What a backward week 2 it was for the grid pick race! Our 15-game individual records ranged from a high of 11-4 to a low of 5-10.
With a flurry from the back of the line came Sam “The Man” Matta, who went from third from last to a first-place tie with his 11 correct picks. Sam breathes in thin air at the top, having a reputation for choking on the stagnant stench rising from the Pundit Pit.
Matta’s Week 2 record was tied with Kyle “The Rook” Magda, who proved that us veterans of this race don’t know any more than this rookie about picking winners. With her “expertise”, Magda propelled herself from penultimate to second place.
A few years ago, after my drop in the rankings, I asked my 9 year old daughter to make my choices. She got 10 winners by picking her favorite uniform colors in each game. If I collapse again, I will have to add to his high school homework and pull out a color chart again.
When the final score horns sounded in the final game of the week, our leaderboard now shows Matta and “Hot” Rod Heckman in the lead, with no less than five of us crammed into second place one game behind.
Near the back of the pack, Mike “Hurricane” Haines is just three games off the lead and Emmett “Bossman” McCall has slipped to four behind, while Chuck “No Luck” Hixson wallows in the Pundit Pit after his terrible week of 10 defeats.
Bears, bombers and bulldogs, oh my!
Three teams in the region remain undefeated heading into Week 3. Pleasant Valley won their first two games decisively, with their vaunted triple-option ground attack. This week, the Bears host the East Stroudsburg South Cavaliers 2-0, who outscored both opponents 71-3.
Bears coach Blaec Saeger called the game a turning point in their season. After hearing his impassioned postgame speech to his team last Friday about wanting to beat the “Purple,” I can’t help picking the Bears to beat ESS.
Palmerton may well have the best chance to lead the table and make the playoffs without a blemish on his record. Quarterback Matt Machalik is already up for Player of the Year with his stellar performance. They certainly sold our staff, as we made Palmerton the unanimous choice to beat the Palisades Pirates.
Northern Lehigh knocked out Northwestern last week in what some say was a slight upset. Don’t tell that to the ‘Dawgs, who won the Mountain Road Rumble rivalry and are ready to keep their mojo alive in what we think is a Pen Argyl Green Knights washout.
Olympians, Tribe seek their first victory
With a game here or there, Jim Thorpe and Lehighton could be 2-0. Everyone but the “Rook” thinks the Salisbury Falcons are walking through a circular saw at Olympic Stadium.
As for the tribe, it scored 29 points twice, with no victory to prove. This week they get the winless Crimson Tide from Pottsville, which was routed by two perennial playoff powerhouses. The skinny here is that no team is as bad as their records. Expect a close game, and “Yours Truly” thinks quarterback Brady O’Donnell and wide receiver Ian Rarick will make enough big plays together to earn the No. 1 win on the board for Maroon and White.
Colts and Tigers back on track?
Marian and Northwestern are looking to get back into the win column in Week 3.
The Colts entertain the Catasauqua Rough Riders, with the pick line slightly favoring Catty. My crystal ball sees a fourth quarter drive score the game-winning points for Coach Dakosty’s team.
The Tigers might still be reeling from last week’s loss to Northern Lehigh, but we all think they’ll bounce back and beat the Blue Mountain Eagles.
Slaters, Spartans present opposing forces
Undefeated Bangor hosts the Southern Lehigh Spartans 1-1 in my pick as the Out of Zone Game of the Week. The Slaters have given up just one touchdown to their first two opponents, and the Spartans have scored 57 points so far this season. The majority pick here is Southern Lehigh to hand Bangor their first loss.
A total traffic jam
Heading into tonight’s games, five coaches are just one game off the lead held by Heckman and Matta.
The first two have only one difference in their choices. Matta likes Marian beating Catty, but Heckman checked the Rough Riders, so there will be little movement to get away from each other.
One of seven of our 10 writers has a chance to get their profile picture on the far left of next week’s leader board. Of course, at the start of the season, everyone is still very much in contention for the Cup.
“Yours Truly” is taking a risk with my picks of Lehighton, Marian, Pleasant Valley and Freedom going against the majority, so hopefully I won’t sniff some of that stale air next week by myself. getting too close to the Pundit Fosse. “Bossman” McCall shows signs of early desperation as he picks four against the favorites as well.
Will Chuck “Get Some Good Luck” Hixson come out of the pit? Find the “bad” Brad Hurley sitting at the top next week, and this chatterbox will have something to say about it. Will Matta be a one-shot wonder off his Week 2 record of 11-4, or will he stay ahead with the big boys? And Magda, the debutante? Can he stay in the game?
We’ll see what happens in Week 3 in what is already an exciting race for gold and the Bob Ford Memorial Grid Picks Cup!