PEN ARGYL - Ever-opportunistic Northern Lehigh had too many weapons, too much Cody Remaley and too much Jake Kern here on Saturday afternoon at Pen Argyl's Alumni Stadium, literally running away with the host Green Knights, 48-21, winning for their fifth time in six starts.
The Bulldogs of Joe Tout got just what they needed to start the game - great kickoff and punt TD returns by Kern, the galloping runs keeping the visitors in a game in which Pen Argyl got two tallies against the NL defense early. Then, similar to as it has done in its prior games, the Dawg offense came to life, driving the pigskin nicely in momentum-gaining fashion behind the legs of Remaley. The TIMES NEWS area's leading rusher and scorer ripped through the Knights for 213 yards on 29 carries and two TDs, giving him 965 yards rushing to date.
While Remaley was his usual self, Kern's outing was nothing short of phenomenal. The junior, who last week had four carries for 106 yards and two TDs against Salisbury, made the encore look easy, zipping 87 yards with the opening kickoff, and, after the Knights went three-and-out, bursting through the hosts' punt coverage for a 61 yard return that made it 12-0 less than two minutes (10:23) into the game.
And, if that wasn't enough, Kern played superbly on defense, picking off a Nathan Hood pass and returning it 81 yards for his third TD of the afternoon in the third stanza. Moreover, he had a second theft, and, in all, accounted for 256 all-purpose yards (91 on two kickoffs, 61 on the punt return, 81 after the pickoff and 23 yards rushing on five carries).
"Cody (Remaley) is so humble, and he'll get his yards and scores, but this is a team waiting for people to notice the all-around talent we have. Today, people saw that," said Tout. "Jake (Kern) is a great kid. Those two runs were great. He's also the quarterback of our defense and the way Pen Argyl throws the ball around, we knew he'd have opportunities. When you have kids you trust, good things are going to happen."
While Kern gave the Dawgs a 12-0 edge, the outcome was not without a struggle for Tout's forces. The Knights responded with a pair of scores, a 43-yard run by Dylan Evans and a 78-yard pass play from Hood to Joe Wagner, and with 11:04 left in the half, the hosts were in front 14-12.
"We were a little sloppy," said Tout, whose team failed to generate a first down until the 7:51 mark of the second period and had gone four possessions for a mere 12 yards. "But, overall, I thought it was a pretty good performance. Our special teams and the turnovers (three pickoffs) really helped."
Remaley, who had just 10 yards on his first six carries, brought the NL crowd to his feet with a 74-yard TD run at 7:51 of the second period, and after Tyler Bolton passed to him for the conversion, the Bulldogs led 20-14. A series later, the visitors put together a 10-play, 70-yard drive in which Remaley had 60 of those yards on six tries, and when Matt Gill scored with 2:12 left in the half, and Bolton ran the two-point PAT, the Dawgs were in front 28-14.
Kern's interception followed. He swiped Hood's pass at the NL 19 and returned it 81 yards to paydirt, making it a 34-14 game.
About his three-TD performance, he said, "It feels good to share with my teammates. Coach tells us every week to go out and get better, and that's all we tried to do. On all of those runs, I saw my teammates downfield ahead of me, and I just couldn't have done it without them."
Pen Argyl sliced the difference to 34-21 with its final tally in the third period, with Hood connecting to Wagner on an 80-yard play.
But that was as close as the Knights would get. Kern's second interception ended on of their drives, after which time the Bulldogs went 89 yards on 16 plays and used 7:56 of the clock, their sixth TD coming on a 24-yard Remaley run with 5:31 left. Bolton later burst through the PA secondary on a 40-yard run, scoring at the 2:00 mark of the fourth period to round out the scoring.