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Undefeated Raiders will be tested by Tribe

Published October 11. 2018 12:45PM

Tamaqua (7-0) will welcome Lehigton (4-3) on Friday night, as the Raiders look to remain unbeaten.

Lehighton at Tamaqua

Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

ON A ROLL ... Lehighton has won five of its last six meetings against Tamaqua. “I think we’re moving in a good direction, and we were in a position last week to win the game,” said Lehighton head coach Tom McCarroll. “We had some opportunities to make some plays and get some stops, bur unfortunately we came up just a little bit short in some areas. But I think we made some corrections, and our kids have recommitted themselves.”

AIR IT OUT ... Lehighton’s Zach Crum leads the TN area with 38 catches and 683 yards through the air. “There’s no rest in our division,” said McCarroll. “We get an undefeated Tamaqua, and we can’t look past them, but then we’re getting a one-loss Jim Thorpe and a one-loss North Schuylkill ... I like where our kids are mentally; it was probably one of the most physical weeks of practice that we’ve had.”

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS ... Tamaqua leads the TN area with a +/- of plus-12. “We lost a tough game at Lehighton last year,” said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. “They have some athletes that can burn you. We need to make sure that we take care of business and get better every week.”

LAST WEEK ... The Raiders earned a 26-14 win over North Schuylkill. They are currently ranked seventh in the PIAA 3A conference by the AP. “They were at that point the team to beat,” said Bonner. “North Schuylkill knocking off Jim Thorpe, and coming to our house, we knew it was a big game ... We got some breaks and our kids did a great job of taking advantage of those situations. There is no let up. We’re going into a game against a Lehighton team that likes to spread the ball around and has some kids that can make big plays.”

ELITE COMPANY ... According to PennLive, Tamaqua is now ranked seventh in the state in 3A.

Marian at Shenandoah

Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

BACK ON TRACK ... The Colts have now won two-in-a-row after a 30-6 victory against Panther Valley last week. “We want to keep rolling. We can’t be content with how we played the last two weeks,” said Marian coach Pat Morgans. “We need to continue to work hard and continue to improve. We have some momentum after winning the last two weeks. Now the challenge for our kids is to keep building on that momentum.”

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST ... Marian gained a season-high 349 yards of total offense last Friday. Tailback Matt Doherty racked up 227 rushing yards on 33 carries. “I have to give our linemen a lot of credit for their play against Panther Valley,” Morgans said. “They did a good job of opening lanes for our backs. Matt Doherty did a really nice job of taking advantage of it. He found the holes, and then did a good job of picking up yardage after contact. He really ran hard.”

LUCKY NO. 7 ... Marian has won seven-straight games against Shenandoah Valley. The Colts topped the Devils last year, 44-0. “Shenandoah has some weapons that definitely get your attention when you watch them on film,” Morgans said. “Their quarterback (Joe) Karvios is dangerous throwing the ball, and he can also hurt you running it. He’ll be a real challenge for our defense. They also have a very good receiver in Alex Dunchak and a couple of nice running backs.”

LOOKING FOR ONE ... Shenandoah (0-7) is looking for its initial victory of the season. The Devils have been shut out in four of their seven games. ““Our defense has put together two nice performances in a row,” Morgans said. “Last week against Panther Valley, we got great play on all three levels. Our line, our linebackers, and our secondary all played well. The front seven did a good job against the run and containing their quarterback (Ethan) Reis, and the defensive backs did a nice job of clamping down in coverage and preventing big plays by keeping everything in front of them.”

Palisades at No. Lehigh

Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

DOUBLE TROUBLE ... Ethan Brader and Trey Gretzinger combined for 415 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 32 carries in Palisades’ 51-13 win over Bangor last week. Brader and Gretzinger also connected for a 92-yard score through the air for the Pirates (5-2). Gretzinger leads the team with 1,379 yards rushing, while Brader is second, amassing 969 yards. “Offensively, Palisades wants to run the ball and they are a heavy run team; even more so than we are,” said Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout. “The key is to know where Gretzinger is at all times and try to contain him and make him earn every yard this week. He is a tough runner, and where he aligns will give you some hints as to what they are going to run. They split him out and motion him for sweeps, they will put him in trips and he is the primary receiver, and they will put him at tailback and run him straight ahead. Palisades is very up front about what they want to do. They want to be physical and run the ball down hill.”

SLOW STARTS ... Northern Lehigh jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter against Salisbury last week. The Bulldogs (4-3) led 14-0 in the second quarter, and rode the strong start to a 27-13 victory. The fast start was a welcome change for Northern Lehigh, which had been outscored 36-0 in the first quarter the previous two weeks against Saucon Valley and Southern Lehigh. The Bulldogs were also held scoreless in the first quarter against Pen Argyl, before prevailing 14-3 in Week 4.

BACK ON TRACK ... Palisades and Northern Lehigh both snapped two-game losing streaks last week. The Pirates’ performance least week against the Slaters came after back-to-back losses to Southern Lehigh (40-15) and Notre Dame Green Pond (41-27). The Bulldogs bounced back after also falling to the Panthers (42-14) and Spartans (42-0).

N/A ... Palisades and Northern Lehigh did not play last year. “I talked to our kids on Saturday and told them how proud we were that we made such huge strides from last year,” Tout said. “To have four wins, and to have a winning record at this point in the season, is a great turnaround. We can now talk about having a chance to play a meaningful 11th game. We realize how competitive the district is this year, and a win against Palisades would be a great quality win that would allow us to feel pretty good about having the chance to qualify for some kind of playoff. It’s been a couple of years since we were sitting in Week 8 with a winning record, so we are very excited about that.”

Jim Thorpe at Pottsville

Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

CASHING IN … The Olympians improved to 6-1 last week with a 14-0 victory over Blue Mountain, but the game hung in the balance at 7-0 for most of the contest. The score wasn’t indicative of how Thorpe dominated the game, however, as the Olympians outgained the Eagles by 260 yards. The Olympians had four or five opportunities inside the red zone, but only came away with 14 points. That’s something that will need to be corrected if Thorpe wants to make a run at the Schuylkill League Division 1 and District 11 3A title. “We didn’t do a good job of executing in the red zone last week, and that’s something that can’t happen. We have to take advantage of the opportunities we have in that area, because with the quality of opponent that we’re playing during this stretch of the season, not finishing off drives can come back and hurt you. We’ve put a strong emphasis on working on our red zone offense this week.” – Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger.

DEPENDABLE DEFENSE … One thing is for sure about Jim Thorpe, and that is it’s going to bring it defensively week-in, and week-out. The Olympians held a tough-running Blue Mountain offense to just 36 total yards last week and zero points. Jim Thorpe has given up just 13 points in seven games and is allowing only 63.4 total yards per game. The Olympians will need to bring it again this week against a balanced Pottsville offense that averages 158 yards passing and 175 yards rushing per game. Justice Minor leads the Tide with 437 yards, but it’s not clear whether he’ll be in the lineup due to an injury. Kevin Dicello (215 yards) and Addison Mullins (159 yards) are expected to see the majority of the carries if Minor isn’t available. At quarterback, the Tide will start Damon Yost, who has rushed for 145 yards and has also thrown for 560 yards with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. His backup, Aiden Stanton, had to fill in for Yost this season for two games and all he did was throw for 457 yards and eight scores, with no interceptions. At receiver, keep an eye out for Mason Barnes (346 yards). “Pottsville is a tough offense, they are very balanced and have a good group of athletes that can make plays. They have a quarterback that can extend plays if you don’t contain him, so we need to be able to do that. Defensively, I just think we need to continue to play with intensity and fly to the football,” said Rosenberger.

POSTSEASON OUTLOOK ... Coaches don’t like to look ahead, but writers do. Thorpe faces Tamaqua in two weeks, which if the Olympians win this week and then the next week against the Raiders, and then in their final week against rival Lehighton, it would set up a probable three way tie for the Schuylkill League Division 1 title between North Schuylkill, Jim Thorpe and Tamaqua if every one of those teams takes care of business and finishes with one loss. If Tamaqua defeats Thorpe, then it looks like it would have the Division 1 title wrapped up. If all three teams finish with just one loss, they would all be a lock for the District 11 3A playoffs, while either Palisades or Notre Dame Green Pond would get the last spot from the Colonial League. Another loss by Thorpe could obviously gash it’s District 11 playoff hopes.

Palmerton at Wilson

Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

DETERMINED DEFENSE … Palmerton has won two out of its last three games because of an improved defensive effort. The Bombers are giving up an average of 347.4 yards per game this season, but in their wins, they’re giving up 187.4 yards per game — almost a 160-yard difference. Palmerton will need to be solid this week in defending the run. It’s what Wilson does best, averaging 144.6 yards per game on the ground. Anthony Micci (301 yards), Alec Snyder (287 yards) and Damian Simpson (172 yards) have all rushed for 150-yards-plus on the season, with quarterback Ben Hindmarch rushing for just under 100 yards and four rushing touchdowns. In Palmerton’s victories this season, its allowed just 119.3 yards rushing per game, which is way below its 210 rushing yards allowed per game average.

“They will use a lot of I-backfield sets and then they will also run the spread offense as well,” said Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowiak. “They have a good group of athletes they like to move around, and what I noticed on tape is that this is a competitive group that will fight the entire game, so we need to be on top of our game, we need to be focused and play physical.”

WINNING OFFENSE … In Palmerton’s two recent victories, its offense has been explosive. The Bombers are averaging 453 yards of total offense, including 260.5 yards per game on the ground and an impressive 60.5 points per game. Controlling the clock and moving the sticks have also been the key to those two victories, as the Bombers have averaged 20 first downs per game in their two wins.

“Staying consistent on offense and moving the chains will once again be key for us this week. I think we always do a good job early in a game of taking what the defense gives us, especially in our victories. Every week, we want to run the ball and then see what we can take advantage of from there and play complimentary football,” said Walkowiak.

THE PLEA FOR THREE … It looks like three victories can get the Bombers into the District 11 2A playoffs. Palmerton will face Wilson (0-7), Salisbury (2-7) and Northern Lehigh to close out the season. It would make for some dramatic football if Palmerton went into its rivalry game with Northern Lehigh needing a victory to get into the 2A postseason.

PM West at Pleasant Vy.

Saturday, Oct. 13 at 12 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

BACK ON TRACK ... Pleasant Valley earned its first win of the season last week against East Stroudsburg North. “I mentioned this to the kids and the other coaches, we worry a little bit about a letdown this week because it was such an emotional win. We finally got it. We were so close, so close; to finally get it you worry about a little bit of a letdown. And West is a good football team. Jim McCarroll does a great job up there, and he’s been there for a long time. They’ll throw multiple looks at you, and make sure that you’re on top of your game defensively, so you have to be disciplined,” said Bears head coach Matt Kosciolek.

FAMILIAR FACES ... The Bears were defeated by PM West (2-5) last year, 41-27. However, PV won the previous five contests against Panthers.

GROUND AND POUND ... PV threw the ball only three times last week, and ran the ball 40 times. The Bears ended up with 214 rushing yards, led by Nasai Moon, who racked up 137 yards.

No. 2 ... Pocono West earned its second victory of the season last weekend against Dieruff, 41-14. Both times West won in 2018, they’ve lit up the scoreboard. In Week 4, the Panthers topped William Allen, 56-28. “Our task on offense is to just keep finding ways to get Nas (Moon) a little seam, and let him get through to the second level, and take off. It’ll be an exciting challenge this week,” said Kosciolek.

Panther Vy. at Mahanoy

Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

LOOKING TO BREAK THE STREAK ... Panther Valley (2-5) has lost its last five meetings with Mahanoy Area.

ONE-MAN-BAND ... PV quarterback Ethan Reis had 117 total yards last Friday. His team tallied 140. The Panthers were defeated by Marian last week, 30-6. “You have to give credit to our kids for their fight and effort,” said Panther Valley head coach Scott Price after last week’s game.

SHOOTOUT ... Mahanoy (3-4) lost an offensive showcase with Minersville last week, 66-49.

2012 ... The last time Panther Valley won on the road at Mahanoy Area was in 2012. The Panthers are searching for their first road victory this season.

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