The first three weeks of the football season have been special in their own way, but this week is more extraordinary because of the amount of high-profile matchups featuring area teams.

Here’s a look at this week’s spectacular slate of games.

East Noble at DeKalb

Radio: WAWK (95.5 FM, Kendallville, and 94.3 FM, Auburn).

Video: Your Community Network via Auburn Essential Services (Stream on WATCH YCN at AuburnEssentialServices.net)

Where: Cecil E. Young Field, Waterloo.

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Records: Class 4A No. 8 East Noble 3-0 overall, 1-0 Northeast 8, Class 4A No. 13 DeKalb 3-0, 1-0 NE8.

Last meeting: The Knights edged the Barons 33-32 in the sectional opener last season.

Last week: East Noble pulled away from Huntington North 36-20, and DeKalb scored 29 unanswered points to defeat New Haven 29-14.

Players to watch: East Noble — Sr. QB Bailey Parker, Jr. RB Justin Marcellus, Sr. DL Trey Ritchie, Jr. LB Jacob VanGorder, Sr. WR-DB Hayden Jones, So. DB Rowan Zolman. DeKalb — Sr. QB Evan Eshbach, Sr. RB-LB Landon Miller, Jr. RB Tanner Jack, Sr. OL-DL Tylar Pomeroy.

Outlook: This one carries a little more weight than in years past. The Barons are off to their best start since 2002, and whichever team comes out victorious will be one of teams to beat in the Northeast 8.

Both teams can hurt you through the air and on the ground. Both are in the top three in the Northeast 8 in yards per game, passing yards per game and scoring. But DeKalb has the edge defensively. The Barons have allowed almost 100 yards less per game than the Knights.

East Noble’s defense will be prepared for whatever is thrown at them on Friday after facing three different offenses in the first three weeks, including a spread offense from Plymouth, the option from Mishawaka and the wing-T from Huntington North. DeKalb has turned into a power running team in the last two seasons, but the throwing ability of Eshbach makes them a threat through the air as well.

On offense, the Knights can’t afford to make mistakes (turnovers and penalties) they made last week. When the possession doesn’t end in a turnover or punt, East Noble’s offense has been very explosive with big plays on the ground and in the passing game. With his full complement of weapons (Jones is expected to return after missing last week), Parker should be able to have success against DeKalb’s secondary.

Angola at West Noble

Radio: WLKI (100.3 FM, Angola).

Video: Online at Hometown Media on Facebook.

Where: Charger Field, Ligonier.

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Records: West Noble 3-0, Angola 0-3.

Last meeting: The Hornets defeated the Chargers 21-7 last season.

Last week: Angola lost to Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s 40-3, while West Noble won at Eastside, 38-19.

Players to watch: West Noble — West Noble — Sr. RB-LB Brandon Pruitt, Sr. QB-DB Kyle Mawhorter, Sr. RB-DB Josh Gross, Jr. OL-DL Jeramyah James, So. OL-DL Zayne Patrick, Sr. RB-LB Raven Slone. Angola — Sr. SS-RB Ryan Brandt, Sr. DB Chase Soulliere, Sr. DB-RB Antonio Luevanos, Sr. DL Kyle Trick, Jr. QB Tucker Hasselman.

Outlook: The Chargers and the Hornets are the presumed two favorites in the NECC Big School Division, so this one feels big. West Noble hasn’t beaten Angola since 2014 and has never gotten off to a 4-0 start under coach Monte Mawhorter.

While the Hornets are 0-3, they’ve faced some stiff competition early on. According to the Sagarin Ratings, Angola ranked 70th (out of 322 teams) in strength of schedule, which is the toughest in the NECC. For comparison, West Noble is ranked 200th.

The Chargers will try and follow what the three previous Angola opponents have done and had success with, running the ball. And West Noble has the backs to do it. Pruitt and Gross both ran the ball well against Eastside, and will need to match that production to give their team at chance this week.

Eastside at Churubusco

Where: Churubusco High School.

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Records: Eastside 1-2, Class 1A No. 5 Churubusco 3-0.

Last meeting: Eagles won 35-11 in Butler on Sept. 7, 2018.

Last week: Blazers lost at home to West Noble 38-19 while the Eagles won at Garrett 40-22.

Players to watch: Eastside — So. QB Laban Davis, Jr. RB Matt Firestine, Sr. LB Carson Evers, Jr. WR-S Lane Burns, Sr. OL-DL Chase Leeper, Sr. OL-LB Troy Kessler. Churubusco — Sr. RB-LB Jake Fulk, Sr., RB-CB Gage Kelly, Sr., DT-OG Reese Wicker, So. LB Seth Abel.

Outlook: This appears to be the game of the season in the NECC Small School division. The Blazers appear to be the biggest challenge to Churubusco while Central Noble, Fremont and Prairie Heights are not that advanced yet.

Eastside was a young team that saw things go both ways last season, and is a year older in 2019 while plugging in new guys in prime positions. That said, another big challenge is in store for Blazers, and it’s their biggest road challenge of the season to date.

Churubusco is growing in its diversity on offense with various weapons to call upon. And Kelly is becoming as much of a problem as Fulk is for opposing defenses. The Eagles are averaging 39.3 points per game, and that is tough for opposing offenses to keep up with as they go against a regularly stout Churubusco defense under the direction of defensive coordinator Zach Dock.

Garrett at Lakeland

Radio: Online at wawk.com.

Where: Lakeland High School, LaGrange.

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Records: Garrett 1-2, Lakeland 1-2.

Last meeting: Lakers won 27-16 at Garrett on Sept. 7, 2018.

Last week: The Railroaders lost 40-22 at home to Churubusco while the Lakers prevailed 20-6 at Prairie Heights.

Players to watch: Garrett — Jr. LB-RB Seth VanWagner, Sr., LB-RB Clayton Fielden, Sr. QB Levi Follett. Lakeland — Sr. RB-LB Camryn Holbrook, Jr. QB-DB Colton Isaacs, Sr. DT-OT Jayce Riegling, Jr. DT-OL Miguel Delapaz, Sr. WR-CB Tristin Ritchie, So. DB Mark Burlew.

Outlook: The other NECC Big School division opener, but it has intrigue all its own.

The Lakers handled Prairie Heights up front on Friday while the Railroaders were pretty much handled by Churubusco. Lakeland and Garrett will be a fairly even matchup.

The Railroaders adjusted without injured feature running back Kolin Cope this past Friday. Fielden rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Robert Koskie ran for a score and saw significant playing time for a second straight game.

Garrett has gone back to its roots with being more committed to the run and being strong in the trenches. Lakeland is probably more comfortable with who it is than it was a couple weeks ago and is showing it by making plays more and more over the last two weeks.

Watch for the play up front and who makes fewer mistakes. That will probably determine the winner of this game.

Prairie Heights at Central Noble

Radio: WTHD (105.5 FM, LaGrange), online at wawk.com.

Where: Cougar Field, Albion.

When: 7 p.m., Friday.

Records: Prairie Heights 1-2, Central Noble 0-3.

Last meeting: The Cougars blanked the Panthers 35-0 last season.

Last week: Heights lost the Milk Can game against Lakeland 20-6, and Central Noble was shut out 8-0 in overtime at Fairfield.

Players to watch: Prairie Heights — Sr. QB-DB Ethan Hoover, Jr. WR-DB Quintin Ross, Jr. RB-LB Zach Wiseman, So. RB-DB Sam Levitz. Central Noble — Sr. RB Kyle Bollinger, Jr. QB Sawyer Yoder, So. RB Will Hoover, So. RB- DB Trey Hearld.

Outlook: The Cougars haven’t loss to the Panthers since 2013, and this is one of Prairie Heights’ best chances to end the streak. It could turn into a defensive struggle with both teams still trying to find their groove early on. Friday’s game could come down to which team breaks off a big play first.

Central Noble’s struggles on offense have followed them into Week 4. It still only has one offensive touchdown. The offense did move the ball against Fairfield last week, but it continually shot itself in the foot with penalties.

The Panthers’ have leaned on Hoover for a lot of their production on offense. The senior quarterback averages 196.7 total yards per game and has five touchdowns.

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