NL ground game beats Salisbury
Even in its losses this season, the Salisbury offense has generally been able to keep up with its opponents through.
Friday’s loss against Northern Lehigh was the Falcon offense’s first hiccup of the fall. The Bulldogs (4-3) ruined Salisbury’s Homecoming Night by running for 301 yards on the ground en route to a 42-14 win. The win halted a two-game winning streak for the Falcons (4-3).
Salisbury’s only offensive touchdown came with 54 seconds left in the game when Blake Lettko scored from 21 yards out.
“I feel like when you run an offense like we have this year, that’s bound to happen at some point,” Cerco said. “The reality is we’ve had some kids make some fantastic catches, and our quarterbacks put balls on people where I’m like ‘Oh wow, that’s a really big play.’ To be able to do that week in and week out is difficult.”
Northern Lehigh’s offense, its running game in particular, struck early and often. Mike Repsher picked up 75 of his game-high 146 yards on a third-and-12 carry that put the Bulldogs ahead on their first possession.
On its next drive, quarterback Zach Moyer hit Dale Wanamaker for a 40-yard touchdown on a double-reverse flee flicker that increased Northern Lehigh’s lead to 14-0 not even four minutes into action. Moyer scored on a 1-yard sneak in the final seconds of the quarter to make it a three-touchdown lead.
“I think it had to have some sort of an effect on us obviously because we never really were able to answer,” Cerco said of the early deficit. “And even with talking to the kids and the coaches, no one really knows why we weren’t able to answer because we have been able to all year. For whatever reason that didn’t happen.”
After Salisbury’s second three-and-out of the game, Northern Lehigh continued to pound the ball on he ground. Wanamaker capped a six-play drive with a 25-yard touchdown with 7:47 left in the half.
The Falcons, meanwhile, ended the half with a three-and-out, a four-play drive for nine yards, and a turnover-on-downs just before the halftime whistle.
“They played a really good football game,” Cerco said. “They are well-coached, and their kids are disciplined and play hard. I’ve heard this a long time ago: ’It’s never as bad as you think it is and it’s never as good as you think it is.’ After watching the film and looking at what we did play in and play out, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.”
The Falcons came out of the locker room with a bit of momentum after Chad Parton returned the second half kickoff 80 yards to get the home team on the scoreboard.
But it was short-lived. The Bulldogs marched down the field in five plays, and Repsher scored from 28 yards out to make it a 34-7 lead with 9:34 left in the quarter. After a Falcon interception, Moyer and Wanamaker connected once again through the air—this one a 36-yard strike—and the Bulldogs enforced the mercy rule midway through the third.
“It puts things into perspective,” Cerco said. “If we do these one or two things a little bit better, which we are able to do, then that could lead to a different outcome.
“One thing that we can control is some of the penalties that we got. The first play of the game was an illegal procedure. At one point we picked up three first downs, but after each first down we picked up we got a 15-yard penalty.”
Stephens led the Falcons with 80 yards through the air, while Lettko’s 53 on the ground paced Salisbury.
Matt Frame finished with 83 rushing yards for the Bulldogs, and Joe Abidelli added 35 on eight carries.