Snyder: Team ‘gave everything’ this season
After Northwestern Lehigh’s football season came to an end with a 42-21 loss to Saucon Valley Saturday night, coach Josh Snyder was asked if he thought his team had slightly overachieved in 2018.
The Tigers were coming off of a 4-6 season and had a lineup that wasn’t exactly senior-laden. The talk was of a developing offensive line that would help reestablish the Tigers as a running team, but they had some talent at the skill positions, including third-year starter Deven Bollinger at quarterback. Bollinger had worked to develop more quickness and agility during the offseason, looking to add to the team’s ability to run the ball.
Snyder thought back on the season for a moment and was slow to call it overachieving.
“I think our guys gave everything that they had and we knew coming in that if things went right for us and we performed at our best, we could have this type of season,” said Snyder. “Now, it’s not often that everything goes right for you and you have to have the type of guys that don’t quit and are going to give everything they can on and off the field, so finishing 9-3 is an accomplishment. The bottom line is that these guys put everything into this season to make it this good.”
In his postgame talk with the team, Snyder stressed how proud he was of the team’s performance this season. He stressed that it was the players who put in the work and made the season as good as it turned out to be. After the talk, some of the seniors hung around on the field for a short time, seemingly not wanting to leave, not wanting to realize that their high school football career was suddenly over.
“You hate to see it end and I feel bad for our seniors, because it’s the last time they get to play high school ball,” said Snyder. “I can honestly say that this team always had me looking forward to every practice and every game, because it’s a phenomenal group of guys and I always had a great time coaching them. I’m proud of this team, especially the seniors, and they have nothing to hang their heads about.”
While there wasn’t a lot of hype about the team coming into this season, next season will open with a lot of promise. The Tigers lose just two starters from their high-powered offense – tackle Hayden Bobbyn and tight end Derek Holmes – and could be the team to beat coming into next season. They also lose key players like Ryan Haas, Colten Hagadus, Tyler Slifer, Tyler Lobach, Anthony Colucci and kicker Connor de Wit.
Even with those losses, Northwestern has a talented and experienced group of juniors who are capable of grabbing the reins for next season and potentially doing even better than a 9-3 record.
With four of the five starters on the offensive line back and Bollinger ready for his senior season, the future is bright. Keep in mind too, that players like Justin Rodda and Nick Henry are only sophomores and it’s easy to see how Northwestern is set not just for the immediate future, but for a couple seasons to come.
The sting of the loss isn’t likely to last too long for many of the Northwestern players. Practice for winter sports begins Friday, giving the multi-sport seniors on the team another season to look forward to as they wrap up the high school portion of their lives. For the underclassmen, there’s either other sports to play or the chance to start working on getting ready for next season as they come in with a target on their backs as the team to beat in the Colonial League.