When the Hartley and DeSales high school football teams met two years ago, a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes by the typically run-oriented Stallions helped them earn a 38-27 victory.
In another tight matchup a year ago, DeSales took advantage of a pair of fumbles, including one that led to its final touchdown, in a 31-24 win.
Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins expects this year's matchup Friday, Oct. 13, at Hartley to again come down to a few key plays.
The Hawks, who now are part of the same CCL as DeSales, are 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the league, while the Stallions are 5-2 and 1-0. The contest ultimately could decide the CCL championship.
DeSales has won two games in a row and Hartley has posted six consecutive victories, as both have moved into playoff contention in Division III, Region 11.
Hartley beat the Stallions 21-14 in 2014 in the first matchup between the programs since 1987, but DeSales leads the all-time series 18-9-2.
"The last three years, all three could have gone either way," Wiggins said. "Hartley is really good at getting yardage and is not afraid to try something. Both teams have some big-play potential, but we're both good at running the ball. They're quick and scrappy. A handful of plays in the game are going to be the difference."
Both teams are coming off convincing wins.
Hartley had 421 yards of offense in a 42-10 win over Ready on Oct. 6 at DeSales.
Elijah Carter rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and had an interception and Alexander Blackmon rushed for three scores to lead the Hawks to their eighth consecutive victory over the Silver Knights.
Quarterback Anthony Carfagna had passed for 415 yards and three touchdowns through six games, while Blackmon, Carter and Ben Dankow each has rushed for more than 400 yards on the season.
DeSales trailed host Trenton Edgewood 3-0 at halftime Oct. 6 but dominated the second half en route to a 28-3 win over the Cougars, who fell to 5-2. Edgewood was a playoff team a year ago.
Quarterback Cole Silvestri passed for 121 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown pass to Carter Hilleary, and rushed for 32 yards. Brian Asamoah rushed for 76 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown that gave the Stallions a 21-3 lead.
Joey Velazquez rushed for two scores as well and has eight touchdowns on the season, with seven coming on the ground.
On the season, Asamoah has rushed for more than 600 yards and eight touchdowns.
DeSales has gotten a boost the last two weeks from the addition of two-way lineman Rodas Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound transfer from Olentangy who sat out the first five games because of OHSAA rules.
"They're bigger than us with Rodas Johnson and the kid who's (committed) to Colorado State (senior two-way lineman Brandon Derrow)," Hawks coach Brad Burchfield said. "It's going to be a battle. They'll be a tough matchup for us."