Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Northern Lehigh 6-0 overall (6-0 Colonial League); Northwestern 5-1 (5-1 CL)
Northwestern's offense needs to ... control the ball and keep Northern Lehigh's high-powered offense off the field. The Tigers are at their best when they run the football, but they might need to put it in the air this week. The Bulldogs give up less than 100 yards per game on the ground, but have allowed 144 yards per game passing.
Northwestern's defense needs to ... figure a way to contain the Colonial League's all-time leading rusher, Cody Remaley. The senior is averaging 11.5 yards per carry this year. The Tigers also have to be ready for a new wrinkle that Northern Lehigh's offense showed last week. Lined up in a shotgun, receiver/quarterback Jake Kern takes the snap and either hands off or runs behind Gill and Remaley, who also line up in the backfield.
Northern Lehigh's offense needs to ... make sure it is fundamental in its blocking schemes. The Tigers have the biggest defensive tackles the Bulldogs will face in the Colonial League. Defensive end Joshua Suter is also big and one of the best in the league so Nolehi must make sure that the tackles are blocking him each play. They also must focus on cutting down on mental mistakes.
Northern Lehigh's defense needs to ... prepare for the spread as well as the wing series. The Tigers will also run some wing-T philosophies out of the spread so the Bulldogs must prep for that as well. Watching Ty Cunningham is another must. The Tigers will split him out, put him at tailback, and also play him behind center. The Tigers' best offensive play is probably the inside trap.
Fast facts ... Northwestern hasn't beaten Northern Lehigh in their last eight meetings, dating back to a 21-3 Tiger win in the 2002 District 11 title game ... Last year Remaley carried the ball 49 times for 249 yards in a 21-7 Northern Lehigh win. Remaley needs 151 yards to move into fourth place on District 11 all-time rushing list.
Quotable ... "We have to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Our defensive front four have done a super job. They've had some great games." Northwestern head coach Tom Linette.
"Normally, you would be worried about a letdown. However, when Northern Lehigh and Northwestern play each other you don't. Our kids are excited for this game and we are only focused on this game. Northwestern is coming into the game with a 5-1 record and is playing for a league championship and a district playoff berth. So we know that this rivalry has been heightened this year and we are excited about that." No. Lehigh head coach Joe Tout.
Palmerton at Bangor
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Palmerton 3-3 overall (3-3 Colonial League); Bangor 5-1 (5-1 CL)
Palmerton's offense needs to ... establish the run early, but also must move the ball through the air too because the Slaters put eight up in the box just about every play. The Bombers have to have a mix. They can't be one dimensional. Last week against Northwestern, the Bombers abandoned the run early. Head coach Paul McArdle said he thought his offense was just getting handled by them, but after watching the film, they saw that it was just a missed assignment here and there that led to the breakdowns in the run game.
Palmerton's defense needs to ... to be ready to contain Scott Lavalva (if he plays). LaValva sprained his ankle a couple of weeks ago against Southern Lehigh. If LaValva doesn't play, the Slaters are still very talented at the skill positions. And they have also made some big plays in the pass game and return game.
Fast facts ... Slaters won last year's meeting against the Bombers 33-18 with LaValva having a big day scoring all five touchdowns. He accounted for 251 of the Slaters 272 yards on offense. LaValva, who quarterbacked last year, moved to tailback and senior Drew Nicholas is the signal-caller. Middle LB Ryan Fraunfelter has been the Slaters leading tackler the past three seasons.
Quotable ... "I think right now we are very similar to the teams like Northwestern, Bangor, and Catty. However, we are 3-3 and they are all either 5-1 or 4-2 because they are making plays when the game is on the line and we are not. In two of our losses, we didn't get it done in the fourth quarter. It is a confidence thing and I think if we can get this win this week our confidence will be high enough to make a good run down the stretch." Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle.
Lehighton at Stroudsburg
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Lehighton (2-4 overall, 0-3 Mountain Valley Conference); Stroudsburg (1-5 overall, 1-1 Mountain Valley Conference)
Lehighton's offense needs to ... control the line of scrimmage. Stroudsburg has some good defensive lineman and they will need to be blocked if the Indians want to have any sort of running game. Ebbert feels that his offense must show that it can run if it wants to open up the passing game. The weather for Friday isn't looking too good at the moment so the running game might have to be present if Lehighton wants a chance at winning.
Lehighton's defense needs to ... contain quarterback Rob Bennie and tailback Mike Costanza. The Mounties run the spread offense with a little bit of Power-I mixed in. Stroudsburg will throw just enough to keep the opposing defense honest, but either way it is looking to run.
Fast facts ... Friday's game will be the 86th in the long-running series between Lehighton and Stroudsburg. The two schools have met on the gridiron every year since 1925. The Mounties currently hold a slight 43-40-2 edge having won the last three meetings.
Quotable ... "We have had a good week of practice and the kids have had a good attitude. It would be huge if we could get a win, but we just have to keep plugging away. If we can keep our attitude up and continue to work hard then good things will happen." Lehighton head coach George Ebbert.
Pleasant Valley at East Stroudsburg North
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Pleasant Valley (5-1 overall, 2-0 Mountain Valley Conference); East Stroudsburg North (3-3 overall, 1-1 Mountain Valley Conference)
Pleasant Valley's offense needs to ... continue to ride the hot hand of quarterback Derrik Walling. Walling is on a tear right now and has been making all the right decisions under center. The Bears' quick passing attack has led to their athletic receivers making plays and gaining yards. Tailback Rob Getz also presents a threat on the ground and makes the offense very multi-dimensional.
Pleasant Valley's defense needs to ... play disciplined football against the Timberwolves' option attack. Senior Adrian Sterling presents the most danger, having totaled 129 yard and two touchdowns last week against Pocono Mountain East. Freshman quarterback Will Quiles also had a good night with 110 yards and a score. East Stroudsburg North racked up 406 rushing yards on the night and had five different players run for a touchdown.
Fast fact ... The Bears totaled 453 yards of offense last week against PM West. That's the most yards PV has had in a game since Oct. 31, 2003 when it exploded for 558 in a win over Stroudsburg ... Pleasant Valley has a 5-3 edge in the series with ES North. The Bears earned a 30-25 victory last season when Anthony Bumbulsky hit Rich Irving with a six-yard TD pass with just 25 seconds left in the game.
Quotable ... "This will be a true test for our defense this week as we have yet to see an offense like this. Everyone will have to stay disciplined and keep to their assignments because North has a backfield with a ton of big-play potential. If we can control their ground game, and at the same time dictate the tempo on offense, I think we should be able to come out on top." Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger.
Panther Valley-Shenandoah Valley
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Panther Valley 1-5 overall (1-3 Anthracite Football League); Shenandoah Valley 3-3 overall (3-2 Anthracite Football League)
Panther Valley's offense needs to ... be able to do what they did last week score points. Head coach Frank Damian believes the Panthers need to keep the score close, Falling behind 14-0 or 21-0 would force the Panthers out of their comfort level and make them do things they normally wouldn't want to do.
Panther Valley's defense needs to ... make the necessary stops when needed. The Panthers have to keep improving on their tackling skills because Shenandoah Valley's Eric Whalen is a talented back. Damian hopes his Panthers realize the Blue Devils are going to get some plays on them, but the Panthers have to be able to bounce back and make the big stops whenever needed.
Fast facts ... Junior Nick McArdle will make his first start as the Panthers' quarterback, while junior Mike Weaver is sidelined due to a third degree ankle injury. Panther Valley has won the last two meetings between the two teams, while Shenandoah Valley had won six-in-a-row from '02 to '07 ... Whalen has run for 100 yards or more in three different games this season.
Quotable ... "We're happy with what we did last week. We're not satisfied. We want to keep continuing to get better. We know it's going to be an uphill challenge with a very good Shenandoah Valley team, who just upset Schuylkill Haven. Again, if we play together as a team, and people step up and do their jobs, like we wanted them to do last week, we're going to put ourselves in a good opportunity to win." Panther Valley head coach Frank Damian.
Marian at Minersville
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Marian (1-5 overall, 0-4 Anthracite Football League); Minersville (0-6 overall, 0-5 Anthracite Football League)
Marian's offense needs to ... try to establish the running game, and exploit a Minersville defense that has yielded over 200 yards rushing in five of its six games this season. Running back Paul Martin is averaging 7.24 yards per carry (50 carries, 362 yards) on the season and rushed for 205 yards on 19 carries in Marian's lone win this year. A heavy dose of Martin needs to be a priority on Friday night in Minersville.
Marian's defense needs to ... be aware of Minersville duel-threat quarterback Cole Weachock on every play. Weachock is the key to Minersville's offense, as he leads the team in passing (321 yards) and rushing (208 yards). The Battlin' Miners are a run-based team that will look to take advantage of a Marian defense that is giving up 233 rushing yards per game. The task at hand will be even tougher considering Marian's starting linebacker and leading tackler Anthony Damiano is out for the season with a broken ankle sustained last week against Panther Valley.
Fast fact ... Minersville has never between Marian. Since the series began in 1985, Marian has won all 12 meetings (including five shutouts) against the Battlin' Miners and have outscored them by a combined score of 362-68.
Quotable ... "Minersville is the best 0-6 team you're going to see and we certainly will have our hands full on Friday night. This game involves two teams that are very hungry for a victory, and we're going to go out and give our best effort." - Marian head coach Stan Dakosty.
Schuylkill Haven at Tamaqua
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Schuylkill Haven 4-2 (3-2 Anthracite Football League), Tamaqua 1-5 (1-3 Anthracite Football League)
Tamaqua's offense needs to ... get back on track after being shut down by unbeaten North Schuylkill last week. The Blue Raiders will look to hold onto the ball and take advantage of scoring opportunities behind their ground game with Grif Griffiths (420 yards rushing, 7 TDs), Garth Lakitsky and Jarred Muffley. Watch for QB Ryan Palsgrove on the midline option.
Tamaqua's defense needs to ... slow down the Hurricanes' perimeter rushing attack. Schuylkill Haven can wear down teams behind backs Tyler Naus (353 yards, 7 TDs) and Jason Sammond (252 yards, 1 TD). The Canes also pick their spots to go to the air, with wideouts Matt Naftzinger and Eric Zipay combining for 26 of QB Brian Murphy's 29 receptions.
Fast Facts ... Griffiths (clavicle) and tight end Jon Ansbach (concussion) were banged up last week vs. North Schuylkill. Griffiths could be back this week ... Schuylkill Haven leads the series 8-4. Last year's 13-7 Tamaqua win in OT snapped an eight-game Hurricanes' win streak vs. the Raiders ... Tamaqua's Homecoming festivities will be held at halftime.
Quotable ... "Schuylkill Haven is an old fashioned, hard nosed team that looks to pound away at you. We need to put the last two weeks behind us and take what we can from it. This is an important game for us if we want to make a run at the end of the year." Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner