Tigers rout Bombers 42-7
Northwestern Lehigh players continue to take turns in the spotlight this season. Justin Holmes set a new school record for receiving against Wilson a couple weeks ago and against Palmerton last week, he was part of the receiving crew that pulled in 277 yards worth of passes from quarterback Deven Bollinger.
The end result was a 42-7 win over the Blue Bombers, putting the Tigers at 5-1 on the season.
On the night, Bollinger hit five different receivers and finished 11-for-17 in passing with 277 yards through the air and no interceptions. He also made a couple of big plays on defense, one running down Andrew Sabo to prevent a possible Palmerton touchdown. The senior signal caller finished with four touchdown passes and Nick Henry finished off two drives with touchdown runs for Northwestern.
Bollinger and Holmes clicked on a perfect pattern down the middle for a 62-yard gain that put Northwestern up 6-0. He coach Josh Snyder, as he often does, elected to go for two and Henry carried up the middle for the early 8-0 lead.
After a stalled drive and a short punt, Northwestern got the ball at the Palmerton 44-yard line with three seconds left in the first quarter. On the third play of the drive, Bollinger selected Justin Rodda as his go-to guy, hitting Rodda at the 30-yard line. From there, Rodda made a swift move to elude a tackler and sprint into the end zone, making it 15-0 in favor of the Tigers.
“Justin has played really well and he’s made a couple of exceptional plays for us,” said Snyder. “That catch and run was a really athletic play where he just made something more out of the play than what was there and got us into the end zone.”
That short drive seemed to open the flood gates as Northwestern would score on its next three possessions, with Bollinger hitting Holmes (27 yards) and Rodda (five yards) for touchdown passes and mixing in an 11-yard run by Henry, putting Northwestern up 35-0 with 3:12 left to play in the first half.
“We have an offense that can score points in bunches sometimes and we took advantage of some mismatches and the fact that they didn’t have a lot of depth to come at us with and it worked to our advantage,” said Snyder. “They are down to something like 19 players and they have some talented kids and good coaches, but they just don’t have the depth that they really need.”
Defensively, the Tigers frustrated Palmerton’s sophomore quarterback Lucas Heydt with a tidal wave type of pass rush and blanket coverage on his receivers. Heydt went 6-for-15 for 46 yards and one interception before being replaced by senior Jordan Nelson, who started the game in the Blue Bombers backfield and finished with 53 yards rushing on nine carries while getting 64 yards passing and pulling in passes for another 34 yards to give him a total of 151 yards of offense on the night.
The offense moved more swiftly under Nelson, who connected on his first 10 pass attempts.
The interception against Heydt came on a third-and-nine play when Holmes stepped in front of a pass intended for Nelson and returned the ball deep into Palmerton territory. The play was brought back to the Palmerton 28-yard line because of a block in the back during the return. Rodda almost had another interception midway through the second quarter, but couldn’t hang onto the ball.
“We really worked on fixing some things on our pass coverage this past week and I think that it showed tonight for us,” said Snyder. “We had that big interception to interrupt a drive and wound up turning that into a score for us, so I was happy with the progress.”