Short Picks: 2015 Week 1
“Short Picks” kicks off the 2015 season at a new website. I punted from PFN and landed here with Dave Mika’s Eastern/Western PAFootball sites. My thanks to Dave for allowing me to join his team.
My prognostications for the past 15 years have been somewhat correct as well as informative for high school football fans. I attempt to highlight upcoming contests of significant importance and yes on occasion I do have mistakes on the outcomes of those games. I always try to show the positive attributes of teams without being negative. After all, we are talking about 15,16,and 17 year old young men.
2015 should be no different than years gone by as Pa. fans are always treated to some excellent high school football.
I’ll start off with last year’s state champs and the first one on my list is St. Joe’s Prep traveling to Louisiana to face off with the powerful Evangel Christian Academy. Prep’s Hawks will find a very tough opponent in E.C. Academy, but I always root for the Pa. school in games dealing with out of state teams…St. Joe’s Prep.
Allentown, New Jersey visits AAA state champ Archbishop Wood. New Jersey schools have provided excellent opponents in the past for many of the District 12 schools. Allentown will be no different. Wood’s Vikings have merely reloaded for the upcoming season and have a number of Division 1 and D-2 prospects doting the lineup. Wood is primed for a state title run…Archbishop Wood.
In District 7, defending state champ South Fayette takes the field without the graduated prolific quarterback, Scott Brumbaugh. East Allegheny provides the opposition for the Lions. The Lions offense might not be as productive as last season, but should be enough in the opener against the Wildcats…South Fayette.
Bishop Guilfoyle’s Marauders put together an extraordinary playoff effort and came away with a state title by beating Clairton in Hershey by a score of 19-18. The Marauders graduated some great talents, but the cupboard is not bare. B.G. hosts the Rams of Richland. Richland struggled in a rebuilding year in ’14. I am not sure the rebuild is quite up to B.G.’s level…Bishop Guilfoyle.
Let’s move on to the state second place finishers. Pine-Richland looks like a team built to repeat in the West. The Rams opener is at home against Shaler Area. The Shaler Titans have one of the toughest schedules in District 7 and this might just be the toughest…Pine-Richland.
Montour’s Spartans take a bus ride to AAA runner up Central Valley. The merger a couple of years ago of Monaca and Center high schools brought about the Central Valley juggernaught . Warriors will be a contender once again…Central Valley.
In District 2, the Dunmore Bucks are year in and year out one of the finest football programs in the state. The Bucks roll out the welcome carpet for the Cavaliers of Scranton Prep. The Cavs have shown much improvement, and will make this game close. The Bucks’ tradition is alive and well…Dunmore.
California’s Trojans get an opening night with the Clairton Bears. The Bears are still fuming over the loss in the state finals to B.G. You know what happens when you steal a bear’s honey…Clairton.
In one of the oldest rivalries in the state, Bellwood-Antis hosts next door neighbor Tyrone’s Golden Eagles. This game involves cousins vs. cousins and friends vs. friends. It is truly “the Backyard Brawl” in District 6. Both town send rabid fans to the Bellwood stadium where you find a standing room only crowd. No matter the outcome, this is truly what high school football is all about. The home standing Blue Devils put up a great effort, but no cigar…Tyrone.
In District 10, Conneaut pulled out a district championship title in ’14. To repeat that effort the Eagles will have to once again get by Cathedral Prep. That game will come sometime in November. For now the Eagles open with Northwestern and should have no trouble in this first week…Conneaut.
Staying in District 10, the Hickory Hornets stung a number of opponents last season with a very explosive offense. The Hornets open at home against Erie Strong Vincent with hopes of maintaining the high octane offense. Hickory must shore up the defense…Hickory.
Karns City travels to Brookville to open the District 9 season. The Gremlins are without a doubt one of the best programs in the district’s AA class. The Gremlins beat the tar out of almost every team on the schedule in ’14. This year might be much of the same…Karns City.
In District 3, two storied programs get together when the Steamrollers of Steelton-Highspire hosts the Crusaders of Bishop McDevitt. The Steamrollers will be fine in their league, but the Crusaders are definitely out of their league…Bishop McDevitt.
In my slobber knocker of the week, Berwick’s Bulldogs host the Crestwood Comets. Is this the last hurrah for Berwick head coach George Curry? Let’s hope not! The Bulldogs and the Comets may meet more than once this season as I see both teams contenders for the District 2 AAA title. As for this game I’m picking the Old Fox to coach his boys to a very hard fought victory…Berwick.
Also in District 2, the Old Forge Blue Devils just keep on coming up with quality squads. That is a tribute to head coach Michael Schuback. The Blue Devils go on the road to Wilkes-Barre G.A.R. for what should be a challenging opener. Old Forge teams play solid defense while the offense just seems to wear people down and control the clock. Not much different this year…Old Forge.
In a huge opener in District 4, the Montoursville Warriors host the South Williamsport Mountaineers. Both schools are considered contenders for district titles in their respective classifications. This game will be a “standing room” only event so get to the stadium early if you want a seat. I usually take the home squad in close games, but not this time…South Williamsport.
In District 11 Marian Catholic’s Colts have an eye on a district title. The Colts welcome Williams Valley to “Men of Marian Stadium.” Williams Valley might have some say in the determination of any district champ. This game should be much closer than most might expect…Marian Catholic.
The big question in District 1 AAAA is who will emerge as the contenders for the district title. District 1 is loaded with possible champs and with an abundance of talented athletes. One team with the potential of making a run is Upper Dublin. The Cardinals open the season with District 2’s Delaware Valley Warriors. Upper Dublin has a slight advantage at home, but I think the Warriors pull off an upset…Delaware Valley.
Also in District 1, Council Rock South could emerge champion in their league. The Golden Hawks have an experienced offensive and defensive line returning when they travel to Pennsbury. The Falcons will put a great deal of pressure on the Golden Hawks inexperienced skill people…Pennsbury.
North Penn hosts LaSalle College. North Penn looked good in scrimmages and all indications are the Knights will be in the District 1 playoffs. LaSalle College Explorers are one of the Knights toughest games year in and year out. Maybe the home field will be the difference. Naw…LaSalle College.
In District 12, Imhotep Charter is considered the top AAA squad. In the AAA class, Simon Gratz looks to contend with Archbishop Wood for top honors. Imhotep Charter has too many ways to beat you…Imhotep Charter.
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