Chestnut Ridge (1-2) at Bald Eagle Area (3-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: CR Max Shoemaker, fifth season; BEA Jack Tobias, fifth season
Last meeting: Bald Eagle Area 14, Chestnut Ridge 6, in 2002
Key players: CR Beau Bosch QB; BEA Dion Barnard RB
The skinny: An unfamiliar opponent comes to Wingate tonight to try to knock the Bald Eagle Area Eagles off after their first 3-0 start since the 1990s. The two teams havent met since 2002, but that doesnt mean the Eagles arent wary.
Its tough to get a gauge. They played two really tough opponents and they played pretty well against Carrick, so Im not quite sure what were going to see, BEA coach Jack Tobias said. But I know theyre well coached and do pretty well with their assignments.
The Eagles, who have outscored opponents 90-44 over three wins, have to be licking their chops to get their hands on Chestnut Ridge which could field a defense vulnerable to big plays.
The Lions have slugged their way to a 1-2 record, surrendering on average over 36 points per game in the process. Chestnut Ridge was throttled by Berks Catholic last week. The Lions were shutout, 47-0 by a defense that rendered Chestnut Ridges option-based offensive attack futile.
Tobias hopes to employ a similar strategy to the one that paid off for Berks Catholic contain the option and the shifty quarterback, Beau Bosch, who runs it.
They have a nice quarterback. He does a nice job for them there running the options and things, Tobias said. We need to be disciplined and play disciplined football.
Central Mountain (1-2) at Bellefonte (2-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: CM Vinnie Kishbaugh, second season; B Duffy Besch, third season
Last meeting: Central Mountain 39, Bellefonte 3, last season
Key players: CM Von Walker, RB/LB; B Brian White RB
The skinny: Bellefonte coach Duffy Besch said his team didnt shy away from hard work in the preseason and that the Red Raiders are starting to see the benefit of their toils.
After a season-opening loss to unbeaten Bald Eagle Area, the Red Raiders have won two straight, including a 42-7 romp against Philipsburg-Osceola last week.
Its been good, said Besch, whose team was 1-9 a year ago.. The kids have really come in and worked hard. Its very surprising how a little bit of confidence will go a long way. They can hang their hat on a few good things and we can see some of the hard work that weve been doing and getting them to follow through on.
Offensively, the Red Raiders have shown balance, getting big chunks of yardage from tailbacks Nunu Buey and Brian White and solid passing from first-year quarterback Phil Fenstermacker.
It is surprising, Besch said of the way his team has moved the ball. Its a unique situation that we have some new kids who are making an impact right away.
Besch does have an interesting situation at quarterback, thanks to the return of senior Jordan Fye from injury. Fye was 5-for-6 with a scoring pass in relief of Fenstermacker against the Mounties.
Besch said hes still evaluating the position. We need to find a way to get everybody involved, he said. ... Were excited about our opportunities.
The Red Raiders will try to extend their two-game winning streak against a team that throttled them last fall.
Besch especially is concerned with Wildcat tailback Von Walker and he should be. Walker rushed for 197 yards and five touchdowns in last seasons romp.
Central Mountain presents a host of challenges, Besch said. Obviously, they have an excellent player in Von Walker. Hes someone thats going to create matchup problems for many teams.Youve got to be able to contain him.Youve got to limit his big plays. But the thing is, they have a lot of nice complements. They have a couple of nice receivers and their quarterback seems to have grown from the film that Ive I watched.
After a season-opening win over Williamsport, the Wildcats have fallen to State College (26-7) and Mifflin County (19-6).
Still, the Class AAAA Wildcats present a step up for the Class AAA red Raiders.
Matchup wise, its going to be a great challenge for us, Besch said. I think its one were ready to embrace. Weve come a long way in the last couple of weeks.
Tyrone (1-2) at Philipsburg-Osceola (0-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: T Steve Guthoff, first season; P-O Jeff Vroman, 11th season
Last meeting: Tyrone 13, Philipsburg-Osceola 0, last season Key players: T James Oliver RB; P-O
The skinny: Many of the times when Philipsburg-Osceola and Tyrone have met, theres been a lot on the line.
While the records dont indicate it, the contest is important for both teams which are trying to build.
Mounties coach Jeff Vroman said his squad, which suffered a 42-7 loss against Bellefonte last week, is making progress.
Were still not where we need to be yet, but were getting there, Vroman said. ... They understand right now that consistency is the main issue. We just have to keep grinding it out and get better week-to-week, day-to-day and I think were doing that.
Vroman said hes concentrating on the defense, which gave of three touchdowns on 19 or more yards against Bellefonte.
It hasnt been a problem moving the football the last couple of weeks, he said. Defensively, were in position to make plays. Now we have to make them. We force teams into a lot of three-and-forevers and were giving up big plays. When you play well on first and second downs and you give up a big play on third down, thats demoralizing.
The Golden Eagles, the PIAA Class AA runner-up last season, fell to Bellwood-Antis (22-15) and Central (28-0) before pounding winless Huntingdon 71-6 last week.
Running back James Oliver rushed for 247 yards and five touchdowns on just 14 carries against Huntingdon.
The Oliver kid is quick, Vroman said. He demonstrated that against Huntingdon last week. If he gets outside, he can definitely hurt you. ... We have to play consistent football and not give them short fields.
We need to put together a couple of scoring drives early to get some confidence. We need to build some confidence and take it from there.
Vroman is counting on his offensive line to make those scoring drives possible. Our offensive line has been the brightest spot on the football team, he said. Theres been times where they have impressed me. Theyve created some nice holes. Theyre blocking with good fundamentals. Its not just a matter of getting position on people theyre moving people.
Penns Valley (0-3) at Central (2-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: C Dave Baker, second season; PV Martin Tobias 17th season,
Last meeting: Central 21, Penns Valley 2, last season
Key players: RB Taylor Collison; C Austin Cunningham, QB
The skinny: Two teams, two tough onepoint losses to unbeaten foes. Penns Valley nearly pulled off the upset of Bald Eagle Area, falling just a yard short late in a 21-20 loss, while Central played a seesaw game before falling 34-33 on a late field goal against Clearfield.
While his club remained winless, Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias said Fridays contest was a step in the right direction.
Obviously there was a lot of disappointment, but at the same time weve tried to emphasize a lot of the positives with them, he said. Weve been improving. Were getting better. The kids are doing a lot of the little things we talk about and theyre doing them better. Were still shooting to improve, but were making progress.
Tobias saw progress in several areas.
On the offensive side, we were able to put some points on the board, he said. We created some turnovers that put us in position where we didnt have a full field to drive. Weve really emphasized playing four full quarters and we felt that we got that from them this. They played hard the whole way through and never quit.
Tobias said his team will have to have the same kind of effort against Central. The Scarlet Dragons whipped Chestnut Ridge (51-20) and Tyrone (28-0) prior to last week.
Quarterback Austin Cunningham (14-of-26 passing for 365 yards and 4 TDs and 201 yards rushing on 37 carries) leads an offense that is averaging 417 yards per game, including 232 yards on the ground.
Central has couple of big playmakers and that seems to be the case with most good teams, Tobias said. You cant focus on just one guy. ... Theyre a big physical group. They have a really nice team. Its going to be a real test for us.