Coming into their match up with Notre Dame in the District 11 Class AA Championship, Northwestern coach Josh Snyder knew that the team that protected the football the best would likely be wearing gold medals at the end of the night. And he was right.
Five turnovers by the Tigers helped Notre Dame take a 32-22 win over Northwestern and the district championship, which was won by Northwestern last season.
The first week of the football season holds promise for a lot of teams. Now, nearly three months later, most of those teams have fallen by the wayside, with the exception of a few of the strongest teams.
In the Class AA ranks, Notre Dame (Green Pond) and defending district champ Northwestern met in week one, when a rejuvenated Notre Dame squad, complete with reinforcements from the closing of Pius X High School, sent a message.
You can call them opportunistic. Northwestern took advantage of early mistakes by Salisbury and came away with a 27-14 win over the Falcons in the District 11 semifinal game at Tiger Stadium.
On the opening drive, it was a bad snap on a punt that wound up netting just six yards to give the Tigers good starting position, which led to an early 7-0 lead.
Parkland coach Al Haddad has two traditions with his team. The first comes just prior to the game when the starting lineups are announced he and Regan Allsop jump as high as they can to give each other a high-five. After the game, he hands out the inaptly named fun-size Snickers bars to his players.
After his high-five prior to the district championship game, Haddad turned to his coaches and said “I only get to do that four more times,” referring to the four games that the team would have to play to become state champions.
For a long time, Northwestern was used to playing a 10-game football schedule and then handing in their uniforms and moving on with the school year. Now though, things are different. The Tigers not only expect to play more than 10 games, they expect to play a lot of extra games.
The Northwestern offense certainly had a different look last Friday than in any other game this season. Yes, Harry Hall still led the team in carries and rushing yards, but his six carries and 46 yards were a far cry from the 25 to 40 carries and near 200 yard performances that he’s used to.
The Tigers had six different receivers catch passes, used three different quarterbacks and had five different players get into the end zone. Fortunately, the result was much the same as Northwestern downed Catasauqua (1-9) 39-14 on senior night at Tiger Stadium.
Sometimes people just have a knack for perfect timing. If you ask the Northwestern Tigers, Joe Colucci is one of those people. Colucci picked a tie game with just over six-minutes left to score his first touchdown of the season as the Tigers downed Palmerton 28-21.
Colucci went 38 yards on a shuttle pass from Dylan Snyder, breaking a couple early tackles to cap off a 66-yard drive for Northwestern that put the Tigers ahead to stay.
It was 53 weeks ago when Northwestern downed Palmerton 50-21 on its way to a 9-1 record, a share of the Colonial League title and a District 11 Class AA championship.
Ironically, the two teams almost had a rematch in the District 11 championship, but the Blue Bombers fell to North Schuylkill in the semifinals.
Rivalry games bring out the best of both teams, so you can never be quite sure what to expect. With that in mind, the Northwestern Tigers (6-2) are hoping that the numbers continue the way they’ve been recently in their rivalry with Northern Lehigh (4-4).
Over the past two seasons, Northwestern has had the upper-hand, beating the Bulldogs by a combined score of 70-6, including a 42-6 win last season at Tiger Stadium.
Prior to those two wins though, Northern Lehigh ruled the roost, with their last win coming in 2012 when they beat the Tigers 57-19
Northwestern field hockey coach Lissa Opolsky was a high school and college goalkeeper, so she knows the pressure that comes in a tight game. She withstood that pressure as a player and seems to have passed that ability down to her players, who came up big when they needed it most to grab a 3-1 win over Northern Lehigh in last week’s season finale. The win clinched a spot in the District 11 Class AA playoffs, which begin next week.