Tigers rough up Catty in finale
The Northwestern offense certainly had a different look last Friday than in any other game this season. Yes, Harry Hall still led the team in carries and rushing yards, but his six carries and 46 yards were a far cry from the 25 to 40 carries and near 200 yard performances that he’s used to.
The Tigers had six different receivers catch passes, used three different quarterbacks and had five different players get into the end zone. Fortunately, the result was much the same as Northwestern downed Catasauqua (1-9) 39-14 on senior night at Tiger Stadium.
“It was kind of a weird game,” said Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder. “But we wanted to get some of our unsung seniors who had worked hard but don’t always get the spotlight into the game. We even got one of our lineman [Brandon Schrader] a touchdown tonight.”
With Northwestern looking at a first-and-goal from just inside the 10-yard line, Schrader took a handoff from Dylan Snyder and scampered to the one-yard line. Schrader got the call on the next play and finished off the drive with a one-yard plunge to put the Tigers up 14-0 at the time. The carries were the first two of the season for the 5-10, 217-pound lineman.
The win locked up the second-seed for Northwestern in the four-team District 11 Class AA playoffs, which begin Friday night with the Tigers hosting Salisbury. Northwestern had pretty much assured themselves of the second spot, which allowed coach Josh Snyder to do things a little differently against Catasauqua.
“Obviously, we have to think about next week and getting our guys a little rest and doing what we can to ensure that they’re all healthy and ready to go,” said Snyder.
As the final home game of the season, seniors got plenty of playing time, including Joe Colucci, who got four carries after having just seven on the season coming into the game. In addition to Schrader’s two carries, 5-11, 236-pound lineman Matt Shields also got his first two carries and gained 10 yards.
“It was kind of fun tonight because we were pretty relaxed coming in and we put in a new offensive package to mix things up a little,” said Joe Colucci, whose brother Anthony Colucci, a freshman, also got into the action with two carries and two catches, all the first of the season for him, and a total of 24 yards.
Senior night was also big for kicker Brandon Miller, who not only hit a 36-yard field goal, but also connected with Tyler Foster on a pass to complete a two-point conversion after a bad snap. Perhaps the most impressive kick was on a kick off from the 25 after Northwestern was assessed a 15-yard penalty. Miller booted the kick off into the end zone for a touchback, covering over 75 yards.
Finishing 8-2 after a lackluster performance in week one, when Northwestern fell to Notre Dame of Green Pond 31-19, was a nice way to bounce back for the Tigers, who now get a chance to repeat as District 11 champions. The Crusaders will be the top seed in districts, meaning that if both Notre Dame and Northwestern win this week, they would play for the district title next weekend.
“We want that rematch,” said Colucci. “We didn’t play well in that first game, but we know we can beat them and we will win if we get the chance to face them again. We all really hope that it happens.”