Thursday night high school football games can typically throw a wrench into a coach's weekly preparation plan.
That was the case for Seneca Valley's Don Holl and Pine-Richland's Eric Kasperowicz this week as the Northern Eight Conference coaches primed their Class AAAA teams for this week's matchup, which will be televised live on Root Sports tonight.
Featured as the McDonald's High School Football Game of the Week, Seneca Valley will travel to Pine Township to face the Rams in a conference showdown at 7 p.m. at Pine-Richland Football Stadium.
"There is a little adjustment you have to make," Holl said. "All of our players get into a routine, but we also have a Thursday routine. At the end of the day, you just have to prepare and go about getting ready for your opponents.
"The kids understand the significance of events and the countdown needed to prepare. The difference is we're moving it up a day."
Kasperowicz, who is in his first year as a head coach at Pine-Richland, shared the same feelings toward the adjustment.
"It's tough," he said. "We're shortened a whole day of preparation. Everything is bumped up a day. Anytime you change your routine it's a challenge, but we're definitely looking forward to the opportunity."
Pine-Richland has not beaten Seneca Valley since 2010 when the Rams earned a 37-29 decision. Last year, the Raiders topped Pine-Richland, 50-26.
"To us, this is just another football game against a quality opponent," Kasperowicz said. "We just have to show up and play a good game."
The Raiders enter this contest after a 28-3 conference route against Butler last week.
"We were a little ragged on both sides of the ball," Holl said. "We had two turnovers, but at the end of the day it was one of those games where neither team executed cleanly.
"We did some things very well. We played well on defense and kept them out of the end zone, which is encouraging."
First-year quarterback T.J. Holl, who is a son of the coach, rushed for two touchdowns against the Golden Tornado. Running back Mason Dehart also had scoring runs of 1 and 7 yards for the Raiders.
"Seneca Valley is a quality opponent, which is always well coached," Kasperowicz said. "They did a little of the same stuff as last year but with a different cast of characters. They lose quite a few guys to graduation, but all teams go through that.
"They won pretty handily over Butler, so we definitely have our hands full."
Pine-Richland also picked up its first conference win last week with a 49-18 decision against Fox Chapel.
"We came out and played well that first week," Kasperowicz said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but for the most part our guys rose up to the task. They played physical and for the most part did what they were coached to do.
"Any team I've ever been a part of the biggest work comes into place between Week 1 and Week 2, so we have a lot of work to do."
Running back Connor Slomka paced the Rams offense with 172 yards and five touchdowns against the Foxes. Quarterback Ben DiNucci completed 10 of 14 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown as Pine-Richland racked up 504 yards of total offense.
"They have some really good junior players," Holl said. "They have a very good quarterback who returned and a good running back. They have a nice group of athletes on both sides of the ball. They can run well and play very physical.
"Pine-Richland is very well coached. From our approach, we're planning to see strong play from both sides of the ball."
Both coaches, however, plan to make sure their respective team focuses more on executing plays instead of worrying about what is done by their opponent.
"We can't beat ourselves," Kasperowicz said. "We need to focus on us and make sure we do things correctly. We can't beat ourselves with stupid penalties and turning the ball over."
Holl agreed and hopes his team also remains focused.
"What we have to do is control what we can control and do well what we know we can do well," Holl said. "Some times that answer sounds like a typical yearbook-like answer, but if we play our very best, whoever our opponent is seems less important.
"We should be in the driver's seat and have a chance to win the game as long as we control what we do best."