POCONO MOUNTAIN EAST AT LEHIGHTON

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Pocono Mountain East 1-3 overall (0-1 Mountain Valley Conference); Lehighton 1-3 overall (0-1 Mountain Valley Conference)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Lehighton expects East to run either a "53" or "60" formation on defense. Thus, the Indians will look to "polish" up their own "Apache" offensive attack - their own version of the "Wildcat." With Tim Sulzer limited with a slight injury, the Indians will look to 6-foot, 190-pound senior running back Nate Black to carry the load of the carries.

* Defensively, the Indians need to contain 5-foot, 8-inch, 190-pound junior running back Eddie Helm, who has taken nearly 50-percent of the Cardinals' hand-offs this season.

NOTEABLE

Both Lehighton and Pocono Mountain East opened Mountain Valley Conference play last week with setbacks. The Indians dropped a 37-15 loss to back-yard rival Pleasant Valley, while the Cardinals suffered a 27-6 loss to nearby Stroudsburg ... Since 1988, Lehighton holds onto a 14-7 lead in the series, in which the Indians have won three out of the last four games ... It was back in '07 when Pocono Mountain East knocked off Lehighton for a 36-29 setback to put an end to a two-year skid ... Both Lehighton and Pocono Mountain East opened the '09 season with commanding victories ... The Indians cruised to a 35-13 win over Marian, while the Cardinals rolled to a 48-7 win over Dieruff ... Both programs enter this week's MVC showdown looking to put an end to current three-game losing streaks ...

QUOTEABLE

"We need to win badly - I know that for sure. The kids have been great though. They haven't quit. They have been real good. It's just it's pretty much everybody's playing hurt at this point. So, we're just going to try and get a win. We've just got to do the best we can with what we have." - Lehighton head coach George Ebbert.

WYOMING VALLEY WEST AT PLEASANT VY.

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Wyoming Valley West 2-2 overall (1-0 Wyoming Valley Conference); Pleasant Valley 2-2 (1-0 Mountain Valley Conferece)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Bears' head coach Jim Terwilliger said the one thing that stands out about Valley West is the fact that the Spartans are a big, strong, physical team. Still, Pleasant Valley is going to stick to its gun and create a game-plan around what it does well - not their opponents.

* Terwilliger and his coaching staff are hoping to bring in the momentum from last week's win over Lehighton into this week. It was the team's first conference win under the new staff and the atmosphere in the locker-room could not be better at the moment. It will be the Bears' second home game this year and they will hopefully receive an extra boost from the home crowd.

* Pleasant Valley has been one of the top teams in the area in terms of turnover differential and that must continue if it wants any shot of beating Wyoming Valley West. The Bears are plus-seven (11 takeaways, 4 giveaways) so far this season. If they give the Spartans a short field via turnovers, it may be a long night for the locals.

NOTEABLE

Last week Wyoming Valley West picked up its second win of the year by knocking off Berwick, 14-7 ... Since losing their first two games, the Spartans have bounced back and won their last two ... WR-QB-RB Eugene Lewis seems to be the difference maker for Valley West ... The sophomore scored both of his team's touchdowns last week (one rush, one receive), including a two-point conversion and totaled 126 yards from scrimmage ... However, the story of last week's game was the Spartans' defense ... The unit held the Berwick offense to just 171 total yards ... Valley West is actually in the negative when it comes to scoring differential ... It is scoring 13 ppg while giving up 16.2 ... Pleasant Valley is just 1-8 all-time against Wyoming Valley West, with its only win coming in 1994 ... The Spartans have taken every matchup since then, including last year's by a score of 40-0.

QUOTEABLE

"We are coming home. We have only played one home game so far this year. We are going to use the momentum we have from last week and try to put something nice together. But it is going to take a full effort. It's going to take 48 minutes of all-out high school football. Our guys are going to have to play with a lot of passion." - Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger.

PALISADES AT PALMERTON

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Palisades 2-2 overall (2-2 Colonial League); Palmerton 1-3 (1-3 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* The Bomber coaching staff has been telling the kids all week about not focusing on the past. Palisades has a new team just like the Bombers. If this team wants to separate itself from Palmerton teams the last few years and create an identity for itself, it can do that by doing something the previous teams didn't do, and that is beat Palisades.

* All season long Coach Paul McArdle has been telling his team that playoffs are determined by what you do over the course of an entire 10-game season, so all they can do is take one game at a time and try to accumulate wins to put themselves in a position at the end of the season to get in the playoffs. Palisades is also fighting to get in good playoff position so the intensity will still be very high with both teams needing a win.

* Last week, the Blue Bombers played well defensively after giving up a 77-yarder on the second play of the game and then really clamped down after that. It kept the team in the game until the offense got on track. This week, the Bombers will have to keep an eye on Adam Hardy, the Pirates QB, who likes to run if he can't find a receiver open and James Stanell, an experienced running back.

NOTEABLE

Palisades has beaten the Blue Bombers 11 straight times with the last Palmerton win coming in 1999 by a 13-10 score in 2 OT's so Coach McArdle is still looking for his first win over Palisades head coach Brian Gilbert ... Switching Travis Labyack from tailback to flanker and Christian Marcin from flanker to tailback paid big dividends with Labyack on the receiving end of five catches for 59 yards, Marcin four catches for 58 yards and two TDs ... Sophomore Nick Bickowski had his best defensive game thus far with six tackles (one for a loss), two forced fumbles, one recovered fumble, an interception and two batted passes .. Levi Serfass, who was questionable all week with an injury, didn't miss a beat with 11 tackles (five of them for losses) ... Besides Bickowski, Jarred Harry and Cody Silfies also recovered fumbles and Cody Grohotolski recovered the onsides kick to set up the winning scoring drive in the final minute.

QUOTEABLE

"It was a must win situation for us and for a while it didn't look like it was going to happen. But our kids never quit and showed that despite our offensive struggles so far, we do have fire power here again this year. To score twice in a minute and a half was amazing. I'm sure many of the fans who left early are regretting it." - Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle.

SALISBURY AT NORTHERN LEHIGH

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Salisbury 1-3 overall (1-3 Colonial League); No. Lehigh 3-1 (3-1 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* This week is homecoming at Northern Lehigh so Bulldogs have to stay focused. They are a 3-1 football team, but can't pay attention to how some people are saying how good they are and keep taking one game at a time.

* The Falcons are 1-3, but their record is deceiving. The have some very nice skill players and the Bulldogs must be good tacklers and wrap up the runners so they don't break a long one.

* Bulldogs had another turnover last week when a Palisades blitz turned into a fumble. The good thing is that the Bulldogs started the game with a goal-line stand and ended it with a goal-line stand. Sooner or later, however, turnovers will catch up with you so they have to be minimized.

NOTEABLE

Tout was proud of the way the team responded last week against the Pirates in what was a physical game. In what he calls was the play of the game in the waning minutes of the first half, Palisades QB Adam Hardy broke loose on a 50-yard run, but senior Tyler Bolton didn't give up and caught him from behind at the three-yard line to stop a touchdown and the defense dug in and forced them to kick a field goal on fourth down ... Bulldog line has really been exceptional and Tout mentioned Nick Hartman as a big surprise and Mike Buresh, who had two sacks last week ... Since Nolehi joined the Colonial League in 1994, the Bulldogs own an 11-2 record against Salisbury including a 32-28 win last year. The Falcons' wins came in 2001 and 2006.

QUOTEABLE

"We've not only gotten wins, they've all been quality wins which have helped build character and hopefully will pay dividends later on." - Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout.

NORTHWESTERN AT NOTRE DAME

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Northwestern 2-2 (2-2 Colonial League); Notre Dame 0-4 (0-4 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Northwestern wants to establish itself as the dominant team and not let the Crusaders gain any early confidence that this is the week they will break their 22-game losing streak.

* The Tigers need to finish their drives. At times this season, including last week, they have moved the ball but failed to convert it into points in the red zone.

* Notre Dame just needs to play its best football and let the chips fall where they may. The Crusaders have been blown out in all four games this year, sometimes because they're overmatched but other times because of mistakes. They will likely be overmatched Friday night, so limiting mistakes and hoping for a few breaks might be their only hope.

NOTEABLE

Notre Dame's last win came on September 7, 2007, a 7-6 win over Southern Lehigh. Since then they have lost 22 in a row. That stretch includes seven shutout losses, 11 losses by 30 points or more and 18 losses by 20 points or more. The Crusaders have been outscored 843-159 over that stretch, including 143-22 this year " Notre Dame runs a multiple offense and uses two quarterbacks, Nick Walsh and Matt Wagner. Their biggest threat is senior running back George Vaught "although the Crusaders have yet to win, Northwestern head coach Bob Mitchell was impressed by them. He likes that they are committed to what they are trying to do and haven't made drastic changes in response to four lopsided losses. Northwestern will see a 4-3 defense for the third straight week. Southern Lehigh held Northwestern out of the end zone on three of four long drives last week and Notre Dame will try to use that same bend but don't break philosophy.

QUOTABLE

"We have to come out and dictate the pace of the game. We have to send a message that they're going to be in for a long night and play the way we're capable of playing. We just have to do a better job of finishing drives." - Northwestern head coach Bob Mitchell.

NORTH SCHUYLKILL AT MARIAN

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

North Schuylkill 4-0 (4-0 AFL); Marian 1-3 (1-1 AFL)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* How "quick" will Marian's offense adjust to a new signal caller under center? Starting quarterback Pat Leitzel is out for the season with a shoulder injury...filling his shoes is freshman Corey Quick against the Anthracite Football League's top-ranked defense.

* Marian needs to find a way to combat North Schuylkill's smashmouth physical style of football. It may not be easy though as injuries have taken a toll on the Marian defense. Against Pius X, the Colts had to literally replace their entire starting secondary, as they lost four of their top five defensive backs to injury.

NOTABLE

Marian has won nine straight games against North Schuylkill. The last Spartans victory was a 36-26 win in 1999 ... Last season, Marian defeated North Schuylkill 22-6 ... Marian has won 20 of 29 meetings in a series that dates back to 1982 ... The last time North Schuylkill started the season with four straight wins was 1995. They also began that season 5-0 ... Corey Quick is the first freshman to start a game at quarterback for Marian since 1994 when Brent "Chuck" Andrew assumed the reigns of the Colts' offense ... Marian and North Schuylkill's only common opponent this season has been Schuylkill Haven. The Marian defense allowed the Hurricanes 450 yards of offense in a 31-14 loss. North Schuylkill's defense held Schuylkill Haven to just 98 yards of offense in a huge 17-7 AFL victory ... The Colts defense is allowing 387.3 yards per game, worst in the TIMES NEWS area. North Schuylkill's defense allows just 113.8 yards per game (78.8 rushing, 35.0 passing) ... Scott Houser (59-443-4) and Ed Pavalko (35-203-4) lead the Spartans ground attack ... Quarterback Tom Ferrari (16-for-34, 345 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions) and wide receiver Zack Parnell (6 receptions, 148 yards, three TD's) anchor the Spartans passing game.

QUOTABLE

"North Schuylkill is an outstanding football team. They have no physical weaknesses across the board. If we want to be successful, we need to come out and play our best game of the season by far." - Marian head coach Stan Dakosty.

KUTZTOWN AT TAMAQUA

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Kutztown 1-3; Tamaqua 4-0.

KEYS TO THE GAME

*Tamaqua could look to utilize its passing attack more often against Kutztown, which plays a 4-4 defensively and crowds the line of scrimmage. Blue Raiders' receivers Anthony Bumbulsky and Mike Streisel both had TD catches last week.

*Defensively, the Raiders will focus on keeping pressure on Cougars QB Brian Butz, a converted tight end who has completed 15 of 41 passes for 288 yards and has a QB rating of 96.14.

*With an Anthracite League showdown with North Schuylkill looming next week, Tamaqua can't afford to look past Kutztown if it wants to maintain momentum for the Spartans.

NOTEABLE

Tamaqua is 4-0 for the first time since its Eastern Conference title season of 1962 ... Kutztown is a member of the Inter-County League, Section 2 ... Cougars have been outscored 123-62 so far this season, dropping three straight after an opening 29-14 win over Thomas Fitzsimons ... one of Kutztown's losses was to Octorara, by a 20-9 count in week 3. It was the Braves' first-ever varsity football win ... the two schools have met just twice, both last season. Tamaqua won both games, beating the Cougars 28-19 during week five at Kutztown and scoring a 35-14 win on Stadium Hill in the Eastern Conference Class AA semifinals ... Deidrick Morgan leads Kutztown's ground game with 398 yards rushing, while EJ Weiss has 122 yards ... Trevor Heffner is the leading receiver for the Cougars with 8 catches and 117 yards ... Raiders are Cougars' second Schuylkill County foe. Blue Mountain blanked Kutztown 40-0 in week 2 ... Tamaqua scored on 8 of 10 possessions last week in 55-0 whitewash of Mahanoy Area. Raiders had 6 takeaways without a turnover ,,, Raider Eric James had 6 tackles on special teams at Mahanoy ... since giving up 27 points vs. Jim Thorpe in the opener, Tamaqua has allowed just 18 points since ... Raiders have won 8 of 9 games dating back to week 8 of last season ... this is the last year of two-year contract with Kutztown, so Tamaqua will be seeking a week five opponent for next season ...

QUOTABLE

"We have to be careful and not look ahead, because Kutztown is not the kind of team we can overlook. Ball safety is a big thing for us, and defensively, we have to play assignment football. We want to play as consistently as we can." - Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner

JIM THORPE AT SHNANDOAH VALLEY

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Jim Thorpe 1-3 ; Shenandoah Valley 2-2

KEYS TO THE GAME

*The Olympians will have to overcome to straight losses to Anthracite League powers in North Schuylkill and Panther Valley against the Blue Devils, who have wins against York Catholic and Minersville and losses to North Schuylkill and Tamaqua.

*Defensively, the Olympians will have to contain the running of Eric Whalen, a senior running back, who carried the ball 16 times for 121 yards in the 23-20 win over the Miners.

*The Olympians will also have to keep an eye on experienced quarterback Danny Merva. The Blue Devils return eight on offense and nine on defense.

NOTABLE

The Blue Devils dropped their first eight games last season and ended the season with two straight wins and are looking to build from there ... The Olympians' leading rusher is quarterback Corey Cinicola with 172 yards on 45 carries. He has completed 35 of 68 passing attempts for 437 yards ... Jim Thorpe does have the fourth best defense in the area giving up 257.3 yards per game with 664 yards in rushing ... Besides Whalen, Blue Devils use fullback Bob Conrad quite a bit ... Last week at Panther Valley, the Olympians fell behind 28-0 by halftime and had to get away from their game plan and had to try and play catch up ... The only Olympian touchdown came when Josh Dean returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown ...

QUOTABLE

"We thought we could do some things with our physical size up front agsint their smaller athletic kids. We thought we could try and smashmouth a little bit but that didn't work." - Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger after last week's loss to Panther Valley