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Written by: Daniel Reed on Saturday, November 20th, 2021
Bulldogs stand their ground, win first state playoff game since 2010 with second half surge, 35 to 14 over Lions !
Northern Lehigh’s BIG 4 along with the rest of the Bulldog roster stepped up huge tonight when they needed to, especially on defense to advance to next week’s PIAA State Quarter-Finals against the winner of tomorrow afternoons match-up between York Catholic(10-0) and West Catholic(3-6). The Bulldogs would win the opening coin toss and elect to receive. Lions would kick off and we were off. Northern Lehigh would begin at their own 30, and the first play of the game, Bulldogs QB-Smoyer would hit Trevor Amorim for 4 yards. A couple plays later, Northern Lehigh would be looking at 4th down at their 36 yard line. The Bulldogs would go for it, and WR-Trevor Amorim got the call, a pitch to the left, and he was off for an 11 yard gain, and first down, giving the Bulldogs early momentum. A couple long run plays, and a pass, would set up the games first score when Smoyer would connect with Brett Misera for 31 yards to put Northern Lehigh in front early 7 to 0. It would be the Lions turn to see what they could, and would do on offense. LT would begin their opening drive at their 35 but the drive was short lived just after reaching Bulldog territory, as they would suffer a fumble lost, recovered by Bulldogs defensive leader on the night, AJ Jimenez at the Northern Lehigh 39. Bulldog’s bruiser RB-Matt Frame would get the carry, and rumble for another first down, to the Lions 39 setting up the games second score, Smoyer to Misera for 35 yards. Two drives, two scores for Misera(31, and 35 yards). What started to look like it get ugly quick for the Lions, changed quickly when Sophomore RB-Lucas Gumble would take the handoff and break free for 47 yards to the endzone and we had a game, 14 to 7 lead for the Bulldogs just before the end of the first quarter. Lackawanna Trail would kickoff and the Bulldogs would have possession at their 33, 3 plays later, Northern Lehigh would be set up to punt, and following the high snap, punter wasn’t able to get the ball off, and the Lions would take over at the Bulldogs 13 yard line, trailing 14 to 7.
In the second quarter now, following the botched punt attempt, the Bulldogs defense would have to step it up, and that they did, limiting the Lions to just 5 yards on the series that would end with a missed field goal attempt, that went wide left. Northern Lehigh would take over and after a long run by Frame, Dylan Smoyer busted one for 36 yards, into Lions territory once again. Another long run, this time by Izaiah Ramos, had the Bulldogs down to the Lions 19 with just under 7 minutes to go in the half. The Bulldogs drive would stall however, giving the ball back to the Lions on downs at the Lackawanna Trail 16. Two big runs by Lions RB-Kody Creswell, had the Lions near mid-field before Bulldogs defender AJ Jimenez would come up big with a sack for a loss of about 8, and the Lions were backed up to their own 36 now with just over 2 minutes to go until halftime. Trail’s Kody Creswell would again get a good run, 18 yards to be exact, back into Bulldogs territory at the 36 with the quarter coming to a close. Bulldogs leading 14 to 7 !
At the half, Coach Tout stated that, ” defensively I think we are playing well, offensively, we did some things that are not characteristic of ourselves, but if we clean that up, feed off our defense, we’ll be alright.” “We got to play four quarters, we got to get the momentum back on our side”, Tout said about giving up that touchdown in the second quarter.
Lackawanna Trail Head Coach stated coming out of the locker room that he felt his team offensively ” sustained some long drives, kind of shot ourselves in the foot, so now we just got to clean it up, and play mistake free, get the ball back here, now and look forward to good second half. ”
Lions would receive the kickoff and begin at their 35 once again. Unfortunately for the Lions, they would only gain 14 yards on the drive, 7 of which came from Hunter Patterson before having to punt to the Bulldogs who would take over at their own 22 yard line. A run for a loss, and a PICK-6 by Kolbee Soltis would have the tied at 14 a piece with just 4 minutes ticked off the clock in the third. Northern Lehigh would regain momentum however on their ensuing driving when they would go 70 yards, on 8 plays, setup by Senior RB-Matt Frame who would take the handoff and bust loose up the right side for 40 yards, to the Lions 8. Next play, WR-Amorim would take the pitch left as earlier in the game, and 8 yards later, the Bulldogs were back in front 21 to 14 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter. Lackawanna trail wasn’t out of it just yet as they would sustain a good drive, eventually ending up in Bulldog territory as time expired in the third quarter.
With the Lions driving to start the final quarter play, you had the feeling something big was about to happen, with that said, it wouldn’t happen for the Lions however. The Lions would drive 62 yards, to the Bulldogs 1 yard line, long runs by Hunter Patterson, Kody Creswell, and Owen Lisk, only to have the Northern Lehigh defense stuff the run 3 times, deep in Bulldog territory, bringing up a 4th down and inches from the goal line. The Bulldogs defense held, and would take over at their own 1 with just over 9 minutes to play in the game. Few plays later, and BANG… Trevor Amorim busts it open and took the handoff up the left sidelines 91 yards for the score, extending the Bulldogs lead to 28 to 14. For the rest of the quarter, and game, the Bulldogs relied on using up the clock with runs by Izaiah Ramos and Matt Frame, eventually scoring late in the game when Frame broke loose for 20 yards on second down, and scampered into the endzone for the final score of the game, and Bulldogs victory, 35 to 14 over a very tough Lackawanna Trail team. Frame would finish the game with 125 yards rushing and a touchdown, Amorim would finish with 2 rushing touchdowns, Smoyer with 2 passing touchdowns, both to Misera, and 1 INT returned for a touchdown.
After the game, winning head coach, Tout said, about going for it, fourth and 1 from their own 9, ” if we can’t that, you don’t deserve to win, and I trust these kids, I know we have a bunch of playmakers, and Trev, man, he just fought, he does a great job at keeping his legs going, and that was it, you knew once you had that, that’s a tough one to come back from.” said about the score from 91 yards out by Trevor Amorim. When I spoke with QB-Dylan Smoyer after the game about how it feels to win a PIAA State Playoff game, he said, “Its great, its something new to me, never experienced this before, so being able to compete in this my senior year, it just feels amazing, props to me offensive line, props to them, all my teammates, I couldn’t get it done without them.” Brett Misera, who had the two scores early in the game, would say, ” I feel I did pretty good this game, I feel this be the best game I played my whole life, and If I be honest, this is probably my favorite game of all too.”
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