Bulldogs score late, then hold off Pirates
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh's Cody Remaley looks for running room while following lead blocker Matt Gill.
Last year the Palisades football team beat Northern Lehigh for the first time in the school's history.
Cody Remaley and his fellow Bulldogs weren't about to let it happen two years in a row.
With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, Northern Lehigh marched 58 yards in eight plays behind the running of Remaley and went up by two with just 1:41 remaining on the clock. The Pirates responded with five straight completions after a bad snap and put themselves in field goal range with 16 seconds to go. Fortunately for the locals, Palisades' kick never really got off the ground and rolled dead in the end zone. With that, the Bulldogs pulled out the stunning 26-24 Colonial League victory.
"I am proud of the kids," said Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout. "We have talked a lot this year about playing a full four quarters. Last year we weren't consistent, so that has been our motto so far this season. Tonight I think we played for four quarters.
"Palisades should get a lot of credit. They came right down the field at the end. That was a display of two teams that really wanted this game badly. There was a playoff-type atmosphere and it was just a great game overall."
After a 24-yard Mike McClintock field goal gave the Pirates a 24-20 lead, the Bulldogs got the ball back with five minutes to go. Remaley touched the ball five times in the next eight plays, racking up 55 yards in the process.
He converted a big fourth-and-three on a counter to the right to keep the drive going around midfield. Four plays later he would punch it into the end zone from 23 yards out. Remaley took the toss to the left, juked inside then back outside and scampered in for the eventual game-winning score.
"The only thing on my mind was to get in the end zone," said the junior tailback. "I followed my blockers the whole way. I cut in - bounced out - got to the pylon and just barely got in. It felt great."
Even with only five minutes left on the clock, Northern Lehigh's game plan all along was to get the ball into the hands of their star running back.
"Cody is our workhorse," said Tout. "We took him off of defense a little more this week with the idea that he would be fresh in the third and fourth quarter. So if we got the ball late - that was our plan. We loaded up on the one side and we noticed that (Palisades) didn't adjust. That's how we scored."
Still, the game was not over as 1:41 remained on the clock. Following a return to the 49-yard-line, the Pirates took a major hit on their first play. A high snap backed them up 14 yards and made it seem as if the game was all but over. However, Adam Hardy completed his next five passes and got his team all the way down to the Northern Lehigh 16-yard-line.
As McClintock set up for the kick, Tout called a timeout in an effort to freeze him. Whether it affected McClintock or not is debatable, but in the end he missed the 35-yard attempt. It was not exactly known whether the kick was blocked or not, but the ball never made it above the lineman and rolled into the end zone.
Things have shaped up nicely for Northern Lehigh, who now stands at 3-1 through its first four games.
"This win sets us up really well for the rest of the season," said Remaley, who ran for 173 yards on 24 carries. "We got our tougher opponents out of the way in these first few games. I think after this one we will have the confidence that we are going ahead and that we are going pretty good here."