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Dawgs rallied together

Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout, even in a tough loss to perennial power Southern Columbia on Friday night in the PIAA Class 2A semis, was able to come up with some pretty impressive inspirational words.

“This was a special season, it really was. Our community has been so great throughout this run and we told our guys all season to soak those moments in,” said Tout. “I mean, you look at it, with the pandemic and schools not being open last year and then coming into this season, I think our community just needed something to rally around. Our guys gave that to the community this season and they have shown us a lot of love for that, and I think that’s one of the things to be most proud of from this season.”

Bringing a community together is not the only thing the 2021 Dawgs football team has to be proud of as they put together one of the most historic seasons in program history.

As a team, Northern Lehigh advanced to the state semis for the first time since 2003. The Bulldogs were also able to garner double digit wins (11) for the first time since 2011 (10-2) and they were also able to capture a district championship, which was their first district gold since 2010.

Northern Lehigh’s special 2022 senior class, which undoubtedly led this group to many of those accolades this season was a class that Coach Tout knew was going to create championship type moments once they became upperclassmen.

“We kind of took our lumps with this senior class early on, but they have always been competitive. I think you could see in their sophomore year, we were 6-4, and we just missed districts, but I thought we were close and then we made it to the district championship last season and lost, but had a good core group, which was this year’s senior class coming back,” said Tout. “You could tell they didn’t like that feeling of losing that district title game and they worked really hard all offseason, a lot of the time just going out and doing stuff on their own in groups, whether it was lifting or going out and throwing.”

This year’s Bulldogs squad not only added to the team record books, but also they had a few individuals, who will be leaving the program with school records.

Senior signal caller Dylan Smoyer put together the best passing season and perhaps the best passing career in Northern Lehigh history, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 20-plus passing touchdowns this season. Smoyer set the following school records: single-season passing yards, career passing yards, single-season passing touchdowns, career passing touchdowns, single-season completions and career completions.

“It was honestly a great season. It obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but I’m just so proud of my teammates and coaches. I love all of them,” said Smoyer. “We had a great year offensively, both running and throwing the football. It was a lot of hard work and dedication by a lot of people to help me break all these records, but to be honest, they probably won’t last long, with my little brother coming up.”

Smoyer’s top target in the passing game on the season and do-it-all receiver and runner for the Bulldogs in Trevor Amorim put together an impressive offensive campaign in 2021. Amorim, who also ran for over 800 yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns this season left his mark on the wide receiver position in the Northern Lehigh history books. Amorim set the single-season reception yards, career reception yards and career receptions records for the Bulldogs.

He came into the game against Southern Columbia with 50 catches for 955 yards and eight receiving touchdowns.

“It was an awesome season. I wouldn’t want to go to battle with anyone other than these guys. It didn’t end the way we wanted, but I’m so proud of what we accomplished,” said Amorim. “Dylan and I, we just have the special connection out there. We’ve been throwing around a football together since we were little kids and we’ve just continued to work hard. It feels great to break records with him and with my all my teammates. It just shows the hard work and dedication we’ve put in.

Lastly, senior running back Matt Frame, which has been a constant at that position over the past three years for the Bulldogs was also able to notch his name in the record books, finishing with the fourth most single-season rushing yards in a season for Northern Lehigh. Frame came into the contest against the Tigers with 1,599 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns.

Frame is also fourth all-time in career rushing yards for Northern Lehigh.

Northern Lehigh’s season didn’t end with a trip to Hershey, but it did end with a community rallied around a historic group of young men and most importantly a strong foundation to build upon.

It’s safe to say the Dawgs are back.

Northern Lehigh quarterback Dylan Smoyer tries to find running room. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Northern Lehigh's Brett Misera holds onto the ball on a pass play despite smothering coverage from Southern Columbia. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS