Falcons could spoil SL’s title hopes
With only one more week left in the high school football regular season, Salisbury (6-3) won’t have to travel far for its final game of October. And the Falcons are very familiar with their Week 10 opponent.
Salisbury travels to rival Southern Lehigh (8-1) on Friday night for a matchup of teams separated by a few miles on Route 309.
The Spartans are one of two teams in the Colonial League with only one loss, and have already qualified for the District 11 tournament.
The Falcons, meanwhile, are hoping to earn a postseason berth of their own, which would most likely come via an Eastern Conference playoff invitation.
The task is certainly an uphill battle for Salisbury against the Spartans’ high-powered offense. Southern Lehigh is scoring 43.9 points per game through nine weeks, while racking up over 400 yards of total offense per night.
And it’s no secret where much of that offense comes from. Running back Asher Smith is the Spartans’ workhorse. He’s carried the ball 154 times for 1,464 yards and 26 touchdowns. That equates to averages of 164 rushing yards per game and a 9.4 yards-per-carry clip.
The duo of Cam Fisher and Hunter Hughes also add solid second and third options in the running game.
Fisher is second on the team with 530 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, while Hughes has carried the ball 59 times for 475 yards and four more touchdowns.
Southern Lehigh’s running game has helped the Spartans race out to fast stars all season long. They have outscored opponents 115-32 in the first quarter and 234-64 in the opening half, so Salisbury will look to do everything in its power to not fall behind early on Friday night.
Leading the offense as the Spartans’ signal caller is quarterback Noah Vogeler. While the Spartans don’t throw the ball as much as some other teams in the league, he’s been efficient through the air. Vogeler has completed 52-of-75 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns.
Vogeler’s top target in the passing game is Michael Bodner, who is averaging over 20 yards per catch.
Bodner’s 23 catches are a team high to go along with 279 yards and two touchdowns. Fisher has hauled in 18 catches for a team-best 296 yards and two more scores, while Smith also has two touchdowns on just six catches and 143 yards.
Defensively, the Spartans are allowing just 14.3 points and 263 total yards per games to its opponents, and possess talent all over the field. Hughes has been a stat sheet stuffer with 67 tackles (44 solo), five tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception.
Smith (42 tackles, four interceptions), Bodner (three interceptions) and Fisher (five interceptions) have made plays in the passing game all season as well on defense, while Logan Shorb has 40 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
The Spartans have scored 45 points or more in a game five times this season, including eclipsing 60-plus in each of the past two weeks. Southern Lehigh defeated Catasauqua 62-7 last Friday night.
On top of the bragging rights and playoff implications that go along with Friday night’s game, The Helmet Trophy will also be on the line, which goes to the winner of the annual rivalry match up.