Southern Lehigh over Northern Lehigh
Coming into to this week one matchup a lot of questions remained for a Southern Lehigh team that had just come off its second nine win season in a row. Over the offseason the Spartans lost several key components to the 2015 Eastern Conference Championship team. For starters they lost one of the most prolific quarterback-receiver duos in the Lehigh Valley throughout the 2015 season in Blake Levengood and Ethan Price. On the other side of the ball they lost three quarters of a defensive line that led the Spartans to the top defense in the Colonial League last season. By the time the lights were shut off at Spartan Stadium many of those questions were answered.
The Friday night matchup began as a defensive tug of war with neither offense coming out the gate very productively. Several three and outs occurred for the Spartans and Northern Lehigh wasn’t faring much better. It wasn’t until well into the first quarter that one of the offenses finally broke through. On the 33rd play of the game Tekoah Guedes hit Austin Hemingway in stride for a 52-yard bomb to put the Bulldogs up 6-0. The score would remain that way for the rest of the quarter as both offenses struggled to move the ball and piece together a drive.
Despite the rough first quarter any doubts about whether the Spartans could retain the explosiveness their offense had become known for last season were erased by halftime. The second quarter proved to be an offensive explosion for the Spartans. The first Southern Lehigh touchdown came after senior fullback Zach Mohr powered through several would be tacklers before finally being brought down at the one-yard line. Their first year starting QB sophomore Logan Edmond, younger brother of former Spartan 1,000 yard passers Ty and Travis, took over the rushing attack with a QB sneak to bring the game level again. A kick by Calvin Hurst would put the Spartans over the top with a 6-7 lead, a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Not long after in the second quarter Mohr would extend the Spartan’s lead by six more points by going nearly untouched on a nine-yard touchdown run. On the following drive the Southern Lehigh defense did not give any ground and forced the Bulldogs to punt the ball away. To close out the half the young QB put the rest of the Colonial League defenses on notice when he threw a beautiful 16-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Logan Hanz. As both teams jogged off for the locker rooms the score remained 21-6 Southern Lehigh.
Any plans for a comeback by Northern Lehigh were thrown out the window when they could not find a way to penetrate a Spartan defense anchored up front by senior captains Zach Rudolph and Gary Popowitz. As for the offense they picked up right where they left off when Edmond revealed a cannon of an arm to hit speedy slot receiver/ tailback, Timmy Walter, for a 36-yard touchdown on a fade route. The very next drive the Spartans held Northern Lehigh to a three and out after forcing an incomplete pass due to pressure from the defensive line. To close out the quarter Mohr would record his second touchdown of the day when Edmond dumped the ball off before getting hit by Northern Lehigh defensive end Zac Sullivan. However Mohr would make the catch and proceeded to shake off several defenders to a 16-yard touchdown pass.
From there it was all downhill for the Bulldogs. Junior “Hero” linebacker Mike Sisselberger would put the mercy rule into effect by recovering a fumble and taking it 53 yards to the house, to make the score 42-6, where it remained until the clock struck 0. The home side finished the game with 224 passing yards and 252 rushing yards with 97 coming from Mohr. The new face under center for the Spartans impressed going 16 for 23 with four total touchdowns and 224 passing yards. Walter, a three year starter, snagged 122 receiving yards.
Despite a strong showing in the first quarter the Northern Lehigh defense could not match the firepower of the Spartans. The offense looked less than stellar after the first touchdown, racking up only 258 yards of total offense with four turnovers.
For week two the Spartans will travel to Palmerton where they will face a Blue Bombers team led by senior quarterback Garrett Perschy, a three-year starter. The Blue Bombers will be looking to avenge the 68-21 loss suffered at the hands of the Spartans a year prior. Palmerton is coming off a one-point loss to Northwestern.
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