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Monday, September 26, 2022
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Picks and Predictions: Week 1 of the Playoffs

RECORDS (Week 10 — Overall — Perfect Picks):

Andy Shay: 14-7 — 186-45 — 1

Andy Sandrik: 17-4 — 176-55 — 0

Geoff Morrow: 15-6 — 173-58 — 3

Adam Kulikowski: 10-11 — 159-72 — 1

Friday’s Games

District 3 Class 6A Quarterfinals

(6) Hempfield at (3) CD East, 7

Andy Shay: Hempfield 21, CD East 17: This is a toss-up game for me, and I’m not worried about the Panthers losing to Carlisle last week. I expect both defenses to have a major impact on this game. Hempfield has played six playoff teams on its schedule, played a lot of one-score games and is 4-2 in games decided by seven or fewer points. I guess that’s my reason. Either way, the winner of this game is not an upset or surprise.

Geoff Morrow: CD East 24, Hempfield 16: When these teams met in the 2014 quarterfinals, and I was still slinging stories for the local outlet, I was there. It was one of the best games, in any sport, I covered in person. Panthers won 41-40 in triple overtime in a game neither side deserved to lose. Just spectacular football and effort. Relive it here:

Andy Sandrik: CD East 23, Hempfield 21: The Panthers are 3-0 this season following a loss, so I’m not concerned about whether they’ll be up or not for their postseason game. That said, this looks to be a coin-flip game no matter how you look at it.

Adam Kulikowski: CD East 30, Hempfield 24: Panthers have proven to be a disciplined team all season under first-year coach Lance Deane. In a game that figures to be tight all the way with two stout defenses, the gents who make fewer miscues should come out on top.

(8) Manheim Township at (1) Central York, 7

Andy Shay: Central York 28, Manheim Township 21: Did you know the Blue Streaks have lost four games this season by a total of 16 points, including falling to Harrisburg in overtime? This is a sneaky No. 8 seed. Central York has the best QB in District 3 6A by a wide, wide berth. That is what will be needed to claim this one for the defending champs.

Geoff Morrow: Central York 50, Manheim Township 20: Panthers are on another level right now. As dangerous as the Blue Streaks might be against maybe any other foe in this tourney, I don’t see them putting a fourth-quarter scare into CY.

Andy Sandrik: Central York 44, Manheim Township 28: I usually save the points for/points against argument for soccer, but the Panthers are outscoring their opponents by an astounding 413-132 clip this season. Unless QB Beau Pribula suits up for Penn State early, I like Central York’s chances to light up the scoreboard in a shootout.

Adam Kulikowski: Central York 45, Manheim Township 21: Each year, I create a bucket list of players in the commonwealth whom I’d like to see play in person in the postseason. Pribula is high on that list again this year.

(5) Wilson at (4) York, 7

Andy Shay: Wilson 31, York 14: All I know is Wilson gets better as the year goes along, and it has been tested plenty. I can’t say the same about York. Bulldogs are the lower seed but a heavy favorite. The upset here is York moving on.

Geoff Morrow: Wilson 32, York 20: Bulldogs enter the highly familiar world of district football playoffs on a five-game roll, while the Bearcats are coming off a 46-point shellacking at the hands of top down Central York. Too many intangibles for York High to overcome.

Andy Sandrik: Wilson 28, York 14: The Bearcats are seeded higher, but I don’t think they were challenged nearly as hard as Wilson this year. I think that strength of schedule makes a difference this weekend.

Adam Kulikowski: Wilson 21, York 14: There’s nothing sexy about the way the Bulldogs win ball games, but each year they find a way to get it done. Senior back Jayden Jones sports a hardy 6.7 yards per carry to lead Wilson’s run-heavy attack.

Join us as we do a little bracket breakdown for each classification in District 3. Andy Shay offers his insights, predictions and more.

District 3 Class 5A First Round

(12) Daniel Boone at (5) Waynesboro, 7

Andy Shay: Waynesboro 34, Daniel Boone 14: I like where Waynesboro is at right now. It has found its sweet spot, and defense is driving the bus. I’m not sure Boone is built to change that.

Geoff Morrow: Waynesboro 30, Daniel Boone 17: While the ‘Boro has been pushing folks around for five straight weeks, the Blazers haven’t played a snap since Oct. 15 because of weeks of COVID-19 issues. It’s tough to predict what you’ll see from D-Boone, but it’s easy to predict that the crew from Franklin County can wield its power on the defensive side of the football.

Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 35, Daniel Boone 14: Congrats to Boone for making the dance after starting 0-2; that’s a tough hill to overcome. Waynesboro has been the hotter team, though, with the Indians’ defense taking no prisoners since a Week 5 loss to state-ranked Shippensburg.

Adam Kulikowski: Waynesboro 28, Daniel Boone 20: You know when you face Waynesboro that you are going to get a gritty, punch-you-in-the-mouth battle balanced by a strong run game and shutdown defense. I’m not sure Daniel Boone is ready for the physical battle the Indians bring to the table.

(9) Gettysburg at (8) Warwick, 7

Andy Shay: Warwick 31, Gettysburg 20: This is a very sneaky No. 8 seed. There’s a lot to like about this Warwick team, and three of its four losses are to playoff teams — and all of them by a single score.

Geoff Morrow: Gettysburg 35, Warwick 33: The thing about the Warriors’ struggles in close games is I expect this will be a close game. Either way, the winner is in trouble next weekend against Governor Mifflin.

Andy Sandrik: Warwick 24, Gettysburg 16: Looks like a quality 8 vs. 9 matchup to me, considering I have no idea who to take. My only prediction is this game remains a one-score contest from beginning to end.

Adam Kulikowski: Warwick 28, Gettysburg 10: Old friend and former Boiling Springs coach Matt Heisler’s Warriors are riding a three-game winning streak heading into this matchup against Warwick. Knocking off the likes of York Suburban, New Oxford and Twin Valley is one thing. Hammering Warwick is a completely different beast.

This week, we’re chatting with Lower Dauphin free safety Max Klingensmith.

(11) Lower Dauphin at (6) Cedar Cliff, 7

Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 34, Lower Dauphin 28: Special teams mistakes were a factor in the four-touchdown gap earlier in the season. This is NOT the same Lower Dauphin team. Then again, this is a bit different Colts outfit as well. Over/under for combined carries for the star running backs for each team is 62.5.

Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 27, Lower Dauphin 21: Expecting a bit more of a defensive battle than we normally get with these two. Colts have won three straight in the series, scoring in the 40s each time. But, hey, at least one non-McDevitt Keystone Division team will get a postseason win this year!

Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 34, Lower Dauphin 27: Since a four-touchdown loss to Cedar Cliff in Week 4, the Falcons have won four of five games to make it back to the dance. I think the Colts are still the better team, but Lower Dauphin has found ways to surprise us week after week this season.

Adam Kulikowski: Cedar Cliff 38, Lower Dauphin 31: I think the Falcons closed the gap after several special teams misuses hampered the gents from Hummelstown in the first bout earlier this year. Colts still the favorite, however, with Jontae Morris and crew.

(14) New Oxford at (3) Shippensburg, 7

Andy Shay: Shippensburg 41, New Oxford 7: So the Colonials have struggled the second half with only two wins in their final five games. And Shippensburg is not only undefeated; it knows exactly its formula for success. Two “ships” going different directions.

Geoff Morrow: Shippensburg 29, New Oxford 10: I was going to write something about the Greyhounds being in great position to advance, but then I saw AShay’s pun about ships going in different directions. And now I’m jumping ship.

Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 52, New Oxford 14: Is this Shippensburg’s best team ever? It’s a question that will be answered not this Friday, but in the weeks to come.

Adam Kulikowski: Shippensburg 47, New Oxford 7: The combination of Tucker Chamberlin to Erby Weller will be tested — just not this week.

(10) South Western at (7) Exeter Township, 7

Andy Shay: Exeter Township 41, South Western 7: There is a reason the Eagles have been included in my Elite 11 all season. This is not a No. 7-seed football team in terms of what it brings to the table. The Mustangs don’t have the horses to slow this down.

Geoff Morrow: Exeter Township 53, South Western 14: When I worked at the Reading Eagle many moons ago, we did not include “Township” in the school name. That has nothing to do with what I expect will be a lopsided game.

Andy Sandrik: Exeter Township 33, South Western 7: Gotta love the Eagles’ resume, which includes a blowout win over Wilson and a one-score loss to Central York, the defending PIAA 6A runner-up. Exeter all the way.

Adam Kulikowski: Exeter Township 41, South Western 6: The Eagles enter this fray battle-tested and ready to make a run. That starts with handling business Friday against a South Western team that simply doesn’t match up well with Exeter.

(13) Twin Valley at (4) Spring Grove, 7

Andy Shay: Spring Grove 35, Twin Valley 14: The only loss for Spring Grove is to Central York, and the Rockets made a good accounting of themselves in that matchup. Otherwise they have been killing cats with big wins.

Geoff Morrow: Spring Grove 40, Twin Valley 19: Would love to see a rematch of Week 1’s Rockets vs. Waynesboro, which would happen in next weekend’s quarterfinals if both teams win Friday night.

Andy Sandrik: Spring Grove 44, Twin Valley 10: Spring Grove has made a habit of punching teams in the mouth and overpowering them this season. There’s a good chance the Rockets land that KO before halftime this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Spring Grove 40, Twin Valley 17: Spring Grove’s run through the regular season includes victories against Waynesboro, Northern York and Dallastown — plus a close loss to Central York. That’s a slate that will ensure any team is battle tested and ready for the postseason.

District 3 Class 4A First Round

(10) Big Spring at (7) Conrad Weiser, 7

Andy Shay: Big Spring 31, Conrad Weiser 28: One of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend, in my book. Couple of offenses that will get some. Scouts’ passing game is going to push the Bulldogs in a new way. Trusting the Bulldogs’ offense to bounce back.

Geoff Morrow: Conrad Weiser 28, Big Spring 27: Taking away the Week 10 losses — Bulldogs in the nasty rain to surging Middletown, and the Scouts in the sunlight to the superpower Wyomissing — these teams are playing well down the stretch. It’s one of those where I’m giving home-field advantage the deciding factor.

Andy Sandrik: Big Spring 21, Conrad Weiser 20: I think the Scouts deserve to be a slight favorite here, just as their seed indicates, but this has been a special year for Big Spring, and I’m taking a flyer on the Bulldogs to win a close game.

Adam Kulikowski: Big Spring 28, Conrad Weiser 20: This has the makings of a historic evening for the Bulldogs, who are searching for that elusive postseason victory.

(9) Octorara at (8) Northern York, 7

Andy Shay: Octorara 28, Northern 14: The Braves are not used to playing in a sandbox, and the longer the Polar Bears keeps this game from becoming a track meet, the greater their chances at home of pulling this one out.

Geoff Morrow: Northern 14, Octorara 10: Fact: The Braves lost two games this year by a combined total of five points. Opinion: Based on their schedule, I still have no idea what to make of this team. Mileage: It’s a LONG way from Atglen to Dillsburg. Factor: The Polar Bears’ defense has been good enough to have a say.

Andy Sandrik: Octorara 38, Northern York 21: Who thought we’d see the Polar Bears hosting a playoff game during a “rebuilding” year? It’s a nice story for Northern, but I don’t think this matchup is a favorable one for Bill Miller’s boys.

Adam Kulikowski: Octorara 27, Northern 21: Braves QB Weston Stoltzfus has completed 66% of his passes for more than 1,200 yards and 20 TDs, all without tossing a single INT.

District 3 Class 3A Quarterfinals

(6) Bermudian Springs at (3) Hamburg, 7

Andy Shay: Hamburg 33, Bermudian Springs 20: There’s a little more spark in Hamburg’s offense, and that feels like enough. The Eagles should be able to make some hay, but slowing down Hamburg is the only chance they have.

Geoff Morrow: Hamburg 32, Bermudian Springs 22: The Hawks have a legitimate chance to pocket the school’s first ever District 3 playoff win. Would be heartbreaking for them if they don’t.

Andy Sandrik: Hamburg 41, Bermudian Springs 21: The Hawks have been putting up points almost all season, averaging 31 points per contest. Hamburg is fully capable of scoring that many, or more, this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Hamburg 35, Bermudian Springs 30: Bermudian Springs enters the postseason riding a three-game winning streak, but Hamburg and its offensive firepower should provide a full-metal heat check. 

(7) Lancaster Catholic at (2) Boiling Springs, 7

Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 42, Lancaster Catholic 7: Navigated the regular season in workmanlike fashion and learned a couple things about this team. But you know this group of Bubblers now knows what it takes in the second season and has been licking its chops to get this party started.

Geoff Morrow: Boiling Springs 40, Lancaster Catholic 14: Bubblers are nearly a lock to win their first playoff game since 2006. The Crusaders, meanwhile, have lost four of their last five games entering this postseason.

Andy Sandrik: Boiling Springs 52, Lancaster Catholic 7: Fresh off a 29-28 victory over Steel-High, we know the Bubblers know how to win close games, which is essential for any hope of a playoff run. This week, though, should be a breath of fresh air for Boiling Springs.

Adam Kulikowski: Boiling Springs 48, Lancaster Catholic 14: The Bubblers have passed every test they’ve faced this year, including a convincing victory last week against the preseason favorite to win the Capital Division.

(5) Middletown at (4) West Perry, 7

Andy Shay: Middletown 27, West Perry 7: I see the Blue Raiders going one direction and the overachieving Mustangs headed the other way. Plus there’s a physical factor up front Middletown brings to the table I’m not sure West Perry can match. The Mustangs win, it’s an upset!

Geoff Morrow: Middletown 17, West Perry 13: Absolutely love the way the Blue Raiders have been playing lately. That said, the Mustangs are capable of just about anything. They’re highly unpredictable and darn near flammable. But Middletown’s defense has been putting fires out for weeks.

Andy Sandrik: West Perry 13, Middletown 7: I love this matchup, and not just because I’m a WP graduate. Both teams have taken their lumps — and found success — in difficult divisions. This game is a reward that both teams very much deserve.

Adam Kulikowski: Middletown 21, West Perry 20: Why does it feel to me that Middletown is the favorite in this one despite the fact that West Perry is the host? Blue Raiders are playing their best football of the year at just the right time. Dangerous opponent.

District 3 Class 2A Semifinals

(4) Susquenita at (1) York Catholic, 7

Andy Shay: York Catholic 28, Susquenita 6: The Blackhawks are a tough out when the playing field is level. I’m not sure with the YC rushing game if this is a level playing field.

Geoff Morrow: York Catholic 24, Susquenita 14: While I don’t think the Irish have been tested lately, I’m not sure the Blackhawks are quite ready to upend the No. 1 seed. However, I don’t expect Catholic to cruise either.

Andy Sandrik: York Catholic 21, Susquenita 7: After never having a season with even 100 rushing yards, YC senior running back Andrew Adams has secured a 1,000-yard season in his final go-round. Something tells me that Adams and his Fighting Irish squeeze out a tight win over ‘Nita.

Adam Kulikowski: York Catholic 27, Susquenita 14: York Cartholic has surrendered more than 14 points just once this year. It will take a big time effort from the gents in Duncannon to knock off the district favorite.

(3) Upper Dauphin at (2) Columbia, 7

Andy Shay: Columbia 41, Upper Dauphin 28: The air attack for Columbia will stretch the UDA defense in a different way. And the Trojans’ running game that comes at you in waves will give the Tigers’ defense fits. What gives? Taking the air attack in this one.

Geoff Morrow: Upper Dauphin 45, Columbia 38: Definitely the Crimson Tide’s best team since winning a D3 title in 2011, I’m just not sure I trust the defense enough to come up with enough stops against the equally relentless Trojans.

Andy Sandrik: Columbia 42, Upper Dauphin 21: Robert Footman has the name of a running back, but he’s quite a QB for the Crimson Tide, averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game.

Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin 38, Columbia 34: Upper Dauphin prepped for the air attack they are about to face with a fill-in matchup against Executive Education earlier this year. Time to see if they get a return on their investment.

District 4-6 Class 6A Semifinals

(3) Altoona at (2) Williamsport, 7

Andy Shay: Altoona 28, Williamsport 14: It’s been a tough grind for the Mountain Lions in the Commonwealth Division. They fought the good fight, though. And with a win over Williamsport already in their back pocket, that good-fight battle shows up here and pays off.

Geoff Morrow: Altoona 24, Williamsport 21: State College waits on deck for the winner of this one. I like the fight that comes with surviving a brutal Commonwealth slate, so long as that slate didn’t deplete your reserves.

Andy Sandrik: Altoona 23, Williamsport 14: Altoona’s limping into this one on a three-game skid but has the benefit of knowing it’s already beaten Williamsport once this season. I took the Millionaires in the first game — and fell short. Now I’m going with the Mountain Lions.

Adam Kulikowski: Altoona 35, Williamsport 21: The Mountain Lions have taken their lumps in the meat grinder Commonwealth, but they handled Williamsport earlier this year just fine.

District 11 Class 1A Semifinals

(4) Mahanoy Area at (1) Tri-Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 21, Mahanoy Area 0: Has a lot changed since these clubs traded paint in early September, when the Bulldogs claimed a 21-0 victory? Somehow, I don’t suspect a lot has changed in two months, especially with that TV defense.

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 28, Mahanoy Area 14: Kudos to the Golden Bears for getting here. This is a team that started the season 0-4 and was shut out its first three games. However, a rematch with the Bulldogs, who delivered one of those early season shutouts, isn’t exactly a just reward.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 28, Mahanoy Area 0: The Bulldogs have pitched six shutouts. Six. Make it seven.

Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 35, Mahanoy Area 6: It might not be a shutout, but the Bulldogs are playing some of their best football of the year at just the right time. Make it 2-0 against Mahanoy Area this year.

(3) Nativity BVM at (2) Williams Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 35, Nativity BVM 7: Just met a couple weeks ago, and the Vikings had their way. Sounds like the lads from Williams Valley will be pleased not to have to play in the slop and won’t be overconfident, either.

Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 38, Nativity BVM 14: Let there be a WV vs. T-V rematch next week, and let it be in somewhat normal weather conditions. The diehards deserve it!

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 34, Nativity BVM 6: Williams Valley seems like the type of team that learns from its losses and gets better. Last week’s 14-0 setback to Tri-Valley will make the Vikings better for this week and set them up for a rematch with the Bulldogs next week.

Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 42, Nativity BVM 7: Cast aside the poor showing by Williams Valley in last week’s monsoon, when tossing the rock was all but impossible. A favorable outcome against Nativity BVM should be in the cards for the Vikes.

Saturday’s Games

District 3 Class 6A Quarterfinals

(7) Carlisle at (2) Harrisburg, 1

Andy Shay: Harrisburg 28, Carlisle 21: When the brackets were released, my first thought for Carlisle was ANYBODY in this bracket but Harrisburg. The first meeting was a bit of a mismatch, and while I think the Thundering Herd are more prepared for this, there is a matchup issue with the Cougars that still exists.

Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 30, Carlisle 20: You might argue this is a tough spot for the doubter-defying Herd, and, yeah, the Cougars are deserved favorites. But it also might be exactly where Carlisle SHOULD be. Nobody will pick the Herd, and that makes this an even scarier battle.

Andy Sandrik: Harrisburg 26, Carlisle 24: The Commonwealth Division champion vs. the team picked to finish last in the division. This is just another opportunity for Carlisle to prove itself in a season where it has already done so several times.

Adam Kulikowski: Harrisburg 38, Carlisle 21: What Carlisle has accomplished this year has been remarkable; knocking off State College and CD East are just a few of the highlights. Reversing a 20-point loss to the Cougars this year is a big ask, though.

District 3 Class 3A Quarterfinals

(8) Northern Lebanon at (1) Wyomissing, 1

Andy Shay: Wyomissing 49, Northern Lebanon 7: The Spartans are only getting better with each passing week, it seems, and they are a machine that isn’t going to be slowed down here.

Geoff Morrow: Wyomissing 53, Northern Lebanon 7: Honestly, the Spartans could be contenders in any classification, while the Vikings lost five of their last six games. A significant mismatch.

Andy Sandrik: Wyomissing 42, Northern Lebanon 0: About as much drama as you can expect from a 1-8 matchup. Spartans win big.

Adam Kulikowski: Wyomissing 45, Northern Lebanon 14: The clear class of the 3A field, the Spartans have yet to be challenged in ‘21. They’ll have to wait at least one more week for a true test.

District 6 Class 4A Championship

(2) Bellefonte vs. (1) Juniata, at Altoona HS, 6

Andy Shay: Juniata 21, Bellefonte 0: So Bellefonte has struggled to score points. And Juniata wins with lockdown defense. That math adds up to a three-score win with a shutout.

Geoff Morrow: Juniata 35, Bellefonte 0: With all due respect to my longtime colleague and Bellefonte native Jim Carlson, this won’t be pretty for the Raiders. But at least they get a trip to Mansion Park!

Andy Sandrik: Juniata 23, Bellefonte 0: You know what they say happens when an immovable object meets a stoppable force, right? Juniata wins by shutout, that’s what they say.

Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 28, Bellefonte 7: The two-win Raiders have scored just 90 points this year. They won’t find many openings against a stout Juniata defense that has often keyed the success of Kurt Condo’s club.

District 4 Class 2A Quarterfinals

(8) Line Mountain at (1) Southern Columbia, 7

Andy Shay: Southern Columbia 49, Line Mountain 7: The Eagles lost seven in a row before closing the regular season with back-to-back wins. So the reward for that is this game. Tip of the cap to LM for showing up and taking a crack.

Geoff Morrow: Southern Columbia 56, Line Mountain 7: Maybe the Eagles can convince the Tigers that this game is actually in Northern Columbia?

Andy Sandrik: Southern Columbia 55, Line Mountain 6: I have to laugh a little when I say this is a “down” year for Southern Columbia, which lost a regular season game for the first time since 2011. Even with the hiccup, the Tigers are still expected to be in the mix for a fifth straight state title.

Adam Kulikowski: Southern Columbia 55, Line Mountain 7: Eagles get a crack at a Week 11 game, but this is nothing more than one last time for the seniors to step between the hash marks.

POSTPONED: None.CANCELED: None.

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