209 Trophy on the line
Jim Thorpe at Lehighton
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Jim Thorpe 1-8 (1-7 Anthracite Football League); Lehighton 3-6 (1-5 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Marian def. Jim Thorpe 45-14; East Stroudsburg North def. Lehighton 42-21
JIM THORPE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Patrick Duvigneaud (has thrown or rushed for a touchdown in every game this year), WR Khaaliq Lynch (second in TIMES NEWS area in receiving)
LEHIGHTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: WR Jacen Nalesnik (leads the TIMES NEWS area in receiving), QB/RB Anthony Farole (has thrown for over 500 yards this season), RB Jeremy Zellers, QB Josh Agosto (743 yards passing in four games this season)
KEYS TO THE GAME: This game is the equivalent of if Houston was playing Texas Tech, meaning there is going to be a lot of passing between the Indians and Olympians. Neither team has been playing well defensively and this one will surely be a shootout. The Route 209 Trophy is up for grabs and it will be a case of whoever stops who the most times will probably get the win in this one.
FAST FACTS: Five of Lehighton's six losses have been by a total of 19 points. Jim Thorpe has allowed 34 or more points in seven of its nine games this year. The '209 Trophy' has been in the Olympians' possession for the last three years.
QUOTABLE: "We have to have control of the ball and not turn the ball over. We just have to simplify things and play good football. I know it sounds like I say the same thing every week, but we have to cut down on our mistakes. They have a lot of weapons on offense. We have to play disciplined defense and take care of what we can control." Lehighton Head Coach George Ebbert
"We have to establish a running game and stop their running game with (Jacen) Nalesnik and (Anthony) Farole. If (Josh) Agosto plays we have to limit his big plays and offensively we have to take advantage of our speed at our skill positions." Jim Thorpe Head Coach Mark Rosenberger
Marian at Tamaqua
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Marian 5-4 (4-3 Anthracite Football League); Tamaqua 4-5 (4-3 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Marian def. Jim Thorpe 45-14; Minersville def. Tamaqua 33-20
MARIAN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Paul Martin (has gained at least 140 yards in five different games), RB Dylan Quirk (week 9 TIMES NEWS Player of the Week)
TAMAQUA'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Jarred Muffley (leads the TIMES NEWS area in rushing), QB Brett Kosciolek (freshman is making his first career start), RB Dalton Nunemacher (dangerous in the return game)
KEYS TO THE GAME: This match-up is all about the offensive and defensive lines. Both teams are going to look to run the ball Friday night with both teams showcasing a host of back that can get the job done. This has all the making for a great football game and has playoff implications as well. The Raiders and Colts both need a win to qualify for Eastern Conference playoffs.
FAST FACTS: Marian has scored at least 28 points in all five of its wins, while scoring 21 or less in all four of its losses. Both teams have a shot to make the Eastern Conference Playoffs with a win.
QUOTABLE: "I told the kids this is really our first play-off game. The main thing is to be playing meaningful games in November and our game against Tamaqua is certainly meaningful. They have an experienced line and explosive backs who do a good job running the football so we have to play well defensively if we want to come out on top." Marian Head Coach Stan Dakosty
"It's definitely good to get to this point in the the season and still be playing for something. This isn't just a rivalry game, this game has playoff implications as well. Our job first and foremost is to stop the run. They have two good backs and they're similar to us in that they like to run the football. The kids are going to come out ready to play because they want to move on and keep playing." Tamaqua Head Coach Sam Bonner
Northern Lehigh at Palmerton
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Northern Lehigh 8-1 (8-1 Colonial League); Palmerton 4-5 (4-5 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Northern Lehigh def. Catasaqua 13-7; Pen Argyl def. Palmerton 52-0
NORTHERN LEHIGH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Dylan Hofmann, RB Trevor Yashur (third in the TIMES NEWS area in rushing)
PALMERTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Cody Grohotolski, RB Alex Vignone (rushed for 89 yards against Pen Argyl)
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bombers have been on down times lately getting shut out the past two weeks by Catty and Pen Argyl. It doesn't get any easier this this week with the Bulldogs high-powered run game and defense coming to Fireline Road. If Palmerton wants to have any sort of chance against the Bulldogs they have to put some points on the board. Northern Lehigh, meanwhile, edged Catasauqua last week despite turning the ball over three times. The Bulldogs need to avoid giveaways and finish off their offensive drives. NL's defense has been solid all season and can't allow Palmerton big gains on first down. Forcing opponents into second-and-long equals success for the 'Dawgs.
FAST FACTS: Northern Lehigh will need to defeat Palmerton and hope that Bangor upsets Pen Argyl if it wants to share the Colonial League title with the Green Knights. The Bulldogs' defense ranks second in all of D11 in points-per-game allowed (7.4). Palmerton has lost the last three weeks by a combined score of 140-7. The Bombers have been shut out each of the last two weeks.
QUOTABLE: "Northern Lehigh is a run first team and they do it very well. We must play assignment defense, read our keys, tackle and force turnovers. They have a bunch of talented skill people that can hurt you at any point in time. Offensively, we need to execute our assignments, protect the football and put the ball in the end zone. We have to make the most of our opportunities when we have the ball, if not they will take advantage of our miscues." Palmerton Head Coach Chris Walkowiak
"Palmerton has shown flashes of being a really good team. Vignone is a tough player and Grohotolski scares you when he runs with the ball. We can't give up the big play against them, plus we have to cut down on our mental mistakes. We know we'll get the Palmerton team that played against Northwestern. We're back to full health, though, which is a positive." Northern Lehigh Head Coach Joe Tout
Minersville at Panther Valley
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Minersville 8-1 (6-1 Anthracite Football League); Panther Valley 1-8 (1-6 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Minersville def. Tamaqua 33-20; North Schuylkill def. Panther Valley 41-7
MINERSVILLE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Cole Weachock, RB Billy Powanda (both have rushed for over 1,000 yards this season)
PANTHER VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Nick McArdle, RB Mike Weaver
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Panthers have to try and contain the Miners rushing attack, but good luck with that. Minersville has two 1,000 yard rushers in Powanda and Weachock and have only lost to powerhouse North Schuylkill this season. For the Panthers to pull the upset they have to create some turnovers in key places on the field so their offense can take advantage.
FAST FACTS: Weachock and Powanda combined for 304 yards rushing and five touchdowns last week. Both players eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in the process. Minersville has not lost since week two. Since then the Miners have outscored their opponents 250-128. Panther Valley has scored more than 13 points in a game only twice this year.
QUOTABLE: "We tell our kids three things every week. One, we have to be more physical. Two, you have to play longer and harder than the guy across from you. Three, we have to win the turnover battle. Minersville is a good team and we want to end this year the right way so we have to complete all those goals. We have struggled at times this year, but we want to get this win for our seniors, who have worked hard all season." Panther Valley Head Coach Lon Hazlet
Stroudsburg at Pleasant Valley
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Stroudsburg 7-2 (4-1 Mountain Valley Conference); Pleasant Valley 5-4 (3-2 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Stroudsburg def. Pocono Mountain West 42-7; Pleasant Valley def. Pocono Mountain East 21-6
STROUDSBURG'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Rob Bennie (124-TD pass, 164-2 TD rush, INT TD), RB Andrew Brome (TD rush)
PLEASANT VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Rob Getz, QB Brandon Leap, WR Sekou Jones (has caught a TD in each of the last two games since returning from injury)
KEYS TO THE GAME: Pleasant Valley's main focus on defense will be on Rob Bennie. Bennie is the epitome of the phrase 'dual threat,' as he can run or pass on any given play. It is evident in his yearly statistics and his newly-owned school record. Bennie sits in the shotgun, drops back and will usually decide for himself as to whether he will throw or take off down field. The Bears will need all 11 of their defensive players to essentially spy on Bennie. Pleasant Valley will continue to do what it has all year on offense, which is spread things out and look for its mismatches. Jones, who returned from an injury two weeks ago, has made an immediate impact by catching a touchdown in each of the last two games.
FAST FACTS: Bennie broke Artie Owens' 40-year-old school record for total offensive yards in a season, as he now has 2,272 total yards on the year. If the Mounties knock off the Bears this week, they will win the MVC outright. If they lose, there could be as much as a four-way tie atop the conference. ES North and ES South, both 3-2, play each other, while PM East (3-2) hosts PM West (1-4).
QUOTABLE: "After a season's worth of games, our conference hopes come down to this one game. We either win and get a piece of the pie, or we lose and go home empty-handed. If that isn't enough motivation for someone, I don't know what is." - Pleasant Valley Head Coach Jim Terwilliger