Panthers, Indians continue Thursday tradition
Panther Valley at Lehighton
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Records: Panther Valley 0-2 (0-1 Anthracite Football League), Lehighton 1-1 (0-0 Mountain Valley Conference)
Panther Valley's offense needs to ... Protect the football and sustain drives. The Panthers need to be able to run the ball against Lehighton's 3-5-3 base defense. The Panthers offense also needs to get reacquainted with having Joe Revell under center, as last week's starting quarterback, Lukas Damian, suffered a leg injury and is out for the season.
Panther Valley's defense needs to ... Become a better tackling team and not give up the big plays. The Panthers also must figure out a way to contain Lehighton's spread offense, which has been putting up plenty of yards and points the past two weeks.
Lehighton's offense needs to ... Finish drives and cut down on mistakes. The Indians need to keep a good run/pass balance and set the tempo of the game by controlling the clock and giving its defense a chance to rest. Quarterback Josh Agosto has done a fantastic job picking up the newly-implemented spread offense and he will need to continue to mature in the complex scheme.
Lehighton's defense needs to ... Shut down Panther Valley's pistol offense. The pistol offense can be confusing at times, so the Indians need to take away cutback and misdirection runs, while trying to hold Panther Valley's running game of Josh Vega and Joe Revell in check.
Fast facts ... Tonight's meeting marks the third straight time Panther Valley and Lehighton have met on a Thursday night. The Panthers are 2-0 in Thursday night contests against Lehighton, but prior to 2008, the Indians had posted 10 straights victories over Panther Valley (from 1992-2003). The teams didn't play from 2004-2007.
Quotables ... "We need to put the last two weeks behind us. I saw a lot of improvement from the first week (against Mahanoy Area) to last week (against Schuylkill Valley) and we just need to continue making positive strides as a football team." - Panther Valley head coach Frank Damian
"Panther Valley beat us the last two years, but we're looking to turn the tables and get a win so we can carry over that momentum into Mountain Valley Conference play, which starts next week." - Lehighton head coach George Ebbert
Mahanoy Area at Marian
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Mahanoy Area 1-0 (1-0 Anthracite Football League), Marian 1-1 (0-1 Anthracite Football League)
Marian's offense needs to ... Finish plays and take care of the football. Last week against Schuylkill Haven, turnovers proved to be the Colts' downfall. Marian also needs to work on controlling the tempo of the game by being balanced and agressive at the line of scrimmage. The Colts are fighting the injury bug, especially in the offensive backfield and offensive line, so Marian may have to rely on the arm of quarterback Corey Quick.
Marian's defense needs to ... Be disciplined and stay with its reads. Mahanoy Area is an experienced option team (nine returning offensive starters) that runs a triple-option offense similar to Navy and Georgia Tech, so playing assignment defense is a priority.
Fast facts ... The injury report for Marian is lengthy with five starters being listed as either "out" or "questionable." According to Dakosty, nine players were sitting out practices early in the week. Mahanoy Area head coach Coach Wally Hall, in his second season at the helm of the Golden Bears, has a personal history with the Marian football program, as Hall served as an assistant coach under Dakosty from 2005-2007 (coaching wide receivers and defensive ends).
Quotable ... "We're going to be tested in this game because a lot of people don't realize how good Mahanoy Area is this year. They have more seniors than we do and they're an experienced football team, so we're really looking forward to the challenge." - Marian head coach Stan Dakosty
Tamaqua at Shenandoah Valley
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Tamaqua 0-2 (0-1 Anthracite Football League), Shenandoah Valley 0-2 (0-1 Anthracite Football League)
Tamaqua's offense needs to ... Have all of its weapons available at the same time. Running back Grif Griffiths has played in both of the Blue Raiders' games, but fullback Garth Lakitsky missed the opening loss at Jim Thorpe with a knee strain and flanker Jarred Muffley left last week's setback to Lehighton in the first quarter with a hip pointer. Having all three will allow the Raider attack to build a rhythm.
Tamaqua's defense needs to ... Clamp down on Shenandoah Valley running back Eric Whalen, who carried 278 times for 1,468 yards and 15 TDs as a sophomore last year and leads the Blue Devils on the ground again with 126 yards through the first two games.
Fast Facts ... Tamaqua leads the series with the Devils 36-32-4 and has won the last two meetings, including a come-from-behind 21-10 victory last year ... Raiders are 1-for-5 on PAT attempts this season, missing all three vs. Lehighton, and are looking to shore up their kick coverage and punt reception teams.
Quotable ... "We have had some tough breaks so far, but you have to shake that off and sometimes you have to make your own breaks. Hopefully we can do so and bounce back this week." - Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner
Salisbury at Palmerton
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Salisbury 0-2 (0-2 Colonial League), Palmerton 0-2 (0-2 Colonial League)
Palmerton's offense needs to ... Get everyone on the same page for the majority of the plays. Coach Paul McArdle feels there are times when the line blocks a play perfectly and the backs don't hit the hole or the backs are running hard, but the line misses a block or two. Bombers had several passes incomplete by just inches. McArdle feels If they pull it all together, the Bombers can be very explosive.
Palmerton's defense needs to ... Have its offense stay on the field. The Bombers need to sustain drives to keep the defense off the field and score points to take the pressure of the 'D'.
Fast Facts ... Blue Bombers lost Christian Marcin, their starting wide receiver, punter, punt returner and kick returner in the first quarter against Southern Lehigh with a shoulder injury. Bombers got off to a slow start and never responded in a 38-8 loss to the Falcons last season ending a three-game win streak by PHS.
Quotable ... "We talked to our skill players about losing Chris (Marcin) for a little bit as a tough break, but also an opportunity for any of them to step up and become playmakers. We challenge them to step up and have a 100 yard rushing and/or receiving game or a 200 yard passing game or big returns on special teams." - Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle
Saucon Valley at Northern Lehigh
Friday, 7:10 p.m.
Records: Saucon Valley 0-2 (0-2 Colonial League), Northern Lehigh 2-0 (2-0 Colonial League)
Northern Lehigh's offense needs to ... Make sure it doesn't miss any assignments. Saucon Valley will definitely challenge the Bulldogs to try and throw the ball. Panthers aren't afraid to bring free safety right up into the linebacker box. They're trying to get as many guys in to stop the run. So the Bulldogs will have to be able to throw the ball and get better blocking on pass protection.
Northern Lehigh's defense needs to ... Improve on open field tackles that was a problem in last week's game with Wilson. Saucon will look to take shots deep with quarterback Andrew Remaly, who played his first game last week after missing the opener against Bangor. Bulldogs will also have to shut down Brandon Shuck, who Tout calls Saucon's best offensive threat.
Fast Facts ... Game will be televised live on Blue Ridge Cable TV 13. Bulldogs won 41-32 last year and have split with the Panthers 3-3 over the last six years. There will be a short presentation prior to the coin flip to recognize Cody Remaley for his accomplishment of breaking the Colonial League rushing mark last week against Wilson.
Quotable ... "We talked about it with the kids on Monday. This has all the makings of a trap game. We have to make our kids understand that at 0-2, Saucon has its back against the wall and were very optimistic to start the year. Last week it looked like Northwestern was going to blow them out, then in the second half Saucon was back in the game." - Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout
Northwestern at Wilson
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Records: Northwestern 2-0 (2-0 Colonial League), Wilson 1-1 (1-1 Colonial League)
Northwestern's offense needs to ... Control the ball and the clock to keep Wilson's explosive offense off the field. Warrior quarterback Chris Cooper has thrown for 450 yards and four touchdowns while running for five scores this year. The Tigers will try to spread out the Warriors defense by mixing the pass and run.
Northwestern's defense needs to ... Do whatever it can to slow down the Warriors' Air Raid offense. Wilson will use four and five wide receivers on every down. The Tigers will bring pressure and try to disguise their coverage and confuse Cooper.
Fast Facts ... Northwestern has scored points in seven straight quarters. The only quarter the Tigers failed to score was the first one of the season ... The Warriors are 45-5 in Colonial League play over the last five years, including three undefeated seasons.
Quotable ... "We hope to have the same success Northern Lehigh had on the ground. And to mix in the passing attack. We have to stretch out that defense. They can't keep everybody in the box." - Northwestern head coach Tom Linette
Wyoming Valley West at Pleasant Valley
Friday, 7 p.m.
Records: Wyoming Valley West 1-1 (0-0 Wyoming Valley Conference, Division I), Pleasant Valley 1-1 (0-0 Mountain Valley Conference)
Pleasant Valley's offense needs to ... be consistently good in the passing game. The Bears want to be efficient throwing the ball and complete a number of passes. Because Pleasant Valley outsized up front, its offensive line will have to come off of the ball hard in order to establish the running game.
Pleasant Valley's defense needs to … stop Eugene Lewis. Lewis is the Spartans' do-everything QB/RB/WR and, according to Bears head coach Jim Terwilliger, is one of the better players in all of high school sports. Pleasant Valley will have to keep to its assignments if it want to slow Lewis down.
Fast Fact … The last time Pleasant Valley came close to beating Wyoming Valley West was in 2004 when the Bears lost by a point, 34-33. Since then the Spartans have taken the last five meetings, including the last two by a combined score of 82-7.
Quotable … "The kids have been working very hard again this week. This week is a statement game for us. We came out and got beat pretty bad in the opener. Last week we got back on track in all phases of the game. This week will be the judge of where we are at and the kids have approached the game with urgency." - Pleasant Valley head coach Jim Terwilliger