Palmerton head coach Paul McArdle liked what he saw on the opening series of Friday night's Colonial League contest with Catasauqua.
There wasn't much to smile about after that, however, as the Rough Riders unleashed a ground game behind senior Alex Brown (and took control for a 31-8 victory sending the Bombers to their third straight loss.
"The first drive of the game we took advantage of," said McArdle afterwards. "It was nice to have (Christian) Marcin back healthy. He really had a nice game for us, but it's tough to revamp an offense in one week. He's on the field a lot, playing defense, returning kicks so we had to kind of bounce back and forth and it was hard to find a rhythm."
The Bombers took advance of good field position right away when Marcin ran the opening kickoff back to the Catasauqua 47. On second down, he took a direct snap and raced 40 yards down to the Catty seven. After Alex Vignone took it down to the one, Marcin snuck over for the score with just over 1:30 off of the clock. Vignone's two-point conversion gave the Bombers a 8-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, the Roughies were driving and Palmerton's Geo Rodriguez looked to have come up with an interception on his own 16, but the official ruled that both players had position letting Catasauqua maintain possession. The Bomber defense stiffened and the Roughies settled for a 34-yard field goal by Michael Bittner with two minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
The Roughies kept the ball on the ground, with Brown, who rushed 29 times for 163 yards, doing most of the damage.
Brown gave Catty the lead for good when he broke loose on a 41-yard run for a touchdown with nine minutes left in the half. Bittner's kick made it 10-8.
With just over two minutes remaining until the break, Catasauqua's Dylan Haklar intercepted a pass deep in Palmerton territory and took it down to the Bombers' 17. Three plays later, quarterback Jake Bloszinsky found Sa'Quon Burton open for a 24-yard TD.
The Roughies controlled the clock in the third quarter as Palmerton had the ball exactly 1:01 on a three-and-out. Catasauqua actually put together a 17-play drive, but ran out of downs on the Palmerton 24. The Roughies did score near the end of the quarter on a six-yard run by Brown.
With 7:02 remaining, Luke Garner added Catasauqua's final touchdown on a 12-yard run.
Once again, the Palmerton defense was missing some key players and lost another right before the end of the half when Travis Labyack was transported to the hospital for precautionary reasons with a concussion.
Jarred Harry (16 tackles) and Kane Kralik (11 tackles) did their best to stop the Roughies' offense, but it was tough.
"I'm proud of our kids," said McArdle. "They're playing hard. No excuses, but we're getting some key injuries. I think we battled hard, but in the second half they just took it to us. With their size up front, they controlled the clock. It's hard to win games when the other team has the ball and controls it."