Palmerton at Northern Lehigh
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records ... Palmerton 3-6 (3-6 Colonial League), Northern Lehigh 9-0 (9-0 Colonial League)
Northern Lehigh's offense has to ... expect the unexpected. The Bombers have played multiple fronts and might dare the Bulldogs to throw the ball and use plenty of blitzing. They also must make sure the linemen are on their blocks every play.
Northern Lehigh's defense has to ... continue to get better. Last week against Catasauqua was the 'D's' best effort this season. Bulldogs expect to have Bombers' offense spread the defense out. Bulldogs can't look at Palmerton's record because the Bombers have been competitive in every game.
Palmerton's offense has to ... score points. It is highly unlikely that the Bombers will shut the Bulldogs down, so they must be able to answer NL scores with scores of their own. Palmerton will also need to be able to pass the ball more efficiently to do that. Christian Marcin made nice strides passing the ball last week in just his second game at QB, so expect even more this week. The Bombers also have to sustain drives to limit the amount of time the Bulldogs have the ball.
Palmerton's defense has to ...have 11 guys playing good assignment football. Some teams have bottled them this year for several plays and then have one or two kids relax on a play and see Cody Remaley run 70 yards with it. He didn't get touched on his first three TDs last week at Catasauqua. The Bomber defense cannot take any plays off if they expect to be in the game.
Fast Facts ... The Bulldogs have had two undefeated Colonial League seasons this decade (2003 and 2005) ... Northern Lehigh's 43-14 win last year was Tout's first over the Blue Bombers as a head coach ... Palmerton had won three in a row in '06 (27-0), '07 (35-0) and '08 (34-11).
Quotable ... "We talked to our kids about how special an undefeated season is. We talked to them about what an accomplishment it would be and they've listened. We talked to them about not having any letdown games and that's one thing we are proud of this group about. Our kids haven't taken any things lightly. So they have to take care of business on Friday night." - Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout
"The last four weeks we played against winning teams very well for two or three quarters. If we can put together four full quarters for the first time this season, I feel we can be in position for the upset. We are not playing for a gold medal, so the chance to beat our rival and keep them from an undefeated season is our sole motivation right now." - Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle
Pleasant Valley at Stroudsburg
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Pleasant Valley 8-1 (5-0 Mountain Valley Conference); Stroudsburg 2-7 (2-3 Mountain Valley Conference)
Pleasant Valley's offense needs to ... do the same thing it has done all season long as it plays for its first MVC crown since 2004. The Bears are led by seniors Derrik Walling (QB), Rich Irving (WR) and Dekimbe Smith (RB) and they will be counted on to produce one more time (at least). Stroudsburg has given up an average of nearly 27 points-per-game to MVC opponents.
Pleasant Valley's defense needs to ... continue to play as a cohesive unit. Stroudsburg's offense isn't very potent (17 ppg), but quarterback Rob Bennie and wing JaVaughn Patterson can do some damage. Bennie is a dual threat under center, while Patterson does a good job running and catching the ball. The Bears need to have eyes on those two players at all times.
Fast Facts ... Pleasant Valley earned a 28-7 victory in last year's meeting behind three touchdown passes from Walling ... The Bears are currently 4-0 on the road. The last time they had four wins on the road was 2000, when they went 6-0 (including postseason games) ... PV has tallied 302 points this season. That is the most since 2003, when it finished with 302.
Quotable ... "We will treat this game the same way we have treated every other game. It's another game that we want to win and we will prepare as such. That's the philosophy that has gotten us this far and we are going to stick with it. As of this week, this will be the most important game we will have played all season." - Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger
Tamaqua at Marian
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Tamaqua 3-6 (3-4 Anthracite Football League), Marian 1-8 (0-7 Anthracite Football League)
Tamaqua's offense needs to ... continue to pound the ball with its power rushing attack, featuring seniors Grif Griffiths and Garth Lakitsky. The Blue Raiders' ground game has produced its current two-game winning streak, controlling the clock and wearing down the opposing defenses.
Tamaqua's defense needs to ... contain Marian RB Paul Martin, who had a 100-yard rushing game against the Raiders last season and is expected to return this week. Putting pressure on QB Corey Quick is also a priority.
Marian's offense needs to ... find some consistency. Due to the high number of injuries this season, the Colts have had to shuffle personnel and haven't been able to develop the rhythm to maintain scoring drives, due to using so many different combinations.
Marian's defense needs to ... have solid, fundamental tackling. The Colts have had trouble making tackles in space and cannot afford to overpursue or miss stops against the Raiders' running backs.
Fast Facts ... Marian leads the series with Tamaqua 18-7, but the Raiders have posted victories over the Colts the past two seasons ... Marian coach Stan Dakosty estimated his starters have missed a total of 45 games this season ... Tamaqua has had a back rush for over 200 yards vs. the Colts the past two seasons, with Wayde Williams carrying 42 times for 231 yards and 2 TDs in 2008 and Griffiths gaining 294 yards on 16 carries and scoring 4 TDs last year.
Quotable ... "They are a rival, and records don't count when you are in your last game of the season, playing for pride against someone down the block from you. It's everybody's goal to finish your season on a high note." - Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner
"Anyone who is a competitor wants to compete. We've had a lot of good years here, and we've faced adversity this season. Our kids are working through it, our coaches are coaching through it. This is our last opportunity to put on the uniforms this year and we are playing at home against a rival, so we are excited about it." - Marian head coach Stan Dakosty
Catasauqua at Northwestern
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Northwestern 5-4 (5-4 Colonial League); Catasauqua 5-4 (5-4 Colonial League)
Northwestern's offense needs to ... move the ball, sustain drives and score points. It sounds like the key to any offense, but over their three-game losing streak Northwestern has scored most of its points on big plays, not long drives. This week the Tiger offense will try to control the ball and convert third downs more than its done in the past. Northwestern will likely see a 5-2 front with a safety coming up to the line. If that happens, the Tigers will try to use a passing game that has been hot and cold this season.
Northwestern's defense needs to ... contain Catty runnning back Alex Brown. The 5-10, 175-pound senior has carried the ball 147 times for 754 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The Tiger defense has played well through most of the past three games. It would surely benefit with a little help from the offense this week.
Fast fact ... The winner will qualify for the Eastern Conference Class II East Region playoffs. If Northwestern wins the game, it will likely be a No. 3 or 4 seed for the Eastern Conference Class II East Region playoffs.
Quotable ... "They might be the biggest [offensive] line we've faced all year," Linette said. "Our front four are going to have to do a good job because there's no place to take advantage of that line." Northwestern head coach Tom Linette
Panther Valley at Minersville
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Panther Valley 1-8 overall (1-6 Anthracite Football League); Minersville 2-7 overall (1-6 Anthracite Football League)
Panther Valley's offense needs to ... be able to run the ball. That's the main thing head coach Frank Damian is concerned about. Over the course of the season, the Panthers have only surpassed the century mark in yards rushing five times. The most yards compiled on the ground 184 yards on 34 carries was against Schuylkill Valley. Last week they managed only eight yards on 20 carries against North Schuylkill. If the Panthers can get the ball moving a little bit more than usual, it will open up some things in the pass.
Panther Valley's defense needs to ... keep the Miners' quarterback Cole Weachock in check. Damian also wants his Panthers to also avoid giving up big plays. In the past PV has forced third and long situtations only to give up a big play.
Fast fact ... This game will be the first time since Week Six in which PV earned its lone victory of the season with a 24-21 win over Marian that the Panthers will have every starter back healthy ... The PV coaching staff is sticking with Nick McArdle to handle the plays under center in the team's final regular season game ... Panther Valley currently owns a two-game winning streak against Minersville, which included a 28-0 victory last year.
Quotable ... "We've faced a lot of adversity with the injuries and everything that we have had throughout the season. The one thing I'm proud of the kids is that they have never given up. They never quit. We're just looking to regroup and commit ourselves together for one last time this week and hopefully end the season on a positive note." Panther Valley head coach Frank Damian