Northwestern rolls to big 54-14 win in playoff opener
NEW TRIPOLI, Pa. – Lehighton took a 7-0 lead over Northwestern, but the Tigers responded in a big way en route to a 54-14 win over the Indians in a District 11 4A football quarterfinal game at Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. The big win in the playoff opener propelled the Tigers, the top seed in the bracket, to the semifinals next Saturday.
Lehighton received the opening kick-off an ate up most of the first quarter of play. The Indians methodically drove down the field and punched it in with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Ben Schatz with 3:40 left in the opening period. That was the best drive of the night for Lehighton, however, as they were held scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
The Northwestern offense responded with a quick scoring drive to tie the game up at seven at the end of the first quarter, with a Nick Henry 14-yard scamper to paydirt. Then the Tigers erupted for 19 points in the second quarter and then 21 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach, and begin the mercy clock.
The Tigers were led by quarterback Deven Bollinger, who recorded five total touchdowns in Saturday’s triumph. Bollinger was 10-12 for 255 passing yards and had three passing touchdowns to go along with his two rushing scores. He finished with 81 rushing yards.
His favorite target was Justin Holmes, whom he connected with on several long touchdown passes. He hit Holmes for scores of 28, 52, and 63 yards, the last coming as the lone score for either team in the fourth quarter. The sophomore receiver finished with five catches for 194 yards and three touchdowns.
After Northwestern’s response to that opening scoring drive by Lehighton, the Tigers did not let up. The hosts scored seven straight touchdowns, spanning from the first to the third quarters, before the visitors stopped that stretch with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Lucas Sangiuliano to Hunter Crum.
Among that seven-straight touchdown stretch for Northwestern was a defensive score as well. Conner Snyder picked off a Lehighton pass and took it 41 yards for a touchdown with 3:03 left in the third quarter.
The Indians were also plagued by penalties in the playoff loss. Lehighton was flagged eight time totaling 60 yards.
Northwestern will play on their home turf again next week with a spot in the district final on the line. The Tigers will host fourth seed Central Catholic on Nov. 9. Kick-off is set for 7:10 p.m. The Vikings topped Saucon Valley 42-18 in their quarterfinal match-up on Friday night.
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