Tigers' running game wears down Bombers
DOUG EDWARDS/Special to the TIMES NEWS Northwestern's Colton Breininger looks for running room after taking a handoff from Trevor German in Friday night's win over Palmerton.
With its offensive line back at full strength, Northwestern got back to doing what it does best.
The Tigers ran the ball on 41 of 49 offensive plays, piling up 298 rushing yards in a 47-13 win over Palmerton.
"Our line did a heck of a job," said Northwestern quarterback Trevor German. "They blocked it up well. Our running backs hit the holes hard. We played really physical football. That's what we need to do."
The Tigers gained most of their yards up the middle with fullback Michael Oswald. The senior ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He scored on runs of 16 yards and 49 yards, both in the first quarter.
German also gained a good chunk of his 96 rushing yards on runs and scrambles up the middle.
"They were not going to give us the perimeter," said Northwestern head coach Bob Mitchell. "We saw that early on with what they were going to do defensively. We decided then we're going to run tackle to tackle."
The Tigers established the run early with Oswald. Then German settled in. He set up his team's third touchdown with a third-down completion to tight ed Ryan Betz and a 28-yard pass to Kevin Oxley that put Northwestern on the Palmerton 2-yard line. German ran it in from there for a 21-7 halftime lead.
Northwestern really got going after halftime.
Oxley brought the second half kick off back 71 yards to the Blue Bomber 15. Five plays later German threw a strike to Ryan Betz for a 3-yard touchdown and a 27-7 lead with 9:31 left in the third quarter.
"That second half kick off was huge," Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle said. "We were feeling pretty good mentally. I thought our kids were in the right place at halftime. They knew they were going to have to dig out of a hole a little bit. They opened the second half with a kick off return. That crushed a lot of our spirit right there in one play."
German finished the game 7-for-8 with no interceptions, two touchdown passes and one touchdown run. It was the senior's best game since taking the helm this season.
"He's becoming more and more confident as the weeks go on," Mitchell said. "He made some nice throws. He's sitting in the pocket a little bit longer, but he's still not afraid to take off. He made some big plays for us. That's what he can do."
Palmerton only stopped Northwestern's offense once in the game. The Tigers scored touchdowns on seven of 12 possessions. They had two drives end with fumbles, two by the clock. They punted just once.
The Tiger defense, which has pitched three shut outs this season, didn't let up a point while the starters were still on the field.
The Bomber's first touchdown came on a 96-yard Christian Marcin kick off return touchdown that made it 7-7 in the first quarter.
The Tigers answered with a three-play drive capped by Oswald's 49-yard run to pay dirt that made it 14-7 with 4:39 left in the first. They scored five more touchdowns before Palmerton's Nick Karullo ran 36 yards with 3:35 left in the game.
Northwestern got late touchdowns from Payton Bachman (16-yard run with 8:41left in the game) and Bobby Clymer (3-yard run with 7:32 left).
"Our offensive line was pushing people around," Oswald said. "They did a good job tonight."
"They're big up front," McArdle said. "They kind of wore on us a little bit."