Kern, Remaley, Sahlberg all on Class AA team
The Northern Lehigh football team accomplished a lot on the gridiron this past season.
The Bulldogs took home the program's first Colonial League championship since 2005, captured its first district gold medal since 2003, and advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals.
Wednesday night, Northern Lehigh received some individual honors when the Pennsylvania sports writers' Class AA All-State teams were announced. Cody Remaley and Jake Kern were named to the First Team and Carl Sahlberg made the Second Team.
Fittingly, the Bulldogs wanted to share the honors with their teammates..
"It's a great honor," said Kern, who was named the first-team defensive athlete. "You couldn't have asked for anything more, especially with the teammates that we had this year. We're just one big family. To share it with them, it's amazing."
Remaley left out a sigh of relief after finally being able to earn the honor he wanted for the longest time.
A year after he earned Second Team honors as a junior tailback, Remaley capped his senior season by attaining the highest recognition a First Team All-State running back.
It was one of the many goals Remaley set early this season and the 5-10, 185-pound running back wasn't shy about sharing what it took to get the job done this year.
"This means everything to me," Remaley said. "It took a lot of hard work in the off-season to get where I did this season. After losing last year in the District Final, we just wanted to, especially myself, become dedicated more to the weight room that is where everything came together. Then going out for track helped increase my speed and endurence.
"But none of the honors I received would have been possible if it weren't for my teammates."
As the pack of Bulldogs had the chance to share some more accolades together, Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout is proud of the fact that his trio of Bulldogs were recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania for their individual contributions.
"We're real proud of them," said Tout, who had his best season as a coach as the Bulldogs went 13-1 on the year. "They earned it. They're three kids that definitely earned it.
"It's nice because we were we're looking forward to a couple of things when the season ended the All-State selections and where these guys are going to end up going to school as well."
Remaley and Kern were 1-2 in the TIMES NEWS area in rushing this season. Remaley pounded out an impressive 2,322 yards on 260 carries and crushed his previous school record of 25 touchdowns with 39 total this season. Kern followed suite with 82 carries, 986 yards and 22 touchdowns, caught 20 receptions for 326 yards as well as completed two of four passes for touchdowns.
While Remaley and Kern, and the rest of the Bulldogs' ground game, gained all the respect by piling up all the statistics, it was guys like Sahlberg, who helped make it possible for these guys to do so.
And, that's why Tout feels Sahlberg, 6-3, 290 offensive lineman, deserves this type of honor.
"We're really proud of Carl because he is a one-year starter in our program," Tout said. "I think that speaks volumes about him. He's one of our program kids. We thought Carl should have started last year and rather than pout he just worked and worked and worked and made sure that he wasn't just a one year starter that he was our best offensive lineman."
Remaley, Kern and Sahlberg are part of a growing list of Bulldog players who have been recently named to the All-State team. Northern Lehigh now has had 24 players receive that honor in the last 15 years, including nine first-teamers.
It also marks the first time since 2000 that a pair of Bulldogs were named to the First Team. That season John Gross and Bo Tkach earned the honor.
"We just had to live on the legacy to work hard and stay in the weight room and stick with it," Kern said. "You have to give it all on and off the field, academic wise and athletic wise. We are like a family and that can help you pull through anything. It's not only an individual effort but it's also a team effort.
"With the great guys that surrounded us and helped us play the way we did, the amazing coaching staff who pushed us every day ... we couldn't have asked for anything more. It was great."