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A lot is on the line for both Shippensburg and Big Spring when the lights turn on at Veterans Stadium on Friday night.

Not only is it a Mid Penn Colonial Division rivalry game with the Little Brown Jug at stake, both teams are teetering on the District 3 Class AAA playoff edge.

"This is a big game every year, but maybe more so this year," Shippensburg coach Eric Foust said. "We've been very fortunate to win it a number of the last few contests, but this is really big because it could keep our playoff hopes alive. It would be huge to get our program back there."

After Week 7, Shippensburg was ranked 16th, while Big Spring sat in 17th place in the power rankings. Only the top 16 earn a berth in the postseason.

Both teams enter with the same 4-3 (1-2 MPC) record, and both teams have proven themselves competitive against top dogs in the division. The Bulldogs lost to third-place Greencastle just 29-23, while Shippensburg lost by just five points to Northern York, which is tied for first.

"(Big Spring) has some talented athletes," Foust said. "Their quarterback (Jaret Petty) does a nice job, and (Tristan) Robb is a big kid."

Petty and Ethan Lee have split time under center and have combined for just 409 passing yards, but Petty has been a workhorse on the ground. He has 300 yards on 59 carries, but the Bulldogs have spread out their talent. Robb leads the way with 337 yards on 55 carries, while Triston Cooper (237 yards), Ryan Adams (204) and Lee (124) have all been big contributors.

"Petty runs the ball pretty well," Foust said. "We've been focusing on the read-option, although I'm not sure it's as true a read as some. But when they can spread you out, their run game can be pretty effective. Coach (Cory) Hoffman has done a nice job, and they have a good system that they're running. They've gotta be hungry."

Big Spring isn't the only one with an effective offensive system, though.

Shippensburg's offense has been nothing short of well-rounded this season. Tyler Gustafson continues to be one of the top quarterbacks in the area and has amassed 1,199 yards. His top two targets are Cody Gustafson (39 catches, 619 yards) and Wade Mills (28-386).

"They both do really well, and they both have different pieces to them," Foust said. "Those are two receivers that you've gotta cover, and you kinda have to get to double-covering them at times. Right now, we're a very balanced football team. Are you going to take away Wade or Zion (Ware)? We also have Cole (Friese) and Adam (Houser), who gets a little better every week."

Ware is Franklin County's leading rusher with 650 yards.

Defensively, the Greyhounds are going to need to clamp down.

"Cameron (Tinner) needs to play well for sure," Foust said. "Also, Adam is playing defense now; every week his role increases. Anthony Keefer is our nose guard, and he's done some things well for us. He's really come around this year, so that's exciting to see."

Big Spring enters the game with some injury questions, as Petty did not finish last week's game against Red Land. Hoffman was not available for comment.

Game data: Big Spring Bulldogs at Shippensburg Greyhounds ... Friday, 7 p.m. at Veterans Stadium at Memorial Park ... Mid Penn Colonial Division game ... Battle for the Little Brown Jug.

Media: Follow @ShawnCMichael on Twitter for updates ... Webcast – www.sesportsnet.com ... Radio – WIOO (1480 AM, 93.9 FM).

Teams: Both teams enter with the same 4-3 (1-2 MPC) record ... Big Spring is coming off a 21-7 win over Red Land, while the Greyhounds suffered a 24-19 loss at the hands of Northern York in Week 7.

Series: Shippensburg leads the rivalry series, 36-22-1, and has won the last four years in a row.

P.O. pick: Ship by 3.

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