Catty preps to take on Northwestern
Even though Catasauqua has struggled on both sides of the ball this season and come in winless, they have something to play for on two different fronts when they travel to New Tripoli to play the Northwestern Lehigh Tigers. The Roughies finished last season with a 1-10 record and set a goal in camp to finish this season with more wins that they had in 2018. The only way they can do that would be to beat Northwestern and then follow that up with a Thanksgiving Day win over Northampton. They are also looking to play the role of spoiler, attempting to keep Northwestern from gaining at least a share of the Colonial League title.
Northwestern and Southern Lehigh – both 8-1 – come into the final week of the regular season in position to share the Colonial League championship. If both teams win or both lose, they would be co-champions. A win by one team and a loss by the other would crown an outright champion and Catasauqua would love to be the team that hands Northwestern its second loss of the season.
Not only have the Rough Riders gone winless this season, but they haven’t been in many of their games. Their closest game of the season came in their season opener when they lost to Bangor 34-6. Since then they have been shutout four times and scored their first touchdown in four games last week against Southern Lehigh in a 62-7 loss.
“I’m sure that even with all of the struggles they’ve had this year, it would make their season to come in here and knock us off,” said Northwestern coach Josh Snyder. “We’re still looking at this as a playoff game that we must win and we actually had a really intense practice today and the guys know how much this win means for our season.”
Scoring points against one of the tougher defenses in the Colonial League won’t be an easy task. The Tigers have all seniors on their defensive – and offensive – lines and they’re a big group that doesn’t get pushed around very easily. The defense has also improved at forcing turnovers and got two key second half take-aways in last week’s come from behind win against Northern Lehigh.
Northwestern’s offense not only has an experienced line, but a senior quarterback in Deven Bollinger, who will play college football at the University of Delaware. Bollinger is the school’s all-time leading passer and has solid weapons to throw to in Justin Holmes and Jayden Allen. Nick Henry is the lead back, but Bollinger himself is known to resort to using his legs to gain yardage.
Northwestern is coming off a stretch of games that were the toughest on their schedule, beginning with Southern Lehigh and then going up against Saucon Valley and rival Northern Lehigh last week. The Tigers came through the stretch in good shape, but did get off to a slow start against the Bulldogs last week, trailing 17-0 at halftime.
In Northwestern’s version of a perfect world, the Tigers will be able to get off to a quick start and open up a big enough lead that Snyder would be able to get his starters out of the game and turn things over to younger players, allowing his starters to get some rest and stay healthy for the upcoming playoffs.
Snyder likes to insert a few gadget plays each week and it won’t be surprising to see them mix in a flea-flicker, put a lineman in the backfield or even go to the Philly Special down near the goal line.