MVC battle at the 'Pit'
Pleasant Valley at
East Stroudsburg South
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Pleasant Valley 4-3 (2-1 Mountain Valley Conference); East Stroudsburg South 2-5 (2-2 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Pleasant Valley def. East Stroudsburg North 36-13; Pocono Mt. East def. East Stroudsburg South 22-13
PLEASANT VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Brandon Leap (threw four TDs in his first-career start last week), RB Rob Getz (had just 77 yards of total offense last week, but still scored a TD for the seventh straight week), WR Andrew Romeo (has scored five TDs in two games this year)
EAST STROUDSBURG'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB/WR Marquis Harp (3-20-TD rec), RB Tariq Butler (10-82 rush), QB Tyler McLaughlin (6-15-48-2 TDs pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: Harp has been East Stroudsburg's most consistent playmaker. He does everything from run, receive, return kicks and play defense. Pleasant Valley will have to locate him when he is on offense, as he will line up at a variety of positions. McLaughlin is capable of throwing, but hasn't been very accurate so far this season. Offensively, Pleasant Valley tried to lighten to load for Getz last week as he has had an ungodly number of touches so far this season. Leap did a great job in making up for the lack of Getz's production and the Bears are hoping he can make the same plays this week.
FAST FACTS: East Stroudsburg is 1-for-16 on third down in its last two games. The Cavaliers rotated quarterbacks last week, as Michael Phesant also saw some time under center. South's defense is sixth-to-last in all of District 11 in points-per-game allowed at 32.5. Last year Pleasant Valley knocked off South for the first time since 2004, winning 40-35 on a late touchdown pass from Derrik Walling to Getz. The Cavaliers would have the last laugh, as they defeated the Bears 35-21 in the first round of districts.
QUOTABLE: "Records don't mean a thing in a game like this. Regardless of how his team has been doing this year, I know Coach Christian will have his guys ready to go. We had two great games last year and I expect nothing less again this year. It will be a 48-minute battle." Pleasant Valley Head Coach Jim Terwilliger
Marian at Shenandoah Valley
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Marian 3-4 (2-3 Anthracite Football League); Shenandoah Valley 5-2 (4-2 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Minersville def. Marian 21-17; Shenandoah Valley def. Panther Valley 20-19
MARIAN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Paul Martin (has rushed for 313 yards and six TDs in last two weeks), OL/DL Brendan McGowan
SHENANDOAH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Eric Whalen (864 yards rushing this season; over 3,600 for his career), QB Chris Palubinsky (has produced 8 TDs - 4 rushing, 4 passing - in three games against area teams this season).
KEYS TO THE GAME: Marian has to find a way to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to Minersville a week ago that dealt a serious blow to its District 11 playoff hopes. Eric Whalen and Chris Palubinsky are Marian's biggest worries, as they are the focal point of the Shenandoah's offense week in and week out. The Colts' hopes will ride on the availability of Martin and McGowan. If both play, they should be able to move the ball on offense and keep up on the scoreboard.
FAST FACTS: Shenandoah has scored at least 20 points in six straight games. Marian had 16 players miss practice earlier this week with a flu-like bug that hit the team. The Colts' top back, Paul Martin, and top lineman, Brendan McGowan, were both injured in last week's game and are questionable for Friday. Shenandoah's Palubinsky missed the second half of last week's game against Panther Valley with an injury. His status for this week's game is unknown.
QUOTABLE: "Shenandoah has some very good skill people. They like to spread you out and they have the potential to score from anywhere on the field. We have had some success against spread offense teams this season, but this will be another huge challenge for our defense. We need to be disciplined." Marian Head Coach Stan Dakosty
Pen Argyl at Northwestern
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Pen Argyl 7-0 (7-0 Colonial League); Northwestern 4-3 (4-3 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Pen Argyl def. Catasauqua 27-0; Northern Lehigh def. Northwestern 15-14
PEN ARGYL'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Dylan Evans (41-335-2 TDs rush), QB Conor Gum (7-34-TD rush), RB Mike Racciato (13-62-TD rush)
NORTHWESTERN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Ty Cunningham (contributed a TD for the seventh straight week), RB/WR Payton Bachman (has caught a TD each of the last two weeks), WR Andrew Deutsch, RB Matthew Naugle, LB David Tirpak
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Tigers need to contain Evans, one of the league's best backs. They also have to be aware of Pen Argyl's ability to throw the ball when defenses crowd the box. The Knights will run their offenses out of three primary formations - a single wing, an I formation and a spread look. Northwestern will also have to maintain the line of scrimmage, where Pen Argyl two-way tackle Kirby Mutton (6-3, 265) is a force on both sides of the ball.
FAST FACTS: Evans carried 41 times for 335 yards to run his season total to 1,128 yards on only 161 carries (7 yards-per-carry). He broke the school's single-game record set back in 1934. Pen Argyl's defense is just as strong. The Green Knights have allowed only 35 points all year and have three shutouts in the last five weeks. They lead all of District 11 in points-allowed-per-game (5). That is also good for third in all of Eastern Pennsylvania. Only one of their games has been decided by less than 27 points (14-8 over Northern Lehigh).
QUOTABLE: "Last week we asked them to do more than they've ever done and they did it. Now we're asking them to do even more." Northwestern Head Coach Tom Linette
Palmerton at Catasauqua
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Palmerton 4-3 (4-3 Colonial League); Catasauqua 5-2 (5-2 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Bangor def. Palmerton 53-7; Pen Argyl def. Catasauqua 27-0
PALMERTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: WR Monty Szukics (leads the Bombers with 264 yards receiving), QB Cody Grohotolski (second in the TN area in passing with 718 yards passing)
CATASAUQUA'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Jacob Bloszinsky (9-16-56 pass), RB Ra'Von Burton (10-37 rush), RB Sa'Quon Burton
KEYS TO THE GAME: Catasauqua is well balanced between the run and the pass. The Rough Riders are physical up front and have speed a the skill positions fast. Burton is a key playmaker for Catty and must be accounted for on every single play. Palmerton will need to control both sides of the line of scrimmage and establish its running run game. Defensively, the Bombers are hoping to force some turnovers. Lastly, they must execute more efficiently on special teams.
FAST FACTS: Since winning its first five games, Catasauqua has lost its last two contests to Bangor and Pen Argyl by a combined score of 61-13. Palmerton has given up a total of 116 points in its three losses this year. Catty has won the last two meetings between the two teams to push its record against Palmerton to 12-6.
QUOTABLE: "Last week's performance was disappointing, but we are focused on Catasauqua and the fact that it is week eight and we are still in playoff contention. We are excited about this week's opportunity and the fact that we control our own destiny." Palmerton Head Coach Chris Walkowiak
Lehighton at Pocono Mt. West
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Lehighton 2-5 (0-4 Mountain Valley Conference); Pocono Mt. West 2-5 (1-2 Mountain Valley Conference)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Stroudsburg def. Lehighton 20-19; Pocono Mt. West def. Tunkhannock 28-13
LEHIGHTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Josh Agosto (has run for scores each of the last two weeks), WR Jacen Nalesnik (leads the area in receptions and yards and is third in total points), RB Anthony Farole (65-yd TD rec last week)
POCONO MOUNTAIN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Travon Pugh (22-109-2 TDs rush, 1-55-TD rec), QB Jeff Krisiak (4-9-114-2 TDs pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: Indians must find a way to keep explosive Panther running back Travon Pugh under wraps. Defensively, Lehighton needs to maintain discipline to prevent Pugh from making big plays. Offensively, Lehighton has to give quarterback Josh Agosto time to find big-play receivers Jacen Nalesnik and Anthony Farole.
FAST FACTS: Pugh had 164 total yards of offense last week, totaled three touchdowns and recovered a fumble on defense. Since dropping its first five games of the season, the Panthers have won their last two. Lehighton is currently on a four-game losing streak with the losses coming by a combined total of 14 points. Lehighton is 5-4 all-time against Pocono Mountain West.
QUOTABLE: "Our kids are playing hard week in and week out, but we keeping hurting ourselves with one or two big mistakes every game. A couple of plays here or there is the difference between us being 7-0 and being 2-5. We need to find a way to finish off games and get victories. Coming close isn't good enough. We need to get off to a quick start against Pocono Mountain West and maintain our focus for 48 minutes." Lehighton Head Coach George Ebbert
Tamaqua at Panther Valley
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Tamaqua 3-4 (3-2 Anthracite Football League); Panther Valley 1-6 (1-4 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Tamaqua def. Schuylkill Haven 26-14; Shenandoah Valley def. Panther Valley 20-19
TAMAQUA'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Jarred Muffley (averaged 10-yards-per-touch last week), QB Matt DelBorrello, RB Dalton Nunemacher
PANTHER VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Mike Weaver (233 passing yards last week were the most this season), WR Devon Dilliard (only two catches last week went for 80 and 85-yard touchdowns), QB/RB Nick McArdle
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Panthers played Shenandoah tough last week and showed some improvements on the defensive side of the football. The Raiders have a potent rushing attack and are no doubt going to try and ram it down the Panthers' throats. The Raiders have played inconsistent at times this season and should look to take advantage of the Panthers defensive front that has struggled against the run all season long.
Panther Valley hasn't been successful stopping the run this year and will be in for arguably its biggest challenge this week against a run-heavy Tamaqua offense. Hazlet joked, saying that he has 46 kids on his roster and if he could put them all inside the box on defense - he would. The Panthers can only play 11, so don't be surprised if all of them are crowding the line at some point in the game. The offense showed signs of life last week and will look to spread the ball around as much as possible.
FAST FACTS: Tamaqua has scored at least 25 points in all three of its wins, and has scored 21 or less points in each of its four losses. Since 2000, Tamaqua is 8-3 against Panther Valley. The Panthers are only scoring 12 points-per-game, which ranks fifth to last in all of District 11.
QUOTABLE: "They have some play-makers that we have to respect. They do a lot of different stuff with (Mike) Weaver and (Nick) McArdle that we need to key on and we can't lose track of those guys. We just have to play our game, run the football, and convert on third downs with our passing game." Tamaqua Head Coach Sam Bonner
"The kids are upbeat. This is a rivalry game and a lot of the kids know each other. Tamaqua has looked very impressive so far this season and will present a challenge for us. Still, we played well last week and hopefully we can do the same again this week." Panther Valley Head Coach Lon Hazlet
Schuylkill Haven at Jim Thorpe
WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m. at Panther Valley
RECORDS: Schuylkill Haven 2-5 (1-5 Anthracite Football League); Jim Thorpe 0-7 (0-6 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Tamaqua def. Schuylkill Haven 26-14; Mahanoy Area def. Jim Thorpe 52-14
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Brandon Cooper (22-115-2 TDs rush), RB Will Casella (8-30 rush)
JIM THORPE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Pat Duvigneaud (has attempted and completed the most passes in the area), WR Khalliq Lynch (has scored three TDs within the last two weeks)
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Olympians seemed to turn the corner two weeks ago against Minersville but didn't follow up on those improvements against Mahanoy last week. The Olympians no doubt have a talented offense, but have been struggling on defense all season long. Haven will bring a good rushing attack against the Olympians and Thorpe will have to try and make the Hurricanes work for every inch. Thorpe has been known to give up the big play this season and if they want to grab a win on Saturday afternoon the defense has to come ready to play.
FAST FACTS: Only once this season has Schuylkill Haven scored more than 16 points in a game and that was when it scored 34 against Tri-Valley on opening night. The Hurricanes' two wins have come against teams with a combined record of 3-11. Jim Thorpe is 4-14 against Schuylkill Haven with the Hurricanes winning the last three.
QUOTABLE: "Obviously were disappointed in the way we played last week and the lack of effort that we had on the field. We hope to play better this week and were looking forward to the challenge of playing Schuylkill Haven. We need to limit them to two and four yard runs and not let up the big play." Jim Thorpe Head Coach Mark Rosenberger