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Hurley, Heckman in front; Steinmetz lurking

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Published November 09. 2018 11:54AM

With this being the final week of our grid picks race, the grand champion will be decided. “Bad” Brad Hurley and “Hot” Rod Heckman are tied for first place and “Handy” Andy Steinmetz sits in second, just one game back of the leaders.

Steinmetz revealed his method that has him at 131-34 this season. “I have three friends who help me pick, and it’s worked great for me this year,” he said.

He was asked how much winning the championship would mean to him.

“Now that we have an actual trophy as the prize, it’s better because bragging rights do not sparkle like gold.” To throw more fuel on the hot fire, Steinmetz added, “I don’t care if I finish in ninth place, as long as Hurley finishes 10th.”

All three went 13-2 in Week 11 to hold their places. Week 12 will decide the winner or winners with the possibility of a three-way first-place finish. The rest of the field will play for pride and position in the pack.

We have a new resident in the Pundit Pit. Sam “The Man” Matta, with a dismal 7-8 record last week, is the new cellar dweller replacing Chuck “No Luck’ Hixson, who defied his nickname to jump two games ahead of Matta. This time next week Sam might have to be renamed to Sam “The Sham” and Chuck could be Chuck “Good Luck.”

Yours Truly is battling Emmett “Bossman” McCall for seventh place, The boss has been on fire ever since I challenged him to get his act together several weeks back.

Week 12 showcases final and semi final district games, and all but one are out of our circulation area. The picks leaders were busy researching teams’ records, statistics, and common opponents while the rest of us like me flipped a coin.

Four gone

Five area teams competed in Week 11 district playoff games, and now only one is left standing. Northwestern routed Allentown Central Catholic with a balanced running and passing attack to move on to Saturday’s championship game against Saucon Valley. A month ago in a regular season game, NW put up 49 points in a win over the Panthers. No reason to feel a change of outcome here with the Tigers clicking on all cylinders.

Marian played tough against Williams Valley and was only down 3-0 in the fourth quarter before two late TDs sealed the win for WV. Saucon Vallley was too much for Lehighton’s defense, though the Tribe’s “O” did score 26 points.

Tamaqua, after leading at halftime, lost in a 40-33 shootout to Notre Dame, whose offensive attack totaled over 300 yards in the air. The Crusaders take on North Schuylkill at Lehighton. ND’s high powered offense meets the Spartan’s lockdown defense, which should be a classic game. Look for Notre Dame’s receivers to get separation from the Spartan’s secondary that has yet to see an opposing QB throw 30 or more passes at them in any game.

Speaking of North Schuylkill, they hosted Jim Thorpe last Friday night in what can accurately be described as a monsoon from opening kick off to final buzzer. By the end of the first quarter, one could have fished for trout in the rivers that ran along the yard line markers.

With seven minutes to go in the game, there were more fumbles than points, and what turned out to be the winning two-point conversion for the Spartans was a fumble, one of 14 in the contest, that squirted into the end zone and was recovered by a North Schuylkill lineman. Taking nothing away from North Schuylkill, but what a shame that the outcome of a game of this magnitude between two great teams was determined more by the elements and the field conditions rather than by competitive play.

The deciding games

Hurley thinks Saucon Valley will knock off Northwestern, while Heckman and Steinmetz tabbed the Tigers. Rod check-marked Parkland over Freedom, but Brad and Andy like the Patriots in this one, and Steinmetz, against his competitors, circled Berwick to beat Dallas. These three games will decide the 2018 Grid Picks Champion and who gets to take a victory lap around the sportswriters’ office hoisting the trophy over his head.

Good luck, guys!

 

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