All of the pre-game talk before Palmerton hosted unbeaten Bangor on Saturday night was about Josh Wing, the Slaters running back who is the leading rusher in the Colonial League.
What the critics forgot to mention was the Bangor offensive line, who opens the holes to give Wing the daylight he needs to break loose.
Wing, already a 1,000-yard rusher had quite the night, carrying 23 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns and then added another score on a 75-yard punt return. He was quite instrumental in Bangor's 53-7 win over the Blue Bombers for its seventh straight win this season.
"That hurt us when they scored right before the half to go up 20-7," said Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowiak. "We had a good opening start taking the lead, but give credit to Bangor. Their size beat us up front, we couldn't run the ball, they took away a lot of that we wanted to do so that hurt us and we to turn almost exclusively to the pass on offense."
The Bombers actually took a 7-0 lead when thy marched 75 yards on seven plays thanks to a couple of pass completions by quarterback Cody Grohotolski to Dallas Miata for 34 and 42 yards respectively. Alex Vignone scooted into the end zone from the three and Jarred Sacks added the PAT with 9:03 left in the first quarter.
The Slaters would come right back, however,taking five minutes off of the clock with Wing touching the ball seven times before quarterback Ryan Hydock snuck in from the one. A pass for the conversion failed keeping the Bombers in front, 7-6.
Bangor wasted no time taking the lead after a Palmerton four-and-out. This time it took six plays to go 59 yards with Wing running in from 11 yards out with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Wing also ran in the conversion making Bangor's lead 14-7.
Palmerton missed a golden opportunity early in the second quarter when a fumbled snap by Bangor was loose deep in Slater territory, but a Bangor lineman fell on it at his own eight to retain possession.
With 26 seconds left in the half, Bangor recovered a Palmerton fumble at the Bombers' 29. The Slaters used a little razzle-dazzle on first down with backup quarterback Brett Albinson taking a pitch and throwing a strike to Ryan Hester in the end zone that took just eight seconds After a missed point after, Bangor took a 20-7 lead at intermission.
The Bombers put together a nice drive on their first possession of the second half, but saw it stall on the Bangor 31.
Wing took a handoff on first down and raced 69 yards to paydirt giving the Slaters a 26-7 advantage with 6:15 left in the third quarter.
Within a matter of a minute, Bangor put the game well out of reach scoring on two punt returns. Hester ran the first one back for a 64-yard TD and Wing ran back the next punt from 75 yards out, making it 40-7 with three minutes still left in the third quarter.
With both teams giving their starters the rest of the night off, Bangor added two more scores when Tim Vicario scored on a 43-yard run and Michael Clarke crossed the goal-line on a six-yard run.
"Bangor is legit," Walkowiak added. "They're every bit as good as they were advertised. In big games like this, we need to execute and we didn't. Every time we had opportunities, we didn't convert and any team at any level has to do that to win.
"Special teams is a big part of the game and those two punt returns really took the game out of our hands. We're going to get back to work Monday, regroup and we're going to get better."