Schuler, Tigers roll in 2nd half
Rich George/Special to the TIMES NEWS Northwestern's Cam Richardson breaks loose for a touchdown run against Palmerton.
For the last five weeks, Mason Schuler was looking for an opportunity to be a playmaker for the Northwestern football team.
For two and a half quarters, Palmerton made it look as if Schuler wasn't going to have any chance this week either.
Late in the third quarter however, Schuler had enough.
With his Tigers trailing by a single touchdown, Schuler went on a tear. He scored the game tying touchdown, scored the go-ahead touchdown and even added an insurance touchdown.
Schuler's first touchdown of the season ignited the Tigers' offense, which went on to score 31 unanswered points, and ran away with a 38-21 Colonial League victory over Palmerton.
"Our coaches always harp on us about someone being a playmaker on this team," Schuler said. "With me being a senior, one of few seniors on this team, and being a returning starter, I felt like I had to step up and play that role.
"I feel like I played it pretty well this year, but today I think I took care of business when my team needed me the most."
After being held to only two yards on two carries, and one reception for 17 yards during the first half of the game, Schuler was taking a back seat to the Bombers' Tre Nelson 65 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
But with 3:35 left in the third quarter, Schuler stepped up and capped a nine play, 70-yard drive to open the second half with a six-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Frank Dangello,
On the very first play of the Tigers' second offensive series of the half, Schuler broke free for a 70-yard touchdown scamper to give his Tigers a 28-21 lead with 1:29 left in the third quarter.
With the up and down kind of year it has been, first-year Tigers' head coach Josh Snyder was quite proud of his team for the way they answered in the second half.
"We talked the last couple of weeks that we left some plays on the field," Snyder said. "Our skilled guys weren't making the plays when we were there. We moved Cam (Richardson) to tailback tonight and Mason (Schuler) to fullback and we were finally able to rush the ball.
"And what that did was open up the passing game and Frank (Dangello) pinpointed a couple of deep balls for us. And, those guys out there made some nice catches."
Although Richardson led the ground game with 18 carries for 95 yards and a first half touchdown, and Frank Deangello threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns, Snyder was lost for words on the effort one of his five seniors gave.
"Mason Schuler what can I say," Snyder said. "He's a senior. He's one of our best players on both sides of the ball. Talk about a kid making plays he was all over the football field.
"He's been shut out touchdown-wise for five weeks. I told him on the sideline, 'Sometime they come in bunches,' and that's what happens."
Schuler helped the Tigers continue the trend in the fourth quarter. On the very first play of the final quarter, Dangello found Schuler open on the near sideline. Schuler outran the Bombers' defense for his third touchdown on the day, a 41-yarder with 11:47 left in the game.
After watching his special teams block two punts, and his offense capitalize on those for two first quarter touchdowns, Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak experienced a sense of deja vu.
"It was a tale of two halves just like last week," Walkowiak said. "We played with momentum and excitement. It was a great effort in the first half. Our special teams did an outstanding job giving us nice field position. We showed life offensively capitalizing on the ball.
"The second half though was a different story. The came out. They played their best. They made big plays and the big plays for touchdowns killed us."