4th quarter lapse fatal to Bombers
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Palmerton's Cody Grohotolski breaks a tackle attempt by Southern Lehigh's Dylan Schmidt en route to a 29-yard TD in the first quarter.
In last week's season opener against Notre Dame, the Palmerton Blue Bombers scored three touchdowns in the final quarter to earn the win.
Last night, it was the complete opposite as Southern Lehigh scored three times in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 42-24 win in a see-saw Colonial League battle that went back and forth for quite a while.
Trailing 24-21 entering the fourth quarter, Southern Lehigh's outstanding quarterback Tyler Edmond, a Division I recruit, took control and singlehandedly picked apart the Palmerton defensive secondary to throw three touchdown passes that decided the outcome.
He finished the game completing 10-of-17 passes for 280 yards and threw one interception.
It was a Palmerton fumble at the end of the third quarter that gave Edmond and the Spartans great field position at the Bombers' 30 to set up the touchdown that gave them the lead for good.
The Spartans move down to the Palmerton six and were faced with a fourth down, when Edmond hit Jake Melusky for a touchdown. Mike Wagner booted the PAT to give Southern Lehigh a 28-24 advantage with 10:02 left in the game.
After a four-and-out, Southern Lehigh took over again on its own 25 and Edmond went to work again. This time he hit his favorite target, Jacob DePriore over the middle and the sophomore receiver raced 62 yards to paydirt. Wagner's boot made it 35-24 with 6:58 on the clock and the Bombers never threatened after that.
Less than a minute later after recovering another Palmerton fumble, Edmond threw a 39-yard striker to Jared Gerhard for one final score and Wagner booted his sixth PAT of the night for the 41-24 final.
"The bottom line is that we didn't execute in the fourth quarter, said Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowiak. "Give credit to Southern Lehigh. They made all of the plays, their quarterback did a great job and that fourth quarter decided the game."
The Bombers actually put the first score of the night on the board, marching 68 yards on six plays after stopping Southern Lehigh on its first drive.
Palmerton quarterback Cody Grohotolski broke loose on a 29-yard run with 7:01 left in the first quarter and Nick Carullo's kick was wide to leave it at 6-0.
Southern Lehigh came right back, however, going 61 yards on nine plays with Edmond sneaking in from the one. Wagner's kick gave the Spartans a 7-6 lead.
It was Edmond who ran in for a 10-yard TD with 10:39 left in the half to give Southern Lehigh a 14-6 advantage, before the Bombers turned two Spartan mistakes into scores.
Travis Wolfe picked up a muffed punt attempt and ran it all the way down to the Solehi three setting up Alex Vignone's first TD of the night.
On the next Spartan drive, Vignone picked off a Edmond pass and raced 70 yards for another score, giving Palmerton a 18-14 lead with 3:38 left in the half.
It was just enough time for Edmond to orchestrate another drive as the Spartans went 70 yards in 10 plays. Edmond scored from the two with seven seconds on the clock to give Solehi a 21-18 lead at intermission.
"The first three quarters we were playing well even though we still weren't executing the way we would have liked," said Walkowiak. "But we were hanging in there and making plays.
"Every time we had momentum going our way, we seemed to give it right back to them."
Vignone's two-yard touchdown gave the Bombers their final lead in the third quarter, before Edmond made his run.