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 7
Picker: Week 7 – Overall – Perfect Picks
Adam Kulikowski: 19-2 — 131-43 — 0
Andy Sandrik: 20-1 — 129-45 — 1
Andy Shay: 18-3 — 126-48 — 2
Geoff Morrow: 15-6 — 123-51 — 0
WEEK 7 SCHEDULE
* In scorelines, home team in all caps
Thursday, Oct. 6
Milton Hershey 42, MIFFLIN COUNTY 27
Andy Shay: Milton Hershey 27, Mifflin County 21: The Spartans are a .500 team that isn’t shy about taking a shot and having a say. Offensively, they are the more “powderkeg capable” of the two teams, and it will be up to the Huskies’ defense to keep this game inside the box.
Geoff Morrow: Mifflin County 21, Milton Hershey 14: The Huskies have scored exactly two touchdowns in two straight games. They’ll likely need to surpass that total to take out the Spartans, who are on a two-game slide but are more than capable of piling up yards and points. That Huskie ‘D’ needs to be on its game up in Lewistown. I think it will be.
Andy Sandrik: Milton Hershey 33, Mifflin County 23: If Milton Hershey can put up 22 against Bishop McDevitt, the Spartans can find a way into the end zone against Mifflin County’s stingy defense.
Adam Kulikowski: Milton Hershey 28, Mifflin County 27: This has the makings of one of the most intriguing games on the docket. We know the Huskies have some fight this year. And I’ll say it again, I think Kenneth Emile is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the Mid-Penn.
Friday, Oct. 7
Altoona 27, CHAMBERSBURG 23
Andy Shay: Altoona 33, Chambersburg 20: When the playing field is more level, as is the case in this one, the Mountain Lions have figured out ways to be the better team. Trojans are fighting a skid and a willing opponent.
Geoff Morrow: Altoona 27, Chambersburg 14: Mountain Lions haven’t played a close game yet; they’ve either won by double digits or been blasted (by State College and Harrisburg). Meanwhile, the Trojans – after a promising 2-1 start – are in serious danger of closing out the season on a seven-game skid. This might be their best chance to avoid that.
Andy Sandrik: Altoona 28, Chambersburg 23: The Trojans have lost three straight but have been mostly competitive during that skid. Defensive line play will determine whether Chambersburg has a chance against the run-first Mountain Lions.
Adam Kulikowski: Altoona 35, Chambersburg 28: Much to the chagrin of Mrs. 4th Down – an alumna of Altoona – I haven’t had a great read on their chances week-to-week. Perhaps that changes this week.
STATE COLLEGE 49, Carlisle 20
Andy Shay: State College 45, Carlisle 14: The Little Lions come at you in waves with two quarterbacks and three running backs all being productive and contributing. That’s a lot for anybody, and Carlisle is not in a good place for that type of matchup problem.
Geoff Morrow: State College 48, Carlisle 13: I don’t know which has been more impressive: the State High defense or the State High offense. Either way, the Thundering Herd have lost their thunder and are in trouble here.
Andy Sandrik: State College 45, Carlisle 16: Three losses in four games is not the way Carlisle wants to come into a tough road game at State College.
Adam Kulikowski: State College 55, Carlisle 14: This week we chatted with freshman State High RB D’Antae Sheffey (an interview well worth watching by clicking this link or the video embedded above). Let’s just say he’s worth the price of admission to see in person.
Cumberland Valley 35, CENTRAL DAUPHIN 21
Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 20, Central Dauphin 13: This smells and feels like a trap game for the Eagles. I don’t see them getting caught napping, but the Rams are playing their best football of the season. CV has found a way to win these tight games more often than not this year, and that will serve them well.
Geoff Morrow: Central Dauphin 26, Cumberland Valley 23: While the records (2-4 Rams vs. 5-1 Eagles) would suggest this is an upset pick, there is just too much history here, and the Rams are playing much better and simply cannot afford to lose. I think this has the potential to become another CD vs. CV classic, though I doubt we’ll see a 62-61 score like we did in the 2015 playoffs.
Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 32, Central Dauphin 14: The Rams can’t afford to play from behind in this game. Of course that’s easier said than done against these high-flying Eagles.
Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 35, Central Dauphin 24: Momentum is building for the Rams after a string of close defeats. If this becomes an offensive battle, the Eagles have more in the cupboard to feed that beast.
Cedar Cliff 24, LOWER DAUPHIN 21
Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 28, Lower Dauphin 21: This one could go either way. The Colts have been inconsistent at times, but something tells me they have the ingredients to put a more complete effort together right now. Falcons have put together back-to-back blowout wins and, it appears, are on top of their game.
Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 28, Lower Dauphin 24: The Colts tamed the Huskies of Mifflin County last week to get their trot back, while the Falcons are coming off back-to-back demolitions of the Keystone’s rebuilders. Cedar Cliff, even if not as shiny as previous seasons, will push back more than Red Land and Palmyra did. Colts have also won four straight in this series, all by comfortable margins.
Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 24, Lower Dauphin 21: I’m tempted to take LD, which has put up 91 points over the last two weeks, but Cedar Cliff gets the nod here after a methodical win over Mifflin County, a team that trounced the Falcons in Week 4.
Adam Kulikowski: Lower Dauphin 31, Cedar Cliff 28: The Falcons are certainly the underdogs coming into this one, but the feel in “Coltsville” just isn’t the same as it has been in recent years, making this year’s matchup more vulnerable to an upset.
BISHOP McDEVITT 70, Hershey 0
Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 53, Hershey 14: This is a different beast for the Trojans, and this predicted result has nothing to do with what they are doing this season. Crusaders and all that firepower give the opposition almost zero input on the outcome.
Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 58, Hershey 14: Three wins in a row for the Trojans, but this isn’t that. Crusaders have scored at least 34 points and as many as 64 points in 12 victories over Hershey since 2010. None of those games was close.
Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 55, Hershey 17: The Trojans are on a roll, but can they keep this game competitive going into halftime?
Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 55, Hershey 7: The only question in this one is when the Crusaders power down the jets – and that’s no disrespect to the Trojans at all.
RED LAND 19, Palmyra 9
Andy Shay: Red Land 27, Palmyra 26: Something tells me more points are going to be scored than you might expect. And I will go so far as to say a 2-point conversion decides this one late – that could be a successful conversion or a failed attempt in the dying minutes.
Geoff Morrow: Palmyra 14, Red Land 10: The Patriots’ season-high point total is 16 in their only win; the Cougars’ season-high point total is 14 in their only win. Believe it or not, these teams combined to score 89 points in last year’s meeting. Tough to imagine that type of display being repeated in 2022.
Andy Sandrik: Red Land 9, Palmyra 7: Your guess is as good as mine for this matchup between one-win teams. Give me Geoff Morrow’s alma mater to pull out a home victory.
Adam Kulikowski: Red Land 24, Palmyra 14: Tough game to predict. Both teams continue to search for answers as we roll toward the end of the regular season. Give me the team with just a smidge more under the hood.
Gettysburg 21, WAYNESBORO 10
Andy Shay: Gettysburg 31, Waynesboro 14: There is a “taking care of business” feel to how the Warriors are winning games. Nothing really flashy; just rock-solid football with a clear understanding of what is needed to get the job done.
Geoff Morrow: Gettysburg 24, Waynesboro 7: Warriors haven’t been lighting foes up, but they keep winning in businesslike fashion, and it’s time to anoint them the clear favorites to claim the Colonial.
Andy Sandrik: Gettysburg 33, Waynesboro 14: Only one team, Gettysburg, has been able to survive the Colonial Division grind without surrendering a loss. The Warriors will be favored to stay that way this week against the Indians.
Adam Kulikowski: Gettysburg 35, Waynesboro 21: The Indians’ record might not show it, but they can be a tough out on any given night. Just ask Northern. The Warriors feel like the most complete team in the Colonial, so I’ll lay my chips with them this week.
SHIPPENSBURG 14, Mechanicsburg 10
Andy Shay: Shippensburg 20, Mechanicsburg 13: Not sure I recall the last time Ship has been a two-loss team in early October. The Wildcats’ offense don’t bring much firepower to the table, but good luck making consistent ground against their defense.
Geoff Morrow: Shippensburg 20, Mechanicsburg 10: I’m disappointed in myself for not pulling the trigger on what my gut was telling me last week: the Wildcats would beat East Penn. However, I have no such feeling this week in their game at Ship – even though the Greyhounds have dropped two of their last three and have lost that “King of the Colonial” swagger.
Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 21, Mechanicsburg 7: This has “low-scoring game” written all over it. ‘Hounds deserve to be favored, but Mechanicsburg should stay within striking distance for much of the night.
Adam Kulikowski: Shippensburg 24, Mechanicsburg 14: I see this game being close into the fourth quarter, but, at home, I’m going with the favored Greyhounds to send their faithful home happy.
Northern York 28, EAST PENNSBORO 27 (2OT)
Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 24, Northern 21: The last time the Panthers recorded a victory in this contest was 2015. That changes in a game where momentum and mistakes will play a key role.
Geoff Morrow: East Pennsboro 22, Northern 15: This might be the weirdest division on the planet this year, and that makes every game tough to predict. While the P-Bears have won four straight in the series, they’re 0-2 on the road this season, while the Panthers are 3-0 at home. Those stats are speaking to me!
Andy Sandrik: Northern 35, East Pennsboro 14: Look for the Polar Bears’ “Killer Bs” – Cole Bartram and Talon Balluscio – to run hard and guide Northern to its first winning streak of the season.
Adam Kulikowski: East Pennsboro 33, Northern 31: Greencastle-Antrim had Northern on the ropes in the first half last week in Dillsburg, then as former NFL head coach Dennis Green would say, they let’ em off the hook! I think the Panthers could find success airing it out a bit against that Northern secondary.
Susquehanna Township 38, GREENCASTLE-ANTRIM 23
Andy Shay: Greencastle-Antrim 26, Susquehanna Twp. 20: When it went sideways for the Blue Devils a week ago, they did not respond well. Something tells me ‘Hanna will push that button, but this time G-A has a better response.
Geoff Morrow: Greencastle-Antrim 23, Susquehanna Twp. 20: Heck of a job by the ‘Hanna defense last week in blanking Waynesboro and snapping the team’s 11-game division losing streak. There’s certainly a decent chance to make it two in a row, but G-A has the benefit of home turf to get back on track.
Andy Sandrik: Greencastle-Antrim 30, Susquehanna Twp. 23: I think the Blue Devils have just enough juice on offense to make ‘Hanna sweat. Should be an entertaining and competitive scrap.
Adam Kulikowski: Susquehanna Twp. 35, Greencastle-Antrim 24: Turnovers were a big problem last week for the Blue Devils, even before the rain came in the second half. And that ‘Hanna ‘D’ is always looking to make that big play. Cue the cliché about turnovers and wins…
WEST PERRY 31, Big Spring 14
Andy Shay: West Perry 42, Big Spring 21: This offense for the Mustangs is to join in on the TBT chatter En Fuego. They believe they can score 40-plus each and every game, and they go out and do it. The Bulldogs’ defense has been roughed up the last couple, too.
Geoff Morrow: West Perry 40, Big Spring 20: In its two wins, Big Spring has allowed a total of six points. In the last two weeks (both losses), though, the Bulldogs have surrendered 99 points. Not a good trend with the explosive and unbeaten Mustangs on the docket.
Andy Sandrik: West Perry 44, Big Spring 14: I see no reason why the unbeaten Mustangs can’t run the table leading up to their regular-season finale against Steel-High on Oct. 29. If Bob Boden’s WP squad can play a clean game this week, the Mustangs will be well on their way.
Adam Kulikowski: West Perry 55, Big Spring 20: Here’s a gem from the fine folks running West Perry football stats on Twitter: The Mustangs have scored on 21 of their last 28 drives – and three of the non-scores were at the end of their last game.
Line Mountain 43, HALIFAX 13
Andy Shay: Line Mountain 49, Halifax 13: Kind of feels like the Eagles have earned a game like this where they can breathe a little and just continue to do what they do and not be in a white-knuckle affair in the final minutes.
Geoff Morrow: Line Mountain 39, Halifax 14: Nothing comes easy for the Eagles, it seems, but this is the rare game they should win with a moderate level of comfort. That said, the Wildcats likely see this as a game in which they can compete, which adds a level of uncertainty. A few early breaks could send the ‘Fax to somewhere fun.
Andy Sandrik: Line Mountain 45, Halifax 19: Eagles games have been anything but predictable this season, but this seems like a good spot for them to earn a relatively comfortable win.
Adam Kulikowski: Line Mountain 55, Halifax 7: The Eagles have come to life these last few weeks, and sophomore RB Ian Bates has been a big part of the resurgence, averaging 7.1 yards per carry this season.
Susquenita 52, NEWPORT 14
Andy Shay: Susquenita 36, Newport 29: Nothing to lose for either of these clubs, and that will make for an entertaining night featuring a couple of Perry County rivals. Big plays will be had.
Geoff Morrow: Susquenita 27, Newport 20: Still in search of their first win, the Buffaloes have put up 20+ in two straight weeks and should enter this game with some confidence. However, the Blackhawks are still favored to pocket a rare victory over their PeCo rivals, as Newport has won seven of the last eight meetings.
Andy Sandrik: Susquenita 27, Newport 22: I love a good, old-fashioned Perry County backyard brawl. I just have a hunch this game will be settled with some late-game drama.
Adam Kulikowski: Susquenita 38, Newport 21: We’ve seen strides from the boys at Newport, which certainly is encouraging. In this battle, however, ‘Nita has more punch to cause fits for the Buffaloes.
Upper Dauphin 72, JAMES BUCHANAN 13
Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 51, James Buchanan 14: All the Trojans want to do is make you wish you had six timeouts in a half so you can catch your breath on defense. They go fast and keep pushing the envelope offensively. Rockets will struggle to slow that down, and that is fuel for the UD fire.
Geoff Morrow: Upper Dauphin 49, James Buchanan 8: This would make four wins in a row for the Trojans, who are one week away from a huge showdown with Juniata.
Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 50, James Buchanan 14: The Trojans are humming along like a well-oiled machine, scoring 30, 41, and 56 points in their last three outings.
Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 55, James Buchanan 7: You never want to look ahead in the schedule if you are a player/coach, but I’m pretty sure journalists have the green light. So don’t blame me for looking at this match as a tuneup for UD’s tilt next week against Juniata.
TAMAQUA 19, Pine Grove 7
Andy Shay: Pine Grove 23, Tamaqua 20: This will be a more equitable matchup for PG, which hasn’t lost its spark in terms of effort despite five straight losses. In this one, the Cardinals are rewarded for the progress they have made.
Geoff Morrow: Pine Grove 28, Tamaqua 23: While the Cardinals’ defense has been getting gashed, the offense just put up a season-high 28 points last week. The Blue Raiders present the Cards their first opportunity to really compete from start to finish since Week 1, and I’m betting they take advantage.
Andy Sandrik: Tamaqua 30, Pine Grove 24: Pine Grove’s losing skid extended to five games last week, but the Cardinals have been finding more offensive consistency in recent outings. This could very well be a toss-up game if PG comes to play.
Adam Kulikowski: Tamaqua 28, Pine Grove 14: Tamaqua junior RB Connor Dillion is the X-factor to me. Stop or limit this damage, and Pine Grove has a chance to snap that five-game slide. However, that’s easier said than done.
Tri-Valley 43, NATIVITY BVM 6
Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 29, Nativity BVM 14: Half of the Bulldogs’ six wins have come in one-score games. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of experience. In a tight spot, they know what’s required, and that is called confidence.
Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 34, Nativity BVM 12: Every other week is a shutout for the Bulldogs, but this isn’t that week. So expect the Green Wave to at least score a TD or two, but anything but a T-V victory would be a shocker.
Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 36, Nativity BVM 13: When your top three rushers are averaging 17.1, 9.2, and 5 yards per carry, that tells me you’re controlling the trenches. No reason to believe the Bulldogs can’t do the same this week.
Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 28, Nativity BVM 6: Two out of the last three games for the Bulldogs have resulted in their defense pitching a shutout. Expect tough sledding for the young lads from Nativity BVM.
Williams Valley 22, MAHANOY AREA 21
Andy Shay: Williams Valley 36, Mahanoy Area 22: Couple of 4-2 teams looking to take a huge step forward; 5-2 feels much better than 4-3. Give me the team that’s shown more scoreboard pop offensively. Otherwise, this is a toss-up game all the way.
Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 21, Mahanoy Area 14: These foes have battled three times over the previous two seasons. Each game was close, but the Vikings won each time, including 6-0 last year. So you just know the Golden Bears will be fired up. Could make for another exciting finish in this series.
Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 29, Mahanoy Area 28: Big opportunity for the Vikes to move up the Schuylkill-Colonial pecking order, but this will be a grind where the WV defense will need to make plays. Vikings stay unbeaten on the road.
Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 35, Mahanoy Area 26: Tough road test for the Vikings, who appear to be getting back on track after some off-the-field issues.
Juniata 13, BOILING SPRINGS 7
Andy Shay: Juniata 31, Boiling Springs 17: I’m pretty confident the Bubblers can end Juniata’s shutout streak, but it feels like the visiting Indians have one or two more key pieces to work with, and that will show up.
Geoff Morrow: Juniata 20, Boiling Springs 13: The Indians’ shutout streak has come against a trio of struggling programs. While the Bubblers are slumping (four-game losing skid), they know how to score, and that makes this interesting.
Andy Sandrik: Juniata 28, Boiling Springs 14: The Bubblers will be Juniata’s toughest opponent, by far, in a month. I still think the Indians win on the road, but a fourth straight shutout seems out of reach.
Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 35, Boiling Springs 21: Earlier this year, I might have picked the Bubblers to reload and keep the wheels churning out victories. But the sledding has proven to be a little tougher than expected for the gents in purple and gold.
Saturday, Oct. 8
STEELTON-HIGHSPIRE 71, Camp Hill 20
Andy Shay: Steel-High 49, Camp Hill 14: I know exactly what to expect from the Rollers’ offense. My concern here is the Lions’ offense has hit a roadblock, and this feels like the wrong time to be battling the scoreboard.
Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 48, Camp Hill 20: Preparing for the Rollers’ offense right now is like preparing to be stung by jellyfish. You know it’s gonna hurt, so you just do whatever you can to minimize the burn. Steel-High is eying its sixth straight win in this classic small-school rivalry.
Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 52, Camp Hill 22: You can’t deny the unbelievable offensive output from the Rollers over these past two games. As good as the Lions have been up to this point, they may simply be playing the role of speed bump this week.
Adam Kulikowski: Steel-High 55, Camp Hill 28: Where do the stops come from for the Lions? This is by far the most firepower they’ve faced all year. Just not sure they have enough to match up here.
HARRISBURG 52, Central Dauphin East 0
Andy Shay: Harrisburg 47, CD East 14: Two teams going in opposite directions. Cougars are starting to meet all those early expectations and are on a heater, and the Panthers are struggling. That would be a bad matchup combination.
Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 40, CD East 13: Things get easier for the Panthers – and “easy” is a very relative term when talking about the Mid-Penn Commonwealth – after this week. But this week will NOT be easy.
Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 44, CD East 7: The Panthers are on a three-game skid but haven’t been completely punchless along the way. Can Harrisburg get the shutout?
Adam Kulikowski: Harrisburg 45, CD East 14: Panthers are trending down while the Cougars are heading north just when it begins to count most.
Canceled: Middletown at Trinity (forfeit win for Trinity)