Frame’s late TD lifts NL
It was the right call at the right time with the right player.
And because it was, Northern Lehigh ended up on the right side of the scoreboard.
Trailing by three points with under two minutes to play in Friday’s season opener against Wilson, the Bulldogs were deep in their own territory and facing a first-and-25.
In what seemed like an obvious passing situation, Nolehi ran the ball.
That decision couldn’t have worked out any better for head coach Joe Tout and his team.
Backup fullback Matt Frame broke loose for a 72-yard touchdown run that proved to be the deciding score in a 14-10 Colonial League victory.
“Give credit to (assistant coach) Matt Davis,” said Tout. “He was the one that pointed out maybe to pop a trap on them. Obviously, we didn’t expect that it would score. We had a penalty that backed us up, and sometimes when you’re so concerned about prevent, those things will pop. We thought maybe that’s something that gets us 10 or 15 yards.
“That boy can really run. He runs hard. We looked like geniuses there, but he made us look that way ... The kid just made a great play.”
Frame was most likely in the game because starter Dale Wanamaker was having some physical issues.
“I didn’t get in much, and at the end our fullback got hurt,” said Frame. “He was cramping and I came in. I got my opportunity, I saw an opening and I just took it to the house. It feels amazing.
“All week we’ve been focusing on not getting tackled by one person and in this kind of game situation, I wasn’t letting one person take me down.”
Frame broke numerous tackles on his way to the end zone, setting off a wild celebration on the sidelines.
“We were deep in our own territory and Matt just came right up the middle, broke a bunch of tackles and was on his way,” said Carter Smith, whose interception on Wilson’s final possession sealed the victory. “Everybody was going insane after that.”
The exciting finish was a reversal of the game’s first half, as both team’s offenses sputtered early.
Wilson failed to reach No. Lehigh territory in the first two quarters, while the Bulldogs gained most of their yards on a trick play that gave them one scoring chance — which they couldn’t convert.
“We thought defensively we were great in the first half,” said Tout. “But as soon as we scored, they looked like a veteran team that knew how to come back from that.”
“All around, it was a great defensive effort for both teams,” said Smith. “I mean it was three-and-out, three-and-out for a while. We knew that the team with the least amount of turnovers was probably going to win this game.”
The Warriors suffered one of those turnovers late in the third quarter and it cost them. Northern Lehigh’s Bryce Dyer recovered a loose ball at the Wilson 12, and one play later Zach Moyer tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Trevor Amorim.
But the Warriors responded, driving 62 yards in eight plays, the final one a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Cayden Stem to tie the game 7-7 early in the fourth. After a Bulldog fumble on their next possession, Wilson used a 10-play march to set up Lorenzo Sigue’s 27-yard field goal with 3:15 left to play.
“They were at a point there where they were going power-I, goal line offense and we couldn’t stop them,” said Tout. “They had a penalty and that helped, and to hold them to a field goal was huge.”
Down 10-7, Northern Lehigh threw three incompletions before converting on a fourth-and-10. A holding penalty pushed the Bulldogs back, but that only made Frame’s run more dramatic.
“Obviously we were a little frustrated going down 10-7, but we knew we weren’t going to be a team that puts our heads down,” said Smith. “We just knew we were going to get a big play. And luckily, Matt sprang loose for one.”
SACK ATTACK ... Northern Lehigh’s defense had three sacks in the game and finished with nine tackles for loss.
JUST PUNT ... The two teams combined for eight punts in the first half. That matched the number of first downs the clubs had in the opening two quarters.
FIRST WEEK SUCCESS ... With the victory, the Bulldogs are 22-5 in their last 27 season openers.