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Spartans are better than their 0-2 record

Uncharacteristically, Northwestern Lehigh’s offense turned the ball over three times last week in a 34-33 win over Northern Lehigh. That’s one of the things that coach Josh Snyder will stress to his team that they need to avoid going forward.

The Tigers generally hang onto the football and are the ones causing turnovers, much like when senior Jacob Peters picked up a Bulldogs fumble last week and sprinted 26 yards into the end zone to put Northwestern up 13-7.

“Our offense made some mistakes last week, but we played well enough to cover them up,” said Snyder. “The thing that we stress though is that you don’t always get the chance to cover those things up and we have to do better in that area.”

While this week’s opponent, Southern Lehigh, might not seem as strong as their Northern counterparts, Snyder is taking nothing for granted. He has stressed to his team that to look at the Spartans as just another 0-2 team would be a mistake because their two losses have come against good teams in Quakertown and Notre Dame (Green Pond).

“They might be 0-2, but they’re well coached and they’re coming off two losses to good teams,” Snyder stressed. “They’re going to come in here looking to get that first win and if we take them for granted, there is no doubt in my mind that they can beat us.”

Southern Lehigh quarterback James Wisecarver has set the tone for Southern Lehigh and threw for 159 yards last week, using primarily two of his favorite receivers in Cade Sawyer (4 catches, 87 yards) and Tyler Houser (4 catches, 84 yards). Wisecarver can also take off with the ball and rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown last week against the Crusaders.

Peters not only came up with a big fumble recovery for a touchdown last week against Northern Lehigh, but he also broke up a pass to the end zone just before halftime to stop a Bulldogs drive.

Peters is part of an experienced secondary that has helped to limit opposing quarterbacks to less than a 50-percent completion percentage through the first two games while picking up two interceptions.

On offense, Northwestern has gotten back to its roots of running the ball, having collected 589 yards on the ground in two games.

Quarterback Justin Holmes has already rushed for five touchdowns and 276 yards for the Tigers with sophomore running back Dalton Clymer picking up 128 yards in 15 carries this season.

Wide receiver Cade Christopher picked up a 78-yard touchdown run last week and has 126 yards total rushing through two games.

“Our line has played well in the first two games,” said Snyder. “They’ve given our guys some holes to run through and we’ve been able to take advantage of that. We always like to run the ball and with Holmes, we have the ability to do some different things when we have the ball.”

Having to wait until week three to have their home opener has the Tigers ready to play in front of their fans.

There was a large contingent of fans that made the trip to Slatington for the Mountain Road Rumble with Northern Lehigh last week and Snyder is expecting very few open seats when the team finally gets to play at Tiger Stadium.

“When you think about it, it’s really been about two years since we’ve been able to have a lot of fans at games,” said Snyder. “Last season, the tickets were limited because of COVID, but with those restrictions gone, we should have a big crowd Friday.

“I think the guys are looking forward to playing at home and having a big, loud crowd to play in front of for the first time this season.”