209 Trophy up for grabs in JT
Lehighton at Jim Thorpe
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Lehighton 2-7 (2-6 Mountain Valley Conference); Jim Thorpe 1-8 (1-7 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Pocono Mountain West def. Lehighton 16-14; Marian def. Jim Thorpe 42-6
LEHIGHTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB/WR Jacen Nalesnik (21-33-245 pass, 125-572-7TD rush, 30-309-3TD rec**), RB Wyatt Clements (33-151-TD rush**), WR Nick Newton (12-143 rec**)
JIM THORPE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: QB Pat Duvigneaud (84-189-1641-15 TD pass, 132-816-15TD rush**), WR Mike Harleston (30-750-9TD rec**), RB Deonte St. Hill (99-342-7TD rush**)
FAST FACTS: Although neither team has had the season it would have hoped for, the final game still has meaning for the Indians and the Olympians. The 209 Trophy will be on the line this weekend as these two teams meet for their annual rivalry game. Jim Thorpe leads the series 6-4 since it and Lehighton began facing each other in the last game of the year in 2002. Last year the Indians put a hurtin' on the Olympians when they won 55-6. Despite losing two of its last three games, Lehighton has made great strides since the beginning of the season. The Indians' first five losses were all by at least 24 points. The last two have been by no more than 12 (Allen 12, PM West 2). Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe has dropped two in a row since posting its first win of the year against Mahanoy. As might have been expected with its AFL title shot on the line, Marian took it to the Olympians last week. With 184 rushing yards, QB Pat Duvigneaud would become the area first 1,000-yard passer and rusher since Palmerton's Matt Falcone did so a few years ago.
QUOTABLE: "Going into this match-up obviously we have to do our best to contain their quarterback. He's probably the best athlete we've faced all year and we know he's going to make some plays, but it's how we react after he makes a big play that's going to be key for us. Defensively we've been playing pretty good football over the last few weeks, so we have to keep that going. Offensively, we've had success runnnig the football with Jacen, so we're going to continue down that path. It really should be a good game." Lehighton coach Tom McCarroll.
"This week we have the opportunity to end our season on a good note by winning a rivalry game. Obviously, things haven't gone the way we wanted this year, but our goal is to get better every week and like I said we have the opportunity to get better this week and try and put a complete game of football together. We need to get our offense back on track after last week and get better up front. Defensively, we have to stop Nalesnik. We know he's going to touch the ball 35-40 times on Saturday, so we just have to try and play physical and tackle well." Jim Thorpe coach Mark Rosenberger.
Palmerton at Northern Lehigh
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Palmerton 0-9 (0-9 Colonial League); Northern Lehigh 6-3 (6-3 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Pen Argyl def. Palmerton 35-7; Catasauqua def. Northern Lehigh 40-7
PALMERTON'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Alex Vignone (93-494-2TD rush, 8-60 rec**), RB Tre Nelson (69-321-7TD rush**)
NORTHERN LEHIGH'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Caleb Johnson (132-853-11TD rush, 13-301-3TD rec**), QB Dan Marsh (33-71-648-10TD pass, 99-627-8TD rush**), RB/WR Darien Middaugh (13-253-3TD rec, 11-115-TD rush**), RB Nate Farber (64-281-TD rush**)
FAST FACTS: Despite losing to Catasauqua last week, and turning the ball over five times in the process, Northern Lehigh still controls its own destiny in its quest for a distict playoff berth. The Bulldogs, who are one of three AA teams with a 6-3 record, sit atop of the other two teams in the fourth spot and are in if they win. They could still make it in if they were to lose to Palmerton, but would need a few other things to go their way. Northern Lehigh RB Caleb Johnson needs 147 yards rushing to top the 1,000-yard mark. The last time the 'Dawgs didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher was 2008. The Bombers are looking to win their first game this year. If they do, they will avoid their first 0-10 season since 2003 - which is the school's only winless season dating back to 1978. Northern Lehigh is 9-3 against Palmerton since 2000. Oddly enough, the Bombers' three wins came in a row from 2006-08.
QUOTABLE: "With only one day to prepare for this game, it's a situation we have never been in before. Northern Lehigh is a great team. Johnson is running well and Marsh is an ellusive runner as well. We are hoping to play our best game this weekend. We can't beat ourselves." Palmerton's Chris Walkowiak
"This is a rivalry game to start, so that always makes it important. We are right down the road from each other and it's always a fun game to be a part of. At the same time, we understand that if we want to be in the district playoffs then we have to win this game. I think the kids are really focused on that and will be ready to go." Northern Lehigh's Joe Tout
Catasauqua at Northwestern
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Catasauqua 9-0 (9-0 Colonial League); Northwestern 3-6 (3-6 Colonial League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: Catasauqua def. Northern Lehigh 40-7; Bangor def. Northwestern 46-14
CATASAUQUA'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Ra'Von Burton (22-180 rush*), RB Eric Matz (10-68-2TD rush*), QB Zack Bradley (15-18-216-4TD pass*), WR Paryss Marshall (4-71-3TD rec*)
NORTHWESTERN'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Cam Richardson (82-361-4TD rush, 16-220-2TD rec**), RB Mason Schuler (72-341-TD rush, 16-188-2TD rec**), QB Frank Dangello (76-166-1049-12TD pass**)
FAST FACTS: By beating Northern Lehigh last weekend, Catasauqua clinched its first Colonial League title since 1996. The Rough Riders are the real deal and figure to be the favorites to win the District 11 AA championship this year. Then agaib, expect Tamaqua to have something to say about that. Catty has been dominant on both sides of the ball this year. The Roughies boast the No. 1 offense in all of the district at 41.8 ppg (over two points more than second place Parkland) and pair that with the No. 2 defense (7.3 ppg - less that a point behind Williams Valley). They did it again last Friday versus Northern Lehigh. Catty racked up over 200 yards both on the ground and through the air, while forcing five turnovers and holding the Bulldogs to a mere seven points. Northwestern will look to play the role of spoiler, as they are out of the playoff hunt with a sub-.500 record. Catty has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams, including the last two. Last year's game was won in overtime, 28-27.
QUOTABLE: "They have a ton of athletes at the skill positions. A lot of teams are fairly one-dimensional, but they're a very balanced team. Not only does their record show they're the best team in the league, but the film doesn't lie. It's a tough match up." Northwestern's Josh Snyder
Panther Valley at Minersville
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m.
RECORDS: Panther Valley 3-6 (2-5 Anthracite Football League); Minersville 3-6 (2-5 Anthracite Football League)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS: North Schuylkill def. Panther Valley 42-19; Tamaqua def. Minersville 49-0
PANTHER VALLEY'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Kyle Ferryman (51-392-3TD rush, 22-405-5TD rec**), QB Matt Levitt (39-102-629-8TD pass, 56-141-3TD rush**), RB Rich Nase (45-231-TD rush**)
MINERSVILLE'S IMPACT PLAYERS: RB Chris Murphy (16-61 rush*), QB Jon McBreen (2-11-2 pass*), RB Dave Schultz (5-37 rush*), RB Evan Heffron (12-13 rush*)
FAST FACTS: Panther Valley and Minersville won't have much to play for other than pride this weekend. Both the Panthers and the Miners are out of the district race and don't have a winning record - which is needed to qualify for Eastern Conference play. Panther Valley started out the season 3-1, but has since lost each of its last five games. In the Panthers' defense, the losing streak conincides with running back Richie Smith's injury. Minersville has won the last two meetings between the two teams.
QUOTABLE: "I would think our thoughts would be somewhat similar. One one hand it has been a rewarding season. I have seen the team get better from week-to-week. On the other hand we have lost five straight and no one wants to do that. We would like to get a win here, end the season on a good note and send our seniors out with a victory." Panther Valley's Lon Hazlet