Tigers make it two in a row
Northwestern’s offense came into week five averaging just over 175 yards per game of total offense, the lowest in the Colonial League. For the second week in a row though, the offense was productive, with Deven Bollinger crossing the 200-yard mark in passing for the second straight week.
That and a defense that seems to be finding its groove helped lead the Tigers (2-3) to a 43-14 win over Pen Argyl (0-5) on Homecoming Night at Tiger Stadium.
Bollinger spread the ball around as he connected on 9-of-17 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, all to different receivers. Caleb Clymer, Ryan Haas and Tyler Lobach all caught touchdown passes and all were for more than 30 yards.
“Last week we used the short passing game and were getting the ball out quick,” said coach Josh Snyder. “They had a game plan where they were loading the box and playing man coverage and pressing a little bit and our first pass attempt was picked off. Then we went in taking some shots and we missed two shots early in the first half and it took them out of that coverage. It’s nice to see our guys making some explosive plays, instead of 15-play, 60-yard drives we got some quick ones.”
The defense held Pen Argyl to just 14 points and got in on the scoring when Lobach picked off a pass from Anderson Dear and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with 2:40 to play in the first half. Phil Dangello also pulled in an interception and returned it 41 yards to the Pen Argyl four-yard line.
“[Northwestern assistant coach Greg Mitchell] has been coaching me up all week on the route that they were running. I read it, got it,” said Lobach, who missed the last three weeks with a collarbone injury suffered early in the season opener against Palmerton.
Sophomore Conner Snyder was a defensive beast. He picked up two sacks that came at key times for Northwestern on back-to-back Green Knights possessions. The first came on a third-and-six play that forced a punt in the fourth quarter. The second was on a first-and-10 that slowed Pen Argyl’s momentum. Two plays later Clyer pulled in the fourth interception of the night for the Tigers.
“He’s a sophomore and he’s just going to get better and better,” Josh Snyder said of the Conner Snyder. “He’s one of the few guys on our team that just has an edge. Football guys know what I mean when I say ‘edge.’ He just has that determination and he’s going to be a special football player around here if he continues to work hard. We moved him into defensive tackle when they were throwing it a lot and he was getting a good pass rush and putting licks on running backs and quarterbacks.”
The Knights made things interesting in the third quarter. Down 22-0, Logan Sterner, who was minus-one yard on nine carries at the time, busted open a 52-yard run straight up the middle to make it 22-7. A fumble recovery quickly gave Pen Argyl the ball back in Northwestern territory and two plays later, Dear hit Tadd Barr on a 35-yard pass down the right side and it was suddenly 22-14.
Then, it was Northwestern’s turn for two scores in just about two-minutes as they pushed the score to 36-14. A 40-yard touchdown pass from Bollinger to Clymer capped the scoring early in the fourth quarter.
A momentum killer for Pen Argyl came when they were called for an illegal shift on a play that resulted in a pass from Dear to Barr that would have been a 65-yard touchdown jaunt. Instead, it was called all the way back and the Knights were left with a first-and-15 at their own 30-yard line.