Northern Lehigh looked to get its first win of the season against a tough opponent in Palisades Friday night.
The Bulldogs built an early lead, but couldn't hold on as Palisades rallied for a 28-13 victory.
Bulldog freshman Taz McNair immediately set the tone of the first half by taking the opening kick off 93 yards to the house.
"Our kick off team has been close to breaking off a big one the previous two weeks," said Northern Lehigh head football coach Joe Tout.
Palisades responded quickly on the next series.
"Part of our plan was that we were going to show some passes this week," said Palisades head football coach Kevin Ronalds. "Nick missed a few passes tonight, but he played well for the most part.
Pirate quarterback Nick Sanders found his favorite target Devin Ramsden in the back of the end zone on a 13 yard fade route. This capped a 10 play drive one of five Palisades' possessions of 10 or more plays.
Northern Lehigh's Nate Farber came back on the next drive with some tough running to help put the Bulldogs ahead, 13-7. Unfortunately, for Northern Lehigh, this would be their last visit to the endzone.
"We were very good early on. They wore us down in the second half," Tout said. "We didn't have the opportunity to run a lot of plays in the second half. Our defense wasn't able to get off of the field and I believe that was the turning point tonight."
Time of possession was a huge factor in the Palisades victory. The Pirates were able to sustain a few lengthy drives which chewed up a ton of time. The Pirates' last possession before halftime consisted of 17 plays which ate up about seven minutes worth of time.
Ronalds spoke of showing the pass, however, the second half was won on the ground.
Palisades ran the ball 30 times in the second half. Junior running back Christian Gretzinger largely contributed tonight, as he carried the ball 32 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns. J.D. Donnelly also had 76 yards on the ground for the Pirates.
"He's a tough kid and these are the type of games we expect from him," Ronalds said of Gretzinger.
This was a 13-7 conetest in favor of Northern Lehigh until the fourth quarter. Gretzinger was able to find the end zone three times in the final quarter.
The play of the Palisades line led to the impressive production of the Pirates' backfield.
"We didn't run the ball as well as we wanted to last week, so we challanged the kids this week," said Ronalds.
Ronalds' team responded by totaling 264 rushing yards and 22 first downs.
Coach Tout was impressed with how his defense played for a majority of the game.
Nate Farber was aboslutely everywhere on the defensive side of the ball. Tout also acknowledged Josh Landsberger and Jace Umlauf as two standouts.
"We're starting some young guys in our secondary. We know they're going to make mistakes, but I think we're getting better," said the Bulldogs' coach.
Ronalds said of Northern Lehigh, "They're a proud program. We knew coming in that they weren't going to lay down for us. We knew we were in for a battle and that's what we got tonight."