Schuylkill Haven at Tamaqua
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Schuylkill Haven 3-3 (3-2 Anthracite Football League); Tamaqua 6-0 (4-0 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Shenandoah Valley def. Schuylkill Haven 21-7; Tamaqua def. North Schuylkill 24-10
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Will Casella (18-92-TD rush*), QB Ryan Fink
TAMAQUA'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Dalton Nunemacher (70-504-8TD rush, 13-320-4TD rec**), RB Tyler Hope (29-355-3TD rush**), RB Jake Love (71-469-5TD rush**), QB Nate Edmonds (22-50-570-8TD pass**)
FAST FACTS: Tamaqua sits in first in the AFL and will control its own destiny in its quest for the league championship. Three of the Raiders' four remaining games will be at home versus Haven, Panther Valley and Minersville. It may come down to the final regular season game at Marian, who currently sits in second at 5-1. Only time will tell. Tamaqua is averaging over 37 points-per-game (tops in the TN area) and has scored less than 30 points just twice this season. Meanwhile, the Raiders' defense is surrendering an average of 14 points after holding a solid North Schuylkill offense to just ten. Tamaqua has shown week in and week out that they can run the football and it's hard to see anybody stopping them from doing that the rest of the regular season. The Raiders lead the area in rushing with 1,778 yards and are 486 yards ahead of second-place Panther Valley. After winning three in a row, Schuylkill Haven came up short to Shenandoah Valley. Haven has scored 27 or more points in its three wins, but just seven or fewer in its three losses (including two shutouts). Casella leads Haven's backfield, but Tamaqua's defense should be ready for him. Tamaqua's defense is second in the area in rushing yards allowed at 646. The Raiders and the 'Canes have alternated wins since 2008. Last year Tamaqua won 26-14.
QUOTABLE: "Schuylkill Haven is a big, strong, and physical football team. They're definitely going to present a challenge for us on offense. They have a couple lineman that are 250 plus and they're going to play tight splits, so it will be difficult to get into their backfield. Our linebackers have to fill their gaps and we have to match their physicality. On offense we have to stay balanced and when we have to pass the ball it's important for us to convert on those opportunities. It's just really important for us to stay balanced and play physical. " Tamaqua coach Sam Bonner
Northern Lehigh at Northwestern
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Northern Lehigh 4-2 (4-2 Colonial League); Northwestern 3-3 (3-3 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Pen Argyl def. Northern Lehigh 41-28; Northwestern def. Palmerton 38-21
NORTHERN LEHIGH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB/WR Caleb Johnson (68-482-8TD rush, 11-245-2TD rec**), QB Dan Marsh (26-50-6TD pass, 67-360-5TD rush**), WR Darrien Middaugh (10-195-2TD rec**)
NORTHWESTERN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Cam Richardson (42-178-2TD rush, 16-220-2TD rec**), RB Mason Schuler (63-323-TD rush, 7-71-2TD rec**), QB Frank Dangello (49-105-729-9TD pass**)
FAST FACTS: The Northern Lehigh defense gave up 41 points to Pen Argyl last week. The last time the Bulldogs surrendered 41 points to a conference opponent was in 2008. Wilson hung 59 points on the 'Dawgs on Sept. 13. Northwestern is 3-3 on the year and has definitely taken advantage of some of the inferior Colonial League teams. The three teams the Tigers have beaten (Wilson, Salisbury and Palmerton) are a combined 2-16 on the year. Northern Lehigh must win out if it wants a shot at the Colonial League title. Three teams are currently ahead of the Bulldogs in the standings, with Catty sitting in first at 6-0 and both Pen Argyl and Bangor a game behind. Northern Lehigh has won the last ten meetings in this rivalry, including a playoff game in 2003. Northwestern's last win over Northern Lehigh came in the 2002 Distict 11 Class AA title game. They have met 29 times since 1995. The Tigers won the first eight clashes including 12 of the first 13, but the Bulldogs have gotten a lot of revenge since then and now hold a 15-14 lead in the series. They won last year's game by that score, 15-14.
QUOTABLE: "Obviously it's a rivalry game, so we don't have to get the kids up for this one. Our backs are against the wall as far as qualifying for the post season goes, so a win here is key for us. It comes down to a few things if we want to win. We need to win the turnonver battle and play more fundamental on defense. We also need to do a better job of stopping the opposition on third downs this week. I think if we get back to the basics and keep them from putting up the big play we'll be fine." Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout
"It's for bragging rights. If you win you remember it for a long time afterward. We don't have to say a whole lot to the players about what this game means." Northwestern coach Josh Snyder
Panther Valley at Shenandoah Valley
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Panther Valley 3-3 (2-2 Anthracite Football League); Shenandoah Valley 4-2 (3-2 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Marian def. Panther Valley 28-7; Shenandoah Valley def. Schuylkill Haven 21-7
PANTHER VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Matt Levitt (27-64-499-7TD pass, 34-133-2TD rush**), WR Kyle Ferryman (13-305-4TD rec, 31-223-2TD rush**), FB Richard Nase (9-62 rush**)
SHENDANDOAH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Chris Palubisnky (221-2TD pass*), WR Nick Merva (TD rec*), WR Angelo Mashornick (5-122 rec*),
FAST FACTS: Since starting out the season 1-2, Shenandoah has won three in a row. The Devils have averaged 28 points-per-game in those contests. However, their schedule may have something to do with it. The Devils are 4-0 versus teams with a .500 record or worse, but 0-2 against winning teams. The Devils Chris Palubinsky has been throwing the ball well as of late, going over the 200-yard mark in the past two contests. He has also thrown for five touchdowns in those games. Palubinsky is right up there in the top tier in passing yards in the Anthracite League with 1,081 yards and 10 touchdowns. Panther Valley will have its work cut out for itself due to the loss of running back Richie Smith. Smith has rushed for an impressive 842 yards this season and equates for a lot of the Panthers offense, but will now miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. Coach Hazlet and his staff will now have to find a viable replacement for Smith. That, or find a couple guys that can produce like he did. Shenandoah is coming into its game with the Panthers sitting in the fourth and final spot in the District 11 A playoffs. A win will certainly help the Devils out in their quest to qualify for the post-season. A loss would open the possibility of Schuylkill Haven jumping into that spot - especially if it upset Tamaqua this week.
QUOTABLE: "Shenandoah is a very good and well-coached team. You certainly have to worry about Palubinsky, who is possibly the best quarterback in the league and Merva, who is a top wideout. We have to limit the big play and find a way to generate some offense. Obviously, with the unfortunate loss of Richie it's going to affect our offense, but I told the guys that they have to look at this as an opportunity to step up and make some contributions. We're going to spread the ball around to a couple different guys, a few who are underclassmen, so as a unit we have to continue to focus and play a physical brand of football." Panther Valley coach Lon Hazlet
Marian at Minersville
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Marian 5-1 (3-1 Anthracite Football League); Minersville 2-4 (2-3 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Marian def. Panther Valley 28-7; Minersville def. Jim Thorpe 42-22
MARIAN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Dylan Quirk (90-484-6TD rush**), WR John Julian (7-200-4TD rec**), QB Corey Quick (27-70-535-6TD pass, 36-117-2TD rush**).
MINERSVILLE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Chris Murphy (27-166-4TD rush*), RB Luke Heffron (18-115 rush*).
FAST FACTS: After being outscored by over 100 points through the first four weeks of the season, Minersville has won each of the last two weeks and has scored at least 40 points-per-game in the process. However, those two teams are a combined 1-10. The Miners will have a much tougher time putting points on the board against Marian. The Colts are allowing less than ten points-a-game and have only given up more than 14 points once (21 in only loss to North Schuylkill). Marian also sits in the third spot in the District 11 Class A playoff rankings. The Colts have not qualified for the post-season in the last three seasons, so a win over the Miners would bring them one step closer to that goal. The Colts also sit in second in the AFL, so it's important for the Colts to keep winning so that they have a shot at a possible co-championship. That's if it comes down to that when they battle Tamaqua in their final regular season game. After going 0-10 in the first ten meetings with Marian, Minersville has won each of the last two meetings between the two teams. The Miners won 21-17 and 28-17 in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
QUOTABLE: "They're going to try and control the tempo and shorten the game by running the football. It's our job to not let them do that. We have to make them play at our pace and get things going offensively early on. The kids have been getting better every week and practicing hard with focus. Our defense has been doing a great job as well, it's just important for us to continue to play well in all facets of the game." Marian coach Stan Dakosty
Jim Thorpe at Mahanoy Area
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Jim Thorpe 0-6 (0-5 Anthracite Football League); Mahanoy Area 1-4 (0-4 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Minersville def. Jim Thorpe 42-22; Minersville def. Mahanoy Area 40-14 on Sept. 28
JIM THORPE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Pat Duvigneaud (63-148-1079-11TD pass, 93-589-9TD rush**), WR Mike Harelston (20-422-6TD rec**), RB Deonte St. Hill (58-181-4TD rush, 8-106-TD rec**).
MAHANOY AREA'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Austin Forte (10-46 rush*), QB Dylan Mahmod (1-2-11 pass, 5-29-TD rush*), WR Greg Merchlinsky (1-11 rec*)
FAST FACTS: Minersville has defeated each of these teams over the last two weeks. Mahanoy Area gave up 358 yards of offense to the Miners, including 200 through the air, which should bode well for an Olympian offense that usually doesn't have trouble moving the ball. The Golden Bears scored 14 points on Minersville, but didn't do so until the fourth quarter when they were already down by 40. Some of it was their own doing, as they lost three of their five fumbles on the night. Ironically, it was much of the same for Jim Thorpe last week. The locals have a rather potent offense but failed to muster a single point in the first half. The Olympians' defense once again gave up a ton of yards on the ground (166 to Minersville's Chris Murphy), which could allow Austin Forte to have a big day. Last year Mahanoy Area defeated Jim Thorpe 52-14. Before that, the last time the Golden Bears knocked off the Olympians was October of 1986. The Bears won that game 42-14.
QUOTABLE: "We just have to play better defensively. Our tackling has to get better and we have to play sound defensive football. We're going to see a lot of option attack this week, so it's important for us to know our assignments and execute. We also have to play better on offense this week and get our passing going once again." Jim Thorpe coach Mark Rosenberger
Lehighton at William Allen
WHEN: Saturday at 2 p.m.
RECORDS: Lehighton 1-5 (1-4 Mountain Valley Conference); Allen 0-6 (0-4 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: East Stroudsburg North def. Lehighton 40-14; Pocono Mountain West def. Allen 17-6
LEHIGHTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: WR/RB Jacen Nalesnik (54-235-4TD rush, 23-221-2TD rec**), RB Tom Ruzicka (49-279-2TD rush**), QB Tyler Crum (35-96-389-4TD pass, 52-141 rush**)
ALLEN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Alvin Lara (9-18-103 pass, 20-41 rush*), RB Jaleel Ennis (6-25-TD rush, 5-86 rec*)
FAST FACTS: William Allen has had a tough time on both sides of the ball this season to say the least. Allen has been outscored 227-47 on the year and has lost all six of its games by an average of 30 points. Last week was the only time this season the Canaries haven't given up at least 33 points. East Stroudsburg South hung 60 on Allen three weeks ago. Lara is by far Allen's biggest offensive threat. He has thrown for nearly 800 yards on the year while adding 246 on the ground. His tailback, Ennis, has only rushed for a meager 65 yards on the year. However, he does most of his damage out of the backfield as he has hauled in 249 receiving yards. Lehighton's offense has improved over the last two weeks. After scoring a total of 17 points through their first four games, the Indians have gone for 42 and 14 points each of the last two weeks.
QUOTABLE: "Right now I believe it's all about confidence for us. We have been working hard and getting better every week, but an area we have to improve is our mentality. This game this week is certainly a must-win for us. As crazy as it sounds we still have a shot at making the playoffs, so if we want to keep that goal alive we need a win this week. The kids want to win and they want to reach the post season. If we can improve on having a winning mentality we'll be just fine." Lehighton coach Tom McCarroll
Palmerton at Bangor
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Palmerton 0-6 (0-6 Colonial League); Bangor 5-1 (5-1 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Northwestern def. Palmerton 38-21; Catasauqua def. Bangor 35-14
PALMERTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Tre Nelson (40-177-5TD rush**), RB Alex Vignone (75-404-TD rush, 8-60 rec**).
BANGOR'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Phil Vass (28-204-TD rush*), QB Brett Albinson (4-9-115 pass*), WR Elonn Plummer (2-105 rec*)
FAST FACTS: The Bangor Slaters might as well call themselves the Bangor Phil Vasses. Vass, a junior tailback, has already rushed for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns this year. His game totals read 111, 168, 224, 177, 177 and 204. Those are some pretty scary numbers for Palmerton to see. Bangor's only other touchdown came on a 68-yard punt return from Jryi Davis midway through the first quarter. The Slaters' loss to Catty drops them into a second place tie in the Colonial League North Division with Pen Argyl (5-1). Catty sits in first at 6-0. Although Bangor was able to move the ball against Catty, its defense surrendered 535 yards (290 rush, 245 pass). That should give the Bombers hope of besting the season-high 21 points they put on Northwestern last week. Bangor has won the last three meetings between the two teams by a combined score of 121-31.
QUOTABLE: "We had a team meeting this week to prioritize where we stand and evaluate our goals set for the season. In the end we set some new goals while still trying to achieve a few that had been previously set. We also decided that there is a lot left to play for this season. Most importantly for the pride in ourselves, the school and those who support us. We realize Bangor is a very good team and will be a tough opponent, but we look forward to the challenges ahead of us." Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak