Big first half lifts Pirates past Palmerton
NOCKAMIXON TOWNSHIP - For Palmerton, it was a night for borrowing a novel title from Charles Dickens. It was a tale of two halves - instead of two cities - one that brought a moral victory in a 24-0 defeat at Palisades last night.
The winless Blue Bombers (0-5) can take some refuge in the fact they played with a resurgence after halftime and basically outplayed an upstart Palisades team that took control in the game's first 24 minutes and marched out to a 24-0 lead, apparently on pace to score more in the second half.
Palmerton head coach Chris Walkowaik also saw his team's performance in a similar fashion.
"I told them afterwards that it was like night and day out there for us," he said. "But I am extremely proud of their effort in the second half. We could have rolled over and got mercy-ruled, but they kept battling through everything.
"We're not accepting the loss and it stinks. In the first half, we had three turnovers and they were momentum killers for us."
In the opening half, Palisades (3-2) was mentally sharp. They methodically moved the ball down the field on the game's opening drive, piecing together a crisp 10-play, 64-yard march that resulted in a 7-0 lead when Jesse Snyder scooted around left end on a 14-yard scamper with 7:21 left in the opening quarter.
After shutting down Palmerton on a three-and-out series, the Pirates didn't waste any time when they quickly converted a three-play, 67-yard drive in 43 seconds when quarterback Kyle Jesiolowski hit J.D. Donnelly wide open over the middle at the 50 and he raced downfield to the end zone to complete a 73-yard play that gave Palisades a 14-0 lead.
On the other hand, Palmerton has trouble getting its running game going as well as its total offense. The Blue Bombers were limited to 18 yards of total offense and Palisades intercepted Palmerton quarterback Zack Buck three times as Buck failed to complete a pass to one of his own receivers.
Two Palisades' interceptions lead to scores in the opening half as kicker Max Kroschwitz boomed a 40-yard field goals and Jesiolowski scored on a 1-yard keeper that gave the host Pirates a 24-0 halftime lead.
Taking the second half kickoff, however, Palmerton emerged with new life as took the ball inside the Palisades' 45 behind new quarterback Cody Peters, who managed to engineer three other drives inside the Palisades 35. But the Blue Bombers couldn't convert a series of key plays that helped keep them off the scoreboard.
Palmerton's defense also stymied Palisades most of the second half as they allowed them just one drive inside the Blue Bomber 40 after halftime.
"We made some quick adjustments at halftime with our defense," said Walkowaik. "We moved the ball offensively because they put nine guys in the box, but we just couldn't capitalize. Defense has been keeping us in the games all year"
The shining star on the night for the Blue Bombers was defensive tackle John Snyder, who was a one-man wrecking crew with 15 tackles and four sacks.
"In my opinion, John Snyder is an all-state player," stated Walkowaik. "He has been playing unbelievably this year."
Still, Walkowaik believes his team has taken another step forward.
"It leaves a bad taste in our mouth when we have another loss," he said. "But we left here with something to build on. We're heading into homecoming next week and looking forward to our final five games."