Wolfe leads Saucon Vy. over Northwestern
HELLERTOWN — Things started badly for Northwestern and only got worse from there.
An 81-yard run kick-off return set up an early score for Saucon Valley and a fumble on the next Tigers’ drive gave the Panthers a short field, helping them to go up 14-0 just over four-minutes into the game.
Saucon Valley turned the fast start into a 49-21 Colonial League win over Northwestern.
Alston Wolfe wound up with a big night for the Panthers, rushing for 179 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries. Wolfe was also the one who got the game started with an 81-yard kick return to the Tigers 11-yard line. Ian Csisek, filling in for the injured Zach Petiet, finished with 155 yards and two TDs.
“I made a dumb mistake kicking it deep,” said Northwestern coach Josh Snyder. “I thought we could get it in the end zone and the Wolfe kid just went crazy from the opening kick right up until they took him out, so that was tough.
“We made a lot of mistakes early on, with not lining up correctly and the penalty, so we hurt ourselves.”
The Tigers (2-4) looked to extend a two-game win streak to put themselves back into the hunt for a district playoff spot, but the early start by Saucon Valley put them on their heels and they were never able to click offensively.
“They were the better team and I knew going in that we had to play our best game,” said Snyder. “We still weren’t able to run the ball and that’s a little disappointing.
“We don’t have a break away running back. We’ve got guys who are tough and give us everything, but they’re not break out running backs, so we tried to mix it up and do it that way.”
In the second quarter, down 28-0, the Tigers put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive to make it a 28-7 game.
But two more Saucon Valley touchdowns had the game into mercy rule at halftime.
Northwestern’s Jayden Allen returned the second half kickoff 45 yards to the Saucon Valley 35. Quarterback Deven Bollinger hit Ryan Haas for 30 yards on the first play and three plays later, Phil Dangello went in from three yards out to make it 42-14.
Bollinger struck again with 4:20 left to play when he hit Allen with a 15-yard completion closing the game to 49-21. Bollinger threw for 175 yards on the night, completing 10 of the 25 passes he attempted, with one interception.
“Our passing game is doing pretty well and we threw the ball fairly well tonight,” said Snyder. “There were a couple of bad decisions by Deven, I thought he could have run the ball a couple of times for some easy first downs and was late on a couple throws.
“There’s a big gap between where we are and where other Class 4A teams are.”
REVENGE OF THE PANTHER… The win gains at least a bit of revenge for Saucon Valley (4-2) after the Tigers have handed them their only loss of the season in two of the last three seasons. Last year, Northwestern beat Saucon Valley 15-6 at Tiger Stadium.
PANTHER RECORD… Bollinger was intercepted by Wolfe midway through the second quarter. The interception was the 11th of Wolfe’s career, giving him the record for the most in school history. It was just the sixth time this season that Bollinger was picked off.
THE FUTURE… Northwestern hosts Bangor next week as they look to draw back to being within one game of 500 on the season. Snyder believes the team can still pick up some big wins over their final four games of the season. “We have Bangor and we’ll see if we can get a win there. We have to regroup a little bit and keep trying to get some consistency. If we do that, we can surprise some people late in the year and put some things together,” he said.