Unbeaten Northwestern keeps rolling
PEN ARGYL - Northwestern’s offense operates at a frenetic pace.
But the Tigers defense is just as frenzied.
On Saturday, the high-powered Northwestern offense fed off its relentless defense en route to a 41-7 win over Pen Argyl.
The unbeaten Tigers (4-0) built a 34-0 lead at halftime, and scored touchdowns on five straight possessions after fumbling on their opening drive.
Northwestern held Pen Argyl to 26 yards of total offense in the first half - including negative two yards on the ground - while allowing just one first down.
Sacks from Bryer Reichard and Benjamin Walters stopped the Green Knights in their tracks, while an interception by Eli Zimmerman and a fumble recovery by Daniel Jenkins fueled the Tigers momentum and led to a pair of touchdowns.
“They get us going, for sure,” Tigers’ head coach Josh Snyder said of the defense. “It starts with that big D-line up front, making splash plays, making it really tough for their linemen to get up to the second level, which frees up our linebackers. And if we can get teams in second-and-long, and third-and-long, we feel like we can just pin our ears back and really get after them. And that’s what we were able to do today.
“I thought guys like Danny Jenkins and Seth Kern played really well in pass coverage; Eli (Zimmerman) had a big interception. We took away what they wanted to do best, and got them into some things that they weren’t too comfortable with. The good defense set up the offense in great field position, and we were able to have a short field all day and finish with drives in the end zone.”
After the Green Knights’ Brad Rissmiller recovered a fumble on the first play of Northwestern’s opening drive, Reichard stuffed a fourth-and-six from the Tigers’ 44-yard line with a sack.
Dalton Clymer capped the ensuing Northwestern possession with a 12-yard score - his first of two in the game, to make it 7-0.
Another fourth down stop on Pen Argyl’s next drive led to Shane Leh’s six-yard TD pass to Devon Hildebrand to make it 13-0 in the first quarter.
Zimmerman came up with a pick on the Green Knights’ next series, and Clymer scored his second TD of the half and added the two-point try to make it 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
“For me, I would say our defense is kind of like the heart of our team,” said Clymer, who rushed for 118 yards. “We’re very proud of our defense. We kind of came in with that mindset of, ‘there’s no way that they’re going to march it (down the field) on us. There’s no way they’re going to score, pass, nothing.’ We weren’t perfect. But we did a really good job.” Jenkins recovered a fumble on the next Pen Argyl possession, and Leh (9-of-17, 127 yards) found Mason Bollinger for a 33-yard score to make it 28-0.
“It’s definitely a thing of pride for us,” added Jenkins. “We work as a team, make sure no one puts too many points on the board, and we worked together and got it done today.”
The Tigers’ final drive of the first half ended with Leh’s third TD pass, this time to Jenkins from 11 yards out to make it 34-0 with 0:41 left before the intermission.
“That’s exactly what we want to do offensively,” said Snyder. “We want to make it tough on a defense ... stretch them horizontally, side-to-side. Whatever they give us, we’re willing to take it. Mason (Bollinger) gives us a little bit of that vertical stretch. Shane (Leh) connected with him again today for a big one for us.
“I think we have a lot of weapons, and our line is giving us a lot of protection. We threw the ball a little bit more than we typically do, but I just wanted to see what we had there, especially at the end of the half when we went four-wide for the first time this year. We executed that very well, finished with a touchdown to Danny Jenkins to put us up by five scores and finish the half really well.”
Bollinger capped Northwestern’s final scoring drive, hitting Zimmerman for a 15-yard score to make it 41-0 in the third quarter.
... The Tigers outgained the Green Knights 438-101 in the contest, and have outscored opponents 166-34 this season.
ON THE BOARD
... Nuallan King scored from four yards out for the Green Knights with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter to prevent the shutout.