Wednesday night's senior night served as a way to honor the upperclassmen for their commitment to the Palmerton boys' soccer team. And the best way to honor them was by winning a game that keeps the team's playoff hopes alive.
With a 4-2 Colonial League victory over Pen Argyl last night, Palmerton (6-9 overall; 5-8 CL) can earn a berth in the District 11 Class 2A playoffs with wins in its final three games.
"It started today," said Palmerton senior defender Brad Ehret, who had a goal and an assist. "Districts aren't an option unless we started it today. We start again tomorrow."
When the Bombers suffered a five-game losing streak in the league and dropped five of their first seven games overall, districts seemed out of the question.
Palmerton has played well since then, including wins in in three of its last five games. Now the Bombers must beat Northern Lehigh (5-11 overall) tonight, Lehighton (6-10) Saturday and Pine Grove (3-12) on Tuesday to seal a postseason spot.
"These guys don't quit," Shrarkazy said. "We have been down and out. We had a long stretch of losses, but this team keeps bouncing back.
"We knew the end of the season was going to be a favorable schedule for us and so far we're taking care of business. Right now though, it's a one-day season and it starts with Northern Lehigh."
It took the Bombers 37 minutes and seven seconds to get on the scoreboard. With 2:53 left in the first half, Ehret pushed the ball across the front of the net. Austin Shupp booted it past the diving Green knights' keeper, Jarrett Person, for a 1-0 lead.
With four seconds left to intermission, Ehret took his turn finishing off an opportunity. While Shupp scored on his first shot of the game, so did Ehret.
On the Bombers' 10th shot of the half, Ehret was glad to finish what classmate Nick Fiouris started. Fiouris headed the ball and it went off the top crossbar. Ehret took in the deflection and poked it past Person for a 2-0 lead.
"I remember coach telling me 'Just go through the ball no matter what,'" Ehret added. "So I did. I just went through the ball once I saw it bounce off the crossbar."
The Bombers started a scoring barage 10 minutes into the second half, capitalzing on four of their next five shots.
Shupp and Ehret each scored goals for a quick 4-0 lead with 27:22 left in the game. Gabe Scott finished off a perfect cross from Shupp for a goal with 29:26 left in the second half.
Fiouris took his turn on goal 2:04 later. Fiouris got his head on the ball to knock it past the Green Knights' keeper.
While Pen Argyl's Tyler Stecz and Brenton Jacobsen spoiled the shutout for Bombers sophomore keeper Rich Roselli, it was a win that the Bomber seniors Dylan Furry, Clark Domenico, Fiouris, Hunter Roberts, Spencer Shigo, Ehret, Matt Leaver, Trevin Green and Ty Green wanted in the worst way.
Bomber senior defender Nick Fiouris knows what's at stake and has been pushing the issues with the underclassmen. Last night, it looked as if the Bombers know what it's going to take.
"Like I told my boys all day, and have been every day at practice," said Fiouris, who finished with a goal and an assist. "We've got to play it's like our last game. We've got to push ourselves every game for the last three games. We've got to push it like it's our last."