BC tops Northwestern
When Pen Argyl pulled out of Friday night’s game against Northwestern, athletic director Jason Zimmerman didn’t go looking for the weakest possible opponent. He came up with the Berks Catholic Saints, who have a high-powered offense and a defense that tends to dominate opponents.
On Friday night, both the Berks Catholic and Northwestern Lehigh offenses were in high gear at Tigers Stadium. In the end, the Saints came up with a couple of key stops that made the difference in a 56-35 win. Neither team committed a turnover in the game as they moved the ball up and down the field.
All five first-quarter possessions – three by Berks Catholic (1-0) and two by Northwestern (1-1 overall, 0-0 Colonial League) – resulted in touchdowns. While Berks Catholic opened with a sustained drive, Northwestern came back with a one-play drive that saw Justin Rodda take off for 60 yards through the heart of the defense to tie the score at 7-7.
Berks Catholic fired back with another scoring drive, but Owen Coffield blocked the extra-point to keep pace, Northwestern’s Nick Henry capped a drive for the Tigers with a two-yard carry to give the Tigers a 14-13 lead. The back-and-forth battle continued when the Saints went back the other way and wound up in the end zone, holding a 20-14 lead after the first quarter of play.
The teams traded touchdowns with Northwestern again blocking the extra-point attempt after the Saints had made it 26-14. The Tigers used a 14-play drive and scored on an eight-yard strike from Justin Holmes to Justin Rodda, cutting the score to 26-21 with 40 seconds to play in the first half.
Berks Catholic needed just three plays to go 62 yards and then cap the drive with a two-point conversion run by Colby Newton.
“We have to be better in those spots. You can’t give up a long run like that and miss that many tackles,” said Tiger head coach Josh Snyder. “Even if you stop him at the half-yard line and time runs out, it’s a completely different game.”
The two teams played an evenly matched game in the second half, but the damage had already been done. Holmes hit Rodda for a 38-yard strike and later found Cade Christopher on a 55-yard hook-up as Christopher broke several tackles while heading toward the end zone. In his two varsity games, Christopher had made three catches, all of which have gone for touchdowns.
The Saints and Tigers weren’t familiar with each other and had little time to prepare for their matchup.
“We shared some video with them [Berks Catholic] but they hadn’t played this season so we saw stuff from last year and a lot can change,” said Snyder. “They have some really strong dudes on that team, and they run the wing-t, which nobody runs in the Colonial League anymore.”
Even though his team suffered a loss, Snyder was happy with some of the things that he saw. After throwing five interceptions last week, Holmes didn’t throw any against the Saints. He also tied his record of three touchdown passes in a game, which he accomplished in week one.
“I thought Justin really showed a big improvement over last week,” said Snyder. “He played a really clean game, and we didn’t turn the ball over, which is always huge. I think he’ll show improvement every week because he’s really working hard to learn the position and execute the things that we need him to do for our offense.”