Northwestern Press

Friday, June 5, 2020

Knights’ feature strong running game

Friday, September 18, 2015 by CHUCK HIXSONSpecial to the Press in Sports

Anyone who saw Pen Argyl in its season-opening 20-7 loss to Northern Lehigh, but didn’t see the Green Knights last week against Palmerton hasn’t really seen the true Green Knights.

Head coach Paul Reduzzi wasn’t happy seeing his team pick up just 102 yards of offense in week one, so he ditched the spread offense that seemed somewhat inept against Northern Lehigh in favor of a power offense against the Blue Bombers.

The change doubled the total yards of offense and saw the Knights put 20 points on the board in a 28-20 loss to Palmerton. The new offense also featured Jake Holden, who was playing at wide receiver in the season opener, moving to quarterback. First-week quarterback Logan Ruppert moved to running back as part of the new offensive set.

Even with the improved offensive output, Pen Argyl’s passing game is pretty much a nonfactor, at least it was against Palmerton.

Holden threw just three passes, with two being picked off and the other falling incomplete. In two games, Pen Argyl has thrown for just 38 yards. The big change is in the ground game, where it’s the Logan Show. Logan Sterner ran for 106 yards against Palmerton, while Logan Ruppert chipped in with 97 yards on the ground.

The fact that the Tigers may be able to key on the run seems to play right into their hands against the Green Knights. Surprisingly though, the vaunted Northwestern run defense has allowed 331 yards, an average of 4.7 yards per carry, this season.

“They showed the ability to run the ball last week,” said Tiger head coach Josh Snyder. “So we have to be aware of that and need to make smart plays to hold down the yards as best we can.

“We’ve faced a couple of pretty good backs in the two games, but we can do better.”

Notre Dame’s Mitch Daniel ran for 91 yards in the opener and Saivaughn Bass led Bangor with 90 yards last week against Northwestern.

Pen Argyl may be 0-2 coming into the matchup with Northwestern, but its not your typical 0-2 team. The Green Knights have lost 10 of their last 12 games, but the new offensive scheme could be a part of what pulls them out of their slump.

If they showed improvement after just one week with a completely different scheme, more practice time could result in patching up some of the holes.

For Northwestern, the game plan will be to continue to run the ball, but with quarterback Dylan Snyder showing greatly improved skills against Bangor, the passing game could start to become at least strong enough to keep other teams from keying on Harry Hall and the Northwestern ground game.

Hall has rushed for 345 yards in two games this season. Last week, he carried the ball just ten times in the 39-0 win over Bangor, giving him a respite after rushing 34 times against Notre Dame in week one.