CATASAUQUA - Turn the ball over against a championship-caliber team like Catasauqua and you aren't going to have much of a chance for a win.
Northern Lehigh committed four miscues in the first half and one more in the second half and the Roughies took advantage to roll to a 40-7 victory and clinched the Colonial League title with their ninth straight win of the season without a loss.
"Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers," said Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout. "What else can I say?
"In my mind it wasn't for a lack of effort from our kids, it was the execution. We gave up too many turnovers.
"We knew Catasauqua had athletes. They were going to put up some points. It was 7-0 with three minutes to go in the second quarter and we made mistakes with turnovers. We had to put some points up there and that was key."
The Bulldogs were driving after taking the opening kickoff and had a key third down play at the Catty 28 go awry. Rhaine Sziy recovered a fumble to give Catasauqua the ball at its own 39 and 10 plays later, quarterback Zack Bradley hit Zachary Stopay from nine yards out for the first of four touchdown passes on the night. Joe Harakal's PAT made it 7-0 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
The Roughies got a break when they recovered a fumbled punt on the Northern Lehigh 19, but fumbled it right back on the next play when Kris Seiler recovered on his own 16.
It looked like the Bulldogs had regained the momentum and were deep in Catty territory when a fumbled pitch on the sidelines was recovered by the Roughies on their own 19. The hosts put together a 10-play scoring drive with Paryss Marshall catching a 9-yard TD pass.
Another Bulldog fumble set up another score with 26 seconds left until halftime as Eric Matz crossed the goal line from three yards out and Harakal's kick made it 20-0.
The Roughies added insult to injury when Bradley connected on a 37-yard scoring strike with Jacob Stopay on the first drive of the second half for a 27-0 lead before the Bulldogs scored their first TD. Dan Marsh found Theo Young open in the end zone for an 18-yard TD.
Catasauqua added two more scores, ne a 23-yard run by Matz and another an 18-yard pass from Bradley to Marshall.
"They made plays," said Tout. "And that's frustrating. A lot of times you have to give your opponent credit. Our kids were in position and they went up and made plays so hats off to them."
The Bulldogs got some help from Southern Lehigh, who beat Palisades, as far as the district playoff picture goes so next week they close out the regular season against Palmerton and can control their own destiny.