It's not that difficult to point out a marquis matchup on the county week nine football schedule.
While plenty of interest will surround both Friday's Warren at Franklin matchup as well as Saturday's Curwensville at Sheffield showdown, the majority of the county eyes will be locked on Friday's Backyard Brawl between the Youngsville Eagles and Eisenhower Knights.
While the teams have had two very different seasons with the Knights standing at 6-2 with at least a share of the Region 2 title and the Eagles holding a disappointing 1-7 mark, the history of the rivalry still makes the game a must-see.
Records, numbers and last week all go out the door when the Knights and Eagles take to the gridiron.
Youngsville (1-7) at Eisenhower (6-2), 7 p.m., Friday, Eisenhower High School
What a difference a year can make.
Last season, it was Luke Alex's Youngsville Eagles mowing down the competition en route to a Region 2 title while Jim Penley's Eisenhower Knights were continuing on the road of rebuilding. When the 2011 Backyard Brawl came around, the Eagles were heavily favored and defeated the Knights, 42-13.
One short year later, the Knights have already captured at least a share of the Region 2 title while the rival Eagles have struggled through an injury-depleted 1-7 campaign.
It is doubtful one could find anybody who would say the Knights aren't the major favorites this season.
But, as Penley says, you can throw the records out the window when the Knights and Eagles throw down.
"I've said it a million times that records don't matter," he said. "We don't put them on our game plans and they don't matter this week especially. Youngsville will be looking to come in here and make their season. They will have guys dig down deep and find a way to play in this game. There's no way in the world we're expecting them to come in and lay down for us."
Alex admits that the 2012 season has been anything but easy, but insists that his team has not packed it in and will put their best effort forward on Friday evening.
"We are looking to go out there and make a game of it and if we stay close enough, maybe even come out on top," said Alex. "It all comes down to tackling. Ike has a very potent offense. Johnny (Pascuzzi) is one of the hardest runners in District 10 and if he weren't there I think Alex Johnson would be doing just as well. Nathan (O'Brien) was one of the best receivers around before this season and has stepped up this year. They are tough to beat."
Eisenhower has featured a balanced offensive attack all season. Perhaps no more balanced than during last week's 55-0 victory over Union City where six different Knights scored rushing touchdowns and quarterback Aaron Lundmark tossed two touchdowns to wideout Nathan O'Brien.
Lundmark has passed for 855 yards and 12 touchdowns this season while throwing just three picks. O'Brien easily leads the team in catches with 22 grabs for 516 yards and eight touchdowns.
Senior tailback John Pascuzzi has had a big 2012, rushing for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns through the first eight weeks of the season. Pascuzzi's biggest night was a 339-yard school record effort against Cochranton in week five.
After losing its entire starting offensive line, quarterback Cory Craig, tailback Sam Lucas and tight end Dalton Maze from last year's Region 2 championship winning team, the Eagles have had to rely on some fresh, young faces this season.
Quarterback Jake Lauffenburger, who had to step into the role when Jake Marino was injured in week one, has thrown for 498 yards and four touchdowns this season. Lauffenburger also leads the ground attack with 410 yards and three touchdowns. Rocco Gatta is next on the team with 389 yards, but he has been injured in recent weeks. Dan McLaughlin has stepped up in Gatta's absence with 173 yards and two touchdowns.
Last 10 Backyard Brawls (2002-2011)
2002: Eisenhower 36, Youngsville 0
2003: Eisenhower 24, Youngsville 0
2004: Eisenhower 26, Youngsville 12
2005: Eisenhower 16, Youngsville 7
2006: Youngsville 20, Eisenhower 7
2007: Eisenhower 28, Youngsville 8
2008: Eisenhower 40, Youngsville 0
2009: Eisenhower 28, Youngsville 20
2010: Youngsville 24, Eisenhower 13
2011: Youngsville 42, Eisenhower 13
2012 Eagles Leaders: Passing- Jake Lauffenburger 35 of 68 for 498, 4 TD, 6 INT; Rushing- Jake Lauffenburger 111 for 410, 3 TD; Receiving- T.J. Hardy 9 for 192, 2 TD
2012 Knights Leaders: Passing- Aaron Lundmark 47 of 101 for 855, 12 TD, 3 INTl; Rushing- John Pascuzzi 158 for 1,074, 10 TD; Receiving- Nathan O'Brien 22 for 516, 8 TD
Warren (6-2) at Franklin (1-7), 7 p.m., Friday, Franklin Area High School
A year after finishing 2-8 overall, the Warren Dragons can lock up a third place finish in Region 5 with a victory over Franklin Friday at Franklin Area High School.
The Dragons haven't taken anybody lightly this season, winning all the games in which they were favored. If they can do it one more time against Knights, a D-10 Class AAA playoff berth will be in the cards. Warren's only two losses this season have come to undefeated teams ahead of them in the Region 5 standings - Slippery Rock and DuBois.
The Dragons' resurgence in 2012 has been impressive and that's something that hasn't been lost of fifth-year head coach Brad Wright.
"I think our offseason work ethic and approach to fix what was lacking has been really big," said Wright. "We have 16 seniors and I think we're pretty big up front. When those boys play hard and play four quarters, we can hang with anybody."
It's been a difficult season for the 1-7 Franklin Knights who currently find themselves at the bottom of the Region 5 heap. Despite its troubles, the Knights have found a way to score points this season, averaging nearly 20 points per outing.
The team has featured two names at quarterback in Kyle Ritchey and Forrest Wested. Ritchey leads the team with 1,210 passing yards with eight touchdowns and eight picks while Wested added 410 yards with five touchdowns before leaving the team after the fifth week of the year.
Wested was also featured in the passing game as a wideout with 20 catches for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers trail only Isaiah Rutherford (24-245-3) while A.J. Cooley (19-357-2) and Chris Kahle (13-272-3) are also primary targets.
Franklin's defense will be sure to have trouble maintaining Warren's high powered offense on Friday. Franklin allows over 45 points a game while Warren scores just under 43 points per outing.
Last meeting: October 7, 2011- at Franklin Area High School- Warren 13, Franklin 12
2012 Dragons Leaders: Passing- Austin Jerman 96 of 150 for 1,354, 18 TD, 5 INT; Rushing- Austin Jerman 80 for 542, 6 TD; Receiving- Mark Davis 25 for 364, 7 TD
Curwensville (6-2) at Sheffield (2-6), 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Wolverine Mountain
After erasing the foul taste of a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins, Sheffield currently finds itself mired in its second three-game losing streak of the year.
With its playoff hopes fading, the Wolverines need a statement victory and have the chance to provide one Saturday when they host the Curwensville Golden Tide.
However, with the Golden Tide 6-2 overall and in second place in the ultra-competitive AML South, Sheffield coach Dave Fitch knows getting that win won't come easy.
"Obviously they come right at you with a between the tackles running game," said Fitch. "They also like to suck you up close and take shots down field. We did a nice job of stopping Smethport's run game last week, but got killed by a couple deep pass plays. We have to be prepared for everything."
Curwensville features one of the most potent offenses in all of District 9. The unit is led by quarterback Hunter McCracken and his 791 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he doesn't have to do it alone. McCracken's favorite target is Jordan Russell. Russell has caught 44 of the team's 57 completions in 2012 for 588 yards and nine touchdowns.
Curwensville's three-headed monster in the backfield is led by Zach Tibbins who has put up huge numbers with 1,134 yards and 14 touchdowns. Josh Greslick is a change of pace back with 792 yards and eight touchdowns and Alex Olson boasts 364 yards and three scores.
Last meeting: September 9, 2011- at Curwensville High School- Curwensville 37, Sheffield 0
2012 Wolverines Leaders: Passing- Shequan Wright 46 of 132 for 819, 6 TD, 9 INT; Rushing- Shequan Wright 101 for 203, 4 TD; Receiving- Brendan Winslow 13 for 246, 2 TD