Bombers can't stop Pirates
RICH GEORGE/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton's Tr4e Nelson (22) tries to get away from Palisades' Jesse Snyder for a big gain.
Turnovers can hurt a team's chances of winning. Not only does the offense not possess the ball afterwards, but more importantly, the once-established momentum can also switch hands.
In Friday night's match-up between Palmerton and Palisades, a second-quarter comeback by the Bombers was potentially ended when a fumble gave way to a Pirate touchdown, and a 25-9 halftime deficit seemed too difficult for the depleted Palmerton line-up to overcome the rest of the way.
"Tonight, the game came down to one, we had turnovers, and two, they dominated us up front and were getting four and five yards a clip. We were bringing pressure, but at some point, we had to stop them and we didn't," Palmerton head coach Mark Walkowiak mentioned after the Palmerton Homecoming game. "We were consistently inconsistent tonight."
The purple and gold's rushing attack accounted for all but seven yards of their team's 366 yards of offense on the night. Junior running back Christian Gretzinger had his way against the Blue Bomber defense, as he opened up the game with the first score of the night. On a fourth and two, Gretzinger bounced outside to the left for a 50-yard score, and in the game, he rushed 20 times for 196 yards on the evening with two scores for the victors.
After a Bomber punt, Palisades put together a 14-play, 64-yard drive for their second TD, as J.D. Donnelly went in from the two for a 13-0 lead with 2:47 left in the first.
However, the hosts came right back and drove down the field, before senior QB Logan Lesher connected with teammate Nick Sander for a 25-yard scoring reception to cut into the deficit.
On Palisades' ensuing possession, they were halted and while punting, Lesher penetrated deep enough to block Palisades' punt for a safety that made the score 13-9 in favor of Palisades with ten minutes left before half.
"We were concerned coming into this game," Palisades head coach Kevin Ronalds admitted afterwards. "They have some really good players, they're 2-2 and they did some really good things on video, so we had our concerns and they showed that tonight."
On a first and ten at the Palisades 35, the Bombers looked to be poised to strike again, but the ball popped loose on a carry and the Pirates recovered and turned it into another score, thwarting the blue and white of their momentum.
Gretzinger's 36-yard run during that drive set up Jesse Snyder for a four-yard score to balloon the lead to 19-9.
The Bombers followed with an interception and to follow suit, Palisades took the ball to paydirt again. Gretzinger crossed the plane from twelve out and the 25-9 lead held up through the intermission.
To open up the third quarter, Palisades took seven minutes off the clock with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Donnelly one-yard touchdown run, yielding a 32-9 lead with 3:17 left in the session.
The Bombers, needing to strike quickly, came back with a scoring run by Tre Nelson, who broke a couple tackles, and found the endzone on a beautiful run to make it 32-15.
After Palmerton blocked another punt and recovered the ball, a fumble of their own switched up the momentum again.
Andrew Koenig scored on a 35-yard run for a 39-15 lead, pretty much sealing the game with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
Zack Buck scored late in the game on a nice eight-yard run, but it proved to be too little, too late.
Palmerton (2-3) had some positives to remain steadfast about in terms of the remaining season.
"We need to play complimentary football, when we play well on offense, the defense needs to step up," Walkowiak stated. "We need to fix those things if we want to take the next step. We're not satisfied with two wins, so we want to keep working on fixing those issues."