Lehighton, Tamaqua in search of first victory
Lehighton at Tamaqua
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Lehighton 0-1 (0-0 Mountain Valley Conference), Tamaqua 0-1 (0-0 Anthracite League)
Lehighton's offense needs to ... Continue to operate out of the spread offense that racked up 392 yards of total offense against Marian, but finish off drives with points.
Lehighton's defense needs to ... Contain Tamaqua's backfield tandem of Grif Griffiths and Jarred Muffley. Both are capable of breaking long runs, and the Indians' defense was susceptible to big plays during the opener.
Tamaqua's offense needs to ... generate a passing attack. Opposing defenses will load up to stop the running game unless the Raiders keep them honest with a passing threat.
Tamaqua's defense needs to ... improve on its tackling. The Raiders gave up a lot of yardage after contact against Jim Thorpe, and they will need to wrap up runners and receivers against Lehighton's spread attack, as well as get heat on QB Josh Agosto.
Fast Fact ... Lehighton leads the series 19-8, but Tamaqua has won two in a row.
Quotable - "We need to cut down on mistakes. It is crucial that we get a little confidence in ourselves." - Lehighton head coach George Ebbert
"When we find ourselves in position to make a play, we have to make it. This is our first home game, and we're looking forward to opening our home season for our fans." - Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner
Schuylkill Haven at Marian
Friday 7 p.m.
Records: Schuylkill Haven 1-0 (0-0 AFL); Marian 1-0 (0-0 AFL)
Marian's offense needs to ... have its offensive line play as well as it did last week against Lehighton. At first glance one will see Paul Martin's 205 rushing yards or Corey Quick's 150 passing yards. However, it was the offensive line that paved the way for Martin and protected Quick. Look for the 'battle of the trenches' to be the key for the Colts' offense.
Marian's defense needs to ... match the physicality of the Hurricanes. The 'Canes are a pound-it-down-your-throat team and the Colts will need to respond in order to have a chance. The Colts' philosophy was 'bend-but-don't-break' last week, but it will be much tougher this weekend.
Fast fact ... Schuylkill Haven has won the last two meetings by a combined score of 73-28. In those two games, the Hurricanes have averaged 45.5 rushing attempts and 256.5 yards on the ground.
Quotable ... "We feel good about last week's win, but we know it is only one week. We haven't had a lot of success against Schuylkill Haven as of late and this week should be a great test for our team. We had a big crowd up at Lehighton last week and we expect to have one at our place this Friday." Marian head coach Stan Dakosty.
Schuylkill Valley at Panther Valley
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Schuylkill Valley 0-1 (0-1 Berks Inter-County, Section 2); Panther Valley 0-1 (0-0 AFL)
Panther Valley's offense needs to ... find a way to cash in on its scoring opportunities after being shutout on opening night by Mahanoy Area. The Panthers need to finish off drives rather then committed costly turnovers at the wrong time.
Panther Valley's defense needs to ... tackle better than they did a week ago. If they don't fulfill their assignments, Schuylkill Valley quarterback Derek Gaul may have another field day against the Panthers' defense like he did a year ago in an one-point win. Gaul finished with huge touchdowns runs of 72 and 41 yards against the Panthers.
Fast fact ... The home team has come out victorious in the last four meetings in this non-league showdown. Schuylkill Valley stopped a Panther Valley two-point conversion with 14 seconds left last year to preserve a 13-12 win in Leesport.
Quotable ... "We need to forget about last week. We just need to improve this week. The past is in the past. We know we need to play better and make less mistakes in order to give us an opportunity to get another chance at a win. We're looking to have a good game this week." Panther Valley head coach Frank Damian.
Jim Thorpe at Reading CC
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Jim Thorpe 1-0 (1-0 AFL), Reading Central Catholic 1-0 (1-0 Berks Inter-County, Section 2)
Jim Thorpe's offense needs to ... Establish a running game and be physical up front. Last week against Tamaqua, the Olympians pounded the ball 46 times and had two rushers go over the century mark (Shane Edwards and Terry Moll). That will need to continue that effort against a Cardinals team that put up 46 first-half points against James Buchanan last week (in a 46-20 victory). Jim Thorpe will also need to incorporate more of the passing game and take advantage of opportunites, as the Olympians were plagued by some dropped passed last week.
Jim Thorpe's defense needs to ... Stop Reading Central Catholic's potent running game and establish the line of scrimmage. Last week, all of Reading Central Catholic's yards came on the ground (31 carries for 338 yards). The Cardinals feature All-League running back Joey Rys, who is an exceptional running back that is getting looks from several Ivy League schools. Rys rushed for 176 yards last week and accounted for five total touchdowns. Backup running back Trey Rodrigues also rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown in the contest.
Fast Fact ...This is the first ever meeting between Jim Thorpe and Reading Central Catholic on the gridiron. This year, the Cardinals bumped up to Class AAA (from Class A last year) due to a cooperative sponsorship agreement between Reading Central Catholic and Oley Valley, which significantly bolstered their roster with the addition of about 20 players. This not only helped Reading Central Catholic double their roster size from last year (the Cardinals had 19 players on their varsity roster last year), but it will also allow 15 returning starters a chance to catch a breather from time to time.
Quotable ..."We're coming off a big win last week against Tamaqua, so we just need to go out and keep that momentum going. Both teams are predicated on running the ball, so it's imperative that we refocus our energy and control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball." Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger.
Palmerton at Southern Lehigh
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Palmerton 0-1 (0-1 Colonial League), Southern Lehigh 0-1 (0-1 Colonial League)
Palmerton's offense needs to ... plain and simple, get first downs and sustain drives. Last week against Wilson, the Blue Bombers only had three first downs and one came on the last play of the game. Therefore, they had to punt nine times. The defense created great field position with three and outs and turnovers but the Blue Bombers didn't take advantage of them.
Palmerton's defense needs to ... stop the big plays on third and fourth down. Last week, the Bombers had Wilson in a few third or fourth and longs and the Warriors converted. They have to get off the field on third down.
Fast Fact ... Since 1994 when the Blue Bombers joined the Colonial League, the series is tied at 7-7. Palmerton has outscored the Spartans 303-285 in 14 games. Southern Lehigh rolled to a 34-15 win after leading just 7-2 at halftime. In 2009, Austin Cseh blocked an extra point to save Palmerton's 28-27 win the last time the two teams met at Southern Lehigh.
Quotable ... "I thought our intensity was very high in our opener and I think our overall attitude was good and will put us in positions to win games. We just need to take care of the details and we can be a very good football team." Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle
Pleasant Valley at Honesdale
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Pleasant Valley 0-1 (0-0 MVC); Honesdale 0-1 (0-1 Lackawanna Football Conference, Division 1)
Pleasant Valley's offense needs to ... become a little bit more consistent and controlled in their passing attack. Last week quarterback Derrik Walling threw three interceptions, however the offense still revolves around him, receiver Richie Irving and tailback Robert Getz. Passing in high school football can be a 'high rish, high reward' strategy and the Bears came out on the negative last Friday.
Pleasant Valley's defense needs to ... come together and play as a team. Head coach Jim Terwilliger used the analogy that his defense needs to play like a fist - in the sense that everyone (the fingers) needs to come together (to make a fist) and strike hard.
Fast fact ... Since beginning to play each other in 2008, the Bears have defeated the Hornets 35-7 ('08) and 31-6 ('09). In both instances Pleasant Valley has thrown for over 170 yards.
Quotable ... "Our preparation has been much better this week. We have been working extremely hard. Yeah, we stumbled out of the gates, but I am sure there have only been a few teams that have faced zero adversity and have still been successful. We faced adversity last week and hopefully it will make us better for this week." Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger
Saucon Valley at Northwestern
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Saucon Valley 0-1 (0-1 Colonial League); Northwestern 1-0 (1-0 Colonial League)
Northwestern's offense needs to ... Move the ball against a defense sure to pack the box against the run. The Tigers rolled up big numbers on the ground last week against Salisbury's eight-man front. Saucon will likely do the same. If the Panthers have success stopping the run, the Tigers might have to show off their passing game to loosen things up.
Northwestern's defense needs to ... Combat the Panthers' double threat offense. They will move use their traditional I as well their new wildcat look. Backs Ian Gimbar and Brandon Shuck are experienced and explosive. Saucon Valley's line is inexperienced and could have a tough time with Northwestern's defensive front.
Fast fact ... Both teams move down to Class AA in football this year after playing at AAA the past two years. Saucon Valley's 308 boys in grades 9-11 makes it the largest District 11 Class AA football school this season. Northwestern is next at 307. The cut off for AA is 310.
Quotable ... "We're going to be prepared if they [Saucon Valley loads up against the run]. We've got to get people out of the box." Northwestern head coach Tom Linette.