When all was said and done for the Northwestern football team, it wasn’t quite where it wanted to be at the end of the 2016 football season.
The Tigers’ hopes of making districts were already gone coming into the season finale against Catasauqua, but with a 48-20 win, they not only salvaged a .500 season, but found themselves set to play Blue Mountain for the Eastern Conference Championship next week.
Northwestern opened the season with a number of young players replacing graduating seniors and nobody was quite sure what to expect. While there have been some rough spots, the Tigers have seen some of the young players develop well in their first full varsity season as starters, leaving things in good shape moving forward.
Sometimes, one just has to hand it to the other team. That’s what Northwestern had to do after losing 21-14 to rival Northern Lehigh in Bo and Brett’s Mountain Road Rumble last Friday.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they also had to hand over the accompanying trophy that goes to the winner of the rivalry game and has been in the Northwestern trophy case for three straight years.
If you’re an Army or Navy fan, your season hinges on what you do against the other team in the classic rivalry. Same for Lehigh and Lafayette.
Your team can have the best of seasons, but it’s all for naught if you lose to your perennial rival. Much is the same for the Northwestern and Northern Lehigh rivalry, which has its annual installment this Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
This year’s edition is even more special for the Northwestern seniors, as they look to become the first class in a long time to win the rivalry in all four years of their high school career.
Northwestern’s second-half troubles continued against Southern Lehigh last Friday when the Spartans came New Tripoli and beat the Tigers 21-8.
Like other recent games, Northwestern got off to a fast start when Tyler Slifer recovered a muffed punt to set up a first-and-10 at the Spartans’ 16-yard line. Northwestern went for the two-point conversion and Deven Bollinger hit Caleb Clymer in the end zone to put the Tigers up 8-0 with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
No matter what situation his team is in, Josh Snyder coaches his players to look at the next game on the schedule as the biggest game on the schedule. This week is the perfect example why.
Snyder doesn’t want his team looking back at its win over previously undefeated Saucon Valley, because that win won’t mean nearly as much if Bangor were to upset the Tigers Friday night.
For much of the season, Northwestern football head coach Josh Snyder had been drilling into his team the need to start games stronger rather than waiting until late in the game to start mounting some offense.
The Tigers came out with a quick start against Pen Argyl, but couldn’t hang on and wound up with a loss. Against previously undefeated Saucon Valley though, they got off to the fastest start possible when Trevor Cunningham returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. From there, the Tigers went on to take a 15-6 win over the Panthers (5-1).
The Saucon Valley football team had its toughest test of the season last week at Southern Lehigh, but were able to walk away with a 26-21 win over the Spartans.
The win put the Panthers at 5-0 as they head into the second-half of the season with a schedule that will be tougher then the first-half was.
It starts this week when the Panthers are again on the road, coming into Tiger Stadium for a meeting with Northwestern (3-2).
When Northwestern coach Josh Snyder brought his team out to the field for the second half of their game against Pen Argyl, he sensed that something just wasn’t right. His team held a 21-7 lead, but for some reason, the feeling just didn’t seem to be there for the second half even though Snyder couldn’t quite put his finger on what the problem was. After the second half of play, he still wasn’t sure exactly what happened or why, but he did know that his team had lost to Pen Argyl 35-21.
Northwestern coach Josh Snyder never allows his players to look past an opponent. Even last week after a 37-7 win over Wilson (0-4), Snyder dubbed their game against Pen Argyl (2-2) as their biggest game of the season, simply because it was the next game on the schedule.
“I was afraid of [Wilson] coming into this game,” said Snyder after last week’s win over the Warriors. “Their record might not have shown it, but they can be tough and if you don’t play well against them, they can surprise you. Pen Argyl has that same ability to beat you if you don’t come in prepared.”