Before the season started, not many Pennsylvania high school football fans had Bishop McDevitt vs. Central Dauphin circled on their calendars. Three weeks into the season though, Friday's affair in Harrisburg is as big a September game as you'll find.
The Bishop McDevitt Crusaders (3-0, 2-0), ranked second in the state and No. 67 in the most recent RivalsHigh 100, face the Mid-Penn Commonwealth's surprise team of the year, the Central Dauphin Tigers (3-0, 1-0).
For Bishop McDevitt, a team that has grown accustomed to fast starts, Central Dauphin will pose the first true challenge of the Crusaders' season. But for Crusaders' coach Jeff Weachter, Friday's contest is just another mountain for his team to climb.
"It's a rivalry game. Always has been. We've been here before though," Weachter said. "It's a big game win or lose, but what we care about is where we are in December, right before Christmas."
The impetus behind the Crusaders' early season success has been a pair of dynamic juniors, quarterback Matt Johnson and running back Jameel Poteat.
Johnson, a player with the ideal frame and arm strength for someone at his position, has passed for 556 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions in his three games this season.
Poteat, a family member of NFL cornerback Hank Poteat, has started to make a name for himself in high school football circles. He has shown tremendous speed and displays excellent blocking skills - the marks of a complete running back. Poteat's 2009 campaign has not disappointed, as the young rusher has totaled 355 yards and four touchdowns on just 46 carries.
While Bishop McDevitt expected an auspicious start to the season, Central Dauphin has surprised naysayers, winning its first three games in decisive fashion.
"We saw their second scrimmage (before the season started)," Weachter said. "We didn't think they were as good as they are now."
The Tigers began to receive national attention last week when they defeated then RivalsHigh 100 No. 27 State College, 24-22, at Landis Field.
The win over State College wasn't a fluke. The Tigers are for real and so is their extremely potent offense. Behind leading rusher Colton Charles, Central Dauphin has averaged over 200 yards rushing a game.
"They have a very mobile offense," Weachter noted. "Colton Charles is definitely a big difference for them. He is a home run hitter."
Both high-powered offenses will be on display Friday night in Harrisburg.