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Northwestern cruises past Lehighton

The Northwestern offense has proven throughout the 2021 season that it likes to strike quick.

On Friday, the Tigers (4-0) continued that trend on the road against Lehighton, using good special teams play and good field position to their advantage to get the offense going early.

Two opening drives inside the Indians’ 20-yard line resulted in touchdowns for the Tigers, and Northwestern used that early momentum to go onto a 49-7 victory and remain undefeated on the season.

“We had a pretty good run back on the first series to set us up with good field position and then a roughing the punter penalty on us actually worked out for us,” said Northwestern head coach Josh Snyder.

“When they re-kicked, a bad snap enabled us to make a play and get their guy down at the 13, which set up another score for us. Any time you’re able to have a short field, you want to take advantage and we were able to do that early on, which got us out to a good start.”

Defensively, in the first quarter the Tigers front was stingy to say the least, forcing the Tribe to punt three times and turn it over on downs once. In fact, Northwestern forced Lehighton to punt three times before the seven-minute mark.

The Tigers’ defense continued their impressive play in the second quarter, forcing the Indians’ offense into four more punts, while the offense went to the air to keep the pressure on.

“The last two weeks, we weren’t very pleased with our pass rushing effort. We knew we could be better,” said Snyder. “I thought we came out tonight and from the beginning of the game we were physical at the point of attack.

“We were able to get in their backfield consistently and I think we just played solid assignment defensive football and played to the whistle. Every guy just did their job.”

As the Northwestern defense held the Lehighton offense in check, the Tigers’ offense went to the big play - brought to you by junior Cade Christopher.

Christopher had touchdown catches of 53 and 31 yards in the quarter, as well as a 47-yard scamper.

The Northwestern offense exploded for 28 points in the second frame to give it a 41-0 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Lehighton would finally get on the board when quarterback Brady O’Donnell would plunge in from three yards out to end the shutout.

Northwestern would also tack on one more score late in the fourth in mercy rule time on a Devon Hildebrand 16-yard run to cap off the commanding win.

ALL HE DOES ... All Cade Christopher does is catch touchdowns or at least he did a lot of that on Friday, catching two TD passes, while also rushing for a score. He finished with 153 yards of total offense on just four touches, which is a remarkable 38 yards per touch.

NEW TRIPOLI SPECIAL ... The Tigers’ second touchdown of the night, which is called “Viking” featured a “Philly Special” type action with Christopher receiving the toss and Holmes running down the right sideline as an eligible pass catcher. The two connected for the 10-yard score to add a little flavor to the ball game.

Northwestern's Cade Christopher races down the sideline while Lehighton's Ethan Buchert dives to try and make a tackle. RICH SMITH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Northwestern's William Seyfried, on top, and Blaine Snyder, below, try to bring down Lehighton's Hunter Crum. RICH SMITH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS