Pen Argyl at Northern Lehigh
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Pen Argyl 4-1 (4-1 Colonial League); Northern Lehigh 4-1 (4-1 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Southern Lehigh def. Pen Argyl 28-20; Northern Lehigh def. Salisbury 38-6
PEN ARGYL'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Mike Racciato (17-129-2TD rush, 3-48 rec**), RB Mike DePaolo (11-57-TD rush, 4-82 rec**), QB Ryan Hunt (10-31-179 pass, 12-18 rush**)
NORTHERN LEHIGH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB/TE Caleb Johnson (54-412-6TDs rush, 9-218-2TD rec*), QB Dan Marsh (17-37-347-5TD pass, 56-335-4TD rush*), RB Nate Farber (63-261-TD rush*)
FAST FACTS: In a rematch of last year's District 11 AA title game in which Pen Argyl won 26-7, each of these teams will now be looking for the win that will tie them for second place in the Colonial League North Division. Bangor and Catasauqua, who are both 5-0, play each other this week. Pen Argyl and Northern Lehigh are both a game behind at 4-1. Last week Pen Argyl suffered its first loss of the year in a upset to 2-3 Southern Lehigh. While the Green Knights allowed only 273 yards of offense to the Spartans, they turned the ball over four times (three INTs) and committed 12 penalties for 115 yards. Racciato returns for Pen Argyl and is its main threat offensively. So far this year he has run for 646 yards (130 yards-per-game) with nine touchdowns and has rushed for 100 yards or more in four of the team's five games. The only time he didn't was when he went for 97 yards versus Wilson two weeks ago. Northern Lehigh will look to lean on its backfield of Johnson, Marsh and Farber. Together the three are averaging over 5.8 yards-per-carry and have scored 11 of the team's 12 rushing touchdowns. The Bulldogs' D has been solid once again this year. They are giving up an average of just under 230 yards-per-game - second best in the area behind Marian. Northern Lehigh went 10-2 last year with both losses coming to Pen Argyl. The Bulldogs fell 14-8 in week six before losing in the district final. Before that their last loss to the Knights was back in 2007.
QUOTABLE: "I think it's a big game just because it's Pen Argyl. It has become a big rivalry game over the last ten years and I think that is because they are very similar to us. They have blue-collar kids like us. They like to run the ball and play defense. Last year we were both 5-0 when we met and now we are each 4-1. It all makes for a great game on Friday." Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout
Pleasant Valley at Pocono Mountain East
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Pleasant Valley 3-2 (3-0 Mountain Valley Conference); Pocono Mountain East 3-2 (2-2 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Wyomissing def. Pleasant Valley 31-27; East Stroudsburg South def. Pocono Mountain East 37-12
PLEASANT VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Brandon Leap (49-94-985-13TD pass, 26-112-TD rush*), RB Austyn Borre (64-675-8TD rush, 7-167-2TD rec*), WR Andrew Romeo (13-359-7TD rec*), WR Sekou Jones (18-289-2TD rec*)
PM EAST'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Devyn Papa (17-128-TD rush**), QB Evan Fardella (4-14-52-TD pass, 9-21 rush**), WR Kyle Harris (4-52-TD rec**)
FAST FACTS: Pleasant Valley will look to retain the Old Oaken Bucket when it takes on rival Pocono Mountain East this Friday night. The Cardinals had put up over 26 points in each of their first four games before only scoring 12 last week. Papa is East's main threat in the run game, as he led the team with 17 carries. He and Fardella were the only two Cardinals to have more than six carries on the night. Two things stood out last week for East. One: they gave up 272 yards on 39 carries (6.97 average), which means the Bears' Borre could be in for some big runs. Two: the Cardinals punted six times for an average of just 18.3 yards-per-punt. If they can't punt the ball further down the field this week, their defense may be in for a long night on a short field against a potent Pleasant Valley offense. The Bears' offense was clicking on all cylinders once again last week against one of the best AA defenses in the state. Pleasant Valley hung 375 yards and 27 points on a Wyomissing defense that had allowed just 14 points all year coming into last Saturday. The Bears are 28-23 all-time versus the Cardinals and have not lost this yearly rivalry game since head coach Jim Terwilliger took over three years ago. The locals have won those three contests by a combined score of 80-38.
QUOTABLE: "This week has been exciting and there are still a few days left until game day. Some people wait the whole year for this game and I am sure it is no different this year. Along with playing for The Bucket, both teams have been playing really well and are looking for an edge in conference play. It is going to be a crazy atmosphere come Friday night." Pleasant Valley coach Jim Terwilliger
Marian at Panther Valley
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Marian 4-1 (2-1 Anthracite Football League); Panther Valley 3-2 (2-1 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: North Schuylkill def. Marian 21-6; Schuylkill Haven def. Panther Valley 37-0
MARIAN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Dylan Quirk (73-393-5TD rush*), QB Corey Quick (21-57-440-5TD pass, 28-77-2TD rush*), RB Anthony Agosti (33-112-3TD rush*),
PANTHER VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Richie Smith (82-755-12TD rush*), QB Matt Levitt (24-51-443-7TD pass, 24-140-2TD rush*), RB/WR Kyle Ferryman (27-206-2TD rush, 12-261-4TD rec*)
FAST FACTS: Marian isn't afraid to hand the ball off to different running backs. So far this year, 13 different Colts have carried the ball with six of them scoring touchdowns. Panther Valley also likes to hand the ball off to their stud running back Richie Smith. Smith has had a good year so far in 2012, but has struggled against teams with winning records. Smith has combined for just 99 yards in the Panthers' two games against Schuylkill Valley (5-0) and Schuylkill Haven (3-2) and has averaged just 3.4 yards per carry in those two games. Marian boasts the best defense in the TIMES NEWS area, letting up just 139 yards-per-game. The Colts are also pretty good at stuffing the run as well, only giving up 97 yards-per-game on the ground. Marian is looking to bounce back after a poor offensive showing against North Schuylkill last week. The Colts were unbalanced, rushing for negative-8 yards and passing for 130 yards. That's not a recipe for winning against tough opponents, so in order for the Colts to get back on track they will have to have more success running the football.
QUOTABLE: "Marian-Panther Valley has become a big rivalry in the coal region. We are coming off of a tough loss last week where we put ourselves in difficult situations. We can't afford to do that this week against a good Panther Valley team." Marian coach Stan Dakosty
"Marian is a quality program that has had a great run to open the season, while we are looking to bounce back this week. The morale has been great at practice. I have learned a lot about this rivalry in the short time I have been here and I am looking forward to Friday night." Panther Valley coach Lon Hazlet
Jim Thorpe at Minersville
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Jim Thorpe 0-5 (0-4 Anthracite Football League); Minersville 1-4 (1-3 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Shenandoah Valley def. Jim Thorpe 42-35; Minersville def. Mahanoy Area 40-14
JIM THORPE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Pat Duvigneaud (56-126-1001-10TD pass, 82-488-7TD rush*), RB Deonte St. Hill (55-179-4TD rush*), WR Mike Harleston (17-388-6TD rec*)
MINERSVILLE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Nick McBreen (6-9-200-3TD pass**), RB Chris Murphy (11-52-TD rush, 2-28-TD rec**), RB Luke Heffron (9-40 rush, 1-89-TD rec**), RB Brandon Lafferty (7-53-TD rush**), WR Ryan King (3-83-TD rec**)
FAST FACTS: Minersville picked up its first win of the season last week, defeating lowly Mahanoy Area by nearly four touchdowns. Still, the Miners did so in dominating fashion. The Miners' offense scored five touchdowns in seven first-half possessions while holding the Golden Bears to just 16 total yards and recovering three fumbles in the first 24 minutes. Jim Thorpe will once again get an opportunity to get their first win of the season this week against the Miners. The Olympians have been leading in every game this season except for their match-up with North Schuylkill, but they have not been able to finish games. Every opposing defense that has matched up with the Olympians this season has had trouble stopping them as they have been putting up 30 points-per-game. It's not the offense that's the issue. It's the Olympians' defense that has not been able to stop giving up the big play. They have given up over 20 touchdown scores of 35 yards or more this season and are also giving up more than 42 points-per-game. Minersville likes to run the football and JT has given up a ton of yards on the ground, so it will come down to how much the Olympians' offense can score and if they can make a few plays on defense to limit the productivity of the Miners' rushing attack. Minersville's offensive line is big and experienced and will present a big challenge for the locals.
QUOTABLE: "We have been working hard at practice this week and the kids are looking good. We need to find a way to make the big play when we need it to win the game. At the same time, we need to stop the opposition's big play. That has been our biggest problem so far this year." Jim Thorpe coach Mark Rosenberger
ES North at Lehighton
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: East Stroudsburg North 4-1 (3-0 Mountain Valley Conference); Lehighton 1-4 (1-3 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: East Stroudsburg North def. Pocono Mountain West 47-25; Lehighton def. Dieruff 42-0
ES NORTH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB David Allbaugh (26-197-TD rush**), RB Lorenzo Melchiorre (13-97-3TD rush, 2-27-TD rec**), QB Will Quiles (3-6-36-TD pass, 13-79-TD rush**), RB Caseem Johnson, RB Abdul Murphy
LEHIGHTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB/WR Jacen Nalesnik (46-215-3TD rush, 19-184-2TD rec*), RB Tom Ruzicka (36-173-TD rush*), QB Tyler Crum (29-73-303-4TD pass*)
FAST FACTS: Despite sitting two starting backs in Johnson and Murphy, East Stroudsburg North still racked up 405 rushing yards (on 58 carries) in a huge victory over Pocono Mountain West. Allbaugh, who has 647 rushing yards on the year, totaled 197 on the ground to lead that attack. The North defense stuffed West's ground game (41 yards on 17 carries), but surrendered 327 yards through the air. To the T'Wolves defense, West quarterback Jeff Krisiak currently leads the MVC in passing yards. Still, they are susceptible to giving up points. After holding Honesdale to seven points in the season opener, North has allowed an average of 28.25 points to its last four opponents. Look for Lehighton to continue to throw in some new kinks on offense. The Indians went with a halfback pass on the first play from scrimmage last week and had it go for a 52-yard gain. The call seemed to spark the offense for the night, so look for the coaching staff to run some sort of trick play during the first half. The Lehighton defense tackled extremely well last week as well. The unit will need to duplicate that performance against a run-heavy team this week if it wants to win its second game in a row.
QUOTABLE: "First off and foremost we have to ride a little momentum that we have after a good win for us last week against Dieruff. Obviously, this week we're dealing with a different type of team in Dieruff that is 4-1 and has had a successful season up to this point. Defensively, it's going to be a challenge for us, they have a really good rushing attack and something that is hard to simulate through our practice sessions. It's just important for us to refocus and know that we have a totally new set of responsibilites this week. The goal for us has been to get better every week and the kids have been doing that not just in their performance, but with prepration and accountability as well." Lehighton coach Tom McCarroll
Northwestern at Palmerton
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Northwestern 2-3 (2-3 Colonial League); Palmerton 0-5 (0-5 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Notre Dame def. Northwestern 35-7; Palisades def. Palmerton 24-0
NORTHWESTERN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Mason Schuler (59-251 rush*), QB Frank Dangello (41-94-564-6TD pass*) RB/WR Cam Richardson (24-83-TD rush, 16-220-2TD rec*)
PALMERTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Alex Vignone (66-355-TD rush*), RB Jerry Pereira (18-78 rush, 5-73 rec*), RB Tre Nelson (32-115-2TD rush*)
FAST FACTS: Northwestern and Palmerton are both coming off of lop-sided losses last week. Although they each lost by at least 24 points, the defenses haven't necessarily been the problem. Palmerton is giving up 24.8 points-per-game, but is in the middle of the pack in the area in fifth. Northwestern is sixth at 28.4 points-per-game allowed. However, they are surrendered 343 yards-per-game. The teams have identical remaining schedules, which include the four top teams in the Colonial League. Those teams are a combined 18-2 over the first half of the season in Northern Lehigh (3-1), Pen Argyl (3-1), Bangor (5-0) and Catasauqua (5-0). The Tigers have gone 1-7 against those teams down the stretch the past two seasons. The Bombers have gone 0-8 during that part of the schedule as well.
QUOTABLE: "For us going forward, and this is how we approached the season so far, it doesn't matter who our opponent is. We have to worry about us. To be a good football team we have to be consistent and eliminate the negative plays." Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder
"We enter the second half of the season with a positive attitude that we can turn things around as long as we can play physical and fundamental football. Our focus and goal continues to become a more consistent team in all phases of the game. Once we establish that, I believe we will turn the corner. Practices have been very upbeat and our player's attitudes have been great as we prepare to take on Northwestern." Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak
* denotes yearly totals, ** denotes last week's stats