Green Knights visit New Tripoli Friday
The bus ride home from Wilson Area High School must have been enjoyable for the Northwestern football team last Saturday. After a tough 0-3 start to the season, the Tigers traveled to Wilson and after a hard-fought game against the Warriors, returned home with a 29-26 win, allowing the team to breath a lot easier.
“I think everybody, from the players and the coaches, the parents, even the band felt a lot better after that game,” said coach Josh Snyder. “It really did ease things a little, because we needed that one.”
Part of the difference was that Northwestern got five players back who had all missed time, including Ryan Haas, who was out with a collarbone injury. The result was a number of puzzle pieces fitting back into place for Northwestern and that continues this week with the return of Tyler Lobach from an injury.
Northwestern went through its usual Monday film review of the upcoming opponent, in this case, Pen Argyl, but Snyder wasn’t really looking to stress anything special about the Green Knights, who come into the game at 0-4 on the season. He prefers to keep looking at what his team can do better.
“We’ve really stressed doing things the right way,” Snyder said. “We’ve added a lot of new plays with players coming back and we’ve sort of had to get reacclimated to having some of these guys out there. So we told the guys to worry more about what they have to do than about anything specific that Pen Argyl might do.”
That shouldn’t be interpreted as Snyder taking a win for granted on homecoming night against Pen Argyl. For now, he just believes that there’s a lot to work on to improve their own game.
“They were hit pretty hard by graduation, but they still have a couple of special players that you have to be aware of, so we’ve gone over that,” said Snyder. “We just really feel that if we execute what we want to do and play hard, the wins will start to come for us and that’s the focus, at least for right now.”
Getting players back on the field allowed familiarity and it showed, especially on offense for Northwestern. Sophomore quarterback Deven Bollinger went 20-for-29 in passing for 232 yards and three touchdowns. The 20 completions were a school record and Phil Dangello (10 receptions) and Caleb Clymer (eight receptions) were the favored receivers. Dangello’s 10 catches also set a school record.
The biggest amount of work remains on defense. The Tigers allowed Wilson to accumulate 405 yards of total offense.
“The offensive and defensive lines are starting to gel, but we still have a lot of work to do defensively,” said Snyder. “We’ve got to tackle better and execute better defensively, but that will come around. Our practice on Tuesday was probably the best we’ve had all year because guys were loose and were excited about turning things around.”
Pen Argyl lost to Catasauqua 17-14 in week three, but their other three losses have been by 35, 43 and 32 points this season.