Football team visits Pirates for Week 3
The Northwestern Lehigh Tiger football team doesn’t take any team for granted.
Facing an 0-2 Palisades team that lost tits opening week game to Palmerton by a lopsided 47-6 score doesn’t give Tiger head coach Josh Snyder any reason to let his team come in thinking this week is an automatic win. Snyder stressed to his team this week that the Pirates can be an obstacle if they don’t prepare for them as hard as they prepared in the first two weeks of the season.
“You really can’t take any team for granted or look past them,” said Snyder. “Our guys know that and they know that an 0-2 team can beat you. For us, we focus on what we do and don’t worry too much about what the other team does. We know we can beat teams if we play our style of game.”
Palisades is under first-year coach Ramie Moussa, who took over last December after Kevin Ronalds stepped down after seven seasons as the coach of the Pirates. While Ronalds went 55-27 in his tenure, Moussa faces a challenge in helping to restore the Palisades program. Moussa brings with him plenty of experience, having served nine years as an assistant with Whitehall.
After their rough opening to the season in week one, Palisades played a hard-fought game at Wilson, but ultimately fell to the Warriors 15-12 after leading 12-0 going into the fourth quarter. Wilson scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-and-goal with 20-seconds left in the game.
“They played a good game last week and I’m sure they are using that to motivate them this week as they prepare to play us,” said Snyder. “They’ve got a new coach and they’re doing some new things, so it’s going to be interesting to see what they throw at us, because I feel like we didn’t see all they can do on the game film from last week.”
Northwestern’s offense hasn’t quite shown all that it can do either. Even though the Tigers have scored 73 points in the first two weeks – they do have a special teams score and an interception return for a score – Snyder is looking for the offense to truly click. Having a healthy Justin Rodda last week helped as he pulled in four touchdown passes from Deven Bollinger, so perhaps this is the week that the offense gets to show off a little.
“I’ve been a little surprised that we haven’t had a better offensive attack,” Snyder said. “We’ve played well, but I just thought that we would have a little more dominating type of offense than what we’ve seen so far. It’s going to help having Rodda back, but I really want to see us be more explosive.”
Meanwhile, the defense was touched for 275 yards passing from Salisbury’s backup quarterback Quintin Stephens last week and 289 yards in week one against Notre Dame (Green Pond). Snyder avoided using the word ‘concerned,’ but does admit that there’s room for improvement and he’s put in some defensive changes to help things along.
“We ask a lot of our guys,” Snyder said. “We have a lot of two-way guys and we have had a pretty complicated defensive scheme that I don’t think was really working well for our guys. We simplified things a little this week and we’ll try to give them a bit of a break. I think we have a solid defense and we have the right guys to make it work, but we just needed to make things a little easier and get back to some basic stuff.”
Snyder noted that this will probably be the last long bus ride to Kintnersville to play Palisades. The Colonial League and Schuylkill League will begin a cooperative scheduling agreement next season. The agreement will allow the bigger schools from the two leagues to play each other and match the smaller schools against each other to provide better competitive levels in football.