MARIAN AT JIM THORPE

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Marian 3-5 (3-4 Anthracite Football League); Jim Thorpe 2-6 (2-5 Anthracite Football League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* It's that time of the year when the flu/injury bug comes around and it has bitten Jim Thorpe. The Olympians, who were without four starters last week, are already without two as of Tuesday and will probably only start two seniors on either side of the ball. Although his team is missing an average of 18 kids at practice, head coach Mark Rosenberger said that is no excuse and the next person in line must step up and execute.

* The Olympians relied a little bit more on the run last week and it helped them build a 10-point lead on Schuylkill Haven. Still, Jim Thorpe will do 'whatever works at the time.' It has been trying to achieve an offensive balance all year, but has been far too inconsistent to make anything work for a long stretch of time.

* Marian's main focus this week will be on Jim Thorpe signal-caller Corey Cinicola. Cinciola, who is an obvious passing threat, has become a dual-threat with his added running ability. Marian head coach Stan Dakosty said his defense must stay disciplined and keep their eyes on Cinicola.

NOTEABLE

Marian picked up a big win last week, as it upset Shenandoah Valley 27-20 … Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe lost to Anthracite powerhouse Schuylkill Haven, 33-16 … Marian RB Bruce Balliet ran for three touchdowns in last week's victory … They came from 2, 1 and 2 yards out … QB Pat Leitzel also threw for a touchdown, connecting with WR Eric Baker on a 58-yard pass … Although the Olympians had a ten-point lead midway through the third quarter, the Hurricanes scored 27 unanswered points to come back and win … A Tyler Naus kickoff return for a score sparked the 'Canes comeback, in which they racked up 174 yards in a quarter and a half … RB Shane Edwards scored one of Jim Thorpe's TDs on a 12-yard run, while Corey Cinicola passed for the other … He found Terry Moll on a five yard pitch and catch …

QUOTABLE

"It has been a frustrating year so far obviously. Our work ethic and game management is not where it has been or needs to be. We have some core players that work hard, but we need everyone to do the same. Still, I believe we have gotten better the last two weeks and we were only one or two plays away from coming out on top. Hopefully we can put it all together this week." – Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger.

"We expect to be in a great football game this week. It is a rivalry game and Jim Thorpe has really progressed the last few weeks, so it is going to be tough. We know we are going to be the underdog in every game we play this year, but we are just trying to get better every week." – Marian head coach Stan Dakosty.

PM EAST AT PLEASANT VALLEY

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Pocono Mt. East 3-5 overall (2-2 Mountain Valley Conference); Pleasant Valley 3-5 overall (2-2 Mountain Valley Conference)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Execution is once again the focus for Pleasant Valley. Head coach Jim Terwilliger isn't focusing so much on the bucket as he is getting his team back to playing fundamental football. The Bears got away from that last week with four turnovers and are looking to correct that this week.

* East RBs Eddie Helm and Hussam Moustafa both run really well, so the Pleasant Valley defense will have its eyes on them at all times. Terwilliger knows the Cardinals will try and run the ball straight at them and his defense must slow them down if the Bears want to be successful. That requires Pleasant Valley to tackle, which it hasn't done a good job of lately.

* Starting QB Derrick Walling was medically cleared last Friday morning and came in for one pass during last week's game. However, the pass fluttered out of Walling's hands and incomplete. The Bears wanted to see where he was at, but Terwilliger admitted that it may have been a little too early. Pleasant Valley will continue to monitor Walling and he will be back under center when/if he is 100 percent.

NOTEABLE

Pleasant Valley lost at East Stroudsburg South last Friday, 42-7 … Pocono Mt. East fell at AAA Dallas last week, 35-14 … Dallas ran for 244 yards in the contest thanks to three big runs … The Cardinals gave up the 'big play' last weekend, allowing scoring runs of 89, 53 and 60 yards … They also gave up a 66-yard passing touchdown … RB Eddie Helm led the Cardinal attack with 99 yard rushing on 25 carries … Hussam Moustafa also had ten carries for 68 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run … QB P.J. Major completed just two passes, but one was a 59-yard TD to WR Lamont Tillery … Both teams enter Friday's game scoring an average of 19.5 points-per-game … Pocono Mt. is giving up 23 points-per-game, while Pleasant Valley is allowing over 30 … The Cardinals lost eight straight 'Bucket' games before winning the last two … They defeated the Bears last year 7-0 … Pleasant Valley has not scored a point in the last two match-ups (14-0, 7-0).

QUOTABLE

"This is my first time through (Bucket week). It would be arrogant for me to come in and say that I knew everything about Pleasant Valley and Pocono Mountain. This week the players and the coaches broke down the film together and we are learning from each other. The kids have been teaching me about the game and it has been a neat week so far. But to me, the focus has to be on preparing to play four quarters of great football rather than the Bucket or the rivalry." – Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger.

CATASAUQUA AT NO. LEHIGH

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Catasauqua (6-2 overall, 6-2 Colonial League); Northern Lehigh (7-1 overall, 7-1 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* The Rough Riders are scrappy and find ways to win games. The key for the Bulldogs is to stop Catasauqua quarterback Brandon Lesko, who is the team's leading rusher with 566 yards, scored six touchdowns and has passes for 848 yards. The Roughies have some playmakers in the likes of Nathan Falko, but Lesko runs the ball well and makes plays throwing the ball.

* Bulldogs must be prepared for a variety of plays and formations since the new Catasauqua coaching staff is very creative. The Catty staff has added some different plays, so the Bulldogs have to be disciplined since they run a lot of misdirection.

*Offensively, the Bulldogs are at a point because they rush the ball so much that they have to be prepared for teams to load th box to stop the running of Cody Remaley, Matt Gill, Tyler Bolton and Jake Kern. The Bulldogs must be able to throw the ball better. The last two weeks, with the weather conditions the way they were, the Bulldogs kind of just shut their passing game down since the running game was unstoppable.

NOTABLE

Bulldogs have won six straight since loss in week two to unbeaten Wilson ... 92 percent of Northern Lehigh's offense has come on the ground ... Despite finishing 4-6 last season, Tout isn't surprised of the team's success this season because they got better at the end of the season last year and were dedicated in the weight room during the offseason ... Northern Lehigh is currently seeded No. 1 and closes with Palmerton next week, hoping to finish as the No. 1 or 2 seed with North Schuylkill being the other ... Tout points to the Palisades game with their missed field goal in the end that has turned

QUOTABLE

"We don't want turnovers to be the key, like Catasauqua has used to its advantage numerous times this year. We also have to be more efficient when we throw the ball." - Northern Lehigh Coach Joe Tout

BANGOR AT NORTHWESTERN

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Northwestern 5-3 overall (5-3 Colonial League); Bangor 3-5 overall (3-5 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Any Bangor opponent needs to stop junior quarterback Scott LaValva in order to stop the Slaters

* The Tigers will try to get the running game going and keep LaValva and the Bangor offense off the field

* Northwestern wants to keep up its intensity this week. The team used live practices for the second straight week to simulate game speed

* Bangor's 3-5 defense will need to slow down Northwestern's Wing-T offense by either not letting it maintain long drives or making sure those drives don't result in points.

* LaValva and the Slaters need to solve a Northwestern defense that's been stingy this season

NOTEABLE

LaValva, three-year starter, is the Colonial League's top dual-threat quarterback. He has run 191 times for 1124 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and thrown for 766 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 41 of 93 throws with six interceptions. The Slaters' second leading runner, Brandon Vargas, has 57 carries for 282 yards, less than a third of LaValva's total….Bangor gave up 337 rushing last week to Northern Lehigh. Northwestern will look for that same success. The Slaters' 3-5 scheme allows its linebackers to stunt and blitz a lot…. Northwestern dropped to sixth in the District 11 Class AA rankings last week after wins by Bethlehem Catholic and Pottsville. Unless one of those two teams or Southern Lehigh has a major collapse over the final two weeks, the Tigers will need to win both of their last two games to earn a district playoff berth.

QUOTEABLE

"[LaValva] is incredible. The balance he has. The speed he has. The athleticism he has. Some things he has done are unbelievable. He scares you half to death," Northwestern head coach Bob Mitchell.

PALMERTON AT PEN ARGYL

WHEN

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

RECORDS

Palmerton (1-7 overall, 1-7 Colonial League); Pen Argyl (2-6 overall, 2-6 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Blue Bombers are playing their best defensive football of the season on the majority of plays. Blue Bombers are just giving up a few big plays here and there that are proving to be the difference. If they focus on eliminating the big play, they feel good about our chances.

* Offensively, the Bombers have been showing signs the last few weeks. Multiple players are stepping up and making plays. Last week they had an eight-minute drive for a TD, and the line has been coming off the ball much better. If they can pull it together for all four quarters, they feel they have the potential to put a lot of points on the board.

NOTABLES

After missing quite a few kids to injuries and sickness, the Bombers are now about as healthy as they've been since the beginning of the season. They got a few guys back from injuries this week and it seems like the flu bug is working it's way off the team. Practice has been much better because they haven't had to move guys around to different positions as much ... The Bombers are hoping to go into Saturday's game at 100 percent so they can see what they can do ... Freshman Alex Vignone's 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was one of the highlights in last week's loss at Catasauqua ...

QUOTABLE

"When times are tough, that is where true character is determined. So far our kids have been great. The attitude is positive and they are still very coachable. We know have to kick it up a notch to finish this season strong and to lay a foundation for the future." - Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle

TAMAQUA AT MINERSVILLE

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Tamaqua 6-2 (4-2 Anthracite League), Minersville 1-7 (1-5 Anthracite League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Tamaqua must finish off drives. Against Panther Valley, the Blue Raiders were inside the Panthers 20 yard-line three times and came up empty.

* While the Raiders' ground game has been solid in recent weeks, the passing attack has lagged. Tamaqua would like to get QB Ryan Palsgrove going through the air to keep defenses honest.

*The Raiders will look to keep the heat on Minersville QB Zack Dixon and mess up the rhythm of the Battlin' Miners' offense.

NOTABLE

Tamaqua has qualified for its first-ever District 11 playoff berth. The Raiders are currently ranked fifth in Class AA behind Northern Lehigh, North Schuylkill, Panther Valley and Catasauqua ... It is also the first time in school history Tamaqua has qualified for the postseason two years in a row; the Raiders made the Eastern Conference playoffs last year ... Griffiths needs 136 yards to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the season after rushing for 181 against PV last week ... Minersville is led in rushing by senior Storm Walcott, who has 93 carries and 513 yards, with 6 TDs. Cole Weachock has added 60 carries for 193 yards and 1 TD ... Dixon has completed 35 of 105 passes for 484 yards and 3 TDs with 9 interceptions. His top receivers are Robert Lenosky (13-216) and Dave King (8-147, 2 TDs) ... the Miners' lone win was against Mahanoy Area ... LB Garth Lakitsky had 12 tackles vs. PV while Griffiths had 11 hits and a safety. Erik Krause had eight stops ... WR Anthony Bumbulsky has surpassed the 1,200 yard receiving mark for his career and is now the Raiders' all-time leader ... Tamaqua leads the series with Minersville 37-31-3 and has won the last two meetings, including 28-0 on Stadium Hill last year.

QUOTABLE

"Minersville is always a tough, scrappy team, and their record doesn't reflect how good they are, so we have to be prepared. Getting into the playoffs was one of our goals, but we have to be careful not to get ahead of ourselves." - Tamaqua coach Sam Bonner

LEHIGHTON AT ES NORTH

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Lehighton 1-7 overall (0-5 Mountain Valley Conference); East Stroudsburg North 2-4 overall (1-2 Mountain Valley Conference)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Lehightonneeds to stay "disciplined" on the defensive attack against ES North's triple-option. The Indianshave to makesure to have single, or even double coverage for that matter, on the Timberwolves' back Denzel Bunn-McKenzie, quarterback Brendan Woods as well as their pitch-men Omar Richardson and Adrian Sterling on every play.

* ES North's line may not be the biggest team size-wise, but may be the best conditioned one that Lehighton may have seen all season long. So, the Indians plan to attack the Timberswolves' 4-3 front from the backside with some possible counter action.

NOTABLES

For the first time since 2004, Lehighton enters its final Mountain Valley Conference match-up of the regular season searching for its first conference victory … While looking to earn its first MVC win of the season, the Indians also look to extend a two-game winning streak against East Stroudsburg North, in which they took the last two - 19-13 (in '08) and 21-18 (in '07) … The last time the Timberswolves knocked off the Tribe was back in '06, in which they snuck away with a 31-28 in "Indian Territory" … Prior to a 27-13 ESN victory in '04, which kept Lehighton winless in the MVC, the last four meetings have been determined by less than seven points … In a 27-21 win over Stroudsburg last week, ES North compiled all of their offensive yardage on the ground with 322 yards rushing on 46 attempts … Richardson just missed the century mark in rushing with 99 yards, while Sterling followed right behind with 89 yards … McKenzie (14-59 yards) and Wood (9-32 yard) had two touchdowns apiece …

QUOTABLE

"We're just trying to get better each week as a football team. If we improve, and we're disciplined, getting a win will take care of itself (this Friday night)," – Lehighton coach George Ebbert.