Pleasant Valley at Tamaqua
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Pleasant Valley 3-1 overall (1-0 Mountain Valley Conference), Tamaqua 1-3 overall (1-2 Anthracite Football League)
Pleasant Valley's offense needs to ... keep playing within itself. When the Bears focus more on what they have to do as compared to what the defense is doing - they do a nice job. They must control the ball with their short-passing game and run game. That, along with eliminating turnovers, is the key.
Pleasant Valley's defense needs to ... continue to play as a group. The Bears' defense doesn't have any standout players, but that serves them just fine. They have used the 'bend-but-don't break' philosophy as of late and it has shown in their defensive statistics.
Tamaqua's offense needs to ... play ball control. With Pleasant Valley possessing a potent attack, the Blue Raiders will look for time-consuming drives to chew up the clock and play keep-away. QB Ryan Palsgrove was 7-for-8 for 112 yards passing vs. Mahanoy Area last week, which provided the balance needed to go with the Raiders' strong ground attack.
Tamaqua's defense needs to ... put pressure on QB Derrik Walling. While the Bears can run the ball effectively with Rob Getz, another big passing game by Walling and WR Rich Irving could put the Raiders in a catch-up mode.
Fast fact ... The series between the two schools is tied at 2-2. Tamaqua won the first two games (50-6 in 1964 and 6-0 in 1965), while Pleasant Valley won the next two (14-8 in 1994 and 41-0 in 1995) ... the game is at Tamaqua because the Raiders lost a coin flip with Pleasant Valley. Both wanted an away game for week five to balance their schedules between home and away contests this year. Thus, the Raiders have six home games this season and will have just four next year.
Quotable ... "Tamaqua is a team that can't be taken lightly. This is a dangerous team that had a lot of success last year. We have to continue to work in all four phases of our game and do the things that have gotten us to 3-1. Three-and-one is nice, but it is not the end of the year. We have to prepare, focus and have a great week of practice." Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger
"Pleasant Valley is multi-dimensional and has a lot of weapons. It's a big-time game for us. Our defense will have to make the stops it needs to make, and on offense, we have to hold on to the football, pick up third downs and score when we have the chance." Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner
Lehighton at Pocono Mountain East
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Lehighton 2-2 overall (0-1 Mountain Valley Conference); Pocono Mountain East 2-2 overall (0-1 Mountain Valley Conference)
Lehighton's offense needs to ... be able to finish off drives. A week ago, the Indians put together a 12-play drive, which stretched straight into the red zone, only to see a forced fumble ruin any chance of a potential six points. The Indians need to focus on limiting their mistakes, so they may have the ability to move the ball downfield against the Cardinals this week.
Lehighton's defense needs to ... shut down the Cardinals' triple-threat in running back Eddie Helm, quarterback Evan Fardella and flanker Lamont Tillery. The Cardinals' trio accounted for 326 of 369 total yards of offense in a 56-29 setback to Stroudsburg last Friday.
Fast fact ... Over the last four seasons, the visiting team has been the winner. The last time the home team came out on top was Lehighton's 28-21 win back in 2005.
Quotable ... "We have to get back on the winning track. We let ourselves down last week. Pleasant Valley outplayed us in every facet of the game. So, we've got to do better offensively, defensively and on special teams." Lehighton head coach George Ebbert.
Schuylkill Haven at Panther Valley
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Schuylkill Haven 3-1 overall (2-1 Anthracite Football League); Panther Valley 0-4 overall (0-2 Anthracite Football League)
Panther Valley's offense needs to ... be able to finish off drives and score some points. At the very least, the Panthers need to move the ball and win the battle of field position. Pinning teams deep and forcing them to complete long drives instead of giving them a short field helps the PV defense.
Panther Valley's defense needs to ... expect the run and then stop the run. Schuylkill Haven's basic attack is the ground game and Friday will probably be no different. The Hurricanes pride themselves in smash-mouth football. While Haven can throw, as evidenced by 229 passing yards last week against North Schuylkill, the way to stop the Hurricanes is by shutting down their rushing attack.
Fast facts ... Schuylkill Haven has won the last three Anthracite Football League meetings in Lansford ... Last year, PV ended a five-game losing skid against the Canes with a 34-13 win on the turf in Haven.
Quotable ... "We were happy with the improvements we made last week against Jim Thorpe. We're looking to keep improving and hopefully we will get our first win." Panther Valley head coach Frank Damian.
Northern Lehigh at Salisbury
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: No. Lehigh 4-0 overall (4-0 Colonial League); Salisbury 0-4 overall (0-4 Colonial League)
Northern Lehigh's offense needs to ... take care of the little mental things that are still hurting them like offsides, holding penalties and turnovers. Those were stressed last week prior to the Palisades game and the mistakes still happened. Otherwise, the Bulldogs will continue to build off of its running game with Cody Remaley, Matt Gill and Jake Kern getting as many touches as possible.
Northern Lehigh's defense needs to ... keep an eye on Andy Eherts, a 6-2 225 junior, who head coach Joe Tout calls Salisbury's best all-around athlete. The Falcons have had some guys out of the lineup with injuries so the Bulldogs have to play the "wild card" and prepare like Salisbury will have a full lineup. The Falcons also have a receiver in Ryan Kelly, a 5-11, 185 senior, who they try to throw the ball to most of the time.
Fast facts ... Bulldogs have won 13 of last 15 meetings with losses coming in 2006 and 2001 ... The two teams met twice last year with the Bulldogs winning both times (41-14 in the regular season and 21-6 in the first round of the District 11 playoffs ... Cody Remaley rushed for 191 yards and two TDs in the first meeting and carried 40 times for 220 yards and two scores in the playoff game ... Matt Gill intercepted a pair of passes in the regular season win. Jake Kern had two interceptions in the playoff game
Quotable ... "It was a misleading score last week and we can't have two bad weeks in a row. The good thing that came out of it was we had our longest bus trip last week and we follow it with another trip this week. We're interested to see as coaches if a team gets off that bus with a lot of emotion ready to play a football game. If we're not, we're in trouble." Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout.
Notre Dame Green Pond at Northwestern
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Notre Dame 0-4 overall (0-4 Colonial League); Northwestern 3-1 overall (3-1 Colonial League)
Northwestern's offense needs to ... hold onto the football and try to get an early lead. The Tigers don't want to let a winless Crusader team gather momentum. They're looking to put the game away early using a balanced offense. The Crusaders use both a 4-3 and 5-2 defense. If they come out in a 5-2 to stop the running game, Northwestern won't hesitate to spread them out and let quarterback Ben Snyder throw the ball.
Northwestern's defense needs to ... stop Notre Dame's multiple offense. Crusader running back Kyree Bowles scored three touchdowns in a 41-23 loss last week to Bangor. If he has early success against the Tigers, it could be just the kind of thing that gives his team the confidence it needs to break its long losing streak.
Fast facts ... Notre Dame is riding a 32-game losing streak that dates back to a 7-6 win over Southern Lehigh Sept. 7, 2007. Its last win over the Tigers came on Sept. 16, 2005.
Quotable ... "It [a Notre Dame win] is going to happen at some point. We have to make sure we're not the one it happens to." Northwestern head coach Tom Linette.
Shenandoah Valley at Jim Thorpe
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Shenandoah Valley 2-2 overall (2-1 Anthracite Football League), Jim Thorpe 3-1 overall (2-1 Anthracite Football League)
Jim Thorpe's offense needs to ... stop hurting themselves. Last week against Panther Valley, the Olympians drove into the red zone on their first three possessions and ended up turning the ball over all three times (two fumbles lost and one interception). The week prior against North Schuylkill, Jim Thorpe fumbled the ball seven times (losing two). Jim Thorpe must also fight the injury bug, as they look to be down three starters for this game. Starting quarterback Terry Moll is listed as doubtful/questionable to play, so the keys to the Olympians offense might once again be given to Sean Green (a converted wide receiver).
Jim Thorpe's defense needs to ... eliminate big plays and create turnovers. In addition, the Olympians must contain a Shenandoah offense that can hurt you with the run as well as the pass. Running back Eric Whalen has rushed for over 125 yards in each of the Blue Devils' last three games and quarterback Chris Palubinsky is coming off a 350-yard passing performance against Tamaqua just two weeks ago.
Fast Facts ... Speaking of Whalen, Jim Thorpe cannot afford a repeat of last year. In a 43-21 Shenandoah victory, Whalen gouged the Olympians for 371 yards rushing on just 26 carries, including four touchdown runs (12, 45, 78, 80). Friday night is also Homecoming in Jim Thorpe.
Quotable ... "We need to come out and be the more physical team on Friday night, plain and simple. We also need to eliminate the mental mistakes and stop turning the ball over. You're not going to beat good teams when you keep giving the ball away." Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger.
Marian at North Schuylkill
Friday, 7 p.m.
The records: Marian 1-3 overall (0-2 Anthracite Football League), North Schuylkill 4-0 overall (4-0 Anthracite Football League)
Marian's offense needs to ... stay mentally tough while continuing to mature at the varsity level. The Colts will once again be fielding a team of mostly underclassmen who got their first taste of starting varsity experience last week against Pius X. In spite of the loss, the Colts' offense scored 36 points and accounted for 340 yards and the Colts must continue to build upon that. Ryan Karnish will once again be under center for Marian and Anthony Damiano will be starting at tailback for the second straight week. Perhaps the Colts should take a page out of Schuylkill Haven's playbook from last week (which exposed North Schuylkill's defensive weakness) and throw, throw, and throw some more.
Marian's defense needs to ... rebound from giving up the most points in school history last week (surrendered 62 points to Pius X). North Schuylkill is an outstanding football team and when the Colts are in a position to make a play, they need to make a play, or else they will pay the price. The Spartans are probably the most physical team Marian will see all year and the Colts cannot let themselves be worn out by North Schuylkill's ground and pound offense.
Fast Facts ... In last year's 37-0 loss to North Schuylkill, Marian ran 40 offensive plays and only accounted for 26 yards of total offense, including just three first downs. In injury news, some key Spartans went down in last week's game against Schuylkill Haven as leading rusher Kody Flail left with a knee injury and starting tackle/punter Brady Simms also exited with a knee injury. Both players look doubtful for Friday night.
Quotable ... "We're probably going to be the biggest underdog as we'll ever be in this game. However, we're going to go out, play hard, give our best effort and let the chips fall where they may." Marian head coach Stan Dakosty.