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Blue Mountain seeks statement win

When you’re a team looking to make a statement, knocking off a previously undefeated football team is a good way to do it.

Northwestern Lehigh (6-0) has come up against teams lately who are looking to make such a statement and move into the upper echelon with that big win.

Last week, it was the Wilson Warriors (5-1) who were looking to remain undefeated by beating the Tigers. This week is another matchup with a team that needs that one big win as Northwestern hosts Blue Mountain (3-3), a team that has been re-establishing itself in the high school football ranks.

The two teams have a bit of a history against each other. It was five years ago when Blue Mountain downed Northwestern to win the Eastern Conference title in a lopsided game that coach Josh Snyder still remembers.

“They beat us pretty good in that game,” said Snyder. “I’m not sure that too many other people remember that one, but I know that I do.”

Of course, the names and faces of the players are all changed from those days, but both teams come in wanting a win.

For Snyder, it would help to remove some of that memory of games gone by and for Blue Mountain, it would be a confidence booster that might propel them through the rest of the schedule.

“They are right there and look like they’re ready to move into the top ranks among teams and when you’re at that point, sometimes one win can really tip the scales,” Snyder said. “They’re going to be ready to play and looking for that win that’s going to make a lot of people realize how good they are. Plus, they have a number of young players who are only going to get better.”

The Northwestern Lehigh defense will be challenged to stop the ground game of the Eagles, who use junior James Seaman as their featured back.

Seaman has carried 74 times this season and averages 6.8 yards per carry for Blue Mountain. As a team, the Eagles rush for just over 200 yards per game.

Among the young players that Blue Mountain features are a pair of sophomore backs in Payton Fasnacht and Tyler Miller, who are used to keep defenses honest and give Seaman a bit of a breather. Fasnacht has rushed for 308 yards on 59 carries, while Miller has 176 yards on 28 carries on the season.

Sophomore quarterback Will Jacobson doesn’t put the ball up often, but when he does, he spreads it around with 12 different players having pulled in passes this season. Jacobson averages 74 yards per game and has completed just under 50 percent of his passes.

Meanwhile, the Tiger defense doesn’t allow much. Last week against Wilson, they managed to hold the Warriors to just six points and they have allowed just 17 points per game on the year. Blue Mountain will likely struggle to find running space and if Jacobson is forced into throwing situations, the Eagles will be in trouble.

Offensively, Dylan Clymer is healthy for Northwestern Lehigh and is back to being the main part of the Tigers ground game. The sophomore back rushed for 83 yards on 11 carries against Wilson last week, while senior quarterback Justin Holmes again paced the offense with 215 yards rushing.