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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Week 5 Picks and Predictions

RECORDS (This week — Overall):

Andy Shay: 17-3 — 79-25

Andy Sandrik: 15-5 — 72-32

Geoff Morrow: 16-4 — 70-34

Adam Kulikowski: 16-4 — 67-37


Cedar Cliff 48, Lower Dauphin 20

Andy Shay: Cedar Cliff 35, Lower Dauphin 14: Falcons come in flying high with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017. Colts are showing more balance on offense than ever, and that is a real problem.

Geoff Morrow: Cedar Cliff 27, Lower Dauphin 16: While the Falcons have allowed just 15 points total over the last two weeks (both victories), the Colts bring a different level of offense than those other clubs. In fact, the Cliff lit up LD for 95 points in two previous meetings. That kind of slugging won’t happen this year, but Falcons will need a special effort to pull the W.

Andy Sandrik: Cedar Cliff 28, Lower Dauphin 14: Falcons fans have to be happy with LD, which is off to a 2-1 start. It’s going to take their biggest effort yet, however, to go 3-1 with the Colts invading the Concrete Palace.

Adam Kulikowski: Cedar Cliff 35, Lower Dauphin 7: Great to see that 2-1 record in the ledger for the Falcons after some lean times in Hummelstown. Colts are the more battle-tested at this point.


Altoona at Cumberland Valley, 7

Andy Shay: Cumberland Valley 17, Altoona 7: I respect the Mountain Lions’ run game, and they will want to run the rock again just like the first four games when four out of five plays were a run. Eagles’ run defense has been solid all season. It’s strength vs. strength, and that nod goes to CV.

Geoff Morrow: Cumberland Valley 25, Altoona 14: I was likely to pick CV anyway, but no way in heck I’m picking against the Eagles now. Tim Rimpfel is a legend and was so revered by the Eagles’ community that the attendees will make it feel like a 12th man is out there with the boys in red and white. R.I.P., sir.

Andy Sandrik: Cumberland Valley 21, Altoona 7: How much wind was taken out of Altoona’s sails when the undefeated Mountain Lions were stuffed against CD East? This is a bad spot for ‘Toona coming against a CV team that not only has a superb defense, but an offense that is just starting to catch up.

Adam Kulikowski: Cumberland Valley 26, Altoona 24: This is sure to be an emotional game for an Eagles community grieving the loss of legendary coach Tim Rimpfel. Key for me is CV jumping out to an early lead to force the Mountain Lions to deviate from their run-based attack.

Big Spring at James Buchanan, 7

Andy Shay: Big Spring 49, James Buchanan 14: You might say the Bulldogs are feeling their offensive oats a little these days with 60 being the magic number. Could be another 60-point outing, but I say they get what they need and get out.

Geoff Morrow: Big Spring 57, James Buchanan 6: Believe it or not, this was just a two-touchdown game last year. But the Bulldogs are cooking with rocket fuel these days.

Andy Sandrik: Big Spring 64, James Buchanan 19: Make it three straight 60-point outings for the Bulldogs.

Adam Kulikowski: Big Spring 55, James Buchanan 7: The way this team is performing, that Oct. 8 matchup against Boiling Springs could be mighty intriguing. This one, however, is not. ‘Dawgs cruise against a Rockets team still searching for a fuse. 

Boiling Springs at Susquenita, 7

Andy Shay: Boiling Springs 49, Susquenita 21: Time to get some work in on the defensive side of the ball for the Bubblers. That crew was cuffed around last week. Offense fires every week. Angry Boiling Springs a bit, maybe?

Geoff Morrow: Boiling Springs 52, Susquenita 23: Match an offense that’s been churning out chunks of yards and points all year with a defense that just surrendered 60 (and last year gave up 50+ to these Bubblers), and it’s not likely to be pretty. ‘Nita needs to right its ship. And fast.

Andy Sandrik: Boiling Springs 34, Susquenita 21: There’s no such thing as a good loss, but the Bubblers are certainly a better football team after their slugfest with Mechanicsburg last week. This has potential to be a statement game for Boiling Springs, but I have a feeling the ‘Hawks keep it close until halftime, if not longer. 

Adam Kulikowski: Boiling Springs 45, Susquenita 21: Boiling Springs and Mechanicsburg threw haymakers at each other for four quarters last week. Bubblers more than proved their mettle despite the setback. Expect Brad Zell’s crew to get back on track against the ‘Hawks.

Camp Hill at Line Mountain, 7

Andy Shay: Camp Hill 35, Line Mountain 14: Lions have been a tough squad to nail down, which means they have been inconsistent and are not taking care of the ball very well. Eagles struggle to score enough points to keep up.

Geoff Morrow: Camp Hill 23, Line Mountain 6: I trust the Lions about as much as I want to wrestle a real lion, but unless the Eagles went out and bought an offense during their COVID break, I won’t be picking them to beat any decent team.

Andy Sandrik: Camp Hill 42, Line Mountain 26: I think the Eagles roll up their most points yet this season, but Camp Hill ultimately comes away with win No. 3.

Adam Kulikowski: Camp Hill 38, Line Mountain 14: The Eagles have just 381 yards of offense … in three games this year. That paltry yield just won’t be enough to beat a Lions team that can move the ball.

Central Dauphin at Chambersburg, 7

Andy Shay: Central Dauphin 24, Chambersburg 14: Three weeks without trading paint is a long time when the other squad has been putting pieces in place each and every week. Rams return at the right time, but this won’t be easy.

Geoff Morrow: Central Dauphin 30, Chambersburg 10: I’m not all that moved by CD’s absence for most of September; this is a program that is always prepared. What DOES move me, though, is the history between these schools, and it has been written in dark, heavy ink by the Rams. Until Chambersburg can start beating teams like CD, it will remain a pest but not a Commonwealth contender.

Andy Sandrik: Central Dauphin 21, Chambersburg 18: The Rams will be playing a live opponent for the first time in 21 days. If the Trojans come out and start landing blows early, they’ve got a chance.

Adam Kulikowski: Central Dauphin 28, Chambersburg 14: Welcome back, Rams! The Gang Green should be hungry after spending a third of the season idle. The rust factor could make this a lower-scoring affair, but either way, I expect CD to roll. 

East Pennsboro at Northern York, 7

Andy Shay: East Pennsboro 35, Northern York 14: That battle in the trenches is going to be important, and something tells me the Panthers have a slight advantage there. Plus that ability to run the ball inside or outside and do damage is tough to defend. East Pennsboro pulls away late.

Geoff Morrow: Northern York 28, East Pennsboro 27: I recognize that this Sy Burgos kid is a beast for East Penn, and Northern was knocked down by COVID last Friday a week after getting slugged by Spring Grove. But Spring Grove is quite good, and I suspect the Polar Bears have regrouped in their spaceship and will find a way at home.

Andy Sandrik: East Pennsboro 24, Northern York 21: Northern’s best bet to win this game is ball control. The more the Polar Bears can keep Sy Burgos — averaging more than a first down per carry — off the field, the better chance they’ll have.

Adam Kulikowski: East Pennsboro 35, Northern York 28: That Panthers’ line looked really nice opening alleys for Sy Burgos to gallop through last week against Greencastle-Antrim. If they can do that again against the Polar Bears, a win should be in the cards.

Hershey at Red Land, 7

Andy Shay: Red Land 28, Hershey 20: The Patriots have gone the distance against better teams and have been much closer to at least a couple victories. This time they get across the finish line.

Geoff Morrow: Red Land 22, Hershey 19: Except for Hershey’s fall-in-a-hole disappearance against Carlisle, these teams’ combined eight losses have actually been somewhat (or very) closely contested battles. So this is NOT your typical 0-4 vs. 0-4 dud. I expect two worthy sides, strategizing and helmet-knocking, and the one with the fewest mistakes triumphing in the end.

Andy Sandrik: Red Land 21, Hershey 17: Coin-flip game for a pair of close-but-no-cigar teams looking to nail down that first win. Something tells me the Patriots find a way at home.

Adam Kulikowski: Red Land 24, Hershey 14: I had an early ticket on the Red Land bandwagon. I think this is the week the train actually leaves the station.

Mechanicsburg at West Perry. 7

Andy Shay: Mechanicsburg 38, West Perry 21: Even though the Wildcats are more of a running team this year, don’t forget they are still finding ways to rack up those chunk plays that swing a game. Mustangs have found ways to stay in games, and you have to respect that.

Geoff Morrow: Mechanicsburg 28, West Perry 20: How will the Wildcats react with actually having more than a day to prepare for this opponent? Ha. The Mustangs are a fun bunch, but Mechanicsburg appears to be rather quickly ironing its early season wrinkles. A warning: ‘Cats cannot look past this game to Ship next week, or West Perry will bite.

Andy Sandrik: Mechanicsburg 34, West Perry 28 (OT): Mustangs are playing much tougher than the numbers indicate, while the ‘Cats are just finding ways to overcome every challenge in front of them.

Adam Kulikowski: Mechanicsburg 35, West Perry 21: I haven’t quite been able to get a handle on what to expect from the Mustangs this year, but what I do know is that the Wildcats have found some of that special sauce that teams need to burn at a high level.

Middletown at Juniata, 7

Andy Shay: Middletown 33, Juniata 13: All I know is the Indians’ defense will show up and make it difficult on the Blue Raiders. Not sure what Juniata can do on offense, though. Seems like Middletown is starting to fit some of the puzzle pieces into place.

Geoff Morrow: Middletown 16, Juniata 14: Let’s start by assuming the Blue Raiders can find their way to Juniata. From there, I expect the Indians are comfortable at home and quite mad about many things. Though I think Middletown has the talent to prevail, I fully expect a nasty, tough skirmish.

Andy Sandrik: Middletown 32, Juniata 10: Make it three straight wins for the Blue Raiders, who might be able to distance themselves from the Indians and look ahead to Steel-High by the third quarter.

Adam Kulikowski: Middletown 35, Juniata 17: Juniata held Steel-High to its lowest point total all season — 53 points — last week. I expect the Indians’ defense to keep them in the game, but the Blue Raiders appear to be hitting their stride entering Week 5. 

Mifflin County at Bishop McDevitt, 7

Andy Shay: Bishop McDevitt 61, Mifflin County 3: Even if they played five times, every outcome would look like this. No fun making this pick, but reality is reality. Massive mismatch.

Geoff Morrow: Bishop McDevitt 63, Mifflin County 0: Did you know that the actual Bishop McDevitt — his name was Phillip Richard McDevitt, and he lived from 1858 to 1935 — was an 1877 graduate of Philly’s La Salle College High School, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the Class 6A state rankings? Both McDevitt high schools in PA are named after this dude, so I assume he had a wicked stiff-arm.

Andy Sandrik: Bishop McDevitt 55, Mifflin County 0: Pretty big mismatch here. McDevitt should have no problems this week.

Adam Kulikowski: Bishop McDevitt, 63, Mifflin County 6: Not a question here who leaves Rocco Ortenzio Stadium Friday evening with the ‘dub.

Pine Grove at Schuylkill Haven, 7

Andy Shay: Pine Grove 14, Schuylkill Haven 7: Points have been tricky for each offense this season. Don’t expect that to change in this one. Team that wins the turnover battle in a game like this is going to be celebrating.

Geoff Morrow: Pine Grove 26, Schuylkill Haven 13: My guess is the Cardinals have put that 0-3 start definitively behind them. Also, these schools are just 13 miles apart and don’t really have any history on the gridiron. So maybe the Hurricanes, off the previous two weeks, will surprise all of us.

Andy Sandrik: Pine Grove 21, Schuylkill Haven 14: I’m loving the hustle from 5-10, 145-pound sophomore Garrett Lehman, who leads Pine Grove in rushing and all-purpose yards. He could have his biggest game yet this weekend.

Adam Kulikowski: Pine Grove 17, Schuylkill Haven 14: Both clubs have struggled to score the rock in ‘21 with each team busting past the 14-point mark just once so far. Make that two for Pine Grove after Friday.

Renaissance Academy at Halifax, 7

Andy Shay: Halifax 30, Renaissance Academy 29: I give Wildcats QB Carter Enders the keys to this one and say throw it all game.

Geoff Morrow: Halifax 35, Renaissance Academy 28: As far as I can tell, the Knights have a decent chance to win the first game in program history, though it appears the varsity football program just started this year after COVID ruined 2020 for them. But I’m giving the hometown edge to the Wildcats, who possess a good bit of heart despite being outmanned in many (all?) of their league games.

Andy Sandrik: Renaissance Academy 27, Halifax 21: Raise your hand if this is your first time hearing about Renaissance Academy. Why not the Knights?

Adam Kulikowski: Halifax 35, Renaissance Academy 31: I could fit all I know about Renaissance Academy on a single crib note. That makes this a bit of a homer pick, but pencil me in for the Wildcats, who I think will be able to put up points behind the arm of Carter Enders.

State College at CD East, 7

Andy Shay: CD East 21, State College 17: This one is a bit tricky. State College’s offense, particularly through the air, has some juice. The Panthers’ defense is sound and getting stronger. What gives?

Geoff Morrow: CD East 27, State College 21: It’s been hammer after hammer after hammer after hammer for the Panthers. That either wears you out or makes you tough, and I KNOW it’s the latter for this group. Little Lions haven’t been tested like that this year, so East could — maybe should — snag its first win vs. State High since 2014.

Andy Sandrik: CD East 24, State College 10: I think CD East has enough offense to match TDs with State College, if necessary, but the real star of the game could very well be the Panthers’ defense, which just keeps getting better and better.

Adam Kulikowski: State College 28, CD East 27: What a matchup this should be at The Speedway Friday night. I love what East’s defense has been able to do as a fast, physical unit. I give the edge to Little Lions and QB Finn Furmanek, who have yet to throw a pick in 73 attempts.

Susquehanna Township at Greencastle-Antrim, 7

Andy Shay: Greencastle-Antrim 35, Susquehanna Township 14: The Blue Devils are more than just your ground-and-pound offense. They have some athletes on the outer edges, too. Much better than their 2-2 record.

Geoff Morrow: Greencastle-Antrim 29, Susquehanna Township 13: I don’t see the Indians getting blown out as they have been, but maybe this is their destiny until they get around to finally and officially dumping that nickname. It appears to have been wiped from the school’s website at least. Now they just need to find a replacement. How about Susquehanna Township Progress? “Pros” for short. “Prose” for the academic teams.

Andy Sandrik: Greencastle-Antrim 45, Susquehanna Township 21: Greencastle has had so many heart-pumping, down-to-the-wire games this season, so a close game is never out of the question, but all signs point to a Blue Devils blowout. 

Adam Kulikowski: Greencastle-Antrim 34, Susquehanna Township 17: The Blue Devils are not to be taken lightly — not with their physical line and a pair of quality backs at their disposal. Just ask East Pennsboro, which last week needed 20 fourth-quarter points to steal a win from the Franklin County boys.

Trinity at Newport, 7

Andy Shay: Trinity 42, Newport 20: It’s been a struggle for the Buffs, and now the injury bug has taken a bite off the apple. T-Rocks are in validation mode after a little up-and-down first 12 quarters.

Geoff Morrow: Trinity 52, Newport 21: While it’s still really early in the Jordan Hill era of Trinity football, I want to see the Shamrocks win on the road. They’re 2-0 with two comfy wins at home, and 0-1 with an eye-opening loss when the bus travels. Get it done with swagger up in the ‘Port, and maybe it’s time to give them some Capital consideration.

Andy Sandrik: Trinity 38, Newport 24: Is there a team in the Liberty with a tougher non-division schedule than Newport? If the Buffs can stay competitive here, that will be enough to show me they’ll be just fine when division play opens next week, even if they’re 1-4.

Adam Kulikowski: Trinity 35, Newport 20: Do the Buffaloes have enough firepower with Andrew Bates sidelined with an injury? Cupboard probably needs one or two more items to get past the Shamrocks.

Tri-Valley at Hamburg, 7

Andy Shay: Tri-Valley 31, Hamburg 20: So, a week off with COVID can have a slight impact on the offense. And it might. But defensively, I expect the Bulldogs to pick up right where they left off.

Geoff Morrow: Tri-Valley 14, Hamburg 13: I foresee a competitive conflict in Berks County, as the defensive-minded Bulldogs will need their best to slow the hungry Hawks. An interesting, if rare, matchup.

Andy Sandrik: Hamburg 16, Tri-Valley 9: Maybe I’m overestimating Hamburg’s offense, but nobody has been able to shut out the Hawks, not even Wyomissing.

Adam Kulikowski: Tri-Valley 34, Hamburg 24: The Bulldogs were on quite the roll before a COVID hiatus sidelined T-V last week, yielding just seven points in three games while tallying 102 points.

Waynesboro at Shippensburg, 7

Andy Shay: Shippensburg 28, Waynesboro 26: There has been a quiet calm to the way the Greyhounds have gone about their business this season. That workmanlike approach will serve them well against the Indians. And if you don’t think Waynesboro is fully capable of winning this game, you would be wrong.

Geoff Morrow: Shippensburg 25, Waynesboro 21: I get the feeling that if Ship coach Eric Foust looked out his window at lunchtime and saw Bigfoot fighting a green alien, he’d mumble under his breath, “Hmm, interesting,” and then turn back to his sandwich and take a bite. In other words, it’s back to business. I think that kind of focus-on-the-task-at-hand attitude serves the Greyhounds well in this crucial Colonial scrap.

Andy Sandrik: Shippensburg 24, Waynesboro 15: Shippensburg would prefer to run the ball anyway, but when it does come to airing it out, will the ‘Hounds be going to Erby Weller (83 ypg), who likely draws the coverage of all-state DB Rhyan Day? This matchup could prove to be the difference in the game.

Adam Kulikowski: Waynesboro 26, Shippensburg 24: Look, Shippensburg is the team to beat in the Colonial. And hats off to Coach Foust and the Greyhounds because just about every year that statement is true. But tattoo the bullseye to their backs long enough, and someone is going to hit it. Maybe that is Waynesboro this week.

Williams Valley at Bloomsburg, 7

Andy Shay: Williams Valley 33, Bloomsburg 13: There have been individual flashes on offense for the Vikings, but they haven’t put together an outing where they pull both the run and pass together and just roll offensively. This could be that game.

Geoff Morrow: Bloomsburg 26, Williams Valley 21: I see this as a problem spot for the Vikings, whose hard-charging ship through the regular season was swamped unexpectedly last weekend. Meanwhile, after losses to three tough teams, the Panthers tasted victory for the first time last week and undoubtedly crave a lot more.

Andy Sandrik: Williams Valley 21, Bloomsburg 17: None of us saw the uppercut coming, the one from Minersville that ended the Vikings’ perfect season last week. Winning this road game is not automatic.

Adam Kulikowski: Williams Valley 34, Bloomsburg 17: The Vikings have shown flashes with quarterback ​​Isaac Whiteash topping the leaderboard in Week 4 passing yards with 349 and Alex Achenbach consistently a top rusher. A healthy Vikings team down the stretch could be tough to beat.


Carlisle at Harrisburg, 1

Andy Shay: Harrisburg 28, Carlisle 21: Key for the Thundering Herd will be showing up and believing they can compete from the very first minute. Cougars are a blue-collar group this year, so you know they believe in what they are doing. Harrisburg is comfortable in a tight game, and that will show up.

Geoff Morrow: Harrisburg 33, Carlisle 20: An interesting matchup pitting two teams who started 3-0, then suffered (very different) losses to strong foes in Week 4. It’s a great test for each program, gauging how the kids do after swallowing disappointment last week. In Carlisle, I might have taken the Herd; but at Severance, I will not pick against the Cougars.

Andy Sandrik: Carlisle 24, Harrisburg 16: If Carlisle can put together four full quarters, you better believe they’ve got a chance to compete with Harrisburg.

Adam Kulikowski: Harrisburg 34, Carlisle 24: Dropping a game against Governor Mifflin on short notice shouldn’t be a knock against the Cougars — especially after the tallies in the win column against Pine-Richland, Hazleton and Manheim Township to start the season. Kyle Williams and the Cougars flex their strength in the trenches to pound past Carlisle.

Palmyra at Milton Hershey, 1:30

Andy Shay: Milton Hershey 42, Palmyra 19: The Spartans have shown themselves to be a consistent squad offensively and find ways to get what they need on the scoreboard. Cougars are up against it here.

Geoff Morrow: Milton Hershey 33, Palmyra 20: There might be better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in Derry Township, but not many. Despite some uneven performances from both sides, I expect a clean effort and a competitive contest.

Andy Sandrik: Milton Hershey 36, Palmyra 14: I think it’s going to be tough sledding for Palmyra, but the Cougars should have a little more room to work than in last week’s 75-7 loss to McDevitt.

Adam Kulikowski: Milton Hershey 38, Palmyra 14: Some elements of Palmyra’s game seem to be rounding into form; I’m just not sure the Cougars will put it all together before squaring off against a Spartans squad that has proven to be a tough out.

CANCELED: Steel-High at Upper Dauphin


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