Against Northern Lehigh, the Southern Lehigh Spartans found the end zone on the first play of three of their first four drives of the game.
They weren’t that fast against Northwestern, but on just the second play of the game, senior quarterback Logan Edmond hit Dalton Musselman for a 73-yard touchdown pass and the Spartans offense was picking up where they left off a week earlier against the Bulldogs. In the end, Northwestern fell for just the second time this season, losing to Southern Lehigh 45-21.
Saucon Valley has been rolling through the Colonial League football schedule with some ease this season and are the only undefeated team in the league and one of just four unbeaten teams in District 11. Freedom, Emmaus and Tamaqua are the only other undefeated teams and Freedom goes to Emmaus this week for a showdown with the Hornets.
In the middle of a stretch of tough games, the last thing that Northwestern needed was to play some extra soccer. On Monday and Tuesday, the Tigers went to overtime to pick up a 3-2 win over Notre Dame (Green Pond) and a 4-3 win over Southern Lehigh. It doesn’t help that the team is dealing with a number of players not feeling very well and having to play through the illnesses.
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).
It seems to happen often. Two teams play to a scoreless tie through regulation and just a few minutes into overtime, somebody finds that elusive goal and sends their team home happy. Such was the case Tuesday night when the Northwestern and Salisbury field hockey teams were scoreless through 60 minutes and then Sydney Derr broke the tie a little over three-and-a-half minutes into overtime, allowing the Tigers to celebrate a 1-0 win.
Northwestern coach Kelly Bleam admits that her girls had a difficult week, but she wasn’t ready to accept any excuses. When her team came out flat against Bangor, she used halftime to let her players know that she wasn’t at all happy with how they played in the first 40 minutes. That not-so-gentle encouragement woke the team up enough to turn a scoreless game into a 6-0 win over the Slaters in Colonial League play.
On their first two drives of Friday’s game against Wilson, Northwestern gained just 21 yards.
The good news is that was all they needed to score two touchdowns after opening the game with drives starting from the Warriors 10- and 11-yard lines, respectively.
The early field position battle helped Northwestern take a 31-14 win on their home field.
On their opening drive, Wilson (0-4) struggled to gain any ground and punted the ball away.
The officials that did the Northwestern and Bangor football game last Friday probably had to have their throwing arms checked following the game. They got quite a workout tossing yellow flags as the two teams were penalized a total of 23 times in the game for 215 yards. The refs threw more penalty flags than the two quarterbacks threw passes. In all, there were 22 passes, compared to the 23 flags.
The bottom line, though, was a 29-21 win for Northwestern that moved the Tigers to 4-1 at the halfway point of the season.
It’s easy to look at a team’s record and make some assumptions about it. When one looks at Palmerton’s 1-4 record, it’s easy to assume this would be an easy week for Northwestern when it visits the Blue Bombers Friday night.
Look deeper though and some interesting things about Palmerton can be revealed, mainly the quality of competition that its had to play through the early going.
The teams that have handed the Bombers their four losses this season – Palisades, Southern Lehigh, Saucon Valley and Notre Dame - are a combined 15-5 on the season.
The Northwestern Lehigh soccer team has a lot of goal-scoring weapons at its disposal. On Monday, though, it wasn’t one of the higher-profile players that scored the winning goal to beat Southern Lehigh 3-2 in overtime.
This time around, it was Jake Sacco, who is accustomed to coming off the bench to contribute but was on the field to start the overtime period for the Tigers.
Late in the first half, Southern Lehigh was awarded a penalty kick when one of its players was pulled down in the box.