Northwestern Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY BOB FORD The Tigers' Cam Richardson stiff arms a Southern Lehigh defender. PRESS PHOTO BY BOB FORD The Tigers' Cam Richardson stiff arms a Southern Lehigh defender.

Football team looks for bounce-back game

Thursday, October 16, 2014 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in HS Sports

After suffering their first loss of the season and giving up almost as many points to Southern Lehigh as they did in their first six games, the Northwestern Tigers need a bounce-back game against Palmerton to keep their fight for a Colonial League championship alive. Palmerton (5-2) will provide another challenge for the Tigers, but that may be just what the team needs to help it forget last week's game.

"We had a pretty intense review of the game film," said Emmaus head coach Josh Snyder. "We challenged our guys to respond and I think they will. We just did a lot of little things wrong that became big things last week and we can't afford to do that against teams."

One of the things that Southern Lehigh was able to take advantage of was fumbles. The Tigers lost two fumbles in the game and one of them was returned for a touchdown, while the other started a Spartan drive that led to a touchdown. On the season, Northwestern has coughed up the ball 14 times, while having caused seven fumbles. Of the 14 times that the Tigers have put the ball on the turf, their opponent has recovered the ball five times.

"We knew coming into the game that protecting the ball would be a big part of the game and that we couldn't give them a lot of opportunities and we didn't do well in that regard," Snyder said. "We have to do the same thing this week, protect the football and not make mistakes that are going to come back to hurt us."

Palmerton opened the season with three straight wins before suffering a 22-21 loss to Palisades. Their only other loss came to Southern Lehigh when the Spartans trounced them 68-21 two weeks ago. Like Southern Lehigh, Palmerton has an offense that is capable of putting a good amount of points on the board and have topped the 40-point plateau three times this season, including in their 44-7 win over Catasauqua last week.

"They're a tough team and have a lot of nice athletes, who move around a lot," Snyder said. "They'll occasionally go no-huddle and show you a lot of different sets.

"Last week against Catasauqua, they went with a double tight-end set and it seemed to help their ground game, so we have to be aware of that. They also spread the ball around a lot, so you can't key on anyone in particular."

One key could be that Northwestern will be without Chris Trumbauer, who suffered a concussion against Southern Lehigh. Trumbauer's loss on both the offensive and defensive lines is a blow to Northwestern and provides them with a challenge to replace him. Defensively, the Tigers will rotate players to attempt to fill the gap, while sophomore Jacob Ruch will see the majority of playing time offensively. Ruch filled in offensively last week and impressed the coaches with how he played.

"Losing Chris is a big blow to us," said Snyder. "We have confidence in our other guys and we particularly liked what we saw from Ruch last week, but Trumbauer is tough to replace. Being a 2A team, we're generally not very deep, so it won't be easy.

"We do have a lot of guys who are hungry and looking to step up, so that should help us and we're hoping that somebody really grabs a hold of the opportunity."