BY ED HEDES

I did a little better last week that I had in some of the previous weeks, but it's still a long way to the top.

I can't believe there is just one more week left in the regular season after this. The way the temperature has dropped this week, I guess it's time for this old man to welcome basketball and wrestling season since it is right around the corner.

There is one dandy battle going on up at the top of the standings, however. and with the work load that Bob Ford has been under lately, the jury is still out whether he can hold off the challengers that are breathing down his neck.

So let's take a look at what my predictions are for this weekend:

JIM THORPE AT MARIAN - The Olympians need this win to cop the Anthracite Football League Championship. The Colts will be up for this one, but the winner is ... Jim Thorpe, 24-21.

PANTHR VALLEY AT NORTH SCHUYLKILL - Panthers just don't have the depth to compete with the Spartans ... North Schuylkill, 28-14.

TAMAQUA AT MINERSVILLE - There is no question in my mind that the Raiders won't be looking ahead to Marian next week ... Tamaqua, 36-0.

EAST STROUDSBURG NORTH AT PLEASANT VALLEY - The Bears want to make sure they stay in the District 11 playoff hunt ... Pleasant Valley, 35-7.

LEHIGHTON AT POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST - This is the battle of the McCarroll's and Uncle Jim has had the Panthers playing very well lately. Can nephew Tom pull this one out? ... Lehighton, 21-14.

BANGOR AT NORTHWESTERN - Since the Slaters got Mr. Voss back, they've been unbeatable ... Bangor, 21-14.

CATASAUQUA AT NORTHERN LEHIGH - The Bulldogs want to get out of this one with no injuries with the big battle against Palmerton looming next week ... Catasauqua, 35-6.

PALMERTON AT PEN ARGYL - Bombers need a snowstorm like they had when they visited the Green Knights a couple of years ago. That could be the answer the offense needs ... Pen Argyl, 27-7.

SOUTHERN LEHIGH AT PALISADES - If anyone has a shot at the Spartans this late in the season, the Pirates do. But, ... Southern Lehigh, 21-7.

NOTRE DAME AT SALISBURY - Falcons enjoyed a big win over Wilson last week. Not this week ... Notre Dame, 21-0.

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN AT MAHANOY AREA - The Hurricanes are finally healthy again, so the Golden Bears better look out ... Schuylkill Haven, 24-14.

PINE GROVE AT TRI-VALLEY - Went against the Cardinals earlier in the season. Not this time ... Pine Grove, 21-13.

BETHLEHEM CATHOLIC AT FREEDOM - Had to flip the coin on this one ... Freedom, 21-20.

NAZARETH AT EMMAUS - Almost went with the Blue Eagles here, but have been stung by the Green Hornets once or twice this season .. Emmaus, 24-21.

WHITEHALL AT EASTON - Zephyrs have the defense, but the Red Rovers just have a little more ... Easton, 17-14.