Farole used as emergency QB
The high school football season kicked off last Friday night and that means it's time for another season of OVERTIME.
OVERTIME is the football column that goes inside the numbers and behind the scenes to provide you with stories, facts and trivia about our area teams.
Week one of the 2011 season produced interception, fumble and kickoff returns for touchdowns; a Blue Raider stat that hadn't been matched in nearly a quarter of a century, and an opening night victory by Palmerton's rookie head coach.
OVERTIME will provide information on these subjects and on a number of others as well and will do it with a musical theme.
But we'll start this week's column talking about a huge passing night from a very unlikely source.
The last time Lehighton's Anthony Farole played quarterback before Friday night was .... well, never!
Farole's numbers in the Indians' 32-27 season opening loss to Marian were impressive under any conditions. But when you consider the circumstances surrounding his start, his performance moves from impressive to incredible.
Against the Colts, Farole was 13 of 24 for 218 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Those are numbers that would be outstanding for a seasoned veteran, let alone for a team's normal starting wide receiver who found out a little over 24 hours before the game that he would be playing quarterback.
"I never played quarterback in my life," said Farole when asked about his previous experience at the position.
Farole was the emergency choice by Lehighton coach George Ebbert after starting quarterback Josh Agosto was ruled out with an elbow injury and backup Alex Storm couldn't play because of a dislocated kneecap.
"Coach Ebbert called me into his room at school on Thursday, handed me three pages of plays, and told me to learn them as quickly as I could," recalled Farole. "I memorized them that day in school and then went out and tried to run them during Thursday's practice.
"Normally, the day before the game we run through all our plays pretty quickly. But that day we would run one play and then the coaches would stop to give me pointers on what I was doing right or wrong when we ran the play. We did that for every play."
Farole was obviously a quick learner.
"I don't think people understand how difficult it is to do what Anthony did for us on Friday night," said Ebbert. "We were under the impression that Josh (Agosto) just needed a couple of days of rest and his arm would be fine.
"When I found out the day before the game that he couldn't play, I talked it over with my coaching staff and we thought Anthony was our best option. I think the main reason we picked him is because of how poised he is. Nothing rattles him and we needed someone who wouldn't be rattled getting thrown into that situation."
Farole proved the coaching staff made the right decision.
"Anthony had an incredible game, especially under the circumstances," said Ebbert. "I would have never dreamed he could give us the type of production he did."
Farole said he got a lot of help and encouragement during the game.
"My teammates were great," he said. "They constantly were there to pick me up if I made a mistake.
"Plus, Josh (Agosto) was on the sideline and talked to me every time I came off the field. He told me what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, and what I need to do differently. He was a huge help."
According to Ebbert, Farole's quarterback days don't appear to be over either.
"Agosto could miss up to 3 or 4 weeks and Storm just practiced for the first time Monday so he's very questionable for the Tamaqua game," said Ebbert. "Right now, I'd say there about a 90 percent chance that Anthony is going to be quarterbacking again this week."
That is fine with Farole.
"The biggest difference btween the two positions is that as a wide receiver I just had to find the quarterback and as a quarterback I had to find everyone," laughed Farole. "But overall I enjoyed it. I'm confident that if I do play quarterback again this week, I'll be even more comfortable with an entire week of practice under my belt."
BORN TO RUN … Tamaqua only attempted one pass Friday against Jim Thorpe.
The last time the Raiders attempted as many or fewer passes in a single game was September 18, 1987 (a span of 251 games) when they didn't throw any passes against Lehighton.
RETURN TO SENDER … Jon Strauss returned an interception 92 yards for a TD Friday against Marian.
The last time a player in the TN area returned a pick for a score longer than that came on Oct. 28, 2005 when Palmerton's Aaron Schweibinz took one 96 yards to the house against Northwestern.
NEED YOU NOW … Palmerton was held scoreless through three quarters of its season opener against Notre Dame last Friday. The Bombers, however, scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to pull out a 19-12 victory.
Before Friday's contest Palmerton had lost 32 games in a row in which it had failed to score after three quarters.
The last time the Bombers were held off the board for three frames and won was Oct. 15, 1999 when they posted a 13-10 double overtime win against Palisades. In that game, The two teams not only were locked in a 0-0 tie after three quarters but that score remained the same after four frames.
EYE OF THE TIGER … Northwestern opened its season by rolling to a 47-9 victory over Palisades on Friday.
The last time the Tigers scored that many points in their season opener was 1997 when Bob Mitchell's club blanked Palisades by a 48-0 score.
START ME UP … Northern Lehigh opened its season by posting a 21-7 victory over Southern Lehigh.
That shouldn't be surprising though as the Bulldogs own an impressive record on opening night.
Since 1993, Northern Lehigh has gone 17-2 in the first game of the season.
I GOTTA FEELING … Palmerton's Chris Walkowiak had a successful start to his head coaching career on Friday night when his Bombers rallied for a 19-12 victory over Notre Dame.
Here's a look at how the other eight current area head coaches did in their debut:
Marian's Stan Dakosty - Lost to Mt. Carmel, 50-12, in 1977.
Jim Thorpe's Mark Rosenberger - Beat Carson Long, 34-20, in 1998.
Northern Lehigh's Joe Tout - Beat Bangor, 41-0, in 2006.
Tamaqua's Sam Bonner - Lost to Jim Thorpe, 27-6, in 2007.
Lehighton's George Ebbert - Lost to Marian, 28-14, in 2008.
Pleasant Valley's Jim Terwilliger - Lost to Nazareth, 49-18, in 2009.
Northwestern's Tom Linette - Beat Salisbury, 30-0, in 2010.
Panther Valley's Lon Hazlet - Lost to Mahanoy Area, 33-12 in 2011.
SIMPLY THE BEST ... Northwestern's Ty Cunningham showed his versatility in Friday's 47-9 victory over Palisades.
Cunningham rushed 16 times for 102 yards and completed 4 of 6 passes for 101 yards.
The performance made him the first Northwestern player to ever rush and pass for over 100 yards in the same game.