MORRISTOWN - Teams in desperate need of a victory are set to lock horns at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Jets, who've lost 24 of their last 26 games, including last week's game at Indian Creek, will welcome Buckeye Local (3-3), which is coming off a 40-0 beatdown at the hands of Martins Ferry last week in Yorkville.
Both Mark Cisar and Phil Pest are looking at this week's game in very similar manners.
"This is a winnable game for us, and I am sure Buckeye Local is looking at it the same way," Cisar said.
You're exactly right, coach.
"We know Union Local," Pest said. "We know we have to take care of the ball, play better on pass defense and if we do that, it's a very winnable game for us.
"We have to fight for every win. We struggled last week against Martins Ferry and we were missing our fullback and our tailback. Union Local is a improving team and we have to be ready for a good ball club."
Fullback Devan Pyciak remains questionable this week while tailback Austin Marshall is expected to return.
In preparing for the Panthers, Cisar came up with the same keys for success as he's been stressing since Week one.
"We need to run the ball a little bit; we need to get first downs and we can't turn the ball over," Cisar said. "When you're playing as many young kids as we are, the recipe doesn't change much from week-to-week. We need to run more plays this week. I think we only ran 39 plays last week, which is just not enough."
While the Jets have leaned more to the run this season than probably in any of Cisar's years at the Jets' helm, Pest is preparing his team to defend the entire field.
"They're not one dimensional," Pest admitted. "And they have a number of players with talent. They still have the ability to stretch the field and they've got good size.
"They have multiple sets. They have a good quarterback who can run the ball and he runs it hard. They have improved every game. Coach Cisar was a quarterback and he knows how to spread the field. They are going to be a challenge for us."
When the Panthers have the ball, they're seeking more offensive balance. Having Marshall's 289 yards on 69 carries should help things.
Andy Stock is another impressive back at the Panthers' disposal. He's ran for 177 yards.
"I'd like to be two dimensional," Pest said. "If you look at their (Union Local's) scores you see they're improving. They stopped Martins Ferry for a half and could have been up at halftime. They handled their run pretty well.
"We definitely need to run the ball and they're going to give us a challenge."
Leading the attack is quarterback Nathan Kirk. He's thrown for 552 yards and six touchdowns, but he's been picked off 11 times.
Buckeye Local's leading receiver also caught the eye of Cisar on tape. That's Shane Duncan, who has made 14 catches for 371 yards.
"It's kind of late in the season to be changing things around, so we just have to get better at what we're doing," Pest said. "Union Local's using multiple defenses and can really attack you from anywhere on the field.
"We're struggling right now in the passing game. We didn't have a good game last week after finding some success the week before. We haven't abandoned the pass. We need to try to be balanced between the run and throw."
Pest sees a win here being important with the schedule that lies ahead.
"This is crucial game for us to get back above .500," he said. "The remaining three games are brutal against St. Clairsville, Indian Creek, and Harrison Central.
"We need to get our confidence back going into the last three."