JT biggest team Nolehi has faced
The Northern Lehigh Bulldogs finished their first order of business last week when they tucked away the Colonial League championship with a perfect 10-0 regular season record.
While the team was headed toward the fire trucks and buses that paraded them around town, Bulldog quarterback Dylan Hofmann put everything into perspective for his teammates.
"We'll enjoy this now, but remember, we're 0-0 again tomorrow," he quipped.
The Bulldogs stayed focused through the entire 10-game schedule, except for what might have been a little hiccup during the win against Palisades.
"One thing that we have to give our kids credit for this year is that they haven't looked by anybody," said Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout. "We came out a little flat against Palisades but were able to get things going and get the win.
"Our kids believed us last week when we told them Palmerton played people tough for three quarters, they just weren't finishing games.
So they entered that game and knew with the win, everything else will take care of itself and that's what they did.
"I think it was after the Pen Argyl game that our kids started to believe we could go undefeated. And what impressed me was we went from Pen Argyl, to Northwestern, to Catty, to Palmerton. It wasn't an easy road."
Now the Bulldogs take the No. 1 seed into the District 11 2A playoffs this Saturday when they host No. 4 seed Jim Thorpe in a 7 o'clock start.
One thing that makes Tout happy is that this year, they get to play someone outside of the league right off the bat.
Last year, the Bulldogs had to beat Salisbury and Catasauqua before reaching the District final against North Schuylkill.
"We're excited just to get to compare leagues," said Tout. "I'm sure Jim Thorpe wants to compare the Anthracite League with the Colonial League, too.
"What's also nice it's a TIMES NEWS area matchup so we expect a nice crowd Saturday night. It would almost be a good fit for both of us to be in the same league since we're so close."
Tout compares the Olympians to Northwestern Lehigh up front. The Tigers were the biggest offensive and defensive lines the Bulldogs faced in the Colonial league. The Olympians might even be a little bigger up front.
"We didn't move the ball real well against Northwestern, so we have to make sure we're moving our feet and being real fundamental," said Tout. "We also saw that they don't line up in a base front all game.
We've seen a lot of fronts from them and it's tough to prepare for in such a short time."
The Bulldogs will attack with Cody Remaley, who went over the 6,000-yard mark in his career last week and the versatile Jake Kern and Matt Gill, to move the offense.
Tout is a little concerned with the Jim Thorpe "Pistol" offense since the Bulldogs haven't faced it before.
"Northwestern did a little bit of it, but they were more spread," Tout said. "That's the challenge for us and it kind of reminds me of the Wing-T concept. We can't get caught up with all of the action in the backfield. Our defensive line and outside linebackers have to follow their keys and play their responsibility."
Tout said he doesn't get the sense from his squad that it is tired since it's November. Everyone seems to be excited.
After the way last year ended, with the loss to North Schuylkill in the district final, the Bulldogs want to keep going and don't want that to happen again.