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Heckman moves a game behind first place Ford

As the high school football season moves into the district playoffs, the picks standings are tightening up.

“Hot” Rod Heckman is hot again. With a Week Ten record of 12-3, he leap fogged over Andy Steinmetz into sole possession of second place, and is a mere game behind Bob Ford, whose once comfortable lead is now in jeopardy.

When asked about his push toward the top, Heckman chose the high road instead of igniting a competitive fire in the sports room.

“Bob Ford is still the favorite, “ he said. “All I can do is hang around the top and see what happens. Anybody within reach can pull it out each year.”

Steinmetz dropped to third and is tied with Justin Carlucci. Both are only two games back of Ford, who has to be squirming a bit in his king’s chair.

The other movement occurred at the back of the pack. Yours truly moved a game ahead of Sam “The Man” Matta.” TJ Engle and Son is fighting hard to climb out of the Pundit Pit. The father and son team had the best week of picks, going 13-2 and now is a game back of Matta.

Local six to kickoff playoff drive

Six area teams live to play another week after the regular season. Saturday night lights will shine on a district quarter final game, a rematch when Tamaqua visits Jim Thorpe. The Raiders, after some tough late game losses, made the outcome a no doubter last week with a 49-0 win and are primed to get revenge on the Olympians after JT’s Week Eight last second,“Hail Mary” pass victory. Thorpe uncharacteristically was victimized by long TD runs and passes in their loss to Lehighton and will need tor ramp up their Red Swarm defense against the high octane Raider scoring machine. Even though they’re 9-1 and playing at home, the majority of the staff makes the Olympians the underdog to Tamaqua. Call it a sentimental pick, but the thought here is that JT rebounds from last week and beats the Raiders in another close one.

Palmerton, enjoying a 7-3 season, will prevail again against Catty. In Week Eight, the Bombers won handily and quarterback, Tekoah Guedes ahould be able to put up plenty of points on the home side of the scoreboard.

Marian faces powerhouse and undefeated Williams Valley who in their last four games have outscored opponents, 224-30. A Colt upset here would be monumental, but you never know. That’s why they play the games.

Unbeaten Lehighton is the unanimous pick over Salisbury and should advance to the semi finals. The three - headed monster of Cody Scherer, TaQuan Bradley - Chambers and Tyler Crum were virtually unstoppable last week and will look turn to force a running lock in the second half against the Falcons.

Northwestern hosts Bangor In battle of 4-6 teams. Bangor has won two straight while the Tigers have had a win one – lose one kind of season. Toss up game for sure, but my nod goes to the Slaters to win their third straight.

Tight at the top; scary near the bottom

Throw eight unanimous pick games off the board and the key match up that might jostle Ford off of his jeweled chair is Saucon Valley at Allentown Central Catholic. Ford likes the Panthers. Heckman, as well as Steinmetz and Carlucci picked ACC. “Handy” Andy also chose Thorpe over Tamaqua and the other leaders tabbed Tamaqua so, he stands to move deeper into the red zone or he could drop back to midfield.

Nazareth at Easton is an interesting game. Last week, the Eagles traveled to Easton and came away with a 24-14 win. Nazareth gets back on the bus and travels to Easton again this week for their playoff game. Only TJ Engle and Son think that Nazareth wins again. Tough to beat the Rovers twice in a row on their home field.

With only two weeks pf picks to go, we’ll see who pushes back the pack to reign as king. Meanwhile, yours truly will keep looking over his shoulder hoping not to see a bony finger beckoning me back to the Pundit Pit.