Records: Hopewell-Loudon 3-1, 1-0 MAL; Lakota 3-1, 0-1 MAL.
Coaches: Jeremy Nutter, Hopewell-Loudon; Dave Vodika, Lakota.
Last week: Hopewell-Loudon beat North Baltimore 30-7; Lakota lost to Calvert 33-6.
Last year: Hopewell-Loudon won 25-14.
Outlook: Hopewell-Loudon is going for its fourth straight win, and Nutter said the key to his team's success has been simple execution.
"Offensively we've hung on to the football and gotten behind our offensive line," Nutter said.
That's been big because of the amount of production the Chieftains have gotten from running back Cody Malone, who has almost 600 yards rushing to go with 11 touchdowns.
Lakota is coming off its first loss of the season, but Vodika said the Raiders have responded with some solid work this week.
"It was back to the drawing board, but we had good practices (Monday and Tuesday)," Vodika said. "Our kids are anxious to play. I like that in them. We fought to get to this point, to be 3-1. I think for us, the key is not to climb back into our shell as we have in the last few years. Last week we didn't play very well and couldn't run the ball; defied us to throw and couldn't throw very well."
Nutter said he likes what he has seen from Lakota.
"I think they utilize their tools pretty well," Nutter said. "I'm impressed with their defense. They're gonna get their fair share of plays".
at Colonel Crawford
Records: Buckeye Central 1-3, 0-1 NCC; Crestline 3-1, 0-1 NCC
Coaches: Jeffrey Niedermier, Buckeye Central; Ryan Teglovic Colonel Crawford.
Last week: Buckeye Central lost to Wynford 33-0; Galion pounded Colonel Crawford 35-14
Last year: Colonel Crawford shut out the Bucks, 23-0.
Outlook: Niedermier said the key to Buckeye Central's prospects Friday is to contain Eagles quarterback Nate Klingenberger.
"We have to be able to shut down their passing game," Niedermier said. "(Klingenberger's) very, very accurate in what he does, he's still able to use his feet and make a play out of potentially nothing."
As for Buckeye Central, which is starting a number of young players, the focus is on improvement.
"We just need to take care of ourselves," Niedermier said. "We had quite a few mental mistakes [last week]. If we can get those unforced errors taken care of, we should be fine."
at North Baltimore
Records: North Baltimore 2-2, 0-1 MAL; Mohawk 0-3; 0-1 MAL.
Coach: Erik Baker, Mohawk; Greg Bishop, North Baltimore.
Last week: Mohawk lost to Carey 36-19; North Baltimore lost to Hopewell-Loudon 30-7,
Last year: Mohawk beat North Baltimore, 69-8.
Outlook: Mohawk is in the unfamiliar position of going into the fifth week of the season still looking for its first win. North Baltimore is looking for its third win. The Warriors have scored some lopsided wins in the past against the Tigers, but Baker said this is a different team.
"They are sound and very athletic," Baker said. "They competed well with H-L and will be no pushover."
While the first four weeks have been disappointing for the Warriors, Baker said they also have been valuable.
"Through the last four weeks we have been pushed by four excellent teams," Baker said. "We feel like we have found some things out about ourselves and adjusted our schemes to fit our abilities."
Baker said Mohawk will utilize its strong running game, but also won't be afraid to attack North Baltimore through the air.
"It shouldn't be a surprise that we are a running offense," Baker said. "That being said, we recognize the strengths we possess at receiver and will make it a priority to make use of these abilities."
Fremont St. Joe
Records: Fremont St. Joe (3-1, 1-0 Midland Athletic League); Carey (3-1, 1-0 MAL)
Coaches: T.J. Buckley, Fremont St. Joe; Todd Worst, Carey
Last week: Fremont St. Joe edged Seneca East, 10-7; Carey knocked off Mohawk, 36-19.
Last year: Fremont St. Joe topped Carey, 27-19.
Outlook: Sure Carey lost to St. Joe last year in its only MAL loss.
But this year's Crimson Streaks are a very different club than the one Carey faced last year.
"They made a big switch from completely spread and shotgun every play to look more like us with a couple tight ends with some big guys and speed behind it," Worst said.
It's the line that concerns Worst the most.
"They're pretty good sized up front. If you match up a couple teams of ours from four or five years ago, it would compare," Worst said. "They are big up front, move well and have skill kids behind them."
Running behind that line is Marcus Kerr, who is second in the league in rushing with 137 yards a game and fifth in scoring with six touchdowns.
Their defense ranks tops in the MAL as well, as the Crimson Streaks have yielded just 192.98 yards a game on average, including just 91 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Carey comes in leading the MAL at more than 267 yards a game.
After an 0-2 start, the Blue Devils have righted the ship and the youth that was apparent early on is coming around.
"I think we've had more consistency in play," Worst said. "The biggest thing we were able to overcome our deficiencies. I think we made some big improvements. We're still moving forward."
And the Blue Devils are still unblemished in the MAL.
"We want to make sure we finish out this last season in the MAL the right way," Worst said. "We want to make sure that people know they didn't make a mistake letting us in (23) years ago."
Records: Rossford 2-2, 0-1 NBC; Fostoria 0-4, 0-1 NBC.
Coaches: Todd Drusback, Rossford; Jim Kelly, Fostoria.
Last week: Rossford lost to Genoa 40-6; Fostoria lost to Elmwood 34-16.
Last year: Rossford won 43-0.
Outlook: Fostoria returns home after a pair of double-digit road losses, looking for its first win since the final game of the 2011 season.
That last victory (30-21) came at the expense of Rossford, which enters looking to snap a two-game skid and grab its first Northern Buckeye Conference win after last week's one-sided loss.
And unlike Fostoria, the Bulldogs have plenty of numbers (52) and veterans (17) as they try to get back on track for back-to-back winning seasons.
"They have some good-size guys up front, they're pretty athletic. Their tight end is a big kid they like to get the ball to," Kelly said. "On our side, we'll have one or two seniors and maybe a couple juniors playing, and the rest will be young guys.
"We're going to go out and try to get better," he said.
That's been a struggle for the Redmen all year.
Most of their veterans were not starters last year, and injuries and other issues have led to many sophomores and freshmen seeing the field this fall, and that's led to many more challenges.
"It's tough, there's no lie there. It's tough on the coaches and tough on the kids. We get something positive going, and then we definitely have some things going against us," Kelly said. "But they're resilient, trying to pop back up.
"It's a challenge. There's better days ahead," he said.
But Friday might not be one of them.
The Bulldogs bring many offensive threats and will cause problems with their trap blocking and read option on the ground and their vertical and perimeter passing game, Kelly said.
"(We're) out-manned in a lot of situations. We're just going to keep building with them, and that's the best we can do," Kelly said.
at Upper Sandusky
Coaches: Riverdale Jeremy Kloepfer; Upper Sandusky Jake Moyer
Last Week: Riverdale lost to Bucyrus 34-14; Upper Sandusky beat Crestline 53-6.
Last year: Riverdale 0, Upper Sandusky 14.
Outlook: They say history repeats itself, and if that's the case Upper Sandusky will pick up another win.
"They've had a rough year," is how Moyer described Riverdale, Friday's opponent. Rough year indeed, as the Falcons have been outscored by opponents 201-26 heading into week five.
Upper Sandusky, on the other hand, has yet to lose.
But Moyer is taking nothing for granted.
"(Riverdale) looked good last week at Bucyrus, and I know they are going to come in looking to spoil our homecoming," Moyer said.
Moyer also said Riverdale will get some players back who were out earlier this year.
"The loss of those players made a big difference this season," Moyer said.
--The A-T sports staff