Kern, Bulldogs pull away from Bangor
Northern Lehigh's Jake Kern can do a number of things well on the football field.
But on Friday night, the senior proved that even when he does something wrong the results can turn out positive.
Midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs' Mr. Versatile didn't run the right route on a pattern. Because of that, two receivers (and two defensive backs) were in the same vicinity. Kern, however, made an adjustment and came up with the football for a 19-yard touchdown reception that extended his team's lead.
For Kern and his Nolehi teammates, an awful lot seems to be going right lately. Another strong defensive effort, as well as more offensive highlights from Kern and Cody Remaley lifted the Bulldogs to a 35-6 victory over Bangor. The win keeps Joe Tout's club perfect at 8-0 and in line for a Colonial League title.
"We knew we had to step it up in the second half," said Kern. "We didn't play our best in the first. Our offense wasn't the best. We had to change a few things. Our defense was strong. We just had to keep playing the way we knew we could.
"I ran the wrong route there. I was supposed to run a shorter route but I tried to get away from the corner. I had to adjust to the ball because I saw it was thrown. I wasn't sure if my other guy was behind me or not. I'm probably going to get yelled at for that."
Kern's TD catch, along with a 46-yard scoring run from Remaley, staked Northern Lehigh to a 14-0 cushion. But a 40-yard Scott LaValva pass to Ryan Hester set up LaValva's six-yard touchdown that made the contest a 14-6 nail-biter at halftime.
Just like last week against Northwestern, though, the Bulldogs dominated the second half and pulled away for a Homecoming victory.
"We were a little nervous with Homecoming because there's always a lot of distractions," said Tout. "But we came out with pretty much focus. We made mistakes but I'm sure Bangor feels the same way ... I thought our kids just carried through in the second half and cleaned up their mistakes. We're happy, especially defensively.
Remaley took the second half kickoff and went 58 yards to give Nolehi great field position. Four plays later, Matt Gill bulled his way in from two yards out to up the margin to 21-6.
On their next possession, Kern went into the "Bulldog" (the team's version of the Wildcat) and ran three times for 56 yards to set up Remaley's seven-yard tally.
"We've been practicing it a lot throughout the weeks," said Kern, who finished with 105 yards rushing. "Our line really stepped it up. They got on blocks, stayed on blocks and created holes."
"We like that formation," said Tout. "We're comfortable giving the ball to Jake just as much as we are to Cody. In the second half Matt (Gill) also made some big plays. We have a lot of guys we trust right now handling the football."
Tout also trusts his defense and against the Slaters (6-2) they came up with six turnovers.
"I think our kids are starting to peak on defense," said Tout. "Right now they're playing with a lot of confidence. We thought going into the year our defense was going to be our strong suit."
Kern put the finishing touches on Bangor in grand style, turning a fake punt into a 40-yard touchdown run with 4:26 left to play.
"We wanted to put the game away late with that fake punt," said Tout. "That's something we contemplated earlier and didn't do it. That's not a touchdown though if not for that kid. That's a first down, but that's not a touchdow. That's the kind of player he is."