Spartans visit for Homecoming game
For a team that prides itself on having one of the better ground games in the Colonial League, the Tigers looked like a different animal last week in their 49-0 win over Palmerton (1-5).
In last week’s win, Northwestern (5-1) set a team record with 370 yards passing and quarterback Deven Bollinger threw for five touchdowns to set a record for the most touchdown passes in a game by a Northwestern quarterback, while surpassing Frank Dangello to become the school’s all-time passing leader with 3,853 yards in his three seasons as the starting quarterback. Joshua Gornicz came on in relief of Bollinger and added a sixth touchdown pass to set the team record with six touchdown passes in one game.
The impressive thing about the passing performance is that the Tigers stayed with their usual game plan. They had averaged 15 passes per game coming into week six and between Bollinger and Gornicz, they threw 16 times in the win over the Blue Bombers.
“We did put a couple of wrinkles into our offense,” said coach Josh Snyder. “They were stacking guys in the box to shut down our running game and it opened things up for Deven and he made some really good throws and was hitting guys right in stride.”
While they were having a record day passing the ball, ironically, for the first time this season, Northwestern didn’t have a player top the 100-yard mark for rushing in the game. Nick Henry led the Tigers with 48 yards rushing and Bollinger finished with 47 yards on the ground.
This week, they’re facing a team with a much better defense in Southern Lehigh. The Spartans (3-3) beat Northern Lehigh 42-0 last week as they keep their postseason hopes alive. The Spartans need every win they can get to make any playoff appearances and the Tigers are the toughest test on the remaining Spartans’ schedule. That makes Southern Lehigh a dangerous team to play for homecoming.
“They’re always one of the tougher teams in the league,” said Snyder. “They’re the biggest school and they have some good athletes. Right now, their backs are against the wall and they need wins and so they’re going to come in looking to knock us off.”
Southern Lehigh can strike quickly, having scored on its first play from scrimmage in three of its first four possessions last week. Senior quarterback Logan Edmond is one of the better quarterbacks in the Colonial League. Edmond’s two favorite receivers are Dalton Musselman and Trey Trevis, who he’s connected with for a total of nine touchdowns on the season.
The rushing game for Southern Lehigh isn’t as dangerous as the passing game. Edmond leads the team with 393 yards rushing, well ahead of Alex Knecht and Musselman, who rank second and third on the team in rushing.
“I am so glad that Logan is the last of the Edmond guys at Southern Lehigh,” said Snyder with a laugh. “It seems like we’re always facing one of those guys when we play Southern Lehigh. He’s really leading that offense right now, not only throwing the ball but running the ball too.”
At 5-1 on the season, Northwestern is in good shape for the postseason but can’t afford to ease off the pedal at this point in the season. The game is a dangerous one for Northwestern too, because the Tigers can’t afford to look ahead to next week’s game against undefeated Saucon Valley (6-0). After that game, the Tigers finish their schedule with games against Northern Lehigh (3-3) and Catasauqua (1-5).
“We focus on this week’s game no matter who it’s against,” said Snyder. “Our guys know that we need to keep winning and there’s nothing that we can do about Saucon Valley or anybody else this week other than us. Every week feels like a playoff game because we need wins.”