Roughies score late TD to beat NW
“In no area of my right mind should I ever have called a pass play with our defense playing tough and just 30 seconds left,” said Northwestern head football coach Josh Snyder, who accepted complete blame for the Tigers 21-18 loss to Catasauqua (3-7) last week.
With his team facing a fourth down and trying to put away its final regular season game of the season, Snyder called for Phil Dangello to throw a pass out of the wildcat formation. It was just Dangello’s fourth pass attempt of the season and could have easily caught the Rough Riders off guard.
Dangello was hit as he threw and the ball floated into the hands of Catty’s Miguel Hernandez, who hauled it in and ran 80 yards down the sideline to give his team a late lead. The extra point made it 21-18 with just 34 seconds left to play.
“I don’t know if I got greedy or if I just wanted to seal it right there,” said Snyder. “They were really cheating off the edge and whatever happened is on me; I lost the football game tonight and I told the seniors that I’m sorry and they deserve better.”
Even with the loss, Northwestern (4-6) will host the championship game for the Eastern Conference Football title Friday night against Bangor.
Against Catty, Northwestern had two touchdowns called back because of penalties in a game filled with questionable calls that went against both teams. Dangello appeared to have gone in for a touchdown with 7:52 left in the second quarter, but a holding call nullified the score.
Less than five minutes later, Deven Bollinger hit Caleb Clymer for what appeared to be a 28-yard touchdown, but a personal foul penalty took that score off the board.
In one of the more interesting points of the game, Hunter Miller nailed a 41-yard field goal, but Catasauqua was called for encroachment, so the ball moved forward five yards. This time, Miller missed from 36, but another encroachment call made it an even shorter attempt, which Miller sailed easily through the uprights from 31 yards out to cut the Rough Riders lead to 7-3 in the second quarter.
“Some officiating crews let a lot of stuff go and I’m not really going to comment too much on that, but we had two scores taken off the board on very borderline calls,” said Snyder. “I know that they’re doing their best out there, too, and I wish it wouldn’t affect the outcome of games and I don’t think it did. We did a lot to harm ourselves and I’m glad with how we battled back and hung in there.”
On a team known for special teams, Snyder was acutely aware that his team didn’t have a kick-off return for a touchdown yet this season and it was playing in the final regular season game of the year. Snyder had even good-naturedly chided his team about that, so Dylan Frantz celebrated his senior night with a kick-off return into the end zone to open the third quarter, marching 80 yards to give the Tigers their first lead of the night.
Catty went back in front when Hernandez hit Derrick Rodriguez on a 23-yard touchdown toss late in the third quarter.
The Tigers took advantage of a Catasauqua miscue on a punt when the snap sailed over punter Devon Troxell’s head and he recovered it, but was tackled in the end zone.
Northwestern then marched down the field and Justin Rodda went on a 21-yard jaunt to the pylon in the front of the end zone. After a long deliberation, it was ruled that Rodda had scored on the play to give Northwestern an 18-14 edge. Northwestern’s attempt for a two-point conversion fell incomplete, leaving the Tigers with a four-point advantage, which was erased by Hernandez’ heroics.
Northwestern had a final shot with time running down, but their drive stalled and Catasauqua knelt down for the final play of the game.