Bombers cap perfect regular season
Palmerton football fans were treated to a trifecta of accomplishments Friday night.
• The Bombers’ 47-13 win over Northern Lehigh completed a perfect 10-0 regular season record.
• With the victory, Palmerton won this year’s Battle of the Blue Mountain and now leads the all-time series, 47-42-2.
• When quarterback Matt Machalik ran for a 77 yard touchdown with 5:03 left in the first quarter, he became the first football player in Pennsylvania history to rush for 5,000 yards and pass for 5,000 yards.
“Our kids earned the undefeated record, win by win,” Palmerton coach Chris Walkowiak said. “The chemistry is phenomenal and every player is unselfish toward what goals we want to accomplish as a team. I’m happy for our school, for our fans and especially for our community. As for Matt, what more can be said about his athletic ability. He’s also a great kid and is as humble as any superstar can be.”
The Bombers did not come out of the locker room will guns blazing. They went three and out with a fourth and 14 on their first possession and a three and out with a fourth and 11 on their second possession.
Despite good field position for most of the first half, Northern Lehigh failed to move the chains until late in the second quarter. Following a Bulldog punt to the Bomber 13 and after a 10 yard run by Jameson Trainer, Machalik scored with a burst of speed on his way to a 77 yard touchdown run.
A safety gave Palmerton an 8-0 lead until they finished a 90-second six play drive fueled by Ty Sander’s 22 yard run before he punched it in from a yard out for a 14-0 lead.
The Bombers put the game away by scoring 20 points in the second quarter. A 32 yard pass from Machalik to Trainer set up another air ball for an 11 yard TD with the same connection. On their next scoring drive, the Bombers went 34 yards with Sander and Emilio Gonzalez running through the Bulldog defense.
Ahead 28-0, Machalik performed his magic again. He took the snap from midfield, burst up the middle, zig zagged from near the left sideline to near the right sideline before another burst up the middle, but was tackled on the one yard line where he ran it in on the next play.
He deferred to talk about his spectacular run and gave credit to his team.
“This win means a lot to our seniors to win the trophy,” he said.
In regard to his record setting performance, he said, “I couldn’t have done any of this without my teammates. We’re just clicking together right now and it’s a great feeling and now we’ll get ready for the playoffs.”
The Bombers scored twice in the third on Machalik’s 50 yard blast up the middle and a two yard run by Caleb Sagastume.
Northern Lehigh got on the board twice in the fourth quarter on a two yard run by Jack Tosh and a seven yard scamper by Kaden Quinones following a punt that gave the Bulldogs the ball on the Palmerton 24 yard line.
“We played some bigger schools this year which made it tough for our very young team,” Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout said. “I’m happy all our seniors who contributed so much to our district championship. We’ll be pretty good next year, but I told our kids that wins and losses get forgotten, but the locker room fun and bus rides will be what they remember the most and for the young players, there are more memories to be made.”
SUPER STATS ... Machalik’s 177 yards rushing now gives him 1,970 for the season to go along with his nine games of 100 yards or more. He added to his pass yardage that totals 1,230 yards. Combined he has 3,200 yards and 44 touchdowns.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE ... The last time Palmerton finished undefeated was in 1951, 72 years ago when the school finished with an 8-0 record.