PLEASANT VALLEY AT LEHIGHTON

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Pleasant Valley 1-2 overall (0-0 Mountain Valley Conference); Lehighton 1-2 overall (0-0 Mountain Valley Conference)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Offensively, Lehighton needs to put the pigskin in the end zone. After opening the season with a 35-15 victory over Marian, the Indians have only scored a single offensive touchdown in the last two games.

* The Indians needs to put pressure on versatile Pleasant Valley quarterback Derrik Walling and be able to adjust to and stop whichever set the Bears run whether its I-Formation, "one back," or "quads."

* For Pleasant Valley to be successful on the offensive, it will need a balanced attack. A week ago, the Bears got away from doing things that make who they are offensively and in turn they struggled.

* The Bears' defense, which has allowed 8.2 yards per carry this season, needs to be an aggressive tackling team against the Indians.

NOTEABLE

Pleasant Valley and Lehighton have both played three straight non-conference games, the Bears and Indians will now open Mountain Valley Conference action this week ... Since the MVC realigned in 2000, the Indians lead the series 5-2 and have won the last three straight meetings ... The last time the Bears won against the Indians was back in '04 when they squeaked out a 13-12 victory ... Dating back to 1988, Lehighton has won 12-out-of-20 against Pleasant Valley, which included two sets of four-year winning streaks ... Both teams are coming off setbacks last week as Panther Valley knocked off Lehighton 16-6 and Hazleton rolled to a 40-14 win over Pleasant Valley ...

QUOTABLE

"We prepare for each game pretty extensively. We have worked our tails off to be in a position that we're in right now. As far as this week coming up, I think we're ready to go as we're having some fun. We're preparing to go into a hostile enviroment and we're just going to have to have all of our eggs in order," - Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger

"We had a good week of practice so far. The kids know it's the first league game. And, really what has happened in non-league play doesn't really matter at this point, we just have to move on from here. And, they know how important it is. We need to get some wins. So every game is crucial for us," - Lehighton head coach George Ebbert

SAUCON VALLEY AT PALMERTON

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Saucon Valley 1-2 overall (1-2 Colonial League), Palmerton 0-3 overall (0-3 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Palmerton will have to play with emotion and score early. Bombers haven't had an offensive score in the first half this year.

* Palmerton has to get its running game in gear like it did for a while against Southern Lehigh. A groud attack will open up the passing game. Bomber QB Joe Weber's best outing was against Southern Lehigh when the Spartans couldn't concentrate just on the run.

NOTEABLE

Saucon Valley opened the season with a 13-12 comeback win over Bangor, but have dropped back-to-back games to Northwestern and Northern Lehigh ... Since the Bombers joined the Colonial League in 1994, they are 7-6 against the Panthers. Palmerton earned a 33-7 victory in last year's matchup ... Saucon Valley's defense has given up an average of 370.7 yards per game this season ... The Panthers' Nick Edmondson has scored three of his team's seven touchdowns this season. Edmondson had 94 yards rushing on just eight carries against Northern lehigh last week. Terrell Drayton is also a threat on offense for Matt Evancho's squad ... Last week against Salisbury, the Bombers fell behind by three touchdowns in the first half and had to get away from their game plan a bit trying to play catchup ... A big play has hurt the Bombers in each of their first three games. A blocked punt at Wilson was a turning point giving the Warriors the ball at the PHS four setting up a TD. Southern Lehigh returned an interception for a TD and Salisbury picked up a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown ... Bombers had several kids out of practice this week with various injuries, but the staff is hopeful everyone will be ready to go Friday night.

QUOTABLE

"It's a must win for us. We've talked about teams that have started poorly and turned it around (ex. Palisades '06, Wilson '05, ), but it didn't just happen. There has to be a time when we say enough is enough, we are underachieving and we need to play to our potential now. This week has to be the week for us." - Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle

MARIAN AT PIUS X

WHEN

Saturday, 1:00 p.m.

RECORDS

Marian 1-2 (1-1 AFL); Pius X 1-1

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Marian must find a way to contain Pius X senior quarterback Anthony Casciano. Casciano, a four-year starter, is a tremendous athlete and an outstanding pitcher in baseball. His arm is just as valuable on the football field, as Piux will operate out of a spread formation and throw the ball 30-40 times a game. The Royals have not attempted to establish a running game in their first two games of the season, so the Colts secondary and pass defense will need to step up and eliminate the big plays.

* Pius X is not a big team and the Colts will outsize the Royals in the trenches. The Marian offensive line really stepped up last week against Mahanoy Area and they will need to continue getting good push off the ball to establish a running game with Paul Martin and Bruce Balliet. A successfull running game will work in their favor by chewing up clock and keeping the ball out of Casciano's hands.

* Pius X is a notoriously slow-starting team. In their game against York Catholic, the Royals fell behind 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and against Pocono Mountain East, they trailed 12-0 in the first nine minutes of the game. Marian must capitalize off this and a fast start by the Colts could go a long way in determining the outcome.

NOTABLE

Marian has played Pius X 19 times since their initial meeting in 1958. The Colts have won four of those meetings, including last year's 21-13 victory ... In last year's meeting, the Royals outgained the Colts in total offense 338-252 ... The last time Marian has played a Saturday afternoon game was on September 4, 2004 at Lehighton, in which the Colts came out on top, 35-14 ... After playing York Catholic and Pocono Mountain East during the first two weeks of the season, the Royals were off last week, giving them two weeks to prepare for Marian ... Pius X quarterback Anthony Casciano threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago against Pocono Mountain East. On the season (in two games), Casciano is 34-for-67 for 443 yards, with five interceptions. In last year's meeting with the Colts, Casciano was 21-for-39 for 225 yards ... Speaking of turnovers, Pius X is prone to giveaways. In their first two games, Pius has turned the ball over eight times (five interceptions, three fumles). Marian has turned the ball over six times in three games ... The Royals do not run the ball. On the season, Pius X has 35 carries for 67 yards (1.9 avg.). However, Casciano has accounted for 24 of those carries for 60 yards ... Pocono Mountain East running back Eddie Helm gashed the Royals for 33 carries and 149 yards in their last game. Marian running back Paul Martin is coming off his best game of his career with 26 carries for 154 yards (against Mahanoy Area). Pius X has the smallest male enrollment in District 11 (50 boys) and the third smallest in the state of Pennsylvania. Marian's male enrollment is 118.

QUOTABLE

"We need to control the tempo of the game from start to finish. Playing Pius X is almost like playing against a fast-break team in basketball. They're not a team that's going to have long sustained drives. Their offense hinges on the quick strike big play and we need to prevent those from happening in order to come out on top." - Marian head coach Stan Dakosty.

NORTHWESTERN AT SOUTHERN LEHIGH

WHEN

Friday, 7:00 p.m.

RECORDS

Northwestern 2-1 (2-1 Colonial); Southern Lehigh 2-1 (2-1 Colonial)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Southern Lehigh doesn't want to give up any big plays to Northwestern's special teams units, which have been prolific this season.

* The Tigers always want to control the line of scrimmage and dictate the pace of the game. This week it will be important again as Southern Lehigh has a high-power offense capable of putting up points in buches.

* Both teams have to put last week behind them. The Tigers need to bounce back from a huge loss. The Spartans have to stay grounded after their 61-25 win over Bangor.

* The Tigers can't blow assigments like they did in the second half against Wilson last week.

NOTABLE

Southern Lehigh is coming off one of its best offensive performances in school history. Its 600 yards of offense (255 passing, 345 rushing) last week set a school record. Corey Sroka, a four-year starting quarterback, tied school records last week with 16 completions and three touchdown passes. His 255 yards were second-most in school history…The Spartans's leading rushers are Colby Kent (37 carries for 209 yards) and Matt Gotzen (35 for 226). Receiver Jeff Smillie has 17 catcehs for 183 yards. The team's second-leading reciver, Luke Gotzen, has just seven receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns...Southern Lehigh can prove something Friday night. While the Spartans only loss this season came to undefeated Catty, their two wins were against 0-3 teams, Bangor and Palmerton. A win over the Tigers would prove they can beat a good team….Both teams are Class AAA so the winner gains an edge in the power rankings. Only four teams will qualify in that class. Wilson and Central Catholic are still undefeated, Northwestern, Southern Lehigh, Blue Mountain, Pottsville and Bethlehem Catholic all have one loss.

QUOTABLE

"Southern Lehigh is indeed a good football team. This is a huge football game for us. We cannot lose it if we want any chance of getting in the district playoffs. Our kids know that. We've got to win this game," - Northwestern head coach Bob Mitchell.

PALISADES AT NORTHERN LEHIGH

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Palisades 2-1 (2-1 Colonial League), Northern Lehigh 2-1 (2-1 Colonial League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

* Palisades seems to be more run-oriented this year, so when QB Adam Hardy drops back to pass and everyone is covered, the Bulldogs will have to keep an eye on him because he also excels isn't a bad runner himself.

* Bulldogs have to avoid giving up the big play for a touchdown like they have in their last two games. Against Wilson it was an interception return that hurt Nolehi and last week, Saucon Valley took advantage of a fumble return for a score.

* Northern Lehigh's offense will probably see a different defense from the Pirates this year, but the Bulldogs will continue to run Cody Remaley with the counter-trey because he is quick and strong enough to bounce outside if things get bogged down in the middle.

NOTABLE

Palisades running back James Stanell and Hardy combined for 276 yards on 39 carries in their win against Bangor and both could break one from anywhere on the field ... The 31-6 win by the Pirates last year was their first ever win over the Bulldogs ... Palisades has won the District 11 2A championship two years in a row, beating Palmerton for the gold medal both times ... Remaley has now scored 40 points in three games to be the leading scorer in the TIMES NEWS Area ...Tyler Bolton had a big interception to lead to a touchdown drive that basically demoralized Saucon Valley last week.

QUOTABLE

"Offensively we're happy with our performance, defensively we were happy with the second half against Saucon Valley. We're three weeks into the season so it's time now that we get consistent on both sides of the ball." - Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout.

Tamaqua at Mahanoy Area

WHEN

Friday, 7 p.m.

RECORDS

Tamaqua 3-0 overall (2-0 Anthracite League); Mahanoy Area 0-3 overall (0-3 Anthracite League)

KEYS TO THE GAME

*Tamaqua has held its last two opponents, Lehighton and Shenandoah Valley, under 100 yards of total offense and will look to do the same against winless Mahanoy Area. The Golden Bears feature a triple option attack behind QB Mike Backo and backs Francis Senglar, Nick Forte and Jordan Mroczka, so defensively, the Blue Raiders must maintain their responsibilities and keep Mahanoy's ground game under wraps.

*The Raiders have moved the ball offensively but have been inconsistent at times and will need to complete drives, putting points on the board and forcing the Bears to keep pace.

*Turnovers, particularly two interceptions, put Tamaqua behind the 8-ball against Shenandoah Valley before the Raider defense came up with a key takeaway and score late in the game. Avoiding giveaways will keep the Bears from gaining momentum and confidence.

NOTEABLE

Tamaqua enters the game at 3-0 for the first time since 1962, the year the Raiders won their only Eastern Conference championship ... Wally Hall is in his first year at Mahanoy Area after serving as head coach at his alma mater, Shenandoah Valley, and assisting at Marian ... Tamaqua returns junior guard Carl Wittig this week from injury. Wittig was a starter on the offensive line last year and will add depth up front ... Bears' top receiver is Pete Stanakis, who caught TD in loss to Marian last week ... in three defeats, Mahanoy Area has been outscored 123-22 ... Tamaqua QB Ryan Palsgrove has 2 TD passes to go with scoring runs of 40 and 46 yards so far this season ... Tamaqua holds a 44-30-4 advantage over Mahanoy Area/City in the all-time series, with Tamaqua winning 44-6 last year; the Bears won the last meeting in Mahanoy City in 2007, 14-6.

QUOTABLE

"Mahanoy Area always plays us tough. Last year it was 14-7 at halftime before we made some big special team plays in the second half to put it out of reach. We need to improve fundamentally this week, not turn the ball over and finish off drives, because we're going to have to get those points." - Tamaqua coach Sam Bonner