the defending Colonial champs.
Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 24, Gettysburg 21: All I know is that Ship gets to have film night on an inflatable projector screen and I don’t. That needs to change.
Adam Kulikowski: Gettysburg 28, Shippensburg 21: If Gettysburg is to win the Colonial in its first year back in the Mid-Penn, knocking off Ship is the statement the Warriors need to send. Call it recency bias, but after Ship dropped its matchup against Northern, I think the division smells the king’s blood in the water.
SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP 23, Waynesboro 0
Andy Shay: Waynesboro 28, Susquehanna Twp. 14: It’s been tough sledding for the Franklin County Indians, but an upset over Northern should provide some extra spark. ‘Hanna is vastly improved and will have a say in this outcome.
Geoff Morrow: Waynesboro 17, Susquehanna Twp. 13: Strange stat: Waynesboro has scored exactly 13 points in each of its wins while tallying more than that in two of three losses.
Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 21, Susquehanna Twp. 20: If Waynesboro thinks of this as a “trap game,” it will lose. I’m expecting an intense scrap between the Indians and Indians.
Adam Kulikowski: Susquehanna Twp. 28, Waynesboro 21: By logic, I should be picking Waynesboro. But I just have a gut feeling Township is leaving this game with the upset in hand.
Trinity 38, BIG SPRING 21
Andy Shay: Trinity 27, Big Spring 21: A couple of surprise two-win teams, and by that I mean the fact both of these squads are 2-3 at this point was not the expectation. Somebody gets to .500, and this about desire and will to win.
Geoff Morrow: Big Spring 38, Trinity 28: Bulldogs won this battle each of the previous two seasons. And while the Shamrocks got back on the winning track last week, whereas Big Spring got waxed by Steel-High, this still feels like the Bulldogs’ game to lose.
Andy Sandrik: Trinity 24, Big Spring 17: I’ve now walked two laps around the ol’ workout track and still can’t get a good read on this game. I’m taking the Shamrocks, who made a statement against the defending division champs last week.
Adam Kulikowski: Trinity 28, Big Spring 24: Fun fact: Both starting quarterbacks have tossed more interceptions than touchdowns. To me, this game is about who can protect the rock and minimize mistakes.
West Perry 54, BOILING SPRINGS 21
Andy Shay: West Perry 42, Boiling Springs 21: Nobody has slowed down the Mustangs, who are averaging 40 points a game this season. And the Bubblers have been prone to surrender some yards and points defensively. That’s a glaring matchup mismatch in my book.
Geoff Morrow: West Perry 30, Boiling Springs 14: Closest game the Mustangs have played thus far ended 24-0. This one COULD be close if the Bubblers snap out of their slump, but at this point, there’s no reason to doubt West Perry’s ability to keep rolling on their Fantastic Voyage. (RIP, Coolio.)
Andy Sandrik: West Perry 44, Boiling Springs 7: I’m a fairly simple football fan: I like yardage and touchdowns. And West Perry provides that, but I find myself looking forward to seeing the defense on the field more than the offense. That’s how good the Mustangs have been this season.
Adam Kulikowski: West Perry 48, Boiling Springs 24: I’m predicting the Mustangs drop 48 in this one, but don’t listen to me … just ask Marcus ‘Nostradamus’ Quaker what he thinks.
UPPER DAUPHIN 56, Halifax 13
Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 40, Halifax 7: In their three wins, the Trojans have scored 120 points. When they get rolling, they go big. And the Wildcats have surrendered a ton of points in 2022.
Geoff Morrow: Upper Dauphin 48, Halifax 14: Trojans score points in bunches. Wildcats surrender points in bunches.
Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 45, Halifax 0: Give the gutsy Wildcats credit for buying the ticket and taking the ride, but this is a one-way trip to blowout city.
Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 55, Halifax 6: A high-powered offense against a leaky defense doesn’t leave many question marks.
JUNIATA 48, James Buchanan 0
Andy Shay: Juniata 35, James Buchanan 7: Couple of 3-2 teams looking to take a big step forward. The Indians are much better equipped to take that next step.
Geoff Morrow: Juniata 36, James Buchanan 0: Each of the Indians’ last three games have been shutouts. Granted, the first of those three was them getting blanked by West Perry, but they’ve followed up with bagels over Newport and Halifax.
Andy Sandrik: Juniata 42, James Buchanan 7: This game is a good example of why picking a game solely by win-loss records is a bad idea.
Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 38, James Buchanan 14: I think this might be a little closer game than my compadres. Still one the Indians should handle comfortably.
LINE MOUNTAIN 24, Newport 23 (OT)
Andy Shay: Line Mountain 26, Newport 21: Taking the Eagles here because they have one victory to their credit while the Buffaloes are still in search of that elusive first win. Toss-up game in my book.
Geoff Morrow: Line Mountain 32, Newport 14: It wasn’t a victory, but the Buffaloes took a nice step last week with 20 points. The Eagles, meanwhile, suffered a disappointing loss to Susquenita. While I think LM is a clear favorite, this could be tricky if the ‘Port gets some early momentum.
Andy Sandrik: Line Mountain 24, Newport 21: It’s such an overused cliché, but it’s true: Who wants it more? Both teams have a shot this week.
Adam Kulikowski: Line Mountain 31, Newport 28: The Buffaloes appeared to take a few steps forward last week. That makes this a competitive tilt.
SCHUYLKILL-COLONIAL BLUE DIVISION
Tri-Valley 48, SHENANDOAH VALLEY 0
Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 48, Shenandoah Valley 8: Three of the Bulldogs’ five wins have been very tight squeezes, and that much heat in their kitchen at the halfway point serves them well. This will not be a close one, though.
Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 50, Shenandoah Valley 12: Coming off a one-point nailbiter, the Bulldogs could use a game like this to reset.
Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 44, Shenandoah Valley 10: This game is the “Mike Bullock Lock of the Week” probably.
Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 48, Shenandoah Valley 6: For three quarters against Line Mountain, the ‘Dawgs looked tamable. The rest of the season, they’ve been completely lights out.
Williams Valley 48, NATIVITY BVM 12
Andy Shay: Williams Valley 32, Nativity BVM 20: Two straight losses for the Vikings. Folks are probably a little grumpy in Williamstown because winning lots of games has become expected. Defense has to be a more consistent contributor and will be challenged by the BVM offense.
Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 33, Nativity BVM 15: Good battle from the Vikings last week vs. Loyalsock, but it’s still back-to-back losses for the small-school power. Nativity is no pushover, but WV needs this one.
Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 28, Nativity BVM 16: I’ve never been to Tower City, but I like to think of the Vikings as a small-school Cumberland Valley: always expected to win. And WV will be expected to win again this week, despite two straight losses.
Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 37, Nativity BVM 28: Some internal strife could have been a factor the last two weeks. Can the Vikings get back on track in Week 6?
SCHUYLKILL-COLONIAL RED DIVISION
Palmerton 53, PINE GROVE 28
Andy Shay: Palmerton 49, Pine Grove 7: Over the last 12 quarters, Pine Grove has surrendered 175 points. That kind of number makes staying competitive nearly impossible. Palmerton gives up plenty of points, too. Difference is the 3-2 Blue Bombers can also light up the scoreboard.
Geoff Morrow: Palmerton 60, Pine Grove 14: Cardinals just surrendered 66 to Jim Thorpe a week after Palmerton hung 54 on the Olympians. That’s some football math that doesn’t add up to a promising result for Pine Grove.
Andy Sandrik: Palmerton 47, Pine Grove 6: I’m just not sure this is the game where the nightmare ends for the Cards.
Adam Kulikowski: Palmerton 55, Pine Grove 13: The Cardinals will need to match Palmerton strike for strike to stay in this game. Is that a battle the Cards are equipped to handle?
CAMP HILL 10, Susquenita 7
Andy Shay: Camp Hill 31, Susquenita 14: The Lions have been sitting on their first loss of the season for two weeks. That’s a long stretch with a sour taste on your tongue. The Blackhawks’ offense has been hot and cold.
Geoff Morrow: Camp Hill 33, Susquenita 20: Honestly, that’s a heckuva win for the Blackhawks last week against a Line Mountain side that had been playing pretty well. However, a repeat result against the Lions is unlikely, especially with Camp Hill having an extra week off to prepare.
Andy Sandrik: Camp Hill 28, Susquenita 18: Back to winning ways for the Lions, who have been training literal weeks for this game.
Adam Kulikowski: Camp Hill 35, Susquenita 28: You know coming in, neither team is afraid to get into a battle. I’m siding with the one that seems better equipped to make fewer mistakes. Canceled: Steel-High at Middletown