There's a lot at stake on Friday night. Van Buren can start 2-0 for the first time since 2014. Northside hasn't opened 3-0 since that same year.
"They're another well respected team that's on our schedule," Pointers head coach Casey Dick said. "So we have to approach each team that we have on our schedule as well respected and get in there and know what they're gonna do on both sides of the ball and have a plan and execute it."
"Van Buren is much improved, they're doing a good job," said Mike Falleur, Northside's head coach. "They're very explosive on offense so we'll have to play good defense. Hopefully we'll do that and continue to improve offensively and not make mistakes."
Northside started off the season with a 69-0 win over Heritage and followed it with a 31-16 triumph over defending 6A champion Greenwood. Now the Grizzles hit the road for the first time, with a defense that's allowed just 16 points in two weeks.
"They're a well coached, fly around defense with a bunch of athletes over there that do some good things," said Dick. "We'll have to play good on both sides of the ball. We'll have to tackle well, we'll have to pursue the football."
In Dick's head coaching debut, the Pointers came out of the gates firing en route to a 48-33 win at Alma. Van Buren reclaimed the Battle of the Bone trophy for the first time since 2010 and snapped a 14 game losing streak.
"They like to throw it and they like to throw it quick and get it out there," noted Falleur. "They've got a big 6-5 receiver [Logan Humphreys] that they like to get the ball to."
"They're real talented," Grizzly defensive coordinator Felix Curry agreed. "Both of the quarterbacks [Christian Morrow and Gary Phillips] are great, of course you have the tall receiver that you have to worry about. And then the running back, he's a hard scrappy runner, so we got our work cut out."
Besides the chance of rain, Dick is excited for Van Buren's home opener after nine days of rest.
"Focus on yourselves for a couple days and then obviously go and kind of watch your next opponent on Friday."
The last time Van Buren beat Northside was 2004. Since that 14-7 decision, the Grizzlies have won eight games in a row and scored over 41 points in the past four contests.