Gill helps NL continue tradition
Northern Lehigh senior linebacker/fullback Matt Gill is congratulated by head coach Joe Tout after receiving the TIMES NEWS Football Player of The Week award. Gill topped the Bulldogs in tackles with 10 in leading his team to a shutout win over rival Northwestern. He also was the lead blocker for Cody Remaley, who gained 175 yards on 38 carries. For good measure, he added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Matt Gill was hoping he could help keep the tradition alive.
After Friday night's effort - mission accomplished.
Ever since he's been in fifth grade, Northern Lehigh has always defeated rival Northwestern on the football field.
Thanks to Gill and a stingy defense, the Bulldogs not only kept the tradition going but they did it in convincing fashion with a shutout.
The senior linebacker spearheaded the effort with a team-leading 10 tackles. On offense, he also made his mark. The team's fullback not only paved the way for Cody Remaley's 175 yards rushing, but he also powered his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown.
That performance was not only typical of Gill's all-around play, but it was also enough to earn him the TIMES NEWS Player of the Week.
"It was a huge game," said Gill, who has 106 tackles and two sacks so far this season. "We were undefeated and they were 5-1 so it was a giant game. We're a huge rivalry. We haven't lost to Northwestern in all my years playing. We didn't want to start a different tradition now. We wanted to keep the tradition going and keep beating those guys.
"We were focused on (Ty Cunningham). He runs a lot of quick traps inside. They also have little speedsters that they'll try to get the ball to outside. We mainly focused on their trap game and they run that little zone. We were practicing all week and the coaches did a great job of giving us reps of it. We knew what we had to do and we got the job done."
While Gill has been getting the job done for four years now, he's especially been big for the Bulldogs the past couple of seasons.
"Matt's been our leader the last two years," said head coach Joe Tout. "Any time we have success as a defense, he's a big part of it. We felt the linebackers were going to be a key for us last week. Northwestern has gone back to a lot of the wing concepts. Even when they were spread, there was a lot of wing concepts as far as their blocking and whenever you get that your linebackers are your key because they can't get into all that misdirection. They have to read their keys. That's what you saw out of Matt and our defense - a lot of discipline."
Anyone in attendance also saw a lot of hitting - especially from Gill.
Whether it's on offense or defense, the senior likes to lay the lumber to the opposition.
"I wouldn't want to coach against him," said Tout. "He's just a battering ram. He just really enjoys hitting kids. You can see Matt get excited when he leads the block for a touchdown, or when we run toss and he lays out a corner or a d-end. He gets a rush out of that."
"On offense, I get to fly around and hit people," said Gill. "I don't care about awards or anything like that. For myself and the linemen, it's a big honor when your running back is setting all kinds of records. i just like flying around hitting people. I like blocking. It's fun especially when you can do it for Cody."
Gill's backfield mate, Remaley, has received much praise over the years for his production. Remaley gained over 2,000 yards a year ago and this year he became the the league's all-time running back. Because of that and because he's so valuable blocking, Gill rarely gets to touch the ball.
On Friday, though, he had eight carries and also extended a 7-0 lead with a one-yard touchdown.
"I like touching the ball at times," said Gill, who is receiving offers from Patriot Leagues schools as well as Monmouth. "I usually get it in shorter situations and I get a few tosses throughout the year. That's fun but my main purpose in this offense is to block."
"When we have the ball inside the two or at the one he's a guy we count on," said Tout. "He's a reliable guy, he doesn't fumble the ball. He knows when we need one yard, we expect him to get it."