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Pennsbury and Neshaminy battle with huge playoff implications

When it comes to head-to-head Lower Bucks County match-ups, it’s simply the biggest week of the high school football season with two games that are sure to attract huge crowds.

In Fairless Hills, Pennsbury will host Neshaminy in what’s long been one of the top rivalries in the Delaware Valley.

Pennsbury’s hopes of winning a fourth-straight Suburban One National title are virtually gone because league-leading North Penn is a humongous favorite against lowly Abington, but the Falcons can improve their playoff seed and possibly begin defense of their district title with a home game with a win.

Neshaminy is out of the league race with two losses, but will earn a playoff berth by picking up huge power points with a win over its arch rival.

In Newtown, meanwhile, there will be a mammoth in-house brawl between Council Rock South and Council Rock North Saturday night.

The stakes are clear between the two Rocks: The winner will earn at least a share of the Sub One Continental crown and will capture it outright if Quakertown (8-1) is upset by Central Bucks East (7-2).

Furthermore, the winner of the Rock game will make the playoffs. Rock North could still qualify for the third straight time if it loses, but Rock South would in all probability be out.

Neshaminy (6-3) at Pennsbury (7-2), Friday night, 7 p.m.

Pennsbury goes in as the favorite, but it’s not by much against a Redskin team that nearly upset North Penn last week. Although Pennsbury will rely on its Ground and Pound, quarterback Mike Alley has shown the ability to burn defenses with his arm if they over commit to the run. Neshaminy has no doubt looked at Pennsbury’s game against North Penn in which the Falcon secondary was torched for nearly 300 passing yards. Look for Redskin quarterback Mason Jones to come out throwing.

Neshaminy can also run the ball with Will Dogba, but nobody has had much success running the ball against Pennsbury. A key for Neshaminy is avoiding third-and-long plays. Pennsbury’s best defense against the pass is a ferocious blitz, which is sure to be unleashed on obvious passing downs. Neshaminy has a big edge in the kicking department and knows it’s do or die in terms of the playoffs. Neshaminy must also keep Pennsbury’s offense off the field and avoid the Falcons’ trademark clock-killing, 12-play drives.

Council Rock South (6-3) at Council Rock North (6-3), Saturday night, 7 p.m.

This is going to be a lot of fun because it’s so hard to predict how it will unfold. A week ago you would have said Rock South has the better defense, but that was before it got lit up Norristown. Certainly the Hawks will have their hands full with University of South Carolina-bound quarterback Brandon McIlwain, who has against put up all kinds of rushing and passing numbers. Rock North’s defense will also faces a severe challenge. The Indians have had some games where they really struggled stopping the other team, and Rock South has a prolific option game with quarterback Shaun Stackhouse as well as running backs Brendan Patterson and Kyle Hickey. To top if off, emotions run very high in a series in which the unexpected has been the norm. This isn’t about which is the better team. Rather, it’s all about which happens to play better that night.

Pennridge (6-3) at Bensalem (0-9), Friday night, 7 p.m.

As if this game isn’t difficult enough for the Owls, Pennridge has to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. It’s just been one of those years where Ed Cubbage’s team hasn’t been able to catch a break. Last week it dropped a heartbreaker to Abington in the final minute.

Bristol (4-5) at Lower Moreland (2-7), Friday night, 7 p.m.

The Warriors are looking to solidify their playoff standings and shouldn’t have too much of a problem. Lower Moreland barely beat Morrisville (2-7) and Valley Forge (1-7) for its only two wins.

Morrisville (2-7) at Jenkintown (5-4), Friday night, 7 p.m.

It would be a major surprise if the Dawgs end a long losing streak here. Playoff-bound Jenkintown is playing well and has given up only three TDs in its last three games.

Conwell-Egan (5-4) vs. Lansdale Catholc (7-2) at Cardinal O’Hara, Saturday, 3 p.m.

This is a semifinal round game in the Philadelphia Catholic League’s Class AA playoffs. Conwell-Egan ended a three-game losing streak by beating Bishop McDevitt last week, but will be up against a red-hot team that has won seven in a row. Among those Lansdale Catholic’s wins was a 34-21 victory over Conwell-Egan.

Truman (3-6) at Norristown (3-6), Saturday, 1 p.m.

After dropping five in a row, injury-plagued Truman finally got back on track by blasting William Tennent. The Council Rock teams certainly know all about Norristown. The Eagles have had some clunkers this year, but last week it threw a huge 49-44 scare into Rock South. Earlier Norristown shocked Rock North, 44-43. Flip a coin.

Contact Rick Fortenbaugh at rfortenbaugh@trentonian.com, or @RickFort7 on Twitter

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