RAYLAND - A pair of teams looking to get untracked meet Friday night at World War II Memorial Stadium as Buckeye Local (1-1) rolls out the red - er, blue - carpet for John Marshall (0-2).
This has been an air-tight series in the past, with neither team able to take complete control. What this week holds in store, only time will tell.
The Panthers are coming off a 24-6 victory last Saturday against Westinghouse, Pa., while the Monarchs were beaten the same day, 31-20 on the road at Bellaire.
''We've seen them three times,'' John Marshall coach Rick Goodrich said. ''Cambridge in an early scrimmage, against Utica and then Westinghouse. They've gotten a lot better since the first time we've seen them.
''Coach (Phil) Pest and those guys are doing great job with their kids.''
Buckeye Local, despite its victory, would no doubt like to get its offense going. Westinghouse limited the Panthers to 103 yards of offense - 62 rushing, 41 passing. Defensively, Pest credited one of his freshmen, Dylan Dokes, as a big reason the Panthers won.
Pest thinks the offensive side of the ball will pick it up now that it knows who is running the show.
''We've settled in there at quarterback with Nathan Kirk,'' Pest said. ''And we got a lot of good time out of our fullback.''
Kirk threw a 12-yard touchdown to Shane Duncan, ran one in from 1 yard and Andy Stock took a punt back 74 yards for another score.
''It's really good to see Andy Stock running at full force again. He's coming off that ACL surgery and when he gets in the open field, he can be fun to watch,'' Pest said.
Goodrich isn't so much worried about the open field. He figures Buckeye is going to try to punch the Monarchs in the mouth on both sides of the ball.
''They notoriously have tough kids over there,'' Goodrich said. ''They're a physical team that gets to the ball.
''Westinghouse is pretty athletic and quick and Buckeye's defense shut them down.''
Goodrich says the Monarchs are making progress, and he points to the latter stages against the Big Reds.
''We were watching film. It's late in the fourth quarter and we had seven and eight players running to the ball,'' he said. ''The kids fought back and battled adversity.
''We made great strides. Saturday we played with a lot of heart.''
Offensively, the Monarchs were led by R.J. Kibert's 96-yard rushing effort, despite a tweaked hamstring. The surprise, according to the coach, was Jacob Wood who rushed for 81 yards and a score on 17 carries.
''He ran the ball hard against Bellaire and had good vision,'' Goodrich said. ''He's going to continue to get more carries.''
Pest believes the Monarchs are going to line up and run the football, but he's not sleeping on Jeremiah Fromhart, JM's quarterback.
''I think John Marshall can give you problems,'' Pest said. '' They have a nice big line and they're not going to throw it much, but when they do he will go deep.
''We have to stop the iso and spread it and throw it a little bit.''