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Tigers shut out Bulldogs

The Tigers have recaptured the Mountain Road Rumble trophy, defeating rival Northern Lehigh 48-0 in the annual battle between the two teams. The win came in what was a dominating showing by the Tigers, who have outscored their opponents 97-6 in the first two games of the season.

“I would argue that we dominated in all three phases,” said Tigers coach Josh Snyder about his team’s performance. “Our offensive and defensive lines were phenomenal and then Eli (Zimmerman) almost returned that kick for a score; we played well in every way tonight and I really have to credit our guys for all the hard work they put in.”

Snyder was referring to a 61-yard punt return by junior Eli Zimmerman that set up a short touchdown run by Dalton Clymer with 3:23 left in the opening quarter, putting the Tigers up 13-0 at the time.

The Tigers offense went up 7-0 on their opening drive on a three-yard run by Shane Leh. That drive followed Northern Lehigh’s opening drive that saw them pick up a first down, which would be the only time they moved the chains until there was just 5:00 remaining before halftime. In between, their offense was dominated by a defensive line that sacked Bulldogs quarterback Garrett Smoyer five times in the game, forcing a turnover on a fumble on one of the sacks. The defense held Northern Lehigh to just 40 yards of total offense on the night.

“We had a lot of guys play really well last week and it just carried over to this week,” said Snyder. “Jackson Huber is a guy that came out of nowhere last week and he was great again this week.”

Clymer, a senior, has taken his leadership role seriously both on and off the field. Against the Bulldogs, Clymer pulled in two touchdown passes and rushed for another to contribute 159 yards of offense for the Tigers.

“We’ve really been clicking, and the offensive line deserves all the credit,” said Clymer. “Right from camp, they just seemed to gel, and a lot of questions people had have been answered.”

Through the first two weeks, the Tigers had sophomores Mason Bollinger and Shane Leh sharing the quarterback spot and this week it turned from being a duo to a trio when freshman Brady Krimmel got some playing time late in the game.

Shane Leh hit on four of five passes for 84 yards, while Bollinger and Krimmel combined for 85 yards of four of six passing.

“One downside of rotating quarterbacks is that they get half the reps in practice, but it is what it is,” said Snyder. “We’re going to stay this way with the two guys sharing the job. They are both playing well and they both make mistakes but the positives are outweighing the negatives and I just want them to improve and practice hard and develop as quarterbacks.”

Bollinger rushed for 24 yards and Leh ran for 11 with one of them being for a touchdown to help the ground game.

“I think it’s working well,” said Bollinger. “I think we all know our role and we’re all fitting in well together.”

Northwestern Lehigh will face its toughest task of the season next week when it travels to Blue Mountain to play the Eagles. Blue Mountain beat Jim Thorpe 35-0 last week and shut out North Schuylkill 48-0 in week two.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Eli Zimmerman's 61-yard punt return set up one of Northwestern's touchdowns in last week's win over Northern Lehigh.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Shane Leh throws a pass during the Tigers' win over Northern Lehigh last Thursday.