Rasaan Stewart navigates opposing defenses like he has some sort of gridiron GPS installed in his helmet.
Jarred Jones, likewise, treats open space the way a sports car treats the open road.
Stewart, Perkiomen Valley's scintillating senior quarterback, and Jones, Spring-Ford's formidable feature back, will each be in the spotlight tonight as the Vikings (2-0) and Rams (1-1) meet in an early-season Pioneer Athletic Conference showdown at Coach McNelly Stadium.
In a battle of teams with plenty of star power and potent skill players, Stewart and Jones are the most dangerous weapons in the offensive arsenals of coaches Scott Reed of Perkiomen Valley and Chad Brubaker of Spring-Ford.
The 6-foot-1, 176-pound Stewart — the reigning All-Area Player of the Year — has thrown for 297 yards and six touchdowns while also rushing for 168 yards and another score. In last week's 44-7 victory over Methacton, he went 14-for-18 through the air and also broke off a 58-yard TD run off now-you-see-him, now-you-don't quarterback draw.
"Everything goes through him,' Brubaker said of Stewart. "Even though they have other dynamic players, we have to be aware of anything he can do on every play. The frustrating part about trying to defend him is that you can do everything right and he'll still make a play.'
Jones, like Stewart, has been making plenty of big plays in his three years as a starter for the Rams.
After bursting on the scene as a sophomore by rushing for 1,455 yards and 16 touchdowns to help Spring-Ford win the PAC-10 title, Jones ran for 980 yards and 10 TDs last year despite missing six games due to a broken wrist.
After not playing in this year's season-opening 37-21 defeat at Whitehall, the 5-11, 195-pound Jones returned with a vengeance in last week's 34-0 victory over Southern (Philadelphia), rushing for 179 yards and three TDs on 15 carries.
Reed is all too familiar with the big-play ability of Jones, who ran for 208 yards and one touchdown while also ripping off a kickoff return TD and another long kickoff return to set up another score as the Rams topped the Vikings 42-28 in last year's regular season finale, dashing their District 1-AAAA playoff hopes in the process.
"Ultimately, he was the difference,' Reed said.
While Stewart and Jones are each difference-makers, both the Vikings and Rams have plenty of other guys whose performance will have a say in the outcome.
Perkiomen Valley's no-huddle offense, which is averaging 38.5 points and 373 yards per game through two weeks, has also gotten big efforts from the senior trio of fullback Mark Bonomo (161 yards, two TDs), slotback Dakota Clanagan (seven catches, 124 yards, three TDs) and wide receiver Clay Domine (five catches, 48 yards, two TDs).
While PV's potent offense hasn't really been a surprise, the effort of the Vikings' defense has definitely opened some eyes thus far.
With cornerback Liam Grande intercepting two passes, the Vikings forced five turnovers in a 33-0 victory over Plymouth-Whitemarsh in Week 1. Then last week, senior linebacker Danny Light spearheaded another dominant effort that allowed just 143 total yards against Methacton.
"They really pursue well,' Brubaker said. "You see a lot of orange around the ball.'
For his part, Reed would love to see that continue this week against a Rams offense that doesn't have a shortage of playmakers.
Senior Tate Carter ran for 107 yards and two scores in Week 1, then caught four balls for 44 yards last week. Wideout Gary Hopkins scored two touchdowns last week, including a 48-yarder from freshman quarterback Stone Scarcelle, who was making his first start.
Brubaker indicated that Scarcelle would get the starting nod again tonight, but also said he expects to use "multiple' quarterbacks.
Whoever lines up behind center for the Rams, Reed said the Vikings will need to be ready.
"This week, more than any, it's going to be about getting hats to the football,' he said. "If you give Jones or Carter any space at all, they'll make you look bad. Your best bet is strength in numbers, and if we can get a bunch of people to the football, it gives us a better chance.
"That's the key any week. Not because there's a freshman out there. We're concerned about their veterans, guys who have been in battles the last three years. They have some guys that have been around the block and won a lot of football games.'
That goes for the other side of the ball as well, where defensive ends Robby Varner and Mason Romano have been a couple of maestros of mayhem.
The 6-1, 220-pound Varner has a team-high 21 tackles — including four for losses and two sacks — while the 6-foot, 210-pound Romano has 16 tackles and two sacks.
"Last year I thought that was one of the best defensive lines I've ever coached against,' Reed said. "And you've got 50 percent of them back. They'll be two of the best defensive ends we've played so far. It's going to be a test.'
As it will for the Rams.
"Our goal is to try and not have to defend him as much as possible,' Brubaker said of Stewart. "We certainly want to do our best to keep him off the field. And when he is on the field, it's really critical for our kids to account for him on every play. He's going to make plays, we just need to try to limit those plays.'
And how the Rams and Vikings can limit the other side from breaking the big one could go a long way in who comes away with the ' W' tonight.
DISTRICT 1 DOINGS
Coatesville (2-0), ranked first in the state by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and second in the state in Class AAAA by Pennsylvania Football News, plays host to Central Dauphin East (2-0) tonight. ... Down in the Chest-Mont, West Chester East visits Bayard Rustin in a battle of teams off to 2-0 starts. ... Central Bucks West running back Marvin Todd, a transfer from Harry S. Truman, ran for 210 yards and two scores in Friday's 19-12 win over William Tennent.
AROUND THE STATE
Cumberland Valley (2-0), an honorable mention pick in the PFN Class AAAA poll, visits Bishop McDevitt (2-0), the top-ranked squad in Class AAA in a marquee District 3 battle tonight. ... South Allegheny's Audra Lewis, a senior kicker who also performs as a majorette during halftime, booted home a 31-yard field goal in a 31-3 Week 1 loss to Seton La Salle. ... Penn Hills quarterback Billy Kisner has already racked up two 200-plus rushing efforts this year and has run for 420 yards overall.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.