Ridley has managed a huge turnaround after losing its first four games of the season. The team reached its lowest point when it was handed a 63-21 defeat by Radnor on Sept. 14.

"We were really struggling," Ridley coach Dave Wood said. "We've since gotten a lot better in all facets of the game."

The improved Green Raiders have won their last five Central League contests by a combined score of 202-80, and are in position to earn a berth in the 16-team PIAA District 1 Class 6A tournament.

Ridley (5-4) visits Haverford High (8-1) in a Central League contest at 7 p.m. Friday at A.G. Cornog Stadium.

The Green Raiders are No. 17 in the playoff-point rankings, with an average of 115.56 points.

According to district-playoff projectionist Kyle Berger, Ridley would clinch a berth in the tourney with a victory over the Fords.

"It gives our kids extra motivation to win the game, which is a good thing," said Wood, whose Raiders aim to reverse last season's 13-7 setback to Haverford.

If Ridley loses to the Fords, it's projected that Pennridge (4-5, No. 18 seed, 115.56 average) and host Central Bucks East (5-4, No. 16, 120) would battle for the final playoff spot at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Green Raiders' midline option offense is spurred by 5-foot-10, 160-pound quarterback Jack Bakey and running backs Elijah Yakpasuo, Dylan Staley, and Hassan Chandler.

The surge up front is led by linemen Thomas Bramwell (6-5, 300), Vaughn Kertis (5-11, 230), and Matt Shiber (6-2, 205).

Ridley's 4-3 defense features end Mike McDonnell, tackle Myles Turner, linebacker Bryce Regan, cornerbacks Yakpasuo and Chandler, and safeties Jack Liberio and Evan Bosak.

Haverford is currently the No. 7 seed, with an average of 147.78, and looking to nail down a first-round home playoff game.

The Fords' spread offense is ignited by dual-threat QB Jake Ruane, running back Chase Wint, multipurpose threat Trey Blair, and wide receivers Shane Mosley and Kevin DePrince.

Big challenge

Northeast, with a break before it begins Public League playoff action, hosts juggernaut St. Frances Academy of Baltimore at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

St. Frances, which is 5-0 and has outscored foes by 266-18, is ranked No. 7 in the country in USA Today's most recent top 25.

"We didn't want to be idle this weekend, and we think this will be a good barometer to see how good we are," Gormley said. "I know our kids will come in and play hard."

The Vikings (5-2) are ignited on offense by QB Charles Britt and halfbacks Marlon White, William Lawrence, and Shuayb "Shoes" Brinkley.

On Aug. 24 at the University of Maryland, St. Frances held a 13-7 lead on St. Joseph's Prep in the third quarter when the contest was halted by lightning.

Pick Six

Friday

Ridley (5-4) at No. 11 Haverford High (8-1), 7 p.m. The Fords' Jake Ruane has thrown for 1,562 yards and 15 TDs. Pick: Haverford, 23-14.

No. 15 Academy Park (8-1) at No. 22 Penn Wood (8-1), 7 p.m. The Del-Val League crown is on the line at Kerr Field in Yeadon. Pick: Penn Wood, 27-26.

Pennsbury (5-4) at No. 17 Neshaminy (6-3), 7 p.m. Pennsbury has a 40-39-7 advantage in a series known as the Bucks County Brawl. Pick: Neshaminy, 20-13.

No. 12 Perkiomen Valley (7-2) at No. 14 Pottsgrove (9-0), 7 p.m. The Vikings and Falcons clash for top Pioneer Athletic Conference honors. Pick: Perkiomen Valley, 36-28.

Saturday

Pennridge (4-5) at C.B. East (5-4), 1 p.m. The Rams' Zak Kantor and Patriots' Evan O'Donnell are both solid QBs. Pick: C.B. East, 14-13.

Cardinal O'Hara (6-2) at No. 10 Conwell-Egan (9-0), at Harry S Truman, 7 p.m. O'Hara is focused on slowing 1,372-yard rusher Patrick Garwo. Pick: Conwell-Egan, 30-14.