Northern Lehigh wins district crown
SLATINGTON – Cody Remaley scored four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to their first District title since 2003. Northern Lehigh (12-0) defeated North Schuylkill 25-23 in the District 11 2A title game Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.
Northern Lehigh went right at North Schuylkill’s strength, their run defense. The Bulldogs marched right down the field on a 9-play, 55-yard drive including a fourth down conversion along the way. Cody Remaley’s 20-yard run down the sideline put the Bulldogs up 6-0.
Head coach Joe Tout talked about going right at the North Schuylkill run defense, “We challenged them tonight. We felt like last week was our worst game of the year offensively. It’s Bulldog football. We aren’t a passing team. We pass when we have to and I thought we did a good job of it tonight.”
Northern Lehigh’s defense stopped North Schuylkill’s first drive and forced a punt.
Late in the first quarter Northern Lehigh was on the move again marching 78-yards on this drive. The Bulldogs ran right down the field. Remaley finished the drive with a one-yard score. The two-point conversion failed and the Bulldogs led 12-0 with 10:22 remaining in the first half.
On this drive North Schuylkill burned their third time out of the half. Would this hurt them later?
North Schuylkill got on the scoreboard with 4:08 left in the half. The Spartans put together a 78-yard drive by mixing up the pass and run. Quarterback Ryan Henning was 2-for-2 during the drive and Kody Flail had an 11-yard run on fourth down keep the drive alive. But Flail wasn’t done, he took the hand off and weaved his way through the defense missing tackle after tackle and dove into the end zone for the brilliant 23-yard touchdown run. The Spartans trailed 12-7.
Was momentum switching to the Spartans? Their momentum would last all of 12 seconds. Remaley broke a tackle and raced down the sidelines for an 80-yard kickoff return. With 3:56 remaining in the half the Bulldogs led 18-7.
North Schuylkill decided to go to the air. Henning completed passes to Scott Houser and Ethan Motsney for big plays. They drove down to the Northern Lehigh five-yard line. Northern Lehigh’s defense stopped them on a fourth down and took over on downs with 49.8 seconds left.
Jake Kern talked about the big stop, “We knew we had to stop that drive. We didn’t want them to come back and have the ball again. It was a big momentum change.”
The Bulldogs ran out the clock and went into halftime leading 18-7.
After a scoreless third quarter, North Schuylkill’s defense stopped Northern Lehigh on fourth down and took the ball over at their 30. Ed Pavalko ripped off big runs and Ethan Motsney completed the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Houser’s two-point conversion pulled North Schuylkill within three. With 9:23 remaining in the game Northern Lehigh led 18-15.
Every time North Schuylkill scored Northern Lehigh answered. On this drive they were facing a 3rd down and long. Jake Kern was in the wildcat offense and had a big run for the 1st down. They drove to the North Schuylkill 29 facing a fourth down and 10. Quarterback Dylan Hoffman threw a pass to Kern who made a great adjustment for the catch down to the one-yard line.
Quarterback Dylan Hofmann talked about Kern’s catch, “Kern makes me look too good. He went up and got that one. He’s my go to guy.”
After a two-yard loss on the next play, Remaley powered his way into the end zone for the three-yard score. They led 25-15 with 3:58 remaining in the game.
Kern had 83-yards rushing at the quarterback position and he caught three passes for 72-yards.
Late in the game North Schuylkill would block the punt and take over on the Northern Lehigh 16. North Schuylkill got a meaningless touchdown with 1.5 seconds left. Flail went in for the two-point conversion.
Northern Lehigh’s defense held North Schuylkill running attack to 156 total yards.
Tout talked about his defense, “The key tonight was watching that North Schuylkill didn’t get lot of big plays and they are great at it. It wears on a team. We didn’t give that up tonight and I think that was really the difference.”
Northern Lehigh won 25-23. They move on to play the District 2 champion Wilkes-Barre GAR (11-1) next Friday night at J. Birney Crum Stadium.
Kern talked about the win, “It’s a outstanding feeling. Great feeling for this program especially after last year.”
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