Two years ago, Josh Snyder held the blueprint to rebuild the Northwestern Lehigh football program. Today, the three-year head coach can stand back and watch what he has built.
“We had a plan and I had a plan as far as what we could do with the program,” Snyder said. “What I wanted to do was surround myself with the best coaching staff around. We all are young; except for Scott Hippensteel, we are in our 30s or younger. We pride ourselves on relating with our players.”
He continued, “We just have enjoyed our three years since I have taken over. I think the kids want to genuinely play hard for us.”
So far in 2014, the Tigers have done just that for Snyder and his staff as Northwestern is off to a tremendous 4-0 start and are at the top of the Colonial League standings.
Despite the unblemished record, Snyder believes work is still to be done in New Tripoli.
“It’s a work in progress, really,” he said. “I guess when you are 4-0, you are pretty happy regardless. We are right where we need to be, but from a coaching standpoint we can see individual improvement week to week. All we can ask for is improvement and everyone having fun. I think we are where we need to be, but need to keep working.”
One individual who has been laboring this season is lineman Matthew Shields. The junior, according to Snyder, is a first-year starter and had a lot of potential coming in to this season and has shown it through the first four contests of the year.
The word “contests” is used loosely when referring to the first four games Northwestern has played. The Tigers average 40 points per game offensively, with their lowest total being 32 in their season opener where they defeated Notre Dame Green Pond 32-6.
The defense has been holding up its end as well, allowing an average of four points per game and pitching a shutout against Bangor in week two.
Also, the special teams unit has contributed as well blocking five punts in the first four games.
Snyder believes more can be done though.
“We left too many plays on the field,” he admitted. “While we are moving the ball on offense, people crowd the box and we missed some explosive plays down the sidelines. Against really good teams, we need to capitalize on every opportunity given. I’m pretty comfortable though with where we are at and how the guys are playing.”
Northwestern’s first test of the season was against the only other undefeated team in the CL, Saucon Valley, which occurred after deadline for this issue. The Tigers have some other tough match-ups on the horizon with a meeting in Palmerton on Oct. 17 with a Bombers squad on the upswing as well as Northern Lehigh on Oct. 24 who is 3-1 so far this season.