The week three TIMES NEWS Game of the Week features two Colonial League programs that look to be on the up and up.
The Palmerton Blue Bombers and the Salisbury Falcons will square off in week three to see which team can continue their stride towards relevancy.
Since 2009, Palmerton is 8-32 and for Salisbury it's been even worse. The Falcons haven't had a winning campaign since 2006, going 11-51 in that stretch.
Meaning, the winner of this week's contest will be sitting at 2-1 heading into week four, which is a position both of these teams would like to be in.
"This is a very important game for both teams," said Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak. "You know both teams are going to come out hungry because a win for either of us could really set the tone for the rest of the season."
The Blue Bombers early success, according to Walkowiak can be attributed to two things the solid play of the defense and their ability to bust the big rush play on offense.
The Palmerton "D" has given up 249 total yards and 16 points per game. The Bombers also showed the ability to improve defensively as they held Wilson to just 132 yards last week. In week one, Palmerton gave up over 350 yards of total offense to Notre Dame. The Crusaders were able to generate big pass plays against Palmerton of 73 and 67 yards each, which is something else the Bombers showed improvement on in week two.
The second thing coach Walkowiak talked about was his team's ability to come up with the big burst in the rushing game. The statistics don't lie here either.
Offensively In 2012, Palmerton had just one touchdown run that was longer than 18 yards. So far this season, running back Tre Nelson has had three rushing touchdowns of 31 yards or more. It's becoming evident that the Palmerton offense has some definite big play capability.
"Our defense has been playing well and offensively we've been taking care of the ball better and making some plays," said Walkowiak. "Offensively it's been nice to see us coming up with "the big play." That's something we didn't have last year and our running game has shown that we can get that big burst of yardage. Every good team makes big plays and with what we've seen so far, it looks like we're headed in the right direction."
Salisbury is coming off a loss to Northwestern, where turnovers plagued them in a 43-8 defeat. The Falcons defense showed against the Tigers that they are susceptible to giving up the big play, allowing a 52-yard pitch and catch for a score along with a 59-yard rushing touchdown.
"We have to continue to take care of the ball and we have to keep making big plays," said Walkowiak. "Don't get me wrong we like to sustain drives and we like to ground and pound, but anytime you can break off the big play it's good for your football team. We also have to be on our toes on offense because they bring a lot of pressure and sometimes for no rhyme or reason, so we have to be able to handle that."
The Falcons run a form of the spread offense. They're athletic and the Bombers must keep track of quarterback Troy Parton, running back Beran Mitchell, and wideout Tavon Royster.
"They are pretty even when it comes to their run/pass ratio and they have big play ability which we must guard against," said Walkowiak. "Defensively, we need to pursue, tackle, read our keys and force turnovers. If we continue to play solid defensively, take care of the football, and make some big plays, there is no reason why we can't take home a victory on Friday night."