Cade Christopher got to the perimeter, but Southern Lehigh had defenders and a sideline working in his favor.

It doesn’t matter.

The Northwestern senior quarterback dodged several tackles before tiptoeing down the sideline for a 22-yard touchdown on the first drive of the Colonial-Schuylkill League Gold Division championship game Friday night.

The message was delivered and, barring a few hiccups, the Tigers didn’t waver.

“The line did a great job and I did the rest,” Christopher said. “I give them credit. They couldn’t do much better than that.”

Most of the time, Southern Lehigh’s defenders couldn’t do much trying to tackle Christopher, one of the league’s top players.

Coach Josh Snyder’s team never lost the lead and eventually ran away from the Spartans for a 45-7 victory, the Tigers’ most complete game of the season.

“We didn’t really put the game together for four quarters until tonight,” Snyder said. “Our defense played great tonight. Our defensive coordinator has put in a lot of nice packages.

“And what’s a shame, we just weren’t going to be denied tonight. It all started with that opening drive, a 95-yard drive. I think it set the tone for the evening.”

Christopher ran for 176 yards and four touchdowns and Dalton Clymer had 123 and two scores for Northwestern (8-2), which gets a first-round home game in the District 11 Class 3A playoffs next week.

Southern Lehigh (8-2) will also get a home game next weekend in the District 5A semifinals.

Clymer scored twice in the third quarter on runs of 14 and 8 yards. Christopher dazzled with a 62-yarder on third down and invoked the mercy rule with a 39-yarder on fourth down in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans were without quarterback Avery Kozer (1,169 passing yards, 14 TDs; 623 rushing yards, 8 TDs; 47 tackles) and receiver Jack Inglis (12 catches, 334 yards, 5 TDs; 33 fumbles) due to injuries.

Koeser is out for the season after being injured on a touchdown during last week’s win at Pottsville. Inglis, which has missed the last few games, could be back in the District 11 Class 5A playoffs.

Running back Cade Sawyer moved to quarterback in the Wildcat lineup for the Spartans. Wide receiver Tyler Rizzuto was a running back until this season, filling in for Sawyer in the backfield at times, while sophomore Christopher Fritts played quarterback.

“We’re not looking for excuses,” coach Phil Sams said. “We came here tonight thinking we could win the game. That didn’t happen, obviously.

“I think Northwestern had a great game plan on both sides of the ball and they screamed at us. I think we could have played better, but they earned this league championship.”

Northwestern converted two fourth downs and two third downs before Christopher capped off an 18-play drive with a 22-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead.

The Tigers got a 32-yard Kian Osborne field goal after Clymer recovered a Spartan fumble on the ensuing drive.

Twice it looked like Northwestern was going to add to its lead, but a penalty and a missed shot prevented Southern Lehigh.

First, Christopher returned a punt 59 yards for a score, but it was called back by an illegal block. The Tigers had a first-and-goal at the Spartans’ 1-yard line, but later fumbled twice.

Carter Giberson’s fumble recovery led to a 10-play, 94-yard drive that ended with Cade Sawyer’s 4-yard touchdown run with 3:07 left in the first half.

The Spartans took advantage of two pass interference penalties and a 37-yard touchdown from Christopher Fritts to Tyler Rizzuto on a pass and overcame a holding penalty.

But Christopher hit another shot, this time on the draw’s defender. The senior broke several tackles before finding the end zone for a 45-yard score and a 16-7 halftime Northwestern lead.

Southern Lehigh avoided further damage after a botched punt on the final series of the second quarter. Northwestern missed a 38-yard field goal as time expired.

The Tigers had seven penalties for 80 yards in the first two quarters.

Morning Call reporter Tom Hausnick can be reached at 610-820-6651 or

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