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Bulldogs win Mtn. Road Rumble

The Mountain Road Rumble has been dominated by Northwestern Lehigh over the past few seasons. In fact, Tiger seniors had never lost a varsity football game to Northern Lehigh and the team had not lost a game to a public school since 2018.

Both of those streaks ended at Bulldog Stadium when Northern Lehigh pulled out a 34-27 win over the Tigers, fighting off a late drive by Northwestern.

The Bulldogs came out running the football, which was no surprise. What was surprising was the success they had with backs A.J. Jimenez and Izaiah Ramos both getting plenty of yards. Quarterback Nick Frame also took a few turns and used some early hitch patterns to establish a passing game.

On their first possession of the game, Northern Lehigh methodically moved the ball down the field and capped the drive when Ramos barreled into the end zone from four yards out for the only score of the first quarter.

Northern Lehigh used the same mix of plays with success in the second quarter and kept the Northwestern Lehigh defense on its heels. Two drives resulted in touchdowns, with Ramos getting his second of the night on a seven-yard run and Frame hurdling a pile of players at the line of scrimmage for a one-yard touchdown run. An earlier missed extra point and failed two-point conversion left the score at 19-0 before Northwestern Lehigh got on the board.

“Sometimes you take the little things for granted,” said Northwestern Lehigh coach Josh Snyder. “Those little things can mean the difference and that was the case tonight. I have to give Northern Lehigh and their coaching staff a lot of credit. They came in ready to play and it was a battle.”

With the Bulldogs dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, the Tigers eventually found some holes to run through and were able to move the ball down the field at a steady pace, sticking primarily to the ground game.

Running back Dalton Clymer closed out a second-quarter drive with a three-yard run to get Northwestern on the board just before the end of the first half, which was a big score for the Tigers.

“That gave us momentum, but our locker room still wasn’t a very nice place at halftime,” said Snyder. “They responded in a big way, came back and made it a battle and that’s what you expect in a game like this.”

Northwestern had the ball coming out of the locker room and used the momentum of its late first-half score and the lecture they were given in the locker room to again go on the prowl and make it a 19-13 game on a three-yard run by Clymer.

With Frame on the sidelines dealing with cramping, sophomore quarterback Ayden Oswalt came on to lead the offense at the end of a drive and wound up picking up his first touchdown on a two-yard run to put the Bulldogs up by two touchdowns midway through the third quarter.

From there, it was Northwestern Lehigh’s turn to put the Northern Lehigh defense on its heels.

Tiger quarterback Cade Christopher, who had missed on a couple long pass attempts earlier in the game, was right on target to hit Seth Kern for a 48-yard TD toss with 2:31 left in the third quarter. Christopher struck again on a fourth quarter punt return, going 65 yards into the end zone and the Tigers had officially erased the early deficit to tie the game at 27-27.

The ensuing drive was all about staying alive for the Bulldog offense.

On a fourth-and-one, Jimenez picked up six yards on the ground and moments later Northern Lehigh was faced with a third-and-25 and Frame hit fellow senior Austin Smyth for 31 yards to again keep the drive going. Ramos finished off the drive with a three-yard run and Chase Moffitt added the extra point to make it 34-27.

Northwestern Lehigh wasn’t done as the Tigers looked to march down the field. With Christopher battling cramping, Clymer took over as quarterback for one last gasp play as time ran out. Clymer looked over the middle and had no open receivers until he found Eli Zimmerman at the front corner of the end zone and tried to hit him with a pass. The pass was just short, and Zimmerman was unable to come back to make a catch and the ball fell onto the goal line for the final play of the game.

“I’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit for the heart they showed to come back,” said Northwestern coach Josh Snyder. “I am really disappointed in our execution on both sides of the ball. We were undisciplined most of the night.”

PRESS PHOTO BY RON GOWER The Tigers' Colin Myers tries to get a hold of Northern Lehigh quarterback Nick Frame.
PRESS PHOTO BY RON GOWER Seth Kern came up with a big touchdown catch during the Tigers' loss to Northern Lehigh last week.