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Week 5 preview: Northeastern braces for another test

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Last year, Red Lion and Northeastern met on a rainy Friday and played one of the best games of the season.

The game went down to the wire as the teams battled each other and the elements, with Northeastern emerging victorious by one point in the end.

This Friday, there's rain in the forecast once again. Don't be surprised if there's another intense football game to accompany it.

The Lions play host this time around, riding a 4-0 start into a game they admit they've had circled on the calendar from the beginning. The Bobcats come in looking to bounce back from a dramatic, one-point loss last week.

“Northeastern has as much talent on the field as anyone else in the division. Everybody picked them to win the division," Red Lion coach Jesse Shay said after his team's win Saturday. "We would like to be in the conversation of ‘who’s gonna take Division I this year?’ If we want to be in the conversation, we have to win next week.”

Read more: Gridiron Guest Picker of the Week is former WNBA star Chantel Tremitiere

Friday's games

Delone Catholic at Littlestown

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Delone Catholic, 26-7.
The skinny: The undefeated Bolts want to keep rolling, while the Squires try to shake off last week's disappointing loss to York Catholic to stay in the Division III and District 3 discussions. 
Squires (3-1) must: Prevent big plays. Delone Catholic was burned by the Irish in both the passing and running games last week, giving up five touchdowns of 28 yards or longer. They'll have to be better against a Littlestown offense featuring big-play threats in Wes Storey and Tyler Barthel. 
Thunderbolts (4-0) must: Hold onto the ball. In the past two games, the Thunderbolts have fumbled 12 times, losing eight of them. That kind of sloppiness will hurt them against good teams.

Dover at Eastern York

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Dover, 7-6.
The skinny: The Golden Knights picked up their first win of the season last week and now look to keep that momentum going as divisional play continues.
Eagles (1-3) must: Get going faster. The Eagles weren't able to score before the fourth quarter last week, but by that point, they were in too deep a hole. They'll need to get going sooner this week.
Golden Knights (1-3) must: Find another weapon. Quarterback Seth Bernstein has had a great season running the ball, and last week he found some success passing, too. The Golden Knights need to find another player who can move the ball if they hope to keep opponents off balance.

Fairfield at Bermudian Springs

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Bermudian Springs, 42-12.
The skinny: The upstart Green Knights face their toughest test yet against an Eagles squad looking to return to prominence. 
Green Knights (4-0) must: Stop the run. Bermudian Springs' formula for success is pretty simple, with its offense based around senior backs Ashton West and Addison Wheeler. The Knights gave up 232 yards to Biglerville's Reggie Adams last week and will have to be stronger. 
Eagles (3-1) must: Start faster. The Bermudian Springs offense has come out slow in multiple games this season. If that happens this week, it could give a young Fairfield team an early advantage.

Hanover at York Catholic

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Hanover, 20-13.
The skinny: The Fighting Irish are out for revenge after a close loss in Hanover last year.
Nighthawks (2-2) must: Stop the run. The Fighting Irish like to run the ball, and the Nighthawks are coming off a game in which they allowed Bermudian Springs to rush for 285 yards.
Fighting Irish (3-1) must: Keep the passing game clicking. The Fighting Irish have a very strong running game, but it made a big difference last week when they  also threw for three touchdowns — all of them for 30 or more yards.

Lower Dauphin at Red Land

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Lower Dauphin, 35-0.
The skinny: Trailing by a point in the final minute last week, the Patriots went for two and got it against Susquehanna Township to continue an eventful season.
Falcons (1-3) must: Stop Justin Johnson. The Patriots senior running back has been a force all season long, especially late in games. The Falcons have to stop him to have a serious shot at a victory.
Patriots (4-1) must: Finish drives. The Patriots settled for three field goals last week, and they didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. Turning those three-point drives into seven-point drives will make a big difference.

Northern York at Waynesboro

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Northern York, 13-7.
The skinny: The Polar Bears look for their first Mid Penn Colonial Division win.
Polar Bears (2-2) must: Win the fourth quarter. The Polar Bears have been in several close games this year, and this could be another one. Winning the final quarter will be crucial if it's another close one.
Indians (2-2) must: Defend the pass better. The Indians allowed Shippensburg to throw for 188 yards and two touchdowns last week. It's tough to win high school football games when allowing an opponent to throw the ball all over the field.

South Western at Central York

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: South Western 35-14.
The skinny: The Panthers look to stay hot after pulling off two big road victories in a row.
Mustangs (2-2) must: Keep mixing it up. The Mustangs saw three rushers (Delunche Shaw, Thaddeus Davis and Josh Higdon) go for more than 50 yards last week. Being able to mix it up in the backfield will also help open up the passing game.
Panthers (3-1) must: Avoid turnovers. The Panthers committed two turnovers in the first half against Northeastern, which is why they ended up in that 20-0 hole in the first place.

GameTimePA-TV: Week 5
The GameTimePA crew is back to break down some of the most interesting football matchups in District 3 for Week 5.
Video by John Buffone.

Spring Grove at New Oxford

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Spring Grove, 37-7.
The skinny: After two straight losses, the Rockets will look to get back in the win column against the winless Colonials. 
Rockets (2-2) must: Get something going in the run game. Spring Grove has run the ball poorly the past two games but now faces a New Oxford defense struggling tremendously in that area. A big game on the ground could boost the Rockets' confidence. 
Colonials (0-4) must: Get Tanner Miller some help. The senior quarterback has done his best to carry the Colonials offense, but could use a big game from one of the team's running backs.

Susquehannock at Gettysburg

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Susquehannock, 21-7.
The skinny: Gettysburg looks to stay atop the standings in Division II, while Susquehannock can enter the division title discussion with a win. 
Susquehannock Warriors (1-3) must: Play strong for four quarters. Susquehannock led Twin Valley, 21-0, in the first half and 28-7 in the third quarter before losing, 35-34, last week. 
Gettysburg Warriors (2-2) must: Sustain more drives on offense. Gettysburg gained just 109 yards against Dover last week, but managed to win thanks in part to a dominant special teams performance that included a kick return touchdown and three recovered onside kicks. It's hard to pull those feats off every week, so Gettysburg will need its offense to put the team in a better position.

West York at Kennard-Dale

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: West York, 40-19.
The skinny: Both of these YAIAA Division II teams are looking for their first win of the season.
Bulldogs (0-4) must: Be careful throwing the ball. The Bulldogs threw four interceptions last week, mitigating a few long pass plays.
Rams (0-4) must: Move the chains. The Rams picked up only eight first downs last week. Those short drives are also a detriment to the defense, which doesn't get any time to rest.

William Penn at Dallastown

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Dallastown, 50-14.
The skinny: The Wildcats look to stay undefeated before a big game next week at Northeastern.
Bearcats (0-4) must: Find the passing game. The Bearcats ran the ball well last week against Red Lion as Nigel Williams rushed for 100 yards. But they struggled to move the ball through the air, completing only two passes. 
Wildcats (4-0) must: Protect the football. The Wildcats held Spring Grove to 119 yards last week, but let the Rockets stay in the game by committing four turnovers. That can't happen again.

York County Tech at Biglerville

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Biglerville, 23-6.
The skinny: In the midst of a rebuilding season, the Canners will try to get their first win against an improved York County Tech team. 
Spartans (2-2) must: Cut down on the penalties. The Spartans committed 15 penalties for 100 yards last week against Littlestown. They'll need to be more disciplined. 
Canners (0-4) must: Contain Josiah Smallwood. The junior quarterback is second in the league in passing yards and is capable of running the ball, too. Slowing him and receiver Jordan Ray down should be Biglerville's top priority.

York Suburban at Northern Lebanon

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last year: Did not play.
The skinny: The Trojans look to stay hot after starting the season 0-2.
Trojans (2-2) must: Get Teague Hoffman going. The senior running back amassed 95 total yards last week, igniting the offense to rack up 422 yards and six touchdowns last week.
Vikings (2-2) must: Continue to be opportunistic. The Vikings recovered the ball all four times Pequea Valley put it on the ground last week, winning the field position battle in a blowout win.