NL attack not boring
Offenses that rely primarily on their running game, can sometimes be labled "conservative or boring."
Northern Lehigh does just that. The Bulldogs have attempted just 50 passes and completed only 12, both numbers are the least among TIMES NEWS area teams this season.
But there is nothing boring about the Bulldogs' offense.
OVERTIME talked to Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout this week and will look at the Bulldogs' ability to score from almost anywhere on the field.
OVERTIME will also have notes on the first shutout of an area team this season and why that was noteworthy, a versatile Indian who turned in a huge receiving game, a scoring streak by Tamaqua, and some other interesting numbers from week five of the football season.
It's no secret that the Northern Lehigh offense is run-oriented.
But don't get fooled, "three yards and a cloud of dust" it isn't.
So far this season, the Bulldogs have scored 21 touchdowns 10 of them coming on plays of 40 yards or more. That big-play offense was never more evident than on Friday night in a 41-6 victory over Salisbury. In the game, five of Northern Lehigh's six touchdowns covered at least 40 yards.
"I didn't realize until looking at film on Saturday morning how long some of our scoring plays were," said Tout about the Bulldogs' TD runs of 40, 75, 41, 58 and 63 yards. "We scored 41 points in the game and ran exactly one play in the red zone (inside the Salisbury 20-yard line) the entire game."
An amazing eight of the Bulldogs' 10 scores from 40+ yards this year have come on runs from scrimmage. One has been on a kickoff return, one on an interception return, and none have come through the air.
"Everybody knows about [running back] Cody [Remaley] because of the success he had last year," said Tout. "But the difference this year is that we have a few more weapons around him.
"We knew all along that [flanker] Jake [Kern] and [quarterback] Tyler [Bolton] had the speed and big-play potential to do some special things and I think you are starting to see that. Is addition, Tyler's brother Dylan Bolton is another kid who has the ability to break a long one at any time."
Tout said while the speed of his skill people is what gets noticed on all the big plays, there is another important reason that might not be so obvious to the casual observer.
"This is probably the best offensive line we've had around here in a number of years," said Tout. "Our line has done a great job of getting on people and allowing our backs to get through the holes.
"But you don't make those kinds of runs without great downfield blocking as well and that's something we've gotten from our receivers and our linemen.
"When we watched the film from the Salisbury game, one thing that really stood out was that on two of those long runs, we had linemen 40 yards downfield blocking. That's something that you just don't see very often and shows the kind of effort we've been getting up front."
IT WAS NICE WHILE IT LASTED ... Area teams had gone through the first four weeks of the season without any of them failing to score points in a game.
That streak finally came to an end in week five when North Schuylkil blanked Marian, 37-0.
But the run was extremely noteworthy that's because it had never happened before!
Since the 1965 season, when all nine schools that currently play football in our area have had teams, there has never been a season when all the teams avoided being shut out through the first four weeks of the season.
VERSATILE KEER ... When Lehighton senior quarterback Kyle Hunter suffered an injury in the second game of the season against Tamaqua, Indian coach George Ebbert turned to starting split end JT Keer to replace him.
Keer played some quarterback for Lehighton a year ago, and with back-up QB Josh Agosto also sidelined, Ebbert needed him to fill in behind center for a few games.
Hunter returned to the lineup on Friday night against Pocono Mountain East, allowing Keer to move back to wide receiver.
The move paid instant dividends for Lehighton as Keer caught six passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
The 189 receiving yards are the most by an Indian player in almost 18 years. The last time a Lehighton player had more receiving yards was on Nov. 23, 1991 when Chris Green had 245 yards.
Keer's 189 yards was the seventh highest total by an area player in the past 20 years.
The only players during that time span with more yards than Keer were:
* Fenton Black, Panther Valley, 1992 (252 yards)
* Don Evans, Jim Thorpe, 2000 (250 yards)
* Chris Green, Lehighton, 1991 (245 yards)
* Tom Rosahac, Panther Valley, 1989 (237 yards)
* Kysheem Lynch, Jim Thorpe, 2008 (195 yards)
* Michael Cody, Jim Thorpe, 2000 (194 yards)
PUTTING UP POINTS ... Tamaqua has now gone 25 consecutive games without being shut out. The last time the Raiders were blanked was Sept. 7, 2007 when Lehighton routed them, 41-0.
The 25-game streak is the longest current run in the TIMES NEWS area. Jim Thorpe has the second longest streak with 21 in a row.
This is also the longest streak at Tamaqua since another 25-gamer that stretched from week eight of the 1967 season until week two of the 1970 season. The Tamaqua record for most consecutive games without being shut out is 30. That was set between 1955 and 1958.
RUNNING WILD ... Northern Lehigh's 495 yards rushing against Salisbury on Friday night was the most in a game by a TIMES NEWS area team since Nov. 1, 2002 when the Bulldogs had 521 yards rushing against Palmerton in a 61-16 victory.