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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Week 1: Picks and Predictions

RECORDS (Last week — Overall):

Andy Shay: 0-0 — 0-0

Geoff Morrow: 0-0 — 0-0

Andy Sandrik: 0-0 — 0-0

Adam Kulikowski: 0-0 — 0-0


La Salle College vs. Bishop McDevitt

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 20, La Salle College 14: If you’re hunting a couple of state-level squads that rightfully have high expectations this year, then this is your game. Each is ranked in the preseason Top 10 in their respective PIAA classifications. I’m going to ride the Crusaders’ defense in this one.

Geoff Morrow: La Salle College 27, Bishop McDevitt 25: I’m firing out of the gate with my eyes sewn shut. I literally just got back from Vegas this week, where I was NOT studying high school football, so my breakdowns will instead tell random stories from first pick to last. And my selected winners are all gut, no research or reasoning.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 24, La Salle College 20: With an offense that knows 101 ways to score a TD, and a stingy defense that will keep points at a premium, I have no problem taking the Crusaders over just about anyone this season, even the powerhouse Explorers.

Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt 28, La Salle College 17: Who else is excited for the debut of Bishop McDevitt’s freshman phenom quarterback, Stone Saunders? Nothing like stepping right into the big-game spotlight for the kid who already possesses an offer from Michigan. 

Shippensburg vs. Hershey

Andy Shay: Hershey 19, Shippensburg 14: Plenty of pieces fell in place for the Trojans to finish 5-1 a year ago. Plenty to replace at the skill positions, but they are solid up front both ways. Greyhounds will be run-heavy (naturally) but are also looking for answers at the skill positions.

Geoff Morrow: Hershey 20, Shippensburg 13: You might ask yourself, is it ethical to make predictions with nothing more than 20-plus years of institutional knowledge but no 2021 previews yet digested? And that’s a fair question.

Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 14, Hershey 7: With Hershey sporting an all-new cast in the backfield, even a little disruption from Ship DE and Minnesota commit Anthony Smith could go a long way in this one. 

Adam Kulikowski: Shippensburg 14, Hershey 13: Yes, the Greyhounds need to replace a few key pieces, including Zack Manning at quarterback. But Shippensburg coach Eric Foust always finds a way to grind out 8-10 wins. Chalk this one up as No. 1.

Line Mountain vs. Juniata

Andy Shay: Juniata 33, Line Mountain 20: When you have a game changer at quarterback and seven-plus starters returning on each side of the ball, you immediately become the favorite to be 1-0 when the final horn sounds.

Geoff Morrow: Juniata 30, Line Mountain 19: Well, if you’re looking for up-to-date expertise and outright professionalism, meet the man above me, Mr. Andrew P. Shay, whom I was fortunate enough to call a colleague for many years at The Patriot-News.

Andy Sandrik: Juniata 28, Line Mountain 14: As long as the Indians have Jacob Condo at QB, I like their chances in the TVL … um, I mean Liberty Division.

Adam Kulikowski: Juniata 31, Line Mountain 21: Sign me up for an early bird ticket back on the Juniata bandwagon. With the Indians returning seven or more starters on both sides of the ball, including QB1 Jacob Condo, this team should make another nice run at the Mid-Penn Liberty Division title and more. 

West Perry vs. Big Spring

Andy Shay: Big Spring 26, West Perry 22: Big fans of the Bulldogs, who are coming off only their second winning campaign in 17 seasons. Junior QB Ethan Eisenberg was 4-1 as a starter, and there are a handful of vets back on defense. Mustangs will be improved, but not enough to grab this one.

Geoff Morrow: West Perry 38, Big Spring 30: Then you’ve got the resident 4th Down Magazine goofball (said lovingly), Mr. Andy Sandrik — a West Perry grad, I might add — who provides dynamite perspective and humor while usually battling against some type of facial hair demon.

Andy Sandrik: West Perry 21, Big Spring 14: Is there anything more American than a backyard brawl in the countryside between the Mustangs and Bulldogs? Love to see this rivalry live on, nearly 20 years since I was once a player in the series.

Adam Kulikowski: Big Spring 21, West Perry 20: This one comes down to whoever makes the least mistakes; I think these clubs are that close in skill. I’ll pony up for the Bulldogs ticket in Week 1 with fewer question marks at the shotgun start.

State College vs. Mifflin County

Andy Shay: State College 34, Mifflin County 7: There are plenty of questions on offense for the Little Lions that need answers, but this defense is ready to carry the load. In this matchup, the Huskies are just outmanned too much on one side of the ball.

Geoff Morrow: State College 42, Mifflin County 14: This year, our picks crew is joined by the man behind the curtain, Mr. Adam Kulikowski, whose vision years ago provided this region with additional and reliable high school football coverage just as newspapers started cutting staff.

Andy Sandrik: State College 32, Mifflin County 14: MiffCo hasn’t come close to sniffing victory over the Little Lions since 2013. That trend continues Friday night. 

Adam Kulikowski: State College 45, Mifflin County 6: A number of Huskies were late arrivals to camp after playing in a baseball tournament in Texas. Couple that with a tough out in State College, and that’s more than enough reason to cash my Little Lions ticket at the end of the night.

Central Dauphin vs. Wilson

Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 24, Wilson 21: The Rams’ defense will be breaking in more new starters than I can recall in at least a decade. CD still has some vets up front, and that will show up in this game. Wilson will be up for the challenge, but up front there are too many questions to answer. Rams have a QB in Max Mosey who changes the dynamic of this contest at this early stage.

Geoff Morrow: Central Dauphin 14, Wilson 13: Kulikowski emerged from his picks dungeon to replace former Carlisle Sentinel sports editor Jake Adams, who now works and resides in Wisconsin. I actually hung out with Jake and Mallory Merda, my former Sentinel colleagues, when I was in Vegas. (It was for an Associated Press Sports Editors conference.)

Andy Sandrik: Central Dauphin 21, Wilson 7: I’ll never forget that time I saw CD live a few years ago and focused solely on the trenches. Pure domination, and it really just made every other phase of the game irrelevant. CD has the advantage here at OL, not to mention an experienced QB, so I’m taking the Rams.

Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 28, Wilson 21: Call me a homer with this pick, but even with a whole new cast and crew (aside from standout QB Max Mosey), I like the Rams in a tight matchup.

Williams Valley vs. Mahanoy Area

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 20, Mahanoy Area 14: Vikings are in search of skill positions, and the new QB1 has some big shoes to fill. But, up front, Williams Valley has the horses to be a machine, and that will show up here.

Geoff Morrow: Williams Valley 35, Mahanoy Area 20: By the way, this was my first time ever in Vegas. The famous Las Vegas strip is intense and smells of various types of smoke. There are people trying to sell you things pretty much everywhere. It’s hot and dry. And there’s nothing quite like it. Sort of like watching a game at WVHS.

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 28, Mahanoy Area 10: Mahanoy gave the Vikings quite a fight last season, but something tells me it won’t be as close this time around with WV’s reloaded roster.

Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 34, Mahanoy Area 17: Whenever your program loses a record-setting QB like Bryce Herb, there’s going to be a transition period. But the Vikings seem to be in good hands with experience in the trenches and a robust 41-man roster to help locate the next set of impact players.

Trinity vs. Delone Catholic

Andy Shay: Delone Catholic 38, Trinity 7: Word on the street is the Squires are ready to compete at a championship level this season, and the Shamrocks are starting over with a new and youthful coaching staff. Talent and experience still matter, and they’re a bit lopsided in this matchup.

Geoff Morrow: Delone Catholic 26, Trinity 21: If you find yourself in Vegas, eat at one of Gordon Ramsay’s joints. I don’t know much about the dude other than he’s famous for cooking and temper tantrums, but, holy cow, his food — from every ingredient in the plant-based burger all the way to the ketchup for the onion rings — was sensational.

Andy Sandrik: Delone Catholic 35, Trinity 14: This is a game Delone Catholic is supposed to win, but I’m curious to see how ‘Rocks freshman Santana Young performs in his varsity debut. If he can shake loose for a few big runs, this game might be more competitive than the experts think.

Adam Kulikowski: Delone Catholic 28, Trinity 7: First-year coach Jordan Hill brought excitement to a Shamrocks team that seemingly has been in transition every other year since the days of Bill Ragni. I have no doubt Hill will bring a winning attitude to the green and white, but you have to walk before you run. 

Halifax vs. Newport

Andy Shay: Newport 35, Halifax 0: Buffs have plenty of vets and ingredients to be a menace on a weekly basis. Halifax is barely hanging on to being a football program on many fronts.

Geoff Morrow: Newport 38, Halifax 6: The Mob Museum was also pretty neat, if you’re into that sort of thing. Oh, and we saw Buffaloes (the snortin’ kind) while driving through southern Utah en route to Zion.

Andy Sandrik: Newport 42, Halifax 7: Lots of returning talent make the Buffs a decisive favorite against thin-rostered Halifax. 

Adam Kulikowski: Newport 35, Halifax 7: The Wildcats are simply in survival mode this year with a roster in the mid-teens and several of their top players from last year not suiting up in Halifax colors this year.

Boiling Springs vs. Littlestown

Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 26, Littlestown 14: I’m bullish on the Bubblers’ run in 2020 NOT being a fluke or by accident. Defense will still be solid, and the OL has arguably its two best back. Two-way star Joey Menke is an impact player.

Geoff Morrow: Boiling Springs 23, Littlestown 13: Speaking of bubbles, we spent half of the vacation at Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. Drought has the lake the lowest it’s been since its inception in 1963. Still, it’s insanely gorgeous land.

Andy Sandrik: Boiling Springs 28, Littlestown 14: I can’t always spell their names right (is it Aiden or Aidan?), but I know the Bubblers have a nice little football team that should open with a big win.

Adam Kulikowski: Boiling Springs 30, Littlestown 7: When you run the Wing-T, you best have a set of brutes up front who can do some damage. The Bubblers have that. And that should be enough to get past the gents from Littlestown.

Carlisle vs. Mechanicsburg

Andy Shay: Carlisle 28, Mechanicsburg 21: This is a toss-up game for me. Whoever wins the Wildcats’ QB1 job could be the difference-maker. The Herd have some three-year vets who know the ropes and just enough flash to give Mechanicsburg problems in spots where Mechanicsburg would rather not be tested.

Geoff Morrow: Mechanicsburg 25, Carlisle 22: If you find yourself at Lake Powell, and the water level supports it, take a boat tour. We did a Navajo Canyon tour, and the visuals are amazing. Much like the Wildcats’ 2020 season.

Andy Sandrik: Carlisle 33, Mechanicsburg 24: Plenty of quality returners on this Mechanicsburg squad, but I’m curious to see how they come together when faced with a little bit of adversity, something they didn’t really have to do that often last season. It’s hard to take your eyes off the skill players — especially Herd QB Ezeekai Thomas — but take a few moments to appreciate the battle in the trenches, as both of these squads have big dudes who can move mountains.

Adam Kulikowski: Carlisle 21, Mechanicsburg 14: The Thundering Herd should provide plenty of electrifying moments to watch with the speedy QB Ezeekai Thomas under center. With the Wildcats’ quarterback situation unsteady, I’ll take my chances on the up-and-coming boys from Carlisle.

Spring Grove vs. Waynesboro

Andy Shay: Spring Grove 27, Waynesboro 20: I know this is the team Spring Grove fans have been waiting to see come together for a while now. Waynesboro’s dynamic duo at RB — in an offense you know is gonna run it — will provide a thorough test.

Geoff Morrow: Spring Grove 28, Waynesboro 27: One regret about the trip is we didn’t have Rockets to lead us home. A lack of hotel shuttle service or available cabs at 4 a.m. meant we couldn’t get to the airport in time to make our scheduled flight home. Lame!

Andy Sandrik: Waynesboro 21, Spring Grove 14: The best player on the field just might be Rockets QB Andrew Osmun, a Division 1 recruit at safety. But he faces a matchup challenge against the talented Waynesboro secondary. If the Indians can limit the big plays from Osmun and get a lead, they have enough running talent in their backfield to smother the game clock and steal a road win.

Adam Kulikowski: Waynesboro 28, Spring Grove 21: Waynesboro checks all the boxes in a Week 1 selection that could realistically go either way. Toughness, an experienced roster, solid defense and a dynamic back in Aidan Mencia.

Cedar Cliff vs. Red Lion

Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 33, Red Lion 26: There’s a “compete” level from the Colts I’ve come to admire. They are very unsettled in the QB spot, but the return of RB Jontae Morris from a Week 1 ACL injury last year is welcome. Up front, the Colts are solid both ways. Red Lion’s roster is still solid but lost its two best players. That matters.

Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 30, Red Lion 14: If you ever want to feel small — like an ant next to a Colt — I highly recommend rolling through Zion National Park. That was arguably the highlight of our western swing. 

Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 28, Red Lion 21: I spent way too much time thinking about this pick. That’s a credit to Red Lion and the YAIAA for moving out of the District 3 shadow in recent years.

Adam Kulikowski: Cedar Cliff 38, Red Lion 21: The loss of Jontae Morris proved to be devastating to the Colts in 2020 — not only because of his dynamic play on both sides of the ball, but because of the ripple effect it had throughout the roster. I wouldn’t expect Morris to get 30 carries a game, but every touch is a game-changing moment. Plus, he’s a lockdown corner.

Altoona vs. Hollidaysburg

Andy Shay: Altoona 28, Hollidaysburg 20: Not quite sure what to expect from this Mountain Lions squad; the QB1 they lost was such an integral factor to success. Taking a flier with this one.

Geoff Morrow: Altoona 30, Hollidaysburg 21: We didn’t see Mountain Lions, but we did come across a couple of bighorn sheep hanging right along the path through Zion, almost like a welcoming committee.

Andy Sandrik: Hollidaysburg 21, Altoona 18: As much as I like Altoona to continue its upward trend, it’s hard to pick against Hollidaysburg, which has won three straight in the series. 

Adam Kulikowski: Altoona 21, Hollidaysburg 20: My wife hails from Altoona, so I’m obligated to select the boys in Maroon. OK, not really. But I love what Vince Nedimyer Jr. has done with the Mountain Lions since taking the reins — and even with the dynamic dual-threat QB Marcus Day no longer cleating up, this team is trending up.

East Pennsboro vs. York Suburban

Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 32, York Suburban 28: Chalk up win No. 1 for the Panthers against York Suburban. This is only the third meeting, but EP is 0-2. A budding star at RB in Sy Burgos and four starting OL from a squad that ran for nearly 2K a year ago. Defense is a question mark and where YS could keep this one very interesting.

Geoff Morrow: York Suburban 35, East Pennsboro 27: Strangely, while in Vegas, I did no gambling. When stuck at the airport for half the day awaiting standby tickets, my wife tossed $12 into an airport slot machine and lost $11.95. Obviously, she played just the tiniest bit of defense.

Andy Sandrik: East Pennsboro 36, York Suburban 28: Looking forward to watching the late-night highlights from this one. Sy Burgos should get his, but I’m curious to see if the EP defense has evolved enough to prevent this game from becoming a shootout.

Adam Kulikowski: East Pennsboro 37, York Suburban 28: East Pennsboro’s best seasons in recent memory often include two elements: strong lads up front and a back it can trust to carry a big load. This group checks both boxes. 

Chambersburg vs. Greencastle-Antrim

Andy Shay: Chambersburg 28, Greencastle-Antrim 14: Both teams are going to struggle at times this season, but in this matchup, the Trojans should be able to find a little extra space to operate in and make it count. Blue Devils’ pop on offense is tough to overcome.

Geoff Morrow: Greencastle-Antrim 16, Chambersburg 14: Some might argue the devil lives in Vegas, though I’m not sure it’s blue. Probably green for money. It knows how to win. That’s for sure.

Andy Sandrik: Greencastle-Antrim 21, Chambersburg 14: The Blue Devils are marching out their best offensive line in years, and if that group can hold serve with the Trojans’ big men, Greencastle returns an entire backfield that can very well be the difference in this game.

Adam Kulikowski: Chambersburg 14, Greencastle-Antrim 13: The Trojans are just starting to put the puzzle pieces together in an offseason that required a full restock of the shelves. Still, the Trojans have the athletes to present just enough of a challenge to sidestep the Blue Devils.

Northern York vs. Red Land

Andy Shay: Red Land 20, Northern 14: One team (Red Land) has a quarterback with some experience, and the other (Northern) is replacing a vet QB who did a little bit of everything. Polar Bears also have questions up front, and that tilts this one to the Patriots in my book.

Geoff Morrow: Red Land 17, Northern 13: But, hey, it was good to be home, back where I grew up, visiting the folks and picking up the dog in the mystical town of Etters.

Andy Sandrik: Red Land 10, Northern 7: Red Land seems a little more well-stocked than Northern, but you just never know with these backyard rivalries. Late field goal wins it for the Patriots.

Adam Kulikowski: Red Land 21, Northern 20: Red Land didn’t play its best scrimmage Saturday, but this is a team that has plenty of talent to make this a tough out for the Polar Bears. Patriots need Roman Jensen to play with confidence and manage the ball. 

Milton Hershey vs. South Western

Andy Shay: Milton Hershey 26, South Western 20: This one is tricky because the Spartans last played a football game in November 2019. There’s some issues that come with that in the heat of a late August opener. However, I’ll take Milton Hershey senior RB Dion Bryant and his more than 2,000 career yards to find a way to get a Week 1 victory.

Geoff Morrow: Milton Hershey 25, South Western 19: Our dog, Pae, by the way, greeted us at my parents’ front door like we’d been gone an entire year and she was about to play ball with us for the first time since 2019. In other words, she was STOKED.

Andy Sandrik: Milton Hershey 28, South Western 21: I’m expecting a full range of emotions when Milton Hershey — the only Mid-Penn school to have football completely taken away by COVID-19 last fall — takes the field. There might be nerves and it might not be pretty at times, but I think the Spartans will their way to victory.

Adam Kulikowski: Milton Hershey 31, South Western 14: Welcome back, Spartans! Tough to know what to expect with this group after a long layoff, but one thing is certain — Dion Bryant will be a dynamic weapon in the Spartans’ attack.

Susquehanna Township vs. Kennett

Andy Shay: Kennett 33, Susquehanna Township 20: So, the Blue Demons lost one of their best athletes but still have nine starters with plenty of size and production back on offense. Plus, they have seven starters back from a defense that is good at the point of attack and gets after the QB. Indians don’t have that to start 2021, and that’s where the problem lies in this one.

Geoff Morrow: Kennett 26, Susquehanna Township 21: And when we finally pulled into the lot behind our house in Susquehanna Township, the grass was high, the garden was overflowing, and there was work to do. But hard work will eventually pay dividends, even if it takes longer than you hoped.

Andy Sandrik: Kennett 28, Susquehanna Township 14: Autocorrect keeps trying to change Kennett to “Kenneth.” I know Township can beat Kenneth, but I’m not so sure about Kennett.

Adam Kulikowski: Susquehanna Township 14, Kennett 7: Javon White slides back to his natural position under center after spending the 2020 campaign logging totes from the backfield. White’s a difference-maker for the Indians, who will look to ride his arm and legs to a Week 1 victory. 

CD East vs. Manheim Township

Andy Shay: Manheim Township 28, CD East 21: This is a very, very, very interesting matchup. The Blue Streaks have a do-all FBS weapon whose availability for this game is suspect. The Panthers have a new QB-WR combo that is enticing but unproven together. Panthers are my ‘Forrest Gump Box Of Chocolates’ team for 2021.

Geoff Morrow: Manheim Township 32, CD East 27: One thing is for sure, though. The blue streaks of jet lag — otherwise known as desynchronosis — are tough to overcome on that first night back.

Andy Sandrik: CD East 32, Manheim Township 28: I’m buying into the East hype. Tony Powell and Mehki Flowers are tremendous pickups for the Panthers, and the QB-WR combo looks even more promising with an OL that can give the duo time to gel. 

Adam Kulikowski: CD East 35, Manheim Township 28: I’m a big believer in Lance Deane and what he brings to the table as a leader and motivator. Add in transfers Tony Powell and Mehki Flowers, and the Panthers have the weaponry to cause damage.

Pine Grove vs. Northern Lebanon

Andy Shay: Pine Grove 23, Northern Lebanon 21: Offense is always behind defense in the early weeks, and having the pieces in the trenches the Cardinals have in place will pay off big time to help the newbies at the skill spots.

Geoff Morrow: Northern Lebanon 22, Pine Grove 20: So, while we still have several weeks of summer left, it’s time to settle in and turn attention to football. Because where else can Vikings do battle with Cardinals, and nobody really knows who will win?

Andy Sandrik: Pine Grove 28, Northern Lebanon 20: Shout-out to Eric Epler for tweeting out PG’s remarkable football program. That alone is reason enough to take the Cards this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Pine Grove 20, Northern Lebanon 17: Honest moment. This is a leap of faith in backing the Cardinals. Their offensive line is back and intact, but the cast and crew surrounding the strong guys has been completely retooled. Still, in Frank Gaffney’s system, if those big dudes control the line, PG will always have a chance. 

Cumberland Valley vs. Manheim Central

Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 21, Manheim Central 17: Not sure exactly why I’m making this pick. Both tradition-rich programs struggled in 2020, and the Barons have a proven commodity at QB back in the fold. Eagles have to be better, right? Maybe?

Geoff Morrow: Manheim Central 29, Cumberland Valley 25: We’re officially done calling it Week Zero, right? Because if you add up these programs’ all-time victories, I think the number is the opposite of zero.

Andy Sandrik: Manheim Central 21, Cumberland Valley 14: Looking for the Eagles to improve from Year 1 to Year 2 under Josh Oswalt. Will it happen right away against traditional L-L power Manheim Central? Can’t wait to find out.

Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 28, Manheim Central 17: Tough call. With a full offseason of prep, you know Coach Oz’s Eagles are going to want to put 2020 in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible.

Steel-High vs. Morrisville

Andy Shay: Steel-High 42, Morrisville 0: We all know the WR the Rollers lost to transfer, and that RB who graduated was a horse who carried the load. Still like the OL and the newbie at RB, and the QB has an arm and plenty of targets. Defense for this squad could be downright nasty to play against.

Geoff Morrow: Steel-High 50, Morrisville 2: The task for Morrisville here seems comparable to my chances of out-picking the Andys and the Adam in this first week. Longshot!

Andy Sandrik: Steel-High 44, Morrisville 0: Plenty of questions that still need to be answered for the defending PIAA champion Rollers as the season progresses, but probably not this week. 

Adam Kulikowski: Steel-High 55, Morrisville 6: Alex Erby is cut loose and ready to run — that’s an aspect of the sophomore QB’s game that was slow to develop last year after an offseason foot injury. 

Fairfield vs. Camp Hill

Andy Shay: Camp Hill 28, Fairfield 20: Been a tough week for the Lions with the COVID-19 protocols forcing Camp Hill to have limited preparation. Not sure even the coaching staff knows what to expect from the defense, so rely on a couple of known weapons on offense to carry the load.

Geoff Morrow: Camp Hill 24, Fairfield 14: And here’s the reminder that, while in a much better spot than we were last year, the pandemic isn’t behind us just yet. I just hope nobody takes a helmet off mid-game thinking it inhibits their freedom.

Andy Sandrik: Camp Hill 28, Fairfield 27: It’s a good thing we’re not just diving right into division play like last year. The Lions have a lot on their table right now, and it’s good to open with Fairfield, which should give Camp Hill an opportunity to smooth out some edges in a competitive game.

Adam Kulikowski: Camp Hill 30, Fairfield 21: COVID issues at Camp Hill have impacted the Lions’ ability to prepare for the start of the season. The status of this game lingered in limbo for much of the week. Still, even with the Lions not quite understanding all that they have on defense, I think they have enough weapons on offense to mask some of the uncertainty on the defensive side.  

Palmyra vs. Solanco

Andy Shay: Solanco 26, Palmyra 19: Any early success for the Cougars will be spearheaded by a defense that should keep them relevant in most second halves this season. However, the offense is full of unknowns, and that includes the guys in the trenches. Solanco is big and physical up front, and early on that’s enough.

Geoff Morrow: Palmyra 16, Solanco 13: The best defense in any good fight is protection, and I believe the Cougars have improved their levels of protection.

Andy Sandrik: Solanco 24, Palmyra 17: Cougars seem to have enough pop to keep this interesting. If Palmyra can get enough push in the trenches to force Solanco to throw the ball, this could very well be a winning start for Chris Pope’s boys.

Adam Kulikowski: Palmyra 21, Solanco 20: A strong offensive line that cut its teeth last year should be a strong suit for Chris Pope’s gang. If the Panthers can win in the trenches, they have a chance to build some early momentum.

Upper Dauphin vs. James Buchanan

Andy Shay: Upper Dauphin 33, James Buchanan 19: The Trojans felt the sting of that post-championship-run fallout and struggled a year ago. Injuries didn’t help, either. Up front is where the biggest jump could come in ‘21. More consistency out of the QB position is needed, and this will be a good start.

Geoff Morrow: Upper Dauphin 40, James Buchanan 22: Because once we’re all healthy again, there’s really no limit to what we can accomplish, including a return to recent glory.

Andy Sandrik: Upper Dauphin 28, James Buchanan 14: I’m genuinely excited for all of the teams in the Liberty. There are the refugees from the now-defunct TVL, of course, and then teams like JB that have been struggling to find a competitive home in the Mid-Penn for years. Should be plenty of fun football in the division this season. 

Adam Kulikowski: Upper Dauphin, 37, James Buchanan 14: This JB team is largely a mystery. That means we go off track record — and this program’s record over the last number of years is suspect at best. 

Tri-Valley vs. Minersville

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 38, Minersville 20: There’s some retooling going on with the Bulldogs, but not nearly as many questions that need answers as Minersville. T-V will keep it simple and will find plenty of success.

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 29, Minersville 21: One doesn’t necessarily need a trip to Vegas to realize there are new and different ways to win. But a dog is a dog, and good dogs are reliable, happy and always working for their next milkbone.

Andy Sandrik: Tri-Valley 41, Minersville 17: The Bulldogs bring back plenty of talent to build up even more from last year’s 5-1 squad. T-V opens this season with a bang.

Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 35, Minersville 21: Jeff Sampson’s Bulldogs have the puzzle pieces needed to retool and not lose a step after a 5-1 campaign in 2020.


Harrisburg vs. Pine-Richland

Andy Shay: Pine-Richland 31, Harrisburg 20: Not quite the same Rams team that won a state championship a year ago, but it isn’t a rebuilding year either. Cougars have some bright spots but have too many questions to answer for this type of ask from an opponent at this level.

Geoff Morrow: Pine-Richland 35, Harrisburg 28: So, let’s forget the heartbreak of last year and start fresh in 2021, where hopefully we have a full season of football with health and prosperity for our local squads, even those looking to rebuild a little bit.

Andy Sandrik: Pine-Richland 28, Harrisburg 21: Harrisburg reminds me of Goku from Dragon Ball Z. His friends are scared for him when he gets in over his head — much like the Cougars with their aggressive scheduling — but Goku, he gets excited. And then he gets stronger. Harrisburg might not win this one, but you better believe they’ll grow from the experience.

Adam Kulikowski: Pine-Richland 38, Harrisburg 17: With a roster hovering in the 30s, Harrisburg doesn’t have quite as many weapons as it had in the past. Not saying the shelves are empty by any stretch, but in a matchup against these Rams, you are going to need a little more.

Lower Dauphin vs. Middletown


Andy Shay: Middletown 28, Lower Dauphin 7: The Iron Spike Game, a great nickname for those who are interested. Lots of new faces at Middletown on many fronts, including head coach and quarterback. My biggest question is who totes the rock? Up front looks solid for the Raiders. The Falcons are in transition again and don’t have the horses to turn the corner in this game right now.

Geoff Morrow: Middletown 34, Lower Dauphin 14: No matter where you go or what you do, the beat goes on. So, grab that Iron Spike and put your mark on this land. Oh, and never split 10’s at the Blackjack table.

Andy Sandrik: Middletown 28, Lower Dauphin 14: I like the knowledge that LD skipper Josh Borelli brings from coaching at the college level for the last four years, and I get the sense he’ll have his guys in the right spots to make this game closer than most people expect.

Adam Kulikowski: Middletown 31, Lower Dauphin 7: Scott Acri notches his first victory as the head man in Middletown. Falcons still in rebuild mode.

POSTPONED: Susquenita vs. ELCO 

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  1. Just found out about this site & enjoyed your predictions. Since I was the manager of the account who did the payroll for the Pat-News I remember a name or 2. I wish I could go to the McDevitt-LaSalle or CV-Manhein games which should be good. Wife CV 73 grad. I look forward to the coming weeks & your pics. Being from Eastern PA I do think the EPC might be better but not by much. I will be out for the Dallastown-Hershey game were my friend is the HC . I wish the Pat-News could return to the days of Nick Horvath one of the best Sports Editors. I take CV & LaSalle this week. Take care & stay CV19 free. I

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