Bulldogs fall to Bangor
It’s not always easy picking out the key moments of a football game.
That wasn’t the case, though, after Northern Lehigh’s 28-6 loss to Bangor on Friday night.
Three Bulldog turnovers, along with some other key mistakes, turned a close Colonial League contest into a comfortable victory for the Slaters.
“Every football coach in America says the same thing, and it’s not a lie,” said Northern Lehigh head coach Joe Tout. “If you don’t turn the ball over, you should be in games.
“The turnovers hurt us tonight. We felt good at the half and we felt like we caught some momentum ... but the miscues in the second half just didn’t allow us to stay in it.”
Trailing just 7-6 at the intermission, and dodging a huge bullet when Bangor was stopped just before the goal line on the final play of the half, the Bulldogs (2-1) were in pretty good shape coming out of the locker room.
After receiving the second-half kickoff, Tout’s club moved inside Bangor territory. Faced with a fourth-and-two at the 38, a successful fake punt would have given Northern Lehigh a first down and added momentum. But a fumble on the play killed the drive.
Two plays later, the Slaters’ Bo Meyers found a wide open Brad Kane down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown and a 13-6 lead.
“It was very frustrating,” said Bangor mentor Tom Toth about failing to score right before the half. “We thought we were in. We went in at halftime and made some adjustments offensively.
“The turnovers were big for us. We really coach that up on defense, tackling and turning the ball over. We were able to force them to turn the ball over a couple of times and that was important.”
Despite the contest still being close, all the momentum had shifted to the Bangor sideline.
A quick three-and-out, where the Bulldogs missed a golden opportunity with an open receiver down field, gave the ball back to the visitors.
The Slaters (2-1) proceeded to march 74 yards in 12 plays to up the margin to 21-6. The biggest play of the drive was a 29-yard strike from Meyers to Kole Bloshuk on a third-and-long. On the toss, a Northern Lehigh defender seemed to have a direct path to picking off the ball, but instead it ended up in the hands of Bloshuk to create a first-and-goal situation.
“It came down to a few multiple plays,” said Tout. “We had opportunities, but we fumbled on the fake punt, followed by not catching the ball on the deep waggle, and then we had a chance for an interception that we didn’t make. Those three plays are what takes a game from 14-6 to 28-6.
“It’s a shame because I thought the game was closer than that ... We just have to learn from this. It’s going to be our Achilles when we face good teams. We got away with it in Week 1 having more turnovers. This week we didn’t.”
Meyers, who threw for over 200 yards, put the game out of reach in fourth quarter when he scrambled for a 23-yard touchdown with 9:17 left to play.
“Meyers played a great game,” said Toth. “He really emerged tonight ... He’s a consistent kid, and he doesn’t the turn the ball over for us. And that’s important.
“Northern Lehigh’s very difficult to defend and we’re fortunate to come away with a win. They’re so well-coached. I have a ton of respect for Joe Tout and his staff.”
EARLY LEAD ... The Bulldogs actually opened the scoring, marching 60 yards on their first drive. Quarterback Gage Hunsicker had a big 10-yard run during the march, and Aaron Rudolph capped it off with a 2-yard TD run.
MOMENTUM SHIFT ... After the fumble on the fake punt, Bangor ran 18 of the next 24 offensive plays in the game, scoring on three of them.
RED ZONE DEFENSE ... Not only did Bangor fail to score right before the half, but the Bulldogs also stopped a fourth-and-goal at their 4-yard line midway through the second quarter.