This week's TIMES NEWS Game of the Week offers up two premier rushing attacks in week 3 of Anthracite Football League action. The Marian Colts will take the short trip to Mahanoy to take on Wally Hall's talented squad in a battle of unbeatens that will surely capture the attention of football enthusiasts in the "Coal Region".
"I mentioned to our guys today that both we and Mahanoy earned the right to play on a big stage Friday night", added Marian Head Coach Stan Dakosty. "Both teams should really be proud of that."
There will be few games played in the area this season that will showcase two strong offensive lines and two powerful running attacks like the game that will played tomorrow night. Marian's Paul Martin is playing as good if not the best out of any running back in the AFL and can change the whole dynamic of a football game at the blink of an eye. Martin has rushed for a Times News area leading 386 yards on 48 carries averaging a stunning 8.04 yards per carry. Last week against a stubborn Schuylkill Haven squad Martin put the Colts offense on his back in the second-half running for 105 yards and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. Martin looks to be primed to have a monster senior campaign after injury limited his junior season as he rushed for just 668 yards.
Mahanoy Area has been running through, around, and over their opponents this season and for the first time since joining the AFL are threatening to make a run at the AFL title. Bear's Head Coach Wally Hall has a host of talented offensive weapons at his disposal and will be sure to use them against a Marian defense that played well last week but was shaky against Lehighton in week one.
The Colts will have to watch out for Bear's quarterback Mike Gaval who has big play ability. Gaval showed his break-out speed against Nativity last week rushing for 188 yards and three touchdowns coming on runs of 55, 55, and 26 yards. Gaval can throw it as well passing for 159 yards and a touchdown. The Mahanoy QB also trumped the century mark in week one against fellow AFL team Panther Valley rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
One weakness the Bears may have showed last week is their run defense against Nativity giving up 212 yards and 2 TD's to RB James Coyne, but Coach Dakosty believes the Mahanoy "D" will be ready to play.
"One of the things I have learned over all these years of coaching is that when watching game tape of a rival from the previous week that you can take their effort and double it", said Dakosty. "Mahanoy will bring their "A" game Friday night."
If Dakosty is right and Mahanoy brings their "A" game it should shape up to be a great game between the two AFL rivals.
The Colts need to be wary of Mahanoy's ability to sometimes throw the ball and not give up big passing numbers like they did in week one. Marian gave up 235 yards passing to Lehighton and that could turn out to be an x-factor for the Bears going into a match-up that is sure to bring a rawkus crowd to Mahanoy City on Friday.