The Saucon Valley Panthers (7-0) are on a roll. After last week’s win over the Wilson Warriors, Saucon now turns their attention to the Northwestern Lehigh Tigers (5-2). The Panthers defeated Northwestern 49-21 last year. But, this year’s Tigers are much bigger game. Northwestern Lehigh suffered a 35-34 loss to Palisades during week three and were defeated 45-21 by the much improved Spartans of Southern Lehigh last week. Friday night is the Panthers’ 2018 Homecoming and the game will be a signature win for either program. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Things Worth Watching:
When the Panthers have the ball…..
Northwestern Lehigh has shown multiple looks with their defensive scheme. Saucon will most likely see what looks to be a 3-5, 5-3 defense. The Tigers have also shown that they will play a four-man front. Their pass coverage is typically “Cover-3” with three deep defenders or man-to man. Northwestern’s defense is a physical bunch and they like to create a lot of movement with line stunts and blitzing. Nonetheless, the Saucon Valley offense averages 40 points and 343 rushing yards per game.
The Panther headliner on offense is still the running of senior Ian Csicsek (#28). At 5’10”, 185, Csicsek is having a tremendous season having carried 176 times for 1,509 yards. “Sizzler” is a ball-carrying dynamo and has found the end zone 21 times so far this year. Csicsek averages 215 yards per game and is on track to rush for over 2,000 yards this season.
Panther rushers in the books……
- Evan Culver 2,934 yards rushing (2015)
- Nick Savant 2,135 (2013)
- Erik Kuester 1,868 (2007)
- Evan Culver 1,715 (2014)
- Billy Binczak 1,691 (2006)
- Joe Killar 1,649 (1995)
- Zach Petiet 1,564 (2016)
- Ian Csicsek 1,509 (2018)
Freshman quarterback Dante Mahaffey (#12) joins Csicsek in the backfield as a proven playmaker. Mahaffey has completed 32 of 62 passes for 473 yards and six touchdowns. Mahaffey has also proven that he makes good decisions as he has thrown only one interception this season. He has also run 50 times for 280 yards and 3 TD’s. Averaging almost 6-yards per carry, Mahaffey is the Panthers second-leading rusher behind Csicsek. If overlooked by opponents, Mahaffey can hurt opposing defenses with his arm as well as with his feet.
Tight-end Patrick Morrissey (#80) leads the Panther receivers. Morrissey is a senior who stands 6’2″, 215. He reeled in eleven of Mahaffey’s throws for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Morrissey averages 19 yards per catch. Mahaffey has also shared the ball with senior wide receiver Ryan Holub (#13). Holub is good for 2 TD’s resulting from 13 catches and 128 yards. Junior Dane Csencsits (#32) is also a recipient of a Mahaffey touchdown pass.
2018 Panther Play-Makers
- QB: #12 Fr. Dante Mahaffey
- RB: #27 Sr. Kelvin Gallard, #28 Sr. Ian Csicsek, #32 Jr. Dane Csencsits, #33 Sr. Christian “Mongo” Alling
- WR: #6 Sr. Justin Clements, #11 Fr. Ty Csencsits, #13 Sr. Ryan Holub, #18 Fr. Eternal (E.T.) Aris, , #22 Sr. Justin Kyra
- TE: #80 Sr. Patrick Morrissey, #44 Jr. Dale Sorensen
Averaging over 340 rushing yards per game, the Saucon Valley ground attack begins up front with collective efforts from the 2018 Hogs. Seniors Tim “Boss Hog” Weaver, Aidan Redding and Jared Harka along with junior Evan Deily and sophomore David Osman, all enjoy playing their brand of “Bully Ball”. Nick Warnke (#70) at 6’1″, 275 is another Hog in the Panther rotation. Saucon Valley is very good in the trenches and takes seriously the task of opening holes for Csicsek and company.
The 2018 Hogs: Week 8
- Left Tackle: #77 Sr. Tim Weaver 6’5″, 285
- Left Guard: #61 Sr. Jared Harka 5’9″, 210
- Center: #60 So. David Osman 6’0″, 225
- Right Guard: #65 Jr. Evan Deily 6’1″, 225
- Right Tackle: #73 Sr. Aidan Redding 6’3″, 290
When the Tigers have the ball…..
Northwestern Lehigh’s offense shows pretty good balance averaging 213 rushing yards and almost 150 passing yards per game. They have a habit of putting an average of 34 points per game on the scoreboard. The Panther defense has been stingy only giving up 16 points per contest. The Tigers are multiple and creative with their offensive sets and play-calling. They run mostly spread concepts but also sprinkle in some Wing-T components including a variety of motion and shifts. The Tigers have quite a few tools in their offensive toolbox.
Devon Bollinger is the man behind center for the Tigers. He is a junior and measures 6’4″, 194. Bollinger is credited with completing 55 of 113 passes for 938 yards and 13 TD’s. Bollinger is certainly dual threat carrying 132 times for 608 yards. He averages 4.6 yards per carry and has scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. Bollinger is the workhouse of the rather large Tiger offense.
The Tigers Up-Front
- Tackle #74 Sr. Hayden Bobbyn 6’1″, 274
- Guard #58 Jr. Conner Snyder 6’0″, 222
- Center #54 Jr. Derek Hebelka 5’8″, 179
- Guard #53 Jr. Joseph Shorts 5’7″, 262
- Tackle #77 Jr. Robert Goldberg 5’11”, 260
The primary running-back for Northwestern is sophomore Nick Henry (#4). Henry is listed at 5’11”, 169. Henry has carried 92 times for 625 yards. At an average of 6.8 yards per carry, he has found the end zone five times. Henry has also hurt opposing defenses catching the ball out of the backfield for an average of 30 yards per catch.
The Tigers have a very good receiving corps including Justin Rodda (#2), Tyler Lobach (#20), Derek Holmes (#5) and Ryan Haas (#8). Rodda is a 5’8″, 140 sophomore who leads the bunch with 20 catches for 360 yards and 4 TD’s. Rodda is dangerous if given a little space. Lobach, Holmes and Haas are all seniors. Lobach is credited with 13 grabs for 125 yards and three touchdowns. He is a tight end listed at 6’2″, 220. Holmes and Haas each have about six catches for 115 yards. Holmes is 6’1″, 209 and Haas measures 5’10, 160. The Tigers have numerous weapons with which they can pressure the Panther defense.
2018 Panther Defense
- DE’s: #44 Jr. Dale Sorensen, #65 Jr. Evan Deily, #80 Sr. Patrick Morrissey,
- DT’s: #61 Sr. Jared Harka, #77 Sr. Tim Weaver,
- ILB’s: #32 Jr. Dane Csencsits, #33 Sr. Christian “Mongo” Alling, #27 Sr. Kelvin Gallard
- OLB’s: #28 Sr. Ian Csicsek, #27 Sr. Kelvin Gallard
- DB’s: #13 Sr. Ryan Holub, #22 Sr. Justin Kyra, #6 Sr. Justin Clements, #11 Fr. Ty Csencsits
The Tigers will certainly be motivated to get their season back on track. They are a proud program with high expectations and would like nothing better than to play spoiler for the Panther homecoming festivities. Northwestern is coming off an ugly loss to Southern Lehigh and Saucon Valley provides a perfect remedy for redemption. The Panthers will need to be ready to rock from start to finish. This game features two of the best teams in the Colonial League. A Colonial League title has been all but lost for the Tigers, but District XI seed points are at stake. If the Panthers can remain unbeaten, they stay alive to win the League championship and likely earn the #1 seed in Districts. There is a whole lot riding on this football game.
- Friday Night Football Forecast:
- Clear with temperatures in the lower 50’s. Light winds out of the WNW.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!