Big plays are like knockout punches in high school football.
Last night, it was Bangor who used the big play for a 41-28 win over host Palmerton in a Colonial League battle that the Slaters had to play with head coach Donnie Hawk serving a one game suspension for personal reasons.
Assistant coach Tom Toth, who was a head coach previously at Bangor, ran the team and all he need was quarterback Jyri Davis and running back Phil Vass on offense.
Of the six Slater touchdowns, five of them were 42 yards or more. Two of them were on kickoff returns and two of them were on runs of 76 and 78 yards.
The Bombers had quite an offensive night themselves with quarterbacks Zach Buck and Logan Lesher coming for 265 yards through the air to seven different receivers.
In the end, however, a couple of penalties, combined with some dropped passes and just letting Bangor capitalize on big plays was the difference.
"It was a game of missed opportunities," said Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowiak afterwards. "First of all, I'm proud of our effort. I think we grew up a bit tonight. I think it was a little too late in terms of when we turned it on and what we can do.
"People saw what we are capable of doing. I asked the kids to play all 48 minutes and they did that. They left it all out there on the field.
"Execution-wise, we left them have two kickoff returns for touchdowns and those two long runs for touchdowns.
"We had two would-be touchdowns with guys open and opportunities when we were inside the 20 and penalties, we ended up third and 50 on the one series."
The Slaters scored first with 1:06 left in the opening quarter when Vass ran it in from nine yards out to complete a 14-play, 75-yard drive. Shawn Green booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
The Bombers tied it on a Mike Stasko run from the two with 8:34 left in the half, set up by two nice Zach Buck completions to Nick Sander for 31 yards and to Dominic Shivone for 11 yards. Jon Schwarz booted the PAT to make it 7-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Davis took the ball on his own eight, found a seam and raced 92 yards to paydirt, Green's kick made it 14-7 just 13 seconds after the Bomber score.
Vass added another Bangor score on a 76 yard run just 1:18 before intermission giving the Slaters a 20-7 edge.
On the kickoff to open the second half, the Bombers got a big break when Andrew Ringler came up with a loose ball at the Slaters 40. After 15 yards were tacked on due to a Bangor unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Palmerton found itself with the ball at the Slaters 25.
Three plays later, Buck found Shivone for a 25-yard TD strike to pull Palmerton within six at 20-14.
Sander recovered an onside kick, giving the Bombers the ball at the Bangor 47, but they ran out of down at the 18-yard line.
Two plays later, Davis broke loose for a 78-yard score and green's boot made it 27-14.
With 6:34 left in the third quarter, Jake Horn fell on a Bangor fumble at the Slaters 30 a couple of penalties and a bad snap for a loss of 18 yards halted another Palmerton threat.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Vass broke loose for a 42-yard touchdown and it looked like Bangor was well in command at 34-14.
Austin Cook recovered another Bangor fumble at the Slaters' 48, but another drive ended when Davis intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Lesher ran it in from the one with 1:46 left to make it 34-21 and Sander picked up a fumble and ran it 44 yards for another score, pulling Palmerton within 34-28.
On an onside kick attempt, Green picked it up and ran it back 45 yards for the Bangor score that clinched it.