Palmerton ends 15-game losing streak
Welcome to week two of OVERTIME. This week we will lead off with a "streak stopper" and also talk about a Pleasant Valley quarterback, a Palmerton running back, a Northern Lehigh receiver, and a few other noteworthy numbers from last week that you might not have noticed.
Not all wins are created equal.
Sometimes, a win can can hold a little more significance for a program.
Often times, those type of wins occur because of who they beat. Maybe it was a rival or maybe it was in a game when they were a huge underdog.
Occassionally, the win is special not because of who they beat, but when the win occurred.
Palmerton had one of those wins on Friday night.
The Bombers' 28-7 victory over Wilson was important not because the Warriors are a close rival or because they are suppose to be among the Colonial League's top teams this season.
The win was important because it had been nearely two calendar years since Palmerton had last experienced a victory.
Friday night's win ended a 15-game losing streak. The last Bomber win before that had come on Oct. 7, 2011 when they defeated Northwestern, 21-14.
"I'm happy for our players, our school, and the entire Palmerton community," said Bomber coach Chris Walkowiak. "It was nice to get the monkey off our back.
"But I've said all along that we weren't going to be prisoners of the losing streak or last year's record. This is a new team and a new season. We weren't thinking about 15 straight losses, we were thinking about one loss - in this year's opener. That's the only game this team lost."
Palmerton went 4-6 during Walkowiak's initial season as head coach in 2011. A year ago, they went 0-10.
The Bombers came into this season with a young team, but Walkowiak liked what he saw during offseason and preseason workouts. The head coach talked about his players' work ethic and talent, and the improvement he expected from a year ago.
But sometimes, especially with a young team, nothing is more vital to a program looking to turn things around than seeing some positive results early in the season.
That why the victory over Wilson might hold a little more significance for the Bombers.
"I've always told our kids that winning is a process," Walkowiak said. "Working hard isn't enough. You need to execute.
"That might be the biggest thing to come out of the game for us. The kids saw that when they make their blocks, tackle well, avoid penalties, and do all the little things, then you get positive results."
Another point worth making about the Bombers' win was the fan support they received, especially from the student body.
Fans can be fickle. So it's not hard to imagine that the home opener for a team in the midst of a 15-game losing streak wouldn't be a hot ticket item. But you would never have know that from the reaction of the Bomber cheering section.
A huge delagation of Palmerton students attended the game and then stormed the field to mob the players after the game had ended.
"It was really nice to see our fans enjoy the win like they did," said Walkowiak. "Our players have done a nice job of trying to build interest and supoort for this year's team, and trying to get the school and the community excited about the season. I think that worked.
"We really appreciate the enthusiasm that the crowd showed during and after the game. I know our players enjoyed it."
AERIAL ASSULT ... Pleasant Valley quarterback Brandon Leap threw six touchdown passes against Dieruff in Friday's 51-34 win.
The last time a TIMES NEWS area player threw that many TD passes in a game was Nov. 10, 2007 when Jim Thorpe's Corey Cinicola also tossed six touchdown passes in a District 11 playoff game against Northern Lehigh.
BRUISING BOMBER ... Palmerton's Tre Nelson rushed for 184 yards in Friday's 28-7 victory over Wilson.
The last time a Bomber ran for that many yards in one game was Oct. 17, 2008 when Matt Falcone had 219 yards in a win over Catasauqua.
CENTURY CLUB .... Northern Lehigh's Stephen Ingles had three catches for 112 yards in Friday's loss to Notre Dame.
Ingles is just the seventh Bulldog in the past 25 years to have 100 or more receiving yards in a game. The other six players to accomplish that were Caleb Johnson, Darien Middaugh, Steve Hluschak, Joe Seremula, Ryan Van Norman and Kody Fedorcha.
FAST START ... Thanks to a pair of Cam Richardson touchdowns, Northwestern jumped out a 36-0 halftime lead and went on to defeat Salisbury, 43-8, on Friday.
The last time Northwestern scored that many points in the first half of a game was Sept. 29, 2006 when it tallied 37 points against Saucon Valley.
Richardson finished the game with three touchdowns and a two-point conversion to account for 20 Tiger points. The last time a Northwestern player tallied 20 or more points in a game was Nov. 9, 2007 when Ben Clymer had 28 points in a 46-22 District 11 playoff win over Lehighton.
RETURN TO SENDER ... In Friday's Wilson-Palmerton game, the Bombers got a punt return for a touchdown from Nick Sander and an interception return for a score by Austin Cook.
The last time Palmerton had both a punt return and an interception return for a score in the same game was Sept. 18, 1998 when John Rodrigues accomplished both during a win over Notre Dame.
LIGHTING IT UP ... Pleasant Valley and Dieruff combined for 85 points on Friday night in the Bears' wild 51-34 win.
The last time 80 or more combined points were scored in a game involving Pleasant Valley was Sept. 18, 1998 when the Bears and Northampton totaled 82 points in a game the Konkrete Kids won, 48-34.
SLOW STARTS ... Just two weeks into the season, no TIMES NEWS area teams are unbeaten.
This is the first year since 1997 that at least one local team is at 2-0 after two games.
In 1997, five teams were 1-1 and four were at 0-2 after two weeks. This year, six teams are currently 1-1 and three teams are 0-2.