Central York (6-1) at Northeastern (4-3): Bitter rivals and two of the teams involved in a ridiculous five-way tie for first place in Division 1 of the York-Adams league square off Friday in Manchester.
Central York (3-1 section) has the better overall record and is riding a three-game winning streak. The Panthers' only loss was a 56-28 setback at Red Lion on Sept. 14. Since then, they've outscored their opponents 172-49 during their current streak. They smashed Spring Grove 58-14 last week.
Northeastern shook off an 0-2 start to win four of its last five games. Arguably the biggest win during that stretch for the Bobcats was their 23-16 triumph over Red Lion on Sept. 28, a win that thrust Northeastern into the Division I title conversation.
Central and Northeastern are joined by York High, Red Lion, and Dallastown in first place. Their clash on Friday is the first in a series of showdowns over the next three weeks that will determine the outcome of the division title race.
Next Friday, there are two key Division I showdowns: Dallastown at Central York and York High at Northeastern.
Then, in the regular season finale on Oct. 26, Central faces York High and Red Lion visits Dallastown.
Stay tuned. This race will go down to the wire.
One player to watch this week for Central York is quarterback Cade Pribula, who leads all York-Adams passers with 2,166 yards and 27 touchdowns. Pribula, a 6-1 senior, has completed 106 of 159 passes, and has been intercepted just four times. Pribula's top targets are wideouts Saahir Cornelius (28-617, 11 TDs) and Taylor Wright-Rawls (23-612, eight TDs). The Panthers have the league's best passing attack, averaging 310 yards per game.
The outcome of Friday's clash could hinge on how well the Bobcats' passing defense holds up against Central York's air attack. Northeastern currently ranks No. 3 in the league against the pass, allowing just 91.4 yards per game.
Junior quarterback Zech Sanderson has 772 passing yards for Northeastern.
Central York is ranked sixth in the District 3 Class 6A power rankings, while Northeastern is No. 11 in Class 5A. The top eight teams in Class 6A make the playoffs, while the top 14 teams in Class 5A get in.
Harrisburg (6-1) at Chambersburg (6-1): The Cougars are currently alone on top of the Mid-Penn Commonwealth mountain, and Chambersburg is the largest obstacle between them and the division title. After Friday's game, the Cougars close the season with the bottom two teams in the Commonwealth: Carlisle and Altoona, both of whom are 3-4 overall.
The Trojans are a game behind Harrisburg, part of a three-way tie for second place. But Harrisburg has already beaten the two teams Chambersburg is tied with, Central Dauphin and State College.
The next two games are crucial to Chambersburg's title hopes; after this week's showdown, the Trojans take on CD next week.
Harrisburg's powerful offense is powered in large part by its quarterback, Kane Everson. The 5-11 senior leads the Commonwealth division in passing yards (1,357) and passing TDs (18), and is third in rushing yards (736) and rushing TDs (seven).
Chambersburg counters with a ground-heavy attack anchored by Keyshawn Jones, a 5-8, 170-pound junior. Jones leads the Mid-Penn in rushing, with 1,281 yards and 12 touchdowns on 146 carries.
The Trojans are far from a one-trick pony, however. QB Brady Stambaugh has completed 46 of 97 passes for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Harrisburg took over the No. 1 spot in the Class 6A power rankings, but Manheim Township is breathing down the Cougars' necks. Chambersburg is the No. 4 team in Class 6A.
Milton Hershey (6-1) at Palmyra (7-0): The Cougars are currently tied with Middletown for first place in the Mid-Penn Capital Division, with Milton Hershey lurking a game behind. Palmyra won't see Middletown until the final week of the season, so the Cougars need a win here to keep that potential showdown intact.
Milton Hershey, meanwhile, is trying to forge a three-way tie at the top of the division. The Spartans already lost a 32-21 decision to Middletown last week, so they need a win here to stay in the title conversation. Milton Hershey closes the season with Camp Hill (0-7) and Steel-High (4-3).
The Trojan offense is powered by running back Chiago Anyanwu, who last week cracked the 1,000-yard plateau last week and stands at 1,032 for the season. He also has 11 rushing touchdowns, which ties him for the Capital Division lead. Milton Hershey has only attempted 45 passes all season, and has 290 yards through the air.
Palmyra counters with running back Caleb Hawkins, who is second in the division behind Anyanwu with 907 rushing yards. He also has 11 rushing TDs, which ties him with Anyanwu for the division lead.
Quarterback Grant Haus has completed 85 of 137 passes for 1,217 yards and 12 touchdowns for Palmyra. His top targets are Sean Carter (22-350, five TDs) and Kasey Shughart (21-258, TD).
Milton Hershey is chasing Bishop McDevitt for the top ranking in the Class 4A, while Palmyra is ranked No. 5 in Class 5A.
Williams Valley (6-1) at Upper Dauphin (6-1): Both teams are chasing Tri-Valley League leader Halifax in the standings, but Upper Dauphin has already lost to the Wildcats, while Williams Valley has a showdown looming with them next Friday. So the Vikings need a win here to force a first-place showdown with Halifax next week.
Williams Valley's offense revolves around quarterback Levi Engle, who has completed 49 of 98 passes for 944 yards and 13 touchdowns and is the team's second-leading rusher with 405 yards and two scores on 63 carries. Brady Miller leads the Vikes with 692 yards and seven TDs on 126 attempts.
The Vikings have won three straight games since their 29-7 loss to Susquenita on Sept. 14. They knocked off Pine Grove 21-14 in overtime last week.Upper Dauphin has won five in a row since dropping a 41-28 decision to league leader Halifax in Week 2.
The Trojans have gotten it done without stellar offensive numbers, averaging just 260 yards per game. The rushing duties are shared by running backs Jake Ramberger (49-524, seven TDs) and Donnie Gelnett (39-209, two TDs) and quarterback Macklin Ayers (50-282, seven TDs).
Ayers isn't called on to throw a ton -- the Trojans have attempted just 53 passes all season -- but he has completed 49 percent of his throws, for 503 yards and two scores.
Upper Dauphin is currently ranked third in the District 3 Class 2A power rankings; the top four teams get in the playoffs. Williams Valley competes in District 11.