After last weekend’s setback, Saucon Valley (5-2) will continue their 2019 journey with a road trip to Northwestern Lehigh (6-1). Last week, the Panthers fell in the last seconds to the Wilson Warriors during a Saturday afternoon clash. This week, Saucon Valley will have the herculean task of stopping the Northwestern Lehigh Tigers on Friday night. The Tigers knocked Southern Lehigh (36-34) from the ranks of the unbeaten last week and are smelling the sweet scent of a Colonial League championship. In addition to the big win at Southern Lehigh, Northwestern owns convincing wins over Salisbury, Palisades, Wilson, Bangor, and Palmerton. The Tigers only loss was during an opening night shootout at Notre Dame (42-35). The Panthers are a clear underdog to the Tigers.
Things Worth Watching:
When the Panthers have the ball…..
Northwestern has shown that, defensively, they are mostly a base 3-5 team. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the the Tigers walk up both outside linebackers and sit in what will look like a 5-3 against the run-heavy Panthers. Northwestern Lehigh has also shown a 3-4 and a 4-4 with frequency. Whatever, scheme the Tigers employ it seems likely that they will be showing and sending linebackers on blitz. Northwestern doesn’t have a whole lot of size, but they are aggressive and fly to the ball. The Tigers surrender an average of twenty points per game.
Saucon Valley’s ground game is led by sophomore running back Damian Garcia. Garcia (#30) measures 5’10”, 165 and is closing in on his first 1,000 yard season. Garcia has run 107 times for 927 yards so far. He has scored a total of six touchdowns. Three of his TD’s are from 50 yards out or more including one from 86 yards away. Garcia can be an explosive runner.
Also carrying the pigskin for the Panthers will be Braydyn Lugardo (#20) and Chris Mann. Lugardo is a senior who measures a solid 5’7″, 190 and has 42 carries for 256 yards and 6 TD’s. Chris Mann, a junior, from his fullback position has carried 44 times for 386 yards. Mann’s 8.8 yard per carry average also includes a touchdown.
Saucon Valley’s offense is known for a powerful rushing attack, but it all operates through sophomore quarterback, Dante Mahaffey (#12). Mahaffey is in his second year calling the signals for the Panthers. He is an athlete and a dual-threat type of guy. Mahaffey has completed 21 of 41 passes for 399 yards and six TD’s. On the ground, he is credited for carrying 64 times for 192 yards and seven additional touchdowns. When healthy, the Panthers and their ground game are very difficult to stop.
Mahaffey’s primary receiving targets are sophomore Ty Csencsits (#11) and freshman Alex Magnotta (#8). Csencsits is a sophomore who has 8 catches for 210 yards. With an average of over 25 yards per catch, Csencsits has caught three TD’s from Mahaffey. Last week against Wilson Csencsits went down with a lower body injury and his availability against the Tigers is uncertain. Magnotta, a freshman who stands 6’0″, 155, is a nice sized target for Mahaffey. He has 7 catches for 66 yards and a TD. Sophomore Anthony Orlemann (#9) is also a Panther receiver to watch. Csencsits, Magnotta and Orlemann all have excellent hands.
2019 Panther Play-Makers
- QB: #12 So. Dante Mahaffey
- RB: #30 So. Damian Garcia, #20 Sr. Braydyn Lugardo, #22 Fr. Josh Torres
- FB: #28 Jr. Chris Mann, #34 Fr. Tyler Pfizenmayer
- WR: #8 Fr. Alex Magnotta, #9 So. Anthony Orlemann, #11 So. Ty Csencsits
- TE: #85 Sr. Dale Sorensen, #32 Fr. Reed Ernst
Paving the way for the Saucon Valley ground attack is the Panther offensive line who are traditionally known as the “Hogs”. Seniors Nick Warnke (#77) and Evan Deily (#65) are the top hogs. Joining the seniors will be three-year starter David Osman (#60), Eli Deily (#76) and Cody Swinney (#56). Deily and Osman are juniors, Swinney is a sophomore. Also expected to get some snaps this week will be 6’0″, 195 senior Bobby Yovish. Yovish and the rest of the Hogs are big fans of “Bully-Ball”.
The 2019 Hogs: Week 8
- Left Tackle: #77 Sr. Nick Warnke 6’3″, 235
- Left Guard: #60 Jr. David Osman 6’0″, 245
- Center: #56 So. Cody Swinney 5’11”, 250
- Right Guard: #65 Sr. Evan Deily 6’1″, 225
- Right Tackle: #76 Jr. Eli Deily 6’4″, 290
When the Tigers have the ball…..
Northwestern Lehigh’s offense is explosive and shows pretty good balance averaging almost 210 rushing yards and 192 passing yards per game. They have a habit of putting an average of 39 points per game on the scoreboard. The Tigers are multiple and creative with their offensive sets and play-calling. They run mostly spread concepts but also sprinkle in some 2-back “Pistol” and “unbalanced” sets. They like to keep defenses on their toes using a variety of motion and shifts. The Tigers have quite a few tools in their offensive toolbox.
Deven Bollinger is the man behind center for the Tigers. He is a senior who is committed to play football next year at the University of Delaware. Bollinger measures 6’4″, 194 and is credited with completing 80 of 144 passes for 1,305 yards He has thrown 22 TD’s and four interceptions. Bollinger certainly qualifies as dual-threat having carried 114 times for 607 yards so far this season. He averages 5.3 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns on the ground. Bollinger is the focal point of the tough Tiger offense.
The Tigers Up-Front
- Tackle #77 Sr. Robby Goldberg 5’11”, 245
- Guard #52 Sr. Cody Wieder 5’8″, 201
- Center #54 Sr. Derek Hebelka 5’8″, 192
- Guard #55 Sr. Hale Trotter 5’8″, 190
- Tackle #53 Sr. Joseph Shorts 5’7″, 275
Next to Bollinger, the primary running-back for Northwestern is junior Nick Henry (#4). Henry is listed at 5’11”, 178 and has carried 104 times for 595 yards. At an average of 5.7 yards per carry, he has found the end zone twelve times. Henry can also be an explosive weapon out of the backfield as a receiver. He has tallied four receiving TD’s with an average of 20 yards per catch.
The Tigers have a very good receiving corps including Justin Rodda (#2), Justin Holmes (#5) and Paul Huff (#17) . Rodda is a 5’8″, 140 junior who leads the bunch with 22 catches for 351 yards and 7 TD’s. Rodda is dangerous if given a little space, however has been banged up and it is unclear whether he will play against the Panthers. Holmes is a sophomore with 18 grabs for 421 yards and 5 TD’s. His 84 yards per game average is as impressive as his 6’2″, 182 frame. Huff is a senior that measures 5’8″, 164. He claims 16 catches for 179 yards and four touchdowns. Bollinger has no shortage of quality targets for whom to throw.
2019 Panther Defense
- DE’s: #65 Sr. Evan Deily, #77 Sr. Nick Warnke
- DT’s: #60 Jr. David Osman, #76 Jr. Eli Deily
- ILB’s: #20 Sr. Braydyn Lugardo, #34 Fr. Tyler Pfizenmayer
- OLB’s: #22 Fr. Josh Torres, #83 Sr. Greg Nolfe
- DB’s: #9 So. Anthony Orlemann, #12 So. Dante Mahaffey, #80 Jr. Jiziah Davis
This Friday night fight will surely test the Saucon Valley Panthers. Are you ready for some football!
- Friday Nigh Football Forecast:
- Cool with temperatures in the upper 50’s. Light winds out of the NE.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!