Tigers prepare for Green Knights
Northwestern coach Josh Snyder never allows his players to look past an opponent. Even last week after a 37-7 win over Wilson (0-4), Snyder dubbed their game against Pen Argyl (2-2) as their biggest game of the season, simply because it was the next game on the schedule.
“I was afraid of [Wilson] coming into this game,” said Snyder after last week’s win over the Warriors. “Their record might not have shown it, but they can be tough and if you don’t play well against them, they can surprise you. Pen Argyl has that same ability to beat you if you don’t come in prepared.”
The combined record of Pen Argyl’s opponents this season is 6-10. Take Saucon Valley, who trashed the Green Knights 42-7 in week two, out of their schedule and their opponets have just a 2-10 record. Even with those numbers, Snyder has stressed to his players that Pen Argyl (2-2) can’t be overlooked just because Saucon Valley (4-0) looms large in week six.
“You always look at the next game as the biggest game on your schedule,” said Snyder. “I never want my players to be looking past the next opponent at any point, because that’s when you get into trouble.
“We played much better against Wilson, but we’ve still had to push our guys because our first three games weren’t what we expected from them and unfortunately, sometimes it takes a loss for a team to see just how they can get hurt by their own mistakes.”
Snyder believes that freshman quarterback Deven Bollinger is right on schedule with his development and he continues to give him more and more responsibilities each week. Last week, Bollinger threw for four touchdowns, tying a school record for touchdown passes in a game. He completed 12-of-21 passes for 160 yards.
“We’re spoon-feeding him right now, but each week he shows us that he can handle a little more, so we keep giving it to him,” said Snyder. “We’ve already put in a lot more plays than we had at the beginning of the season and we will probably add to that this week.”
Pen Argyl’s defense had a tough outing last week against Palmerton, who picked up 399 yards of total offense and downed Pen Argyl 40-6. They allowed quarterback Garrett Pershy to have a career-day, throwing four touchdowns on 257 yards passing. They also gave up touchdowns on the ground, in the air and on a kick-off return. As for a homefield advantage, the Green Knights are 0-2 at home this season.
“We’re at a point where we’re still worrying more about what we need to do to win than what we have to do against specific teams,” Snyder said. “We have to play our game, be physical, be smart and just play a good game. Right now, that’s our focus.”
A lot went right against Wilson, with the Tigers getting flagged just three times after struggling with penalties through their first three games. They also got off to a fast start, something which they hadn’t been doing, and were much tougher defensively against the Warriors than they’ve shown this season.
“We want our players to swarm to the ball and we weren’t doing that early in the season,” said Snyder. “We were much better against Wilson, but if we don’t keep it up, in the end, it’s not going to do us any good. I think our guys are getting it that in some ways, we’re lucky to be 3-1, because we did a lot wrong. They’re working very hard, guys are starting to get what they’re supposed to do and we’re playing more of a team game than just relying on the other guy to make a play.”