Northern Lehigh’s memorable state football semi-final brings community together

Times have been tough in recent years as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many people and left communities debating policies.

It has been difficult for cities and school districts to come together and be 100 percent together on something.

That’s what Northern Lehigh football team and his impressive state tournament run has been able to make it this season, according to coach Joe Tout.

“What I noticed teaching in school is that the school needed a victory with COVID with all this kind of masking debate in schools and all these different things, I just think that we noticed that the community really wanted to rally around something, ”Tout said. “Our guys were able to deliver that. And the community immediately returned it. They were awesome with everything. Let it be the Diamond Fire Company that organizes dinners for our players. It’s just phenomenal.

“Our community is not used to all success. We’ve only been to the state finals once, ”said the Bulldogs senior quarterback. Dylan smoyer noted. “This long drive was great. Truly brought our community together. It was beautiful to see. “

The team’s playoffs wrapped up on Friday night in a PIAA Class 2A semi-final as Northern Lehigh faced off against reigning four-time State Champion Southern Columbia at Area High School. Lehighton.

The Bulldogs, who finished the season 11-4, have advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in 18 years.

The District 4 champion responded to a Bulldogs touchdown in the first quarter with 42 straight points to post a dominant 56-14 win.

Smoyer completed a 49-yard pass at junior Nick Frame at the 12 yard line of southern Colombia. Senior Matte frame capped practice with a one-meter touchdown run with 2:59 left in the first quarter as the Bulldogs reduced southern Colombia’s lead to 14-7.

The Tigers only needed 53 seconds to respond as junior Braeden Wisloski broke away for a 54-yard touchdown to beat the lead to a pair of touchdowns.

Southern Colombia added a 5-yard touchdown by junior Wes Barnes and a 13-yard touchdown by senior Gavin Garcia in the 6:29 finals of the second quarter to give a 35-7 halftime lead. .

“What they’ve been doing since 1994 with these things,” said All About the Tigers’ successful offense. “It’s impressive. It really is. It was my fear. Letting things slip. They run Wing-T. They don’t play much. But they took the advantage. We have it. noticed immediately. They’re usually a C gap team. They were just able to give in to our ends and get that advantage. What we didn’t want to tackle tonight was a track and field competition where we had to keep pace and that “That’s exactly what happened. It’s an institution. They’ve been doing it so well for so long.

The Tigers will be aiming for their fifth straight state title when they face District 7 champion Serra Catholic in the PIAA Class 2A Final at 1 p.m. Friday in Hershey. Serra Catholic beat Farrell 27-18 on Friday night in the other semi.

Wisloski ran for 132 yards and three touchdowns in seven carries.

Barnes had 119 yards and three touchdowns in seven carries, including a 45-yard touchdown to give Southern Columbia a 42-7 lead with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter.

Garcia gained 107 yards and a rushing touchdown in six carries, all in the first half. The future Kent State University player also returned a 102-yard interception for a touchdown as time came to an end in the third quarter.

British Columbia senior Derek Berlitz, who played at Notre Dame earlier in his career, blocked a punt late in the second quarter to set up a touchdown and also made several key plays in defense. in the game.

Matt Frame racked up 92 yards and the Bulldogs’ two TDs in 19 carries.

Smoyer completed 10 of 16 passes for 151 yards for Northern Lehigh.

Senior Trevor Amorim ran for 82 yards on 13 attempts.

Nick Frame had three catches for 94 yards for the Bulldogs.

Strong senior class and bright future

Northern Lehigh will say goodbye to seniors Matt Frame, Amorim, Smoyer, Brett Misera, Aiden Carrion, Dustin Greene and Michael Silverio.

“It’s really good because I’ve been with these guys my whole life,” Smoyer said. “Put in a lot of work. For us, coming here and competing like that is really special. “

The Bulldogs knew this senior class could make an impact for a while.

“When we had this group of seniors in first year, we thought we had a special group,” Tout said. “When they were in sophomore it was the year I think we went 6-4. And we had two games where we thought we could have won. It was the year we hoped to make the playoffs. That’s when we knew we sort of shot it. Last year we struggled to get out of doors, but then we started clicking and it continued this year. “

With the return of the entire starting offensive line, Northern Lehigh is hopeful that next year can produce some memorable moments as well.

“We have our whole lineup coming back,” said Nick Frame. “We are losing four key starters, four key seniors. I think we will come back stronger, hungry.

“It was really great to be able to be a part of that,” said Matt Frame. “I hope this goes to the younger groom. And then they come back and make a play further. That’s the goal.

Final for the Frame family

For the Frame brothers, who also had the chance to play with their second lineman cousin Frame Sam, the season was very special.

“I’m just growing up. Playing football our whole life. This is what we wanted. This is exactly what we thought we had, ”said Nick Frame of playing with his brother and cousin. “And props for them, they have an amazing team. There is nothing we can do about it. We fought hard and that’s all we could do.

“It was my favorite part of the season,” said Matt Frame of having his brother and cousin as teammates. “It’s going to suck never to play with them again.”

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Josh Folck can be reached at [email protected].

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