A tight-knit, blue-collar, Irish-Catholic family from Tamaqua will take center stage Friday night when Lehighton visits Pocono Mountain West in Swiftwater.
It's not just a Mountain Valley Conference game; it's likely the last of the McCarroll Bowl games.
For the second straight year, Tom McCarroll will lead his Indians against uncle Jim McCarroll's Panthers.
The game has playoff implications for Lehighton, which is coming in at 4-4 and needs to win to qualify for the District 11 3A tournament.
Pocono Mountain West enters at 3-5 and with a remote shot at an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Regardless of the records, the game figures to be a lot of fun for the McCarroll family, who will have 30 to 40 people at the game and will have a lot to talk about at a postgame gathering at Jim's home.
It figures to be a special night because it is likely the last time the two will go against each other, because Lehighton is leaving the Mountain Valley Conference after this season for the Anthracite League in football.
"We're looking forward to this last game," Jim McCarroll said. "I talk a lot to Tommy and we have that common bond as being head coaches in the same league. We're only about five or six years apart and we spent a lot of time together growing up. We're very close. This is great that we have this game to bring us all together. Win or lose, the whole family will be there supporting the both of us."
The family was brought together in a sad way just a few weeks ago when Jim's sister and Tom's aunt Sharon died from a heart attack at the age of 59.
She attended last year's game at Lehighton, which came down to a last-second field goal. The attempt missed and Pocono West prevailed 16-14.
"It was funny last year because everybody from the family stood in the middle by the scoreboard at Lehighton because nobody wanted to take sides," Jim McCarroll said. "It was pretty funny when you watched the film. Nobody made a move on the last play. They didn't cheer because they didn't know who to cheer for."
Lehighton, in particular, has been the source of cheers this season because the Indians have already won one more game than they won in 2012.
"It's an old-fashioned Lehighton squad," Jim McCarroll said. "I played [for Marian Catholic] against Lehighton a lot and they've got tough kids. It's going to be a smash-mouth type of game. It's not going to be fancy. It's going to be, 'Here we come, try and stop us,' and that's how it was last year."
Jim would expect nothing less than a hard-nosed team coached by his nephew.
Jim played at Bloomsburg and came back to Marian and coached Tom for a year with the Colts before going on to become, in 2002, the first and only coach Pocono Mountain West has ever had.
Tom McCarroll was an All-American safety at Colgate, and Jim proudly says, "Remember, he blew out both of his knees and had two major surgeries and still had a phenomenal collegiate career."
Both McCarrolls respect the job that each other does. But the mutual admiration society will adjourn once the ball goes up in the air.
"The family story certainly won't be at the forefront once the game begins," Tom said. "That's the way it was last year. Our preparation is strictly on the Xs and Os and what they're bringing to the table. It's not about the coaching staffs. My staff has put a lot of time in this week trying to figure them out schematically. That's the focus. What happens afterward is all secondary stuff."
Tom McCarroll wants this win not for himself and family pride, but for his kids who have worked hard to turn around the program and make a statement in their final season in the MVC.
"This is a great opportunity for these kids as a whole," Tom said. "Lehighton hasn't been in the playoffs for a while. No kid on this team has played playoff football. So, as coaches, we're trying to prepare them for what that might entail and how to stay focused all the way through."
For Lehighton even to be talking about playoffs as Halloween approaches is a big deal.
"It's a cliche you hear all the time, but we hold our destiny in our own hands," Tom said. "If we take care of our business in these last two games [Jim Thorpe remains on the schedule], we're going to be in the playoffs. If we win out, we'll either be in the Eastern Conference or districts, and either is a good scenario for the kids of Lehighton football."
Tom knows it won't be easy.
"I know it's my uncle, but I really do think Jim does a great job of coaching at West," Tom said. "It's a challenge to coach at some of the schools in that area because they have a lot of transient students. He has established a pretty solid program, and Jim puts that team in position to make plays and be successful."
Either way, it figures to be a night to remember.
"My uncle and my father are one of 10 kids," Tom said. "We have a big Irish-Catholic family and we're very close-knit. We grew up with a blue-collar mentality, and that's where I'd like to think I got my work ethic. The McCarrolls are the coal region at its finest."